The Kupferberg Center for the Arts begins its 2015 season and honors the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with an inspiring performance and a moving program this Sunday. The Dance Theatre of Harlem kicks things off with diverse pieces featuring movement to compositions ranging from classical works by Johann Sebastian Bach and Igor Stravinsky to modern soul ditties by James Brown and Aretha Franklin. With titles such as New Bach, In the Mirror of Her Mind, and Return, these numbers relay messages of self-reliance, artistic relevance, and individual responsibility. Another photo and details on the event’s other activities are on the jump page.
Basically, they’ve been the best in the business for last 516 years. In 1498, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I moved his court to Vienna in what is now Austria. He decreed that six singing boys join his official musicians and ordered the court to find the best young talent from around his realm, which included present day Germany, Holland, and Italy. Since then, what is now called the “Vienna Boys’ Choir” has been astounding the world with an angelical sound, enthralling harmonies, and expansive repertoire. This weekend, choir members will perform in Queens, thanks to the Kupferberg Center for the Arts.
They call her “The Empress of Soul,” and her empire includes seven Grammys, a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, countless film and TV credits, and number one hits in the Pop, R&B, and Adult Contemporary categories. This Sunday, Gladys Knight conquers Queens with a concert sponsored by the Kupferberg Center for the Arts. Though she’s been performing for more than 50 years, a recent Seattle Times review described her as “a bundle of energy offering soaring versions of songs” such as “Midnight Train to Georgia,” “That’s What Friends Are For,” and “Best Thing to Ever Happen to Me.”
He can pretty much do it all: show tunes, country, blues, jazz, R&B, traditional pop, soul, disco, even Christmas music. And he pretty much has done it all. Since his first song, “Wonderful, Wonderful” in 1957,” Johnny Mathis has had at least one hit single in each following decade, while selling more than 350 million albums and receiving four Grammy nominations. This Sunday, he takes his act to the Colden Auditorium in Flushing for a night of romance, easy listening, and pop standards.
On Friday, Queens will demonstrate that it has the cachet to attract three big musical acts on the same night, the top-notch venues to host them, and the appreciative fan base to make it all worthwhile. The hard-working Jason Mraz, who went from the San Diego coffee house circuit to international tours in the world’s biggest stadiums, will perform at the Colden Auditorium at the Kupferberg Center for the Arts. This two-time Grammy winner (and six-time nominee), whose probably best known for “Love Someone,” will jam with the eclectic rock-folk band Raining Jane. Two more concerts and two more photos after jump.
There’s no place like hip-hop home. The rappers Havoc and Prodigy, who work together as the infamous Mobb Deep (above), will return to their native Queensbridge housing projects to give a free concert on July 17th as part of the NYC Parks SummerStage Presents series. The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, featuring 15 of the world’s finest soloists and ensemble players and led by Wynton Marsalis, is also scheduled to perform this month, as are Ismael Miranda, aka “El niño bonito de la Salsa,” and laid-back Washington, D.C.-based R&B vocalist J. Holiday. But the extravaganza offers more than music, as the Harambee Dance Company (below) will perform and Puppetmobile and Teatro SEA will appear as part of SummerStage Kids.
It was a very good day for Satchmo. On June 30, 1964, the World’s Fair organizers declared the date “Louis Armstrong Day,” and the legendary Corona resident and his All Stars performed at the Singer Bowl in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. In honor of this history — and to have another very good day — the inaugural Louis Armstrong International Music Festival will happen on June 29th in almost the same exact place, featuring live music, dancing, and a food truck rally. Multi Grammy Award-winning Cuban-American salsa singer Albita (above) headlines the show. Other scheduled performers are the Jon Faddis Quartet, led by trumpeter Jon Faddis (below); Junoon with Salman Ahmad; and David Ostwald’s Louis Armstrong Eternity Band.
Details: The Louis Armstrong International Music Festival, produced by Kupferberg Center for the Arts/Queens College, Parade Ground near the Unisphere at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, June 29th, 1 pm to 7 pm, rain or shine, free.
Basically, she arrived on Broadway in the 1950s and never left. After being the ingénue in Flahooley in 1951 and then starring in the original musicals Plain and Fancy (1955), Candide (1956) and The Music Man (1957), Barbara Cook has gone on to win two Grammys, one Tony, a Kennedy Center lifetime achievement award and countless other accolades, including White House performances in front of Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush I and Clinton. A silvery soprano, Cook is known for her purity of tone and warm-but-strong stage presence. On Saturday night, this Atlanta native will perform selections from her newly developed repertoire of jazz and swing while also reprising her classics from Broadway and the great American songbook at the Kupferberg Center for the Arts.
Details: Broadway Legend Barbara Cook, Colden Auditorium, Queens College, Kissena Boulevard and Horace Harding Expressway, Flushing, May 10th, 8 pm, $45/$55/$69 (save 20% off four tickets by using code barbara20, www.kupferbergcenter.org/events/barbara-cook).
It’s extremely romantic, and thanks to a special discount, it’s a cheap date. Put simply, Christine Andreas and Martin Silvestri are the masters of the amorous ballad. This husband-and-wife team makes audiences laugh, smile and cry (sometimes at the same time) with brilliant lyrics and melodies mixed with stage antics, humor and human chemistry. Andreas (above), who once starred in Broadway revivals of My Fair Lady and Oklahoma, likes to combine her soprano voice with wheeling vibrato and the emotionality that springs from her acting past as she sings traditional pop, cabaret and theater tunes. Silvestri tickles the ivories with skill and grace. On Valentine’s Day, these lovebirds will perform at LeFrak Concert Hall, and the host (Kupferberg Center for the Arts) has decided to offer a $5 discount to Queens Brownstoner readers.
Details: Love Is Good, LeFrak Concert Hall at Queens College, vicinity of Horace Harding Expressway and Kissena Boulevard, Flushing, February 14th, 8 pm, $38-$59 (Use code “valentine” for $5 off tickets.) (more…)
The Super Bowl is coming to Queens! Well, some of the pre-game hype is. On January 27th, J. Cole (above and below) will open the six-concert VH1′s Super Bowl Blitzat the Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College. One of the genre’s most respected lyricists, this German-born hip-hop sensation’s first album hit number one on the Billboard 200 in 2011 and scored a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist. On the following nights through February 1st, other VH1 Super Bowl Blitz shows will include Janelle Monáe in the Bronx, Fall Out Boy in Brooklyn, TLC in Manhattan, Goo Goo Dolls in Staten Island and Gavin DeGraw in New Jersey. The concerts will be streamed live in the VH1 App and made available on-demand in the app and at SuperBowl.VH1.com the day after each live concert.
Details: J. Cole, Kupferberg Center for the Arts, Vicinity of Horace Harding Expressway and Kiseena Boulevard, Flushing, January 27th, 9:30 pm, buy tickets here.