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Carnegie Hall Announces Complete Schedule of 100+ Events for Migrations: The Making of America Festival

Carnegie Hall & 75+ Partner Institutions From Across New York City and Beyond Explore the Journeys of People Who Shaped and Influenced the Evolution of American Arts, Culture, and Society

Kicks Off at Carnegie Hall with Live From Here with Chris Thile on March 9; Events Take Place Citywide through May 2019

(February 19, 2019; NEW YORK, NY)—This spring 2019, Carnegie Hall presents Migrations: The Making of America, a citywide festival that traces the journeys of people from different origins and backgrounds who helped to shape and influence the evolution of American arts and culture. The festival features more than 100 events celebrating the many contributions—cultural, social, economic, and political—of the people who helped to build our American culture. Kicking off on March 9 at Carnegie Hall, the festival features musical programming at the Hall and public programming, performances, exhibitions, and events at more than 75 leading cultural and academic institutions across New York City and beyond through May 2019.

At Carnegie Hall, festival concerts will examine the musical legacies of three migrations: the crossings from Scotland and Ireland during the 18th and 19th centuries; the immigration of Jews from Russia and Eastern Europe between 1881 and the National Origins Act of 1924; and the Great Migration—the exodus of African Americans from the South to the industrialized cities of the Northeast, Midwest, and West from 1917 into the 1970s. Migrations concerts by leading artists at Carnegie Hall include performances of bluegrass, old-time, klezmer, Yiddish musical theater, the Great American Songbook, blues, jazz, and more.

Events at festival partner organizations, ranging from music and dance to exhibitions, talks, culinary events, and films, will further amplify the themes celebrated by Carnegie Hall as well as explore many other migrations from around the world—from elsewhere in Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Asia as well as the internal migration of Native Americans. Programming throughout the festival also focuses on New York City’s history and identity as a city welcoming to immigrants, highlighting the rich traditions and cross-cultural collaborations of the city’s many diverse communities.

“With Carnegie Hall’s largest festival yet, we invite audiences to look more closely at how the migrations of people to and within this country and the evolution of art forms that they have developed here have been powerful influences on the creation and development of American culture,” said Clive Gillinson, Executive and Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall. “As we have planned this festival, it has been wonderful to see the passionate responses from partner organizations and how this theme has resonated with so many of them, resulting in a truly citywide celebration. We hope Migrations will be an opportunity to take a fresh look at how America has been enriched by the diversity of cultures, traditions, and people that make up this great nation.” 


At Carnegie Hall, the Migrations festival is anchored by three main events in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage, with each performance representing one of three themes: Scots-Irish and Irish migration; the Russian and Eastern European Jewish migration; and The Great Migration, as well as six concerts in Zankel Hall—two for each theme.

The festival kicks off at Carnegie Hall on March 9 with Live From Here with Chris Thile, an evening of traditional Scots, Irish, and American folk music—including old-time and bluegrass—that explores the evolution of these traditions and their continued impact on one another. Fifteen-time Grammy-Award winning banjoist Béla Fleck, renowned double bassist Edgar Meyer, multi-award winning Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis, and Irish-American singer-songwriter Aoife O’Donovan will join the bill with Thile in Stern Auditorium / Perelman stage. The concert will be broadcast live on the radio and online, distributed nationwide by American Public Media (March 9 at 5:45 p.m., Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage).

The festival continues with two more concerts at the Hall that celebrate the Scots-Irish and Irish migration. A special double-bill with multi-award-winning Scottish songwriter and spoken-word performer Karine Polwart and banjo player-songwriter Kaia Kater looks back to Scottish and Canadian roots while creating a new brand of music (March 23 at 9:00 p.m., Zankel Hall). The Gloaming offers a contemporary take on traditional Irish/Celtic music (April 6 at 8:30 p.m., Zankel Hall).

The Russian and Eastern European Jewish migration will be highlighted by a special one-night-only event entitled FromShtetl to Stage: A Celebration of Yiddish Music and Culture in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage on April 15 at 8:00 p.m. Led by Music Director Frank London, the program features a company of extraordinary Yiddish talent as well as stars of the classical, folk, and theater worlds as they mix chestnuts from the Yiddish theater and folk song repertoire with Yiddish-tinged vaudeville, art song, classical music, and klezmer. Featured artists on the program include clarinetist David Krakauer, violinist Gil Shaham, pianist Evgeny Kissin, 2018 Tony Award winner and star of Broadway’s The Band’s VisitKatrina Lenk, and vocalists Mike Burstyn and Eleanor Reissa.

