Carnegie Hall Announces Concert Lineup for Afrofuturism Festival in February-March 2022
Six One-Night Only Carnegie Hall Concerts Feature: Flying Lotus; Sun Ra Arkestra with Kelsey Lu and Moor Mother; Nicole Mitchell and Angel Bat Dawid; Chimurenga Renaissance and Fatoumata Diawara; Carl Craig Synthesizer Ensemble; and Theo Croker
Plus, New Yorkers of All Ages in the Hall’s Weill Music Institute Programs Explore the Infinite Possibilities of Afrofuturism by Creating Original Music, Art, and Stories
60+ Prestigious Partner Institutions from Across NYC and Beyond Extend the Scope of the Festival with Multidisciplinary Programming Citywide
(November 16, 2021, New York, NY)—Carnegie Hall today announced its concert lineup for Afrofuturism, the Hall’s next citywide festival, scheduled for February-March 2022, with events exploring the thriving aesthetic movement and practice that looks to the future through a Black cultural lens, intersecting music, visual art, literature, politics, science fiction, and technology.
Festival concerts at Carnegie Hall by celebrated artists will explore Afrofuturism’s boundless sonic essence through jazz, funk, R&B, Afrobeat, hip-hop, electronic music, and more. In addition, education and social impact programming and special events created by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute will invite New Yorkers of all ages to consider the infinite possibilities of Afrofuturism. More than 60 leading cultural institutions from across New York City and beyond will extend the scope of the festival with a diverse array of live and online events, including exhibitions, performances, talks, and more with a complete schedule to be announced in January. To create this imaginative festival, Carnegie Hall’s programming team has collaborated with five prominent experts on Afrofuturism forming its Afrofuturism Curatorial Council.
Just-announced Afrofuturism festival concerts at Carnegie Hall include:
- Flying Lotus—Saturday, February 12 at 8:00 p.m.
Grammy Award–winning producer, composer, rapper, filmmaker, and visionary founder of the independent record label Brainfeeder, Flying Lotus exists as a musical world unto himself. He synthesizes a vast range of influences—musical and otherwise—into an expansive, yet unmistakable sound that makes him one of today’s foremost artists. To kick off Carnegie Hall’s Afrofuturism festival, the “heir apparent to a near-celestial Afrofuturist force” (The Face) makes his Carnegie Hall debut presenting his transportive electro-acoustic musical blend in this special one-night-only performance. (Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage)
- Sun Ra Arkestra with Special Guests Kelsey Lu & Moor Mother—Thursday, February 17 at 9:00 p.m.
The Sun Ra Arkestra, under the longtime leadership of founding saxophonist Marshall Allen, is as vital and cheekily unpredictable as ever. Blending jazz and blues with electronic and extraterrestrial influences, these true pioneers of Afrofuturism carry on the inimitable vision and spirit of their late, enigmatic founder—composer, pianist, bandleader, poet, and cosmic philosopher Sun Ra. Joining the Arkestra for this festival performance are two equally irrepressible guest artists who are carrying on Sun Ra’s torch, each of them a prolific collaborator across numerous perceived genre boundaries: cellist, composer, and polymuse Kelsey Lu and poet, composer, and Black Quantum futurist Moor Mother. (Zankel Hall)
- Nicole Mitchell and Angel Bat Dawid—Thursday, February 24 at 7:30 p.m.
For this evening’s double bill, innovative flutist and composer Nicole Mitchell—praised for making music that is “exciting, invigorating, and keeps you on the edge of your seat” (New York Amsterdam News)—brings her Black Earth Ensemble to perform Xenogenesis Suite, inspired by renowned Afrofuturist author Octavia E. Butler. The former first woman president of Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, Mitchell celebrates endless possibility by creating what she calls “visionary worlds through music that bridge the familiar with the unknown.” Angel Bat Dawid—the “blazingly original” Chicago-based clarinetist and bandleader who “captures the unbridled sound of obstacles overcome, history revered, and a future imagined” (Pitchfork)—joins forces with LuFuki and Dr. Adam Zanolini to form Autophysiopsychic Millennium, exploring the performance methodology of instrumentalist and composer Dr. Yusef Lateef in what they describe as an Afrofuturist Participatory Sonic Convocation. (Zankel Hall)
- Chimurenga Renaissance and Fatoumata Diawara—Friday, March 4 at 9:30 p.m
Comprised of Tendai “Baba” Maraire and guitarist Hussein Kalonji, Chimurenga Renaissance brilliantly blends experimental hip-hop with traditional African music to create a captivating and consistently surprising “trans-Atlantic mélange” (NPR) that speaks to a range of postmodern and politically conscious sensibilities. Also featured on this evening’s double bill is Grammy Award-nominated singer, songwriter, and actress Fatoumata Diawara—one of the most relevant female voices of the new generation of African artists—who covers a gamut of styles from blues, funk, and rock to syncopated Afro-pop, always honoring her past, but with a sound and message that confidently looks to the future. (Zankel Hall)
- Carl Craig Synthesizer Ensemble—Saturday, March 19 at 10:00 p.m.
