Metropolitan Klezmer plus…. much more.
METROPOLITAN KLEZMER opens series on JUNE 29,
Cellist Edward Arron Also Featured.
Usdan Center For the Creative and Performing Arts (www.usdan.com), now
entering its 42nd season and declared a ‘Best O’f class or camp for 2009 by
TimeOutNY/Kids, NY Metro Parents and Long Island Press, will open its series
of Festival Concerts, private educational performances for its students, on
Monday June 29 at the Center¹s 200-acre woodland campus. These will be in
addition to many special workshops that will offer by the visiting artists
for Usdan students. The Center¹s 2009 season runs from June 29 to August 14.
Usdan is located at 185 Colonial Springs Road, in Huntington, Long Island.
The daily concerts are presented at Usdan¹s 1,000-seat McKinley Amphitheater
at 12 Noon and again at 12:30 PM each of the festival. The concerts expose
students to the best of music, dance and theatre while they are pursuing
their studies in these fields. After several weeks of attending the artist
performances, students take over and perform onstage themselves. In
addition, there are on-site exhibits displaying the work of visual arts
This year¹s schedule of Festival Concerts opens Monday June 29 with
Metropolitan Klezmer, whose performances of Yiddish genres have been called
³Impeccable yet electrifying (Village Voice).² On succeeding days, artists
include the world-renowned Tokyo String Quartet; Broadway¹s Cady Huffman,
Tony Award-winner for The Producers, in a musical theater performance; jazz
singer and Usdan alumna Jane Monheit; Justin Greer of Broadway¹s Shrek in a
special dance performance with cast members of Broadway¹s Wicked and others;
Empire Brass, called by critics ³America¹s foremost brass ensemble²; Ballet
San Jose, which recently toured China to great acclaim, directed by Dennis
Nahat, former Joffrey/ABT star, and a visiting Master Teacher in Usdan¹s
Dance Department; Metropolitan Opera soprano Monica Yunus, creator of Sing
For Hope, in which stars of music, dance and theatre perform fundraisers for
a variety of social causes; Pat Hall, an award-winning dancer and
choreographer with an ensemble of musicians and dancers who perform in
Afro-Haitian styles; Anthony McGill, Principal Clarinetist of the MET
Orchestra, and featured performer at the inauguration of President Barack
Obama; cellist Edward Arron, called by the New Yorker ³One of New York¹s
most exciting young cellists² with pianist Jeewon Park; and Polish jazz
pianist Mateusz Kolakowski, a prizewinner of the International Chopin
Competition. The full schedule of concerts appears below.
Many of the artists, including Monica Yunus, Pat Hall, Dennis Nahat, Empire
Brass, Justin Greer and Mateusz Kolakowski will, following their
performances, conduct workshops with advanced Usdan Center students.
Other special artist workshops include an all-Bach string seminar conducted
by Vincent Lionti, violist with the MET Orchestra, culminating in a
performance by Usdan¹s String Orchestra IV on July 10; a July 17 and 24
workshop with Carl Strommen, one of America¹s foremost composers of music
for student ensembles; and a writing workshop with Broadway playwright
Michele Lowe (The Smell Of the Kill, String Of Pearls), on July 20.
Usdan Center has introduced the arts to more than 50,000 Tri-State Area
children since its founding in 1968. The Center is open to all young people
from age 6 to 18. No audition is needed for most programs rather,
admission is based on an expression of interest in the arts. Each summer,
1,600 students are transported to the Center in air-conditioned buses each
day. One-third of Usdan¹s students attend on scholarship. Although the
mission of the Center is for every child to establish a relationship with
the arts, the unique stimulation of the Center has caused many to go on to
arts careers. Alumni include singers Jane Monheit and Mariah Carey,
actresses Natalie Portman and Lisa Gay Hamilton, and members of major music,
theater, and dance ensembles such as the Boston Pops and the New York City
In addition to its regular programs, Usdan offers special opportunities for
advanced high school-age performing and visual artists. These include Music
Staff Internships, a Summer Ballet Intensive, and a year-round program of
immersion in the visual arts for selected high school students, the Usdan
Honors Art Collective. The Collective, open to talented art students in
grades 9 to 11, begins at Usdan Center during the summer, and continues
through the following May with bi-weekly meetings at Usdan, and at New
York¹s great museums and galleries.