Additional concerts celebrating the Russian and Eastern European Jewish migration at Carnegie Hall include American klezmer clarinetist and bluegrass mandolinist Andy Statman and his trio (March 14 at 7:00 p.m., Zankel Hall) and an evening with pianist and vocalist Michael Feinstein featuring songs by Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, Richard Rodgers, Harold Arlen, and others drawn from the Great American Jewish Songbook (March 27 at 7:30 p.m., Zankel Hall).

Two Wings: The Music of Black America in Migration in Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage will invite the audience to take a journey from the American South after emancipation to all points North, West, and beyond—shining a light on an epic event that changed the sound of America forever. With a roster of guest artists including tenor Lawrence Brownlee, mezzo-soprano Hilda HarrisPastor Smokie Norful, and Toshi Reagon, as well as Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson, jazz pianist Jason Moran and mezzo-soprano Alicia Hall Moran draw upon their own family lore and the historical record of the Great Migration to compose tableaux that explore a continuum of music from rhythm and blues to gospel, classical to Broadway, work songs to rock ‘n’ roll. (March 30 at 8:00 p.m., Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage).

Two concerts in Zankel Hall will also explore The Great Migration. Trumpeter Nicholas Payton traces the path of African rhythms from their arrival in the Caribbean through their journey to New Orleans and throughout the United States (March 16 at 9:00 p.m., Zankel Hall). Singer-songwriter Deva Mahaloffers a rare combination of masterful songwriting and breathtaking vocal talent, stepping into the spotlight on her debut, Run Deep, an album of pulse-pounding soul with a modern edge (April 13 at 10:00 p.m., Zankel Hall). 


Migrations: The Making of America festival partner programming features more than 100 events in multiple genres that will explore a broad range of migrations from around the world, presented by diverse cultural and academic institutions across the city, ranging from the Americas Society, YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, and Centro Primo Levi to the China Institute, New-York Historical Society, and The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, plus numerous universities. For a full list of 75+ festival partners, please see below.


Lakecia Benjamin Quintet with A Woman’s Perspective: Jazz Takes Flight
March 13 at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Dizzy’s Club at Jazz at Lincoln Center

The concert explores the story of the creation and evolution of America’s popular music from 1917 to 1971, featuring the music of Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, Muddy Waters, and Aretha Franklin, who provided the soundtrack to the Great Migration.

Seventh Annual Celtic Appalachian Celebration
March 15 at 8:00 p.m., Symphony Space

Irish Arts Center presents a rousing celebration of traditional Irish, old time, and American folk music that explores the shared lineage of Irish, West African, and Appalachian musical traditions, hosted by renowned musician-folklorist Mick Moloney.

Music in Color: Gabriela Lena Frank
March 23 at 2:00 p.m., Flushing Town Hall; March 24 at 2:00 p.m., The Billie Holiday Theatre at RestorationART, March 28 at 7:00 p.m., Harlem School of the Arts; April 7 at 2:00 p.m., Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden

Orchestra of St. Luke’s presents a series of performances by the St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble focusing on the music and life of Frank, an American composer of Peruvian, Chinese, and Lithuanian Jewish descent. Each performance also features a work by one of Frank’s inspirations, Chou Wen-chung, as well as a new work composed by various fellows of the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music.

Gregorio Uribe Big Band 
March 25 at 7:00 p.m., Saint Peter’s Church

Americas Society presents this New York-based ensemble which blends cumbia and other Colombian rhythms with a powerful big-band sound. Highlighting the contributions of Latin American immigrant musicians and composers in the US, the band is joined by special guests in Uribe’s own compositions, as well as new arrangements of works by Latin American immigrant composers.

Giai Dieu Que Huong: Music of the Vietnamese Diaspora
April 6 at 7:30 p.m., The Loreto Theater at the Sheen Center

The Vietnam Heritage Center presents a musical program that examines the migration of Vietnamese people, with arrangements that blend elements of traditional and modern Vietnamese music and Western music.


Yeats + Tagore: India Meets Ireland (in America)
March 16 at 2:30 p.m., Bruno Walter Auditorium at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

This afternoon of theater and music illustrates the friendship—forged in America—between Irish writer William Butler Yeats and Indian writer Rabindranath Tagore.

Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company’s CrossCurrent VI
April 7 at 2:00 p.m., Flushing Town Hall

Each year, this contemporary collaborative dance project is presented to showcase the dance works being developed by New York City–based Asian American artists. The program features a full-length concert of contemporary dance integrated with live music and visual art.

