BROOKLYN YOUTH CHORUS FROM PHARRELL TO OFF-BROADWAY (May 2-5, 2019)
Brooklyn Youth Chorus—on top of being the gorgeous soundtrack flowing from Pharrell's bedazzled mouth in Chanel's new ad campaign—has collaborated this season with the New York Philharmonic, recorded and performed with The National for the band’s new album (I Am Easy to Find, out May 17), performed with Wye Oak and Owen Pallett, and recorded with William Brittelle (Spiritual America, out May 3). As WNYC New Sounds put it, the collective of 12-18 year old choristers led by Dianne Berkun Menaker, "has become a surprising fixture on the contemporary music scene."
The Chorus is live Off-Broadway in NYC, May 2-5, at The New Victory Theater, presenting the third installation of its topical Silent Voices commissioning series, this show featuring East Coast premieres from David Lang and Angélica Negrón, along with commissions by Pulitzer Prize-winner Caroline Shaw, indie-classical superstar Nico Muhly, chic impresario Paola Prestini, R&B and blues powerhouse Toshi Reagon, Olga Bell (of Dirty Projecters), Shara Nova (of My Brightest Diamond), and Shaina Taub.
With Lovestate, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, comprised of socioeconomically diverse New York City 12-18 year olds, harnesses the power of the Choristers’ voices to confront the challenges of their generation: the distribution of power and privilege (Shara Nova’s Blind to the Illness), gender roles and stereotyping (Nico Muhly’s Advice to A Young Woman), systemic racism (Toshi Reagon’s Lovestate), climate change (Olga Bell’s On the Fifth Day), immigration (Shaina Taub’s Huddled Masses), economic abandonment in the aftermath of Puerto Rico's Hurricane Maria (Angélica Negrón’s nada mejor que una persona), and more.
Performances are Thursday, May 2 (7pm), Saturday, May 4 (2pm, 7pm), Sunday, May 5 (12pm, 4pm), at The New Victory Theater (209 West 42 Street). Tickets start at $17 and can be purchased here: https://tickets.newvictory.org/single/PSDetail.aspx?psn=9438
Chorister Abby says of the project, "Silent Voices: Lovestate is exactly what it seems: us, the younger generation, refusing to let our voices be silenced as we explore solutions a broken world that has forgotten how to love, a world where the individual struggles to prop itself up by putting down the many...Either we do something together or not at all, and that's what we're saying in Silent Voices: Lovestate -- every voice matters, every person deserves love, and to fix a broken world you have to welcome everyone at the table."
L O V E S T A T E P R O G R A M
CAROLINE SHAW so quietly (1)
Text by Shaw
DAVID LANG she is called (East Coast premiere)
Text by Lang
NICO MUHLY Advice to a Young Woman (1)
Text from The Lady’s New-Year’s Gift, attributed to George Savile, Marquis of Halifax (1633-1695)
PAOLA PRESTINI Sisters (2)
Text by Brenda Shaughnessy
SHARA NOVA Blind to the Illness (1)
Text by Nova
OLGA BELL On the Fifth Day (2)
Text by Jane Hirshfield
ANGÉLICA NEGRÓN Nada mejor que una persona (East Coast premiere)
Text by Mayda Colόn
SHAINA TAUB Huddled Masses (2)
Text by Taub
TOSHI REAGON Lovestate (2)
Text by Reagon
1 = Commissioned for Silent Voices (2017)
2 = Commissioned for Silent Voices: If You Listen (2018)
3 = Commissioned for Silent Voices: Lovestate (2019)
B A C K G R O U N D
The Silent Voices series began in the Chorus’s 25th anniversary season in 2016-17 as a way to celebrate and honor the choristers themselves—giving them a rare opportunity to shape an entirely original production that speaks directly to their interests and values. Silent Voices harnesses the power of young people to be instruments of change, giving voice to those silenced or marginalized.
Crowned the "most socially aware artistic event of the year" in 2017 by WQXR, the first installation of Silent Voices premiered at BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House in May 2017 and was recorded by New Amsterdam Records for an October 2018 release (one of I Care If You Listen's Top Contemporary Music Albums of 2018). If You Listen, at National Sawdust, the second in the series, featured works by female composers. Silent Voices: Lovestate is the third in the series, comprised of selections from the first two installations alongside two new commissions from David Lang and Angélica Negrón. Brooklyn Youth Chorus performed the world premiere of Lovestate at Arizona State University Gammage January 19, 2019.
The New Victory Theater run is coupled with an opening night gala honoring Universal Music Group President, Graham Parker, as well as the launch of the inaugural alumni achievement award to jazz flutist and vocalist Melanie Charles.