A creative visionary, Grammy Award-nominated composer, world-class DJ, and founder of seminal record label Planet E Communications, Carl Craig is an elder statesman in the world of electronic music production and performance—a true legend of the genre. The common thread that runs through Craig’s broad musical canon is a resounding fascination with futurism, as embodied by the Synthesizer Ensemble in which he imbues a flexible and collaborative human touch into the more synth-driven, pulsing traits of techno. (Zankel Hall)
- Theo Croker—Saturday, March 26 at 9:00 p.m.
Grammy Award-nominated trumpeter, composer, and bandleader Theo Croker makes his eagerly awaited Carnegie Hall debut in a performance that blends post-bop, funk, and electronic music in a sonic celebration of Afro-origin. As showcased in his new album BLK2LIFE \\ A FUTURE PAST, Croker explores the forgotten hero’s journey toward self-actualization within the universal origins of Blackness. (Zankel Hall)
Tickets to Afrofuturism festival concerts at Carnegie Hall will go on sale to the general public beginning Wednesday, November 17, 2021 at 11:00 a.m.
The concept for Carnegie Hall’s Afrofuturism festival took root over several years as a natural extension of some of the Hall’s past explorations of Black culture—beginning with Jessye Norman’s HONOR! festival in 2009, celebrating the African American cultural legacy, and, more recently, with festival programming looking at art and music created in the time of slavery, the Great Migration, and during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.
“In planning for this festival, it’s been fascinating to see how Afrofuturism embraces so many art forms—from music and the visual arts to science fiction and technology,” said Clive Gillinson, Carnegie Hall’s Executive and Artistic Director. “It’s a creative and inventive theme, and we hope this will be an opportunity for people to embark on a journey of discovery, ask questions, and dream about future possibilities.”
Carnegie Hall’s programming team has tapped leading experts on Afrofuturism to form its Afrofuturism Curatorial Council. The Council is comprised of Reynaldo Anderson, associate professor of Africology and African American Studies, Temple University; King James Britt, assistant teaching professor at the UCSD Department of Music, Pew Fellowship recipient, electronic music producer, composer, and performer; Louis Chude-Sokei, writer, scholar, and professor of English holding the George and Joyce Wein Chair in African American Studies and director of the African American Studies Program at Boston University; Sheree Renée Thomas, award-winning fiction writer, poet, and editor of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction; and Ytasha L. Womack, independent scholar, filmmaker, dancer, and critically acclaimed author of Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture.
“When I found out that Carnegie Hall was interested in doing a citywide festival on Afrofuturism, I was so excited,” said Sheree Renée Thomas in a video introducing the festival. “What was once on the outskirts of society is now so fascinating, so intriguing, and so powerful that it has reached the mainstream of society.”
“This festival is going to take Carnegie Hall into a whole different place,” said King James Britt. “This cultural exchange that's about to happen, it's really magical. It's a powerful time.”
“Our expert Curatorial Council has provided invaluable insights and guidance,” said Mr. Gillinson. “Their involvement and enthusiasm have reinforced how important it is that Carnegie Hall is placing focus on this incredibly timely and forward-looking theme. The broad nature of the festival enables us to collaborate with many leading cultural institutions from across New York City—including new and returning festival partners—who will present a diverse array of programming. It also offers an inspirational starting point to engage people from throughout our community to share their own creative work and artistic viewpoints.”
Afrofuturism Festival Programming Created by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute (WMI)
In education and social impact programs created by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute (WMI), young musicians, teachers, and creators from New York City and across the US will explore the infinite possibilities of Afrofuturism throughout the Hall’s 2021-2022 season. Imagination is a key ingredient of WMI’s programming which invites people of all ages to explore their creativity. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in collaborative artistic explorations, both in person and online, creating original music, art, sound, technology, and stories that bring to life the possibility of a world shaped by music learners of all ages, experiences, and circumstances. Professional artists will lead workshops embedded in WMI’s wide range of innovative programs and encourage participants to create new work that points to a different vision of the future through the lens of Black cultures. A selection of the new work inspired by the theme of Afrofuturism will be featured online and at live events.