You Took a Part of Me
April 12 and 13 at 7:30 p.m., Japan Society

This wired dance production features choreography by “punk ballerina” Karole Armitage for the five-member Armitage Gone! Dance. Loosely based on a 15th-century Noh play, the piece explores erotic entanglement, unresolved attachments, and the search for harmony. Set to live music by Reiko Yamada and Yuki Isami, the show embraces new technologies created by MIT Media Lab designers.

In Perpetual Flight: The Migration of the Black Body
April 16 at 6:30 p.m., Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

The National Black Theatre, in partnership with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, presents a one-day event that examines the movement of Black bodies in America and the impact that movement has had in the quest for liberation. Utilizing the archives of the Schomburg Center, and using multidisciplinary performance and community dialogue, the National Black Theatre commissions new pieces by theater-makers of African descent to examine the works of James Baldwin, Harriet Powers, Marcus Garvey, Harriet Tubman, and Jacob Lawrence to illuminate the complexities Black people have faced migrating in America.


Interior Lives: Contemporary Photographs of Chinese New Yorkers
Now through March 24, Museum of the City of New York

The exhibit features the work of three photographers—Thomas Holton, Annie Ling, and An Rong Xu—who have spent years documenting the lives of Chinese New Yorkers, providing a window into the complex realities of immigrant life in New York City.

Music in America
Ongoing, Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration

Music in America highlights the exchanges between cultures that have contributed to distinctly American musical styles and traditions. The installation includes English, Scotch, and Irish ballads; African vocal and rhythmic traditions; Cajun music; German accordions; and other influences—part of an exhibit on the various journeys of people coming to the US prior to 1890.

Migrations at the Tenement Museum
Ongoing, Tenement Museum

This exhibit focuses on the experiences of immigrants, migrants, and refugees between the 19th and 21st centuries. Specialty tours—including a new music tour that will be featured on March 28—will explore the historic tenements and surrounding neighborhood, highlighting how food, music, politics, and policy have shaped American identities across generations.


Tracing Migrations to New York
March 1219 and 26 at 6:30 p.m., New York Genealogical and Biographical Society

This series of three workshops covers immigration to America during the periods 1600-1820, 1820-1924, and 1924 to the present, exploring the pathways taken by thousands of immigrants as they’ve settled in America, along with an overview of techniques to trace the migrations of specific individuals and family histories.

Divided Loyalty: Being Chinese in America
March 13 at 6:00 p.m., China Institute

Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang, author of M. Butterfly, and other prominent Chinese explore complex questions of identity.

Immigration Matters: Jews, Other Immigrants, and America
March 31 at 11:00 a.m., Center for Jewish History

Presented by the Goldstein-Goren Center for American Jewish History at New York University, in conjunction with the Center for Jewish History and the American Jewish Historical Society, this day-long symposium examines the efforts exerted by American Jews to prevent, roll back, and resist immigration restriction.

Migration: The Making of Modern America
April 2 at 6:30 p.m., New-York Historical Society

Historian Mae Ngai, in conversation with Judge Denny Chin, discusses how immigration has transformed the country and why it has become one of the most divisive issues in American politics.

Magnifico in New York—Corrado Cagli, Migrating Artists, and the Mirage of Italy
April 8 at 7:00 p.m., Bruno Walter Auditorium at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

Art historian Raffaele Bedarida hosts this celebration of Italian artist and cultural organizer Corrado Cagli, who was forced to leave Italy because of racial persecution. This event is presented by the Centro Primo Levi, the Italian Cultural Institute, and The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

The Great Migration: Searching for Security, Finding Injustice
April 10 at 6:00 p.m., Lipton Hall at D’Agostino Hall, New York University School of Law

This public conversation—presented by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law—examines the experiences of African Americans moving north during the Great Migration, with an expert panel reflecting on history and examining what it means today for racial justice, and the challenge of mass incarceration and voter suppression.

Diasporic Sound: Migration, Resilience, and Remix 
April 12 at 6:30 p.m., Jurow Lecture Hall and Silverstein Lounge, New York University Silver Center for Arts and Science

Presented by the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at New York University, this conversation—curated by activist and DJ Ushka (Thanushka Yakupitiyage)—looks at the impact that migrations from South Asia, Africa, South America, and the Caribbean have had on the creation of diasporic, border-traversing sounds. No Borders—an after-party hosted by Ushka—will feature DJs and performers representing migrant sounds.


A Brivele der Mamen
March 17 at 4:00 p.m., King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center

A Brivele der Mamen tells the heart-wrenching story of a mother who tries to keep her family together despite the disruptions caused by immigration and the traumatic events of World War I, their move to America, how it divided the family, and the work of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. This screening is presented by the Goldstein-Goren Center for American Jewish History at New York University.

