By Gloria Dulan-Wilson
Just received this from Sparkie Martin - and wanted to make sure you were aware of the upcoming symposium on CHARLIE "BIRD" PARKER, which takes place on Tuesday, March 15 - and followed by an amazing series of tributes in his honor. There is so much to this that I'm reposting it in its entirety. I'm sure all my fellow Jazz lovers will be there front and center for this series. As you can see, it's going to be monumental:
A CELEBRATION OF CHARLIE “BIRD” PARKER Series of Events Will Engage Community, Scholars, Legendary Artists and Historians in Advance of The New York Premiere of CHARLIE PARKER’S YARDBIRD Including THE SCHOMBURG CENTER FOR RESEARCH IN BLACK CULTURE SYMPOSIUM A Free Panel Discussion on the Life and Legacy Of the Influential Saxophonist, Featuring Jazz Scholars and Artists Robert O’Meally, Terrance McKnight, Bridgette Wimberly and Sheila E. Anderson Tuesday, March 15, 2016
|The Great Charlie "Bird" Parker|
CHARLIE PARKER HARLEM TOUR Led by Harlem Historian John Reddick Saturday, March 26, 2016 The APOLLO WALK OF FAME INDUCTION of Jazz Saxophonist Charlie Bird Parker Ceremony to Include Legendary Saxophonist Jimmy Heath and more Wednesday, March 30, 2016
The New York Premiere of CHARLIE PARKER’S YARDBIRD Friday, April 1, 2016 & Sunday, April 3, 2016 New York, NY, February 29, 2016 –
In anticipation of the New York premiere of Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD, a co-production between the Apollo Theater and Opera Philadelphia, the Apollo has announced today that it will offer related cultural events for the public at the legendary Theater as well as other community institutions. The premiere marks the Apollo‘s expansion of its programming by introducing opera and is a continuation of the Theater‘s robust education and community offerings.
Activities will include: a free panel discussion, at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, on Parker‘s music and legacy featuring jazz scholar and historian Prof. Robert O’Meally of Columbia University; Terrance McKnight, a host on New York City music station WQXR; poet and playwright Bridgette Wimberly, the librettist behind Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD and the host of WBGO-FM‘s Weekend Jazz After Hours Shelia E. Anderson, also the host of the annual Charlie Parker Jazz Festival in Harlem (March 15);
A Charlie Parker Harlem Tour led by Harlem historian John Reddick (March 26);
The Apollo Walk of Fame induction of the influential saxophonist with presentations by Parker contemporary, Jimmy Heath and more (March 30);
And a special dress rehearsal of Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD for community and education groups.
This series of events has been partially underwritten by OPERA America: The Opera Fund. ―We are so excited to bring YARDBIRD to the Apollo and, leading up to the New York premiere of the production, we hope that these events will provide context and a fuller picture of the creative genius that was Charlie ̳Bird‘ Parker and a better understanding of the YARDBIRD opera. Before people walk through the doors to see the show, we want them to understand the essence of ̳Bird.‘
"From the Walk of Fame induction to the symposium at the Schomburg Center, each event is designed to celebrate and explore Parker‘s brilliance, his legacy in the jazz community and his relationship with the Apollo," said Mikki Shepard, the Apollo Theater‘s Executive Producer. "―Also, through these programs, the Apollo celebrates the importance of its community - artists, audiences and students. As a cornerstone for the Harlem community, we always strive to find ways to bring them into dialogue through our artistic programming, and this celebration of Parker is in line with our mission."
Please see below for the full schedule and description of events
Tuesday, March 15, 2016; 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Schomburg Center Symposium Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture - 515 Malcolm X Blvd, Harlem, NY 10037 Robert O’Meally, Zora Neale Hurston professor of English and Comparative Literature, and founder of the Center for Jazz Studies, moderates this panel discussion on the life and legacy of Charlie Parker. Panelists scheduled to participate include: Terrance McKnight, the WQXR-FM weekday evening host. He also hosts WQXR‘s All Ears with Terrance McKnight, a Saturday evening program about musical discovery, which was honored with an ASCAP Deems Taylor Radio Broadcast Award, in 2010. Bridgette Wimberly, a librettist, an award-winning poet and author of eight plays who has been commissioned and produced by several theaters Off-Broadway and across the country, including Opera Philadelphia (Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD). Sheila E. Anderson, host of WBGO-FM‘s Weekend Jazz After Hours, Columbia University Community Scholar and host of the annual Charlie Parker Jazz Festival in Harlem. The evening will also feature a performance by T.K. Blue, composer of Latin Bird, a Latin Jazz- themed Charlie Parker tribute CD. Mr. Blue has performed with many jazz artists including Dizzy Gillespie, Randy Weston, Pharoah Sanders, Regina Carter, Bobby McFerrin, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Paquito D‘Rivera and Jimmy Scott. This event is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is strongly suggested. For registration information visit https://www.apollotheater.org/bird_celebration.