Public events presented by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute during the Afrofuturism festival include:
- Make a Joyful Noize—Thursday, February 3 at 8:00 p.m.
WMI premieres the first live performance of Make a Joyful Noize—commissioned by Carnegie Hall as part of its 125 Commissions Project—by hip-hop duo Soul Science Lab which blends rap, funk, soul, and Afrobeat into a vibrant multimedia universe of music, film, spoken word, and dance. This joyfully bold creation is an unapologetic exploration of Black joy and the enduring, all-important power of self-love. The evening will feature Soul Science Lab, a 10-person band, and special guest artists. (Zankel Hall)
Prior to their concert, Soul Science Lab will offer a three-part workshop this season exploring creative possibilities for creators of hip-hop and personal visions of the world. The workshops will be offered online and are available to New York City-based teachers as well as educators who are part of the WMI national community.
- AfroCosmicMelatopia with Mwenso and the Shakes—Sun., February 27 at 7 p.m.
Young artists and creators from the Weill Music Institute community in New York and across the US will showcase their original music and art inspired by the Hall’s Afrofuturism festival. Anchoring the Zankel Hall performance will be Mwenso and the Shakes, a singular “troupe of global artists presenting music that merges entertainment and artistry” (Jazziz). Together with the young songwriters, they will bring to life new music, movements, and stories with their own unique flair to create a genre-crossing evening that exemplifies the openhearted and boundary-defying spirit of Afrofuturism. The performance will also be livestreamed on Carnegie Hall’s website, Facebook, and YouTube channels and subsequently available for on-demand viewing on the Hall’s website. (Zankel Hall)
- Journey Into AfroCosmicMelatopia—Friday, March 25 at 6:30 p.m.
Soundtracked by the futuristic sounds of leading DJs from the African diaspora, this special event will celebrate both the work of young artists and creators from the Weill Music Institute community and the multidisciplinary nature of Afrofuturism, including turntablism and digital architecture. The evening includes inspired young people showcasing their considerable talents through live music, visual art, and more. Tickets for this event will be available in early 2022. (Resnick Education Wing)
These public events are part of a wide variety of Afrofuturism-themed programs presented by WMI throughout the season. In the lead up to the festival, young writers ages 14-19, have been engaging in a series of online poetry workshops this fall with Afrofuturism Curatorial Council member and celebrated author Sheree Renée Thomas and special guests. Among other programs, WMI will invite families and children with caregivers to enjoy a free Afrofuturism-themed Spring Family Day in the Hall’s Resnick Education Wing on Sunday, April 10.
Afrofuturism Festival Partner Programming
The Afrofuturism festival will extend beyond Carnegie Hall through multidisciplinary public programming presented by 60+ partners—leading cultural and academic organizations across New York City and beyond—exploring African and African diasporic philosophies, speculative fiction, mythology, comics, cosmology, technology, and more. A diverse range of online offerings will also include film screenings, exhibitions, and talks with leading thinkers and creatives in this multitiered experience.
Participating partner organizations for the Afrofuturism festival (as of November 16, 2021) in New York and beyond are:
- Abrams Books
- The Africa Center
- AfriFuTrinity: Quantum Cosmic Futures
- American Composers Orchestra
- Americas Society
- Apollo Theater
- Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) [Chicago, IL]
- Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts [Riverside, CA]
- Black & Brown Comix Arts Festival [Chicago, IL]
- Black Kirby
- Black Speculative Arts Movement [Philadelphia, PA]
- Blacknuss Network [Chicago, IL]
- Blacktronika, University of California San Diego Department of Music
- Brooklyn Institute for Social Research
- Brooklyn Museum
- Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI)
- Centro Cívico Cultural Dominicano
- Chicago History Museum
- The Children's Art Carnival
- China Institute
- Cinema Tropical
- The Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Educational Center
- Congo Square Preservation Society [New Orleans, LA]
- Department of Africology and African American Studies, Temple University [Philadelphia, PA]
- Dieselfunk Studios
- Dramatists Guild of America
- Fabulize Magazine
- Flushing Town Hall
- Google Arts & Culture
- Harlem Stage
- Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America, Columbia University
- Jeremy McQueen’s Black Iris Project
- The Joyce Theater
- The Juilliard School
- Keyes Art Projects
- Latin American Writers Institute of Hostos Community College, CUNY
- The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center
- Louis Armstrong House Museum & Archives
- Maysles Documentary Center
- MCC Theater
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art
- National Black Theatre
- National Queer Theater
- National Sawdust
- New York Film Academy
- New York Live Arts
- Otherworld Theatre Company [Chicago, IL]
- Public Records
- Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
- Smithsonian Folkways Recordings [Washington DC]
- Society of Illustrators
- Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
- The Studio Museum in Harlem
- Studio Visceral
- Universal Hip Hop Museum
- University of California, Riverside [Riverside, CA]
- URB ALT Media
- West Harlem Arts
- Willie Mae Rock Camp
- Women in Comics Collective International
A complete citywide schedule of Afrofuturism festival events—including partner programming across New York City—will be announced in January 2022.
