The ’60s: The Years that Changed America
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For the first time, Carnegie Hall turned to a figure outside the music world—Pulitzer Prize–winning writer and historian Robert A. Caro—for inspiration in creating a citywide festival. The’60s: The Years that Changed America was one of Carnegie Hall’s largest festivals, running 10 weeks, featuring more than 35 partner organizations, and presenting more than 50 concerts, films, panel discussions, and exhibitions in New York City. The festival recalled the turbulent decade and the issues that defined it: the struggle for social justice, fight for civil rights, resistance to the war in Vietnam, the empowerment of a younger generation, and the rise of a radical new aesthetic.
The Kronos Quartet opened the festival at Carnegie Hall with a program that celebrated American mavericks Terry Riley, John Cage, and Janis Joplin, as well as world premieres of works by Stacy Garrop and Zachary Watkins. There were other groundbreakers celebrated throughout the festival. The Matthew Shipp Trio and saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell paid tribute to the seismic shift that shook the world of jazz in a concert devoted to The Free Jazz Movement; Icelandic group múm’s pop experimentalism put a contemporary stamp on ’60s era psychedelia; and the Philip Glass Ensemble returned to Carnegie Hall after more than a decade to perform the composer’s early masterpiece Music with Changing Parts.
Eclectic band Snarky Puppy was joined by ’60s icon David Crosby, vocalists Fatoumata Diawara and Laura Mvula, and mandolinist Chris Thile in a lively evening of protest music from and inspired by the ’60s. The rebellious spirit also rang out in Sounds of Change, a multimedia concert of folk songs, R&B classics, and popular hits of the period; A Time Like This: Music for Change, a stirring program performed by young performers from the Weill Music Institute and award-winning Broadway, blues, hip-hop, and Americana stars showcasing music’s power to bring people together to fight for change; and singer-songwriter Bhi Bhiman’s soulful pop-folk songs that combined the personal and the political. Politics, protest, and passion were also at the core of The Vietnam War: At Home and Abroad, historian John Monsky’s multimedia show that used live performances of pop and folk music from the 1960s coupled with photographs and film footage to capture the intense emotions surrounding the war. A performance by the Friction Quartet of George Crumb’s amplified string quartet Black Angels, a searing response to the conflict, opened the program.
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Anthology Film Archives
Apollo Theater & WNYC
The Art Students League of New York
Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law
City University of New York & CUNY Arts
Dance Theatre of Harlem
El Museo del Barrio in partnership with The New School
Gerald Peters Gallery
The Jewish Museum
The Joyce Theater
Keyes Art Projects
Mark Borghi Fine Art
The Museum of Modern Art
Museum of the City of New York
Museum of the Moving Image
National Black Theatre, Inc.
New-York Historical Society
The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
New York University Libraries Special Collections
The Paley Center for Media
Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at The New York Public Library
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
Society of Illustrators
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
The Studio Museum in Harlem
Studs Terkel Radio Archive
Sundaram Tagore Gallery
WFMT Radio Network
Support for The '60s: The Years that Changed America is provided by the Howard Gilman Foundation.