March 26, 2016; 12 pm – 2 pm
This event takes place at The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, located at 515 Malcolm X Blvd. between 135th and 136th Streets. Charlie Parker Harlem Tour Saturday, Led by Harlem historian, lecturer and architect, John Reddick, this historic tour will visit Harlem landmarks associated with the legendary musician‘s life and career - from Minton‘s Playhouse, where Parker performed jam sessions early in his career to Abyssinian Baptist Church where his funeral was held. Other stops will include: the Cecil Hotel, Mt. Morris Park, Dewey Square Hotel, Dan Wall‘s Chili House, Clark Monroe‘s Uptown House, the Savoy Ballroom and Small‘s Paradise. At the height of his talent and popularity, ―Bird as Parker came be known, would perform at Harlem‘s most distinguished venues including Small‘s Paradise, the Savoy Ballroom and the world famous Apollo Theater. Harlem also served briefly as Parker‘s home base where he resided at the Dewey Square Hotel on 117th Street and later, upon his death, Harlem would host his funeral at Abyssinian Baptist Church with a service officiated by Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Each year since 1993 the community has celebrated his talent, artistry and Harlem association with the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival in Marcus Garvey Park. This event is free. Limited space. Pre-registration is strongly suggested. For registration information visit https://www.apollotheater.org/bird_celebration
March 30, 2016; 5 pm – 6:45 pm
Apollo Walk of Fame Induction Wednesday, Preceding the New York premiere of Charlie Parker‘s YARDBIRD, the Apollo Theater will celebrate its jazz legacy by inducting the legendary and influential jazz saxophonist, Charlie “Yardbird” Parker, into the Apollo Walk of Fame. The ceremony in honor of Parker will include presentations and remarks by Apollo President & CEO, Jonelle Procope; renowned instrumentalist, composer, arranger and educator Jimmy Heath, who played with Charlie Parker; Opera Philadelphia President and General Director, David B. Devan and YARDBIRD star Lawrence Brownlee. Additionally, the Apollo Theater and Opera Philadelphia leadership will make a major announcement. The Apollo‘s Walk of Fame honors legendary performers who have helped shape the American music landscape and built the Apollo into one of the world‘s most enduring cultural institutions. The plaques will be installed underneath the Apollo‘s marquee on 125th street, alongside plaques for numerous Apollo legends including Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Smokey Robinson, Michael Jackson, and Patti Labelle, among others. Parker had a rich history with the Apollo and performed at the Theater many times, beginning in 1943 with the Earl Hines Orchestra—which included Dizzy Gillespie. During his many engagements at the Apollo, Parker further developed his bebop style and also experimented with classical and other musical forms. The Apollo Theater led the way in introducing a broader audience to bebop when, in 1943, Theater owner Frank Schiffman booked the experimental bebop band The Earl Hines Orchestra, including Little Benny Harris, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie ―Yardbird Parker. Parker and Gillespie would perform their new style of music at the Apollo as well as at other jazz clubs and after-hours venues, ushering in a new era that resulted in the transformation of big band swing to bebop. Parker was widely considered one of the architects of the bebop sound and conducted bold musical experiments during his engagements at the Apollo. Parker realized a lifelong dream in 1949 to record with string instruments, and in 1950, the first live performances of his cutting edge Charlie Parker with Strings—a recording which bridged the gap between jazz and classical music—was presented at the Apollo.
Thursday, March 31, 2016; 2 pm – 4 pm
Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD Open Dress Rehearsal A special dress rehearsal of Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD for community and education groups.
Friday, April 1, 2016; 8 pm Sunday, April 3, 2016; 3 pm
Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD (Performances) Featuring: Lawrence Brownlee, Angela Brown, Will Liverman, Tamara Mumford, Rachel Sterrenberg, Chrystal E. Williams, Elena Perroni and the Opera Philadelphia Orchestra The Apollo Theater and Opera Philadelphia partner to present Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD in its New York premiere. The co-production will mark the first time an opera will be performed on the Apollo Theater stage, and the first time Opera Philadelphia will play New York. Set in the famed Birdland jazz club on March 12, 1955, the day Charlie Parker died, the opera invites audiences directly into the mind and heart of the great saxophonist as he composes his final masterpiece, and revisits the inspirations and women who fueled his creative genius. The New York premiere reunites Lawrence Brownlee, the ―energetic, bright-voiced tenor (The New York Times) in the lead role as the legendary jazz saxophonist—a role crafted around the effortless, improvisational style that has made him one of opera‘s most sought-after tenors— with much of the original cast alongside Maestro Corrado Rovaris and the Opera Philadelphia Orchestra, who performed the work‘s world premiere to five sold-out audiences in June. Soprano Angela Brown appears as his mother, Addie Parker, and baritone Will Liverman debuts as jazz icon Dizzy Gillespie. With music by: Daniel Schnyder; Libretto by: Bridgette A. Wimberly; Director: Ron Daniels; Set Designer: Riccardo Hernandez; Costume Designer: Emily Rebholz; Lighting Designer: Scott Zielinski.
