In many ways, he’s the Louis Armstrong of South Africa. And just like Satchmo, he makes beautiful music in Queens. Hugh Masekela is a world-renowned trumpeter, bandleader, composer and singer who was also very involved in defying Apartheid in his home country. His career has spanned five decades during which he has released more than 40 albums.
Vusi Mahlasela is known as ‘The Voice” in South Africa. With poetic, optimistic lyrics, his songs of hope connect the Apartheid-scarred past with a promise for a better future. He even performed at Nelson Mandela’s presidential inauguration in 1994.
Masekela and Mahlasela are now touring together for the first time ever, and they will make a stop in Queens next week. More details and a photo follow.
As it’s located in the world’s most diverse county and it’s dedicated to providing a global education, Queens College offers cultural and academic enrichment programs on a different nation each school year. For 2014-2015, the Flushing institution is focusing on South Africa and presenting various events to explore its history, art, literature, dance, film, and ethnicity. More information on the jump page.
It’s so much more than a hometown band. Now in its 63rd year, Queens Symphony Orchestra offers about 20 live performances annually, as well as educational programs, chorale concerts, and operas. This Sunday, the ensemble will perform a family-friendly version of Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Vegetable Garden, a 1936 musical fantasy about a boy who ventures out of a safe garden into a dangerous meadow where he has to use his cunning to survive. The score will include Mozart’s Magic Flute Overture and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4. Plus, the orchestra (seen above during The Frog Prince and Peter and the Wolf at LeFrak Concert Hall last February) will hold a “Meet the Instruments” event beforehand during which attendees can talk to the musicians, check out their tools of the trade, and learn about the concert’s theme.
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.
Go ahead, deck the halls. But for real holiday inspiration, head over to any one of four fantastic concerts scheduled for this upcoming, jam-packed weekend. The fun begins on Friday with a special show at Queens Museum featuring the Corona Youth Orchestra, the Corona Children’s Orchestra, and the No Frontiers Children’s Orchestra playing Beethoven and other classics. There’s a double dose on Saturday, as the Forest Hills Choirperforms a collection of choral pieces, such as “Magnificat” and “O Magnum Mysterium,” which honor the Virgin Mary. At night, the Queens College Choral Society, whose membership includes high school students and adults who have been with the group for more than 40 years, does Handel’s Messiah and other favorites with a full orchestra. Finish the fix — and get another dose of Handel’s Messiah – on Sunday when Our Lady of Martyrs Church’s Sacred Music Societyjoins forces with the Oratorio Society of Queens to offer an annual concert that always involves tremendous audience participation.
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.
More than 5,000 years of Chinese history and culture are coming to Queens College. The exhibit, Highlights of The Daghlian Collection of Chinese Art, will be on view at the Godwin-Ternbach Museum from November 19th, 2014, through January 17th, 2015. Selected from a larger donation by William Daghlian, a former adjunct professor at Queens College’s Aaron Copland School of Music, the show will feature 60 items, including ceramics, jade, pottery, and wood objects dating from the Stone Age (ca. 6,000–2,500 BCE) to the Ming Dynasty (ca. 1,368–1,644 AD). More details and photos are on the jump page.
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.
The Museum of the Moving Image is showing its bookish side. Next week, the Kaufman Arts District venue will host two events featuring prolific authors. On Sunday, Robert E. Kapsis, a professor of sociology and film studies at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, will speak before a screening of The Jerk, which stars Steve Martin (above). Kapsis, who has penned books on Alfred Hitchcock and Woody Allen, has just published Conversations with Steve Martin(University Press of Mississippi, 2014), a collection of interviews and profiles that focus on Martin as a writer, comedian, actor, artist, and original thinker. After the film, which is an expanded version of one of Martin’s comedy routines about a nitwit who grows up as “a poor black child” and decides to become white, Kapsis will sign copies of his book.
More information on this event and a discussion with a best-selling feminist author after the jump.