Afrofuturism Festival Concert Listings & Video
Click here for a chronological listing of just-announced Afrofuturism festival performances at Carnegie Hall.
Click here to view the Afrofuturism festival video including commentary from members of the festival’s Afrofuturism Curatorial Council.
For the most up-to-date information on festival performances and events at Carnegie Hall and partner institutions, visit carnegiehall.org/afrofuturism in the coming months.
Support for Afrofuturism is provided by the Howard Gilman Foundation and Bank of America.
This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Support for the visual arts components of the Afrofuturism festival has been provided by the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation.
About Carnegie Hall Festivals
Carnegie Hall’s large-scale, citywide festivals bring together performances and events designed to stimulate the curiosity of audiences, offering them the opportunity to explore compelling and important topics. In partnership with many of the greatest cultural institutions in New York City and beyond, the Hall’s festivals feature programming that creates journeys of discovery across the spectrum of the arts, including music, dance, theater, film, literature, and more.
Carnegie Hall’s first major international festival, Berlin in Lights, was presented in November 2007, exploring the vibrant city that is Berlin today. It was followed by two citywide festivals examining the dynamic culture and distinctive history of American music—Bernstein: The Best of All Possible Worlds in fall 2008 and Honor! A Celebration of the African American Cultural Legacy in spring 2009. Ancient Paths, Modern Voices, exploring Chinese music and culture took place in fall 2009. These were followed by JapanNYC, an ambitious two-part festival in December 2010 and spring 2011; Voices from Latin America in November/December 2012; Vienna: City of Dreams in February/March 2014; Ubuntu: Music and Arts of South Africa in October/November 2014; La Serenissima festival in February 2017, celebrating the music and arts from the Venetian Republic; The ’60s: The Years That Made America in 2018, exploring the turbulent decade that was the 1960s through the lens of arts and culture, including music's role as a meaningful vehicle to inspire social change; Migrations: The Making of America in 2019, tracing the journeys of people from different origins and backgrounds who helped to shape and influence the evolution of American culture; Voices of Hope—the Hall’s first-ever online festival in spring 2021; and the upcoming Afrofuturism festival in February-March 2022.
About Carnegie Hall
Since it opened in 1891, Carnegie Hall has set the international standard for musical excellence as the aspirational destination for the world’s finest artists. From Tchaikovsky, Dvořák, Mahler, and Bartók to George Gershwin, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Judy Garland, and The Beatles, music making by a long list of artists representing the best of every genre has filled Carnegie Hall over the years. The Hall’s unique history has grown out of its stunning acoustics, the beauty of its three concert halls, and its location in New York City, where it has played a central role in helping to elevate the city into one of the world’s great cultural capitals. The Hall presents a wide range of performances each season on its three stages—the renowned Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage, intimate Weill Recital Hall, and innovative Zankel Hall—including concert series curated by acclaimed artists and composers; citywide festivals featuring collaborations with leading NYC cultural institutions; orchestral performances, chamber music, new music concerts, and recitals; and the best in jazz, global, and popular music. Complementing these performance activities, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute creates wide-reaching music education and social impact programs that annually serve more than 800,000 people in the New York City area, nationally, and internationally, and even more through a growing number of initiatives online.
For more information on Carnegie Hall’s 2021-2022 season, please visit carnegiehall.org
Tickets to Afrofuturism festival concerts and events at Carnegie Hall will go on sale to the general public beginning Wednesday, November 17, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. Tickets to concerts 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.
Tickets for events held in Carnegie Hall’s Resnick Education Wing can be purchased exclusively by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 or by visiting the Carnegie Hall website, carnegiehall.org; they are not available at the Carnegie Hall Box Office.
Please note: To support a safe reopening for in-person events and in accordance with the advice of medical and public health experts, everyone entering Carnegie Hall will be required to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 with a vaccine approved by the World Health Organization (WHO). In addition, everyone on Carnegie Hall’s premises will be required to wear a properly fitting mask over the nose and mouth at all times.
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