Tickets for Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD are $30 - $125. Tickets will be available at The Apollo Theater Box Office: (212) 531-5305, 253 West 125th Street, and Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com.
Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD is sponsored by Merrill Lynch. Leadership support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, The Howard Gilman Foundation, and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Additional support from OPERA America: The Opera Fund, The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Pat and Al Zollar, and many other generous donors. The Apollo's 2015-2016 season is made possible by leadership support from Citi, Coca-Cola, Troy and Keisha Dixon, Ford Foundation, The Howard Gilman Foundation, Robert K. Kraft, The Reginald F. Lewis Foundation, Merrill Lynch, The Parsons Family Foundation, the Ronald O. Perelman Family Foundation, JoAnn Price, Earl W. and Amanda Stafford, Time Warner Inc., the Reginald Van Lee Fund for New Works, the Apollo Board of Directors, and many other generous donors. #YardbirdApollo #bebop era
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Follow Opera Philadelphia: Facebook.com/operaphila Twitter.com/operaphilaYouTube.com/operaphila Instagram.com/operaphila
ABOUT APOLLO THEATER The legendary Apollo Theater—the soul of American culture—plays a vital role in cultivating emerging talents and launching legends. Since its founding, the Apollo has served as a center of innovation and a creative catalyst for Harlem, the city of New York, and the world. With music at its core, the Apollo‘s programming extends to dance, theater, performance art, spoken word initiatives, and more. This includes the October 2014 premiere and 2015 international tour of the dance celebration project James Brown: Get on the Good Foot, the annual Africa Now! Festival, Apollo Club Harlem, and the upcoming New York premiere of the opera Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD. The Apollo is a presenting organization that also produces festivals, large-scale dance and music works organized around a set of core initiatives: Apollo Music Signature Programs—Amateur Night, Salon Series, Apollo Music Café; Legacy Series— work that celebrates and extends the Apollo‘s legacy through a contemporary lens; Global Festivals including the Women of the World (WOW) Festival and Breakin’ Convention, international and U.S.-based artist presentations focused on a specific theme; and Special Projects, multidisciplinary work with partner organizations.
Since introducing the first Amateur Night contests in 1934, the Apollo Theater has served as a testing ground for new artists working across a variety of art forms, and has ushered in the emergence of many new musical genres—including jazz, swing, bebop, R&B, gospel, blues, soul, and hip-hop. Among the countless legendary performers who launched their careers at the Apollo are D‘Angelo, Lauryn Hill, Machine Gun Kelly, Miri Ben Ari, D‘Angelo, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, James Brown, Michael Jackson, Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross, and Stevie Wonder; and the Apollo‘s forward-looking artistic vision continues to build on this legacy. The Apollo Theater is a not-for-profit organization and currently in the midst of fundraising for its 21st Century Apollo Campaign, created to extend the institution‘s role in fostering artistic innovation and in building appreciation of American culture around the world. For more information, visit www.apollotheater.org.
ABOUT OPERA PHILADELPHIA Opera Philadelphia is committed to embracing innovation and developing opera for the 21st century. Described as ―one of the leading instigators of new work in the country‖ by Opera News, Opera Philadelphia was the only American finalist for the 2015 International Opera Award for Accessibility, a category that recognizes innovative ideas that broaden access to opera. The company is charting a bold new path to September 2017, when Opera Philadelphia will open its 2017-2018 season with an immersive, 12-day festival featuring seven operatic happenings in six venues throughout the city. The first festival, ―O17, will feature three World Premieres, plus the exclusive East Coast appearance of Barrie Kosky‘s groundbreaking production of Mozart‘s The Magic Flute, and a recital by superstar soprano Sondra Radvanovsky. Opera Philadelphia will continue to present a spring season each year, including three additional productions in February, March, and April, making it the only U.S. opera company producing an annual opera season that begins with a dynamic festival. For more information, visit www.operaphila.org. ###
CONTACTS For Apollo Theater Nina Flowers Cynthia Tate 212.531.5334 212.531.5340 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Isabel Sinistore (Resnicow and Associates) Anne Wilson (Resnicow and Associates) 212.671.5175 212.671.5163 firstname.lastname@example.org awilson@resniFor Opera Philadelphia Frank Luzi 215.893.5902 email@example.com
As I mentioned in the beginning, this is going to be MONUMENTAL!!! BE THERE - THIS IS TRULY BLACK HISTORY IN THE MAKING.
Stay Blessed &