Black Shadows on a Silver Screen: The Great Migration and Independent Filmmaking
April 15 at 6:00 p.m., Bruno Walter Auditorium at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

This celebration and discussion of African American independent filmmakers features films from the Reserve Film and Video Collection of The New York Public Library with commentary by special guests.

March and April, King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center, check website for dates and screening times

Indocumentales is a film and conversation series that explores multiple Latin American migrant experiences in the US through compassionate and politically motivated representation and critical dialogue. A special screening of a recently released documentary on US-Latin American migration will be presented as part of the Migrations festival, followed by a panel discussion. The series is presented by the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at New York University, Cinema Tropical, What Moves You?, and the World Council of Peoples for the United Nations.


A series of three gastronomic events in New York City, hosted by notable personalities from the food world, will focus on three migrations: the Great Migration with Dr. Jessica B. Harris (May 1); as well as those who migrated to the US from Colombia with Mariana Velasquez (May 8); and from India with Madhur Jaffrey (May 15). Presented by the Oxford Cultural Collective.

Many festival partners will offer programming highlighting New York City’s unique identity as a city with a tradition of welcoming immigrants, including events at the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration, the Museum of the City of New York, the New-York Historical Society, the Tenement Museum, and more. Special tours include The Hospital Zone at Ellis Island: A Walking Tour with guides from Save Ellis Island at Castle Clinton in Battery Park (March 23), presented by the New York Academy of Medicine and the Museum of the City of New York in collaboration with Wellcome).

The Migrations festival precedes the City of New York’s Immigrant Heritage Week (April 15-21), when New Yorkers hold a week-long celebration of collective immigrant heritage with events throughout the week in recognition of the date on which the most immigrants entered the US through Ellis Island: April 17, 1907 (presented by the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs).

Beginning March 9, Carnegie Hall will present for the very first time an exhibit about its founder, Andrew Carnegie, in its Rose Museum. In the exhibit, entitled Andrew Carnegie: His Life and Legacy, Carnegie Hall Archives and Rose Museum Director Gino Francesconi charts the Carnegie family’s passage from Scotland and Andrew’s ever-present influence in America. With archival documents, photos, and artifacts on loan from the Carnegie family, the Andrew Carnegie Birthplace Museum, the Carnegie Corporation of New York and its archives at Columbia University, the National Archives and Records Administration, and more, the exhibit shows Andrew’s journey from humble beginnings toward becoming the most prominent philanthropist of his time. The exhibit will be on display through the end of October 2019 in celebration of the Andrew Carnegie centennial.

Inspired by the Migrations festival, a Spring Family Day in Carnegie Hall’s Resnick Education Wing will highlight how Harlem became the hub for African American artistic expression, offering a wide range of free, interactive fun activities for children and families (April 7). Through songwriting workshops this season created by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, New Yorkers of all ages will explore the music that their families brought to America, crossing generations and borders, culminating in a performance titled Soul Mechanism: A Concert Celebrating the Music of Migrations led by celebrated performer Toshi Reagon in Zankel Hall (May 19).


In addition to the March 9 national radio broadcast of Live From Here with Chris Thile on American Public Media which kicks off the festival, Migrations will reach national and international audiences through radio and digital offerings, including: a six-week radio series on This Irish American Life presented by Glucksman Ireland House / The Center for Irish Studies at New York University; radio interviews on Fiona Ritchie’s award-wining NPR show The Thistle & Shamrock with festival artists Chris Thile and Karine Polwart; The Museum of Modern Art’s digital exhibit, One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series, which takes an in-depth look at Lawrence’s landmark 1941 painting series about the mass movement of African Americans from the rural South to the urban North; an online course, Oh Mama, I’m in Love!: The Story of the Yiddish Stage presented by the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research; and Migrations at Smithsonian Folkways, a panoply of music and sound including hundreds of audio recordings and a host of educational materials; plus more.

For a complete Migrations: The Making of America event schedule by genre as of February 2019, click here.

