The New York Pops
Back Home for the Holidays
Please note that due to a family member’s exposure to COVID-19, Laura Benanti is unable to join The New York Pops as originally scheduled. We are grateful to Kelli O’Hara for agreeing to perform in her place.
Part of: The New York Pops
The New York Pops
Steven Reineke, Music Director and Conductor
Kelli O'Hara, Guest Artist
with Special Guest
Brandon Michael Nase
Event DurationThe printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.
The New York Pops
The New York Pops is the largest independent pops orchestra in the United States and the only professional symphonic orchestra in New York City that specializes in popular music. Led by Music Director and Conductor Steven Reineke, the orchestra performs an annual subscription series at Carnegie Hall, and is among the venue’s most presented ensembles. Now in its 39th season, The New York Pops’ annual birthday gala is celebrated each spring, raising funds for the orchestra and its education programs. The New York Pops performs annually in Queens, New York, at Forest Hills Stadium, a 14,000-seat historic concert venue.
The New York Pops celebrates the diversity of popular music’s evolving songbook. Every concert is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, with influences from Broadway melodies to film scores, jazz, rock, pop, and everything in between. Under Mr. Reineke’s dynamic leadership, the orchestra continues to reimagine orchestral pops music.
Through its PopsEd music education programs, The New York Pops fulfills its dedication to lifelong learning by collaborating with public schools, community organizations, and senior centers throughout New York City. PopsEd allows thousands of New Yorkers of all ages and backgrounds to participate in music programs that blend traditional education with pure fun.
The New York Pops is committed to serving all members of the community. Through its Kids in the Balcony and Kids in the Stadium programs, thousands of children and their parents have had an opportunity to see the orchestra at Carnegie Hall and Forest Hills Stadium free of charge. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, The New York Pops adapted its PopsEd programs to provide remote learning opportunities for students, and orchestra musicians were featured in new digital performances.
The New York Pops was founded by Ruth and Skitch Henderson in 1983 with a mission to create greater public awareness and appreciation of America’s rich musical heritage through presentation of concerts and education programs of the highest quality. The New York Pops is a nonprofit organization supported solely through the generosity of individual donations, institutional grants, corporate sponsorships, and concert income.
Follow The New York Pops on Facebook (facebook.com/thenewyorkpops), Instagram (@thenewyorkpops), and Twitter (@thenewyorkpops).
Steven Reineke has established himself as one of North America’s leading conductors of popular music, and is in his second decade as music director of The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall. Additionally, he is principal pops conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and principal pops conductor of the Houston Symphony and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
On stage, Mr. Reineke has created programs and collaborated with a range of leading artists from the worlds of hip-hop, R&B, Broadway, television, and rock, including Maxwell, Common, Kendrick Lamar, Nas, Cynthia Erivo, Sutton Foster, Megan Hilty, Cheyenne Jackson, Wayne Brady, Peter Frampton, and Ben Folds, among others. In 2017, he was featured on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, leading the National Symphony Orchestra in a performance of live music excerpts between news segments—a first in the show’s 45-year history. In 2018, Mr. Reineke led the National Symphony Orchestra with hip-hop legend Nas, performing his seminal album Illmatic on PBS’s Great Performances.
As the creator of more than 100 orchestral arrangements for the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Mr. Reineke’s work has been performed worldwide and can be heard on numerous Cincinnati Pops Orchestra recordings on the Telarc label. His symphonic works Celebration Fanfare, Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and Casey at the Bat are performed frequently in North America, including by the New York and Los Angeles philharmonics. His Sun Valley Festival Fanfare was used to commemorate the Sun Valley Summer Symphony’s pavilion, and his Festival Te Deum and Swan’s Island Sojourn were debuted by the Cincinnati Symphony and Cincinnati Pops orchestras. His numerous wind ensemble compositions are published by the C. L. Barnhouse Company and are performed by concert bands worldwide.
A native of Ohio, Mr. Reineke is a graduate of Miami University of Ohio (2020 Alumnus Distinguished Achievement Medal), where he earned bachelor of music degrees with honors in both trumpet performance and music composition. He currently resides in New York City with his husband, Eric Gabbard.
Kelli O’Hara, star of stage and screen, has established herself as one of Broadway’s greatest leading ladies. Her portrayal of Anna Loenowens in The King and I garnered her the 2015 Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical, along with Grammy, Drama League, Outer Critics, and Olivier nominations. She reprised the role while making her West End debut, and performed a limited engagement at Tokyo’s Theatre Orb. Kelli also received an Emmy nomination for her portrayal of Katie Bonner in the hit web series The Accidental Wolf. Other film and television credits include the second season of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why, All the Bright Places, Peter Pan Live!, Sex and the City 2, Martin Scorsese’s The Key to Reserva, Showtime’s Master of Sex, The Good Fight, Blue Bloods, Numb3rs, and the animated series Car Talk. Other Broadway credits include Kiss Me, Kate (Tony, Drama League, Outer Critics Circle nominations); The Bridges of Madison County (Tony, Drama Desk, Drama League, Outer Critics Circle nominations); Nice Work if You Can Get It (Tony, Drama Desk, Drama League, Outer Critics Circle nominations); South Pacific (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle nominations); The Pajama Game (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle nominations); The Light in the Piazza (Tony, Drama Desk nominations); Sweet Smell of Success; Follies; Dracula; and Jekyll & Hyde. She was awarded the prestigious Drama League Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre Award in 2019. In 2015, she made her Metropolitan Opera debut in Lehar’s The Merry Widow opposite Renée Fleming and returned as Despina in Mozart’s Così fan tutte. Kelli’s concerts have gained international acclaim, spanning from Carnegie Hall to Tokyo. She is a frequent performer on PBS’s live telecasts and the Kennedy Center Honors. Along with her two Grammy nominations, her solo albums—Always and Wonder in the World—are available on Ghostlight Records. In 2022, Kelli can be seen in HBO’s new series The Gilded Age and will return to her Emmy-nominated role of Katie Bonner in the second season of The Accidental Wolf.
Brandon Michael Nase
Based in New York City, Brandon Michael Nase is celebrated for the versatility of his instrument, his powerful vision as an artist-producer, and his work to radically transform the theater industry. As a performer, Brandon has been seen across the US in musical theater, pop, R&B, jazz, and classical music venues. Recent credits include Old Deuteronomy in Cats (first national tour), Show Boat (Bucks County Playhouse), Evita (Asolo Repertory Theatre), and Feuilly in Les Misérables (Dallas Theater Center). He has also originated roles in new works such as ExtraOrdinary (American Repertory Theater), The Black Clown (American Repertory Theater, Lincoln Center), and Olaf in Frozen: Live at the Hyperion.
A proudly Black queer artist and performer, Brandon recently founded Broadway for Racial Justice (BFRJ), a nonprofit organization that fights for racial justice and equity in the Broadway and theatrical community. As executive director of BFRJ, Brandon has spearheaded crucial initiatives for artists of color, including a financial assistance fund for artists and an anonymous hotline that connects Black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) artists who experience racism in the workplace with trained advocates. BFRJ also produces concerts, interviews, and online content that seeks to amplify the voices and experiences of BIPOC performers and artists. Theatrical institutions and education programs can partner with BFRJ as a resource to better serve artists and students of color through the program Allied with BFRJ, which provides actionable accountability support for organizations attempting to build an anti-racist artistic community.
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