Migrations: The Making of America Festival Partners (as of February 2019)

Academy of American Poets
American Indian Community House
American Irish Historical Society
American Jewish Historical Society
American-Scottish Foundation
Americas Society
Asian/Pacific/American Institute at New York University
Association for Cultural Equity
Association for the Study of African American Life and History
Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law
Center for Jewish History
Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, New York University
Centro Primo Levi
China Institute
Cinema Tropical
The Cupping Room Café
El Museo del Barrio
Fiona Ritchie Productions/The Thistle & Shamrock, National Public Radio
Flushing Town Hall
Gagosian Gallery
Glucksman Ireland House/The Center for Irish Studies, New York University
Goldstein-Goren Center for American Jewish History, New York University
The Graduate Center, CUNY
Harlem One Stop/Harlem Cultural Collaborative
Harlem Stage
Immigration and Ethnic History Society
Indo-American Arts Council
Institute of Irish Studies, Fordham University
Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies, Columbia University
Institute for Research in African-American Studies, Columbia University
Irish Arts Center
Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America, Columbia University
Italian Cultural Institute
Japan Society
Jazz at Lincoln Center
The Jewish Museum
Jim Kempner Fine Art
The John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, Queens College, CUNY
Keyes Art Projects
Latin American & Caribbean Studies, Center for Arts and Culture, and the DREAMers Club at Hostos Community College, CUNY
Mark Borghi Fine Art
The Marshall Project
Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs
Museum of Chinese in America
The Museum of Modern Art
Museum of the City of New York
National Black Theatre, Inc.
National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene
New York Academy of Medicine
New York Caledonian Club
New York Genealogical and Biographical Society
New-York Historical Society
The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
Northern Ireland Bureau
NYC Tartan Week
Orchestra of St. Luke's
Origin Theatre Company
Oxford Cultural Collective
Saint Andrew’s Society of the State of New York
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Scotch-Irish Society of the United States of America
Scottish Government
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
Statue of Liberty National Monument & Ellis Island
Studs Terkel Radio Archive
Sundaram Tagore Gallery
Tenement Museum
Ulster Historical Foundation
Ulster Scots Agency
Vietnam Heritage Center
WFMT Radio Network
What Moves You?
World Council of Peoples for the United Nations
Yiddish Book Center
YIVO Institute for Jewish Research

* * * *

Nicholas Payton on March 16 and the Joyce and George T. Wein Shape of Jazz series are made possible by the Joyce and George Wein Foundation in memory of Joyce Wein.

Michael Feinstein on March 27 is sponsored by Aon.

Two Wings: The Music of Black America in Migration is sponsored by United Airlines®, Official Airline of Carnegie Hall. The Trustees of Carnegie Hall gratefully acknowledge the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Earle S. Altman in support of the 2018-2019 season.

Spring Family Day is sponsored by Macy's. Thanks to the New York City Department of Homeless Services for supporting families during Family Days. Family Days are generously supported, in part, by an endowment gift from Linda and Earle S. Altman.

Soul Mechanism: A Concert Celebrating the Music of Migrations, a creative learning project for young people across New York City, is made possible in part by generous support from Martha and Bob Lipp.

Support for the Russian and Eastern European Jewish Migration series of the Migrations festival is provided by The Polonsky Foundation.

Lead support for Migrations: The Making of America is provided by the Ford Foundation, The Morris and Alma Schapiro Fund, and Igor Tulchinsky.

Additional support is provided by the Howard Gilman Foundation, Dr. Lynne Harrison, and Anonymous (2).

Public support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Chris Thile is holder of the 2018-2019 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair at Carnegie Hall.

Bank of America is the Proud Season Sponsor of Carnegie Hall.

For high resolutions images of Migrations: The Making of America artists, please contact the Carnegie Hall Public Relations Office at 212-903-9750 or publicrelations@carnegiehall.org.

Visit carnegiehall.org/migrations to watch Migrations festival videos. 

Photo Credit: Chris Thile by Brantley Gutierrez

Ticket Information

Tickets for events taking place at Carnegie Hall are available at the Carnegie Hall Box Office, 154 West 57th Street, or can be charged to major credit cards by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 or by visiting the Carnegie Hall website, carnegiehall.org.

For all Carnegie Hall Corporation presentations in Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage, a limited number of seats, priced at $10, will be available day-of-concert beginning at 11:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 12:00 noon on Sunday until one hour before the performance or until supply lasts. The exceptions are Carnegie Hall Family Concerts and gala events. These $10 tickets are available to the general public on a first-come, first-served basis at the Carnegie Hall Box Office only. There is a two-ticket limit per customer.

In addition, a limited number of partial view (seats with obstructed or limited sight lines or restricted leg room) will be sold for 50% of the full price. For more information on this and other discount ticket programs, including those for students, Notables members, and Bank of America customers, visit carnegiehall.org/discounts. Artists, programs, and prices are subject to change.

For tickets to Migrations: The Making of America festival partner events, please contact the specific venue. For links to more information, please see the Migrations complete event listings.

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