“Transformation” Illuminates Kaufman Music Center’s 2019-20 Season


At Kaufman Music Center, we see music opening doors and transforming lives every day – through lessons that ignite a lifelong passion, deeply inspiring performances, or an opportunity to connect artistically and personally with others. That’s why we’ve chosen “Transformation” as the theme for our 2019-20 season.

This motif runs through the new season like an electric current, illuminating classical masterpieces as well as Broadway musicals, pop songs and new work by cutting-edge post-genre artists. In our classrooms at Lucy Moses School and Special Music School, “Transformation” is woven through curricula – from music theory and technology to Baroque opera – probing the rich web of connections between music and other disciplines like history, poetry and science. And this fall, Kaufman Music Center has launched a new Artist-in-Residence Program that embeds acclaimed, multi-faceted artists who are transforming the music world within a broad range of KMC programs spanning the concert stage and the classroom: Nathalie Joachim, JACK Quartet and Rob Kapilow. View the full Kaufman Music Center calendar. 

On Stage at Merkin Hall

This season, What Makes It Great? host Rob Kapilow explores the transformation of musical ideas in some of Beethoven’s greatest works, and legendary jazz bassist Ron Carter demonstrates how music can be transformed by place and time at Only at Merkin with Terrance McKnight. Our acclaimed Ecstatic Music series celebrates its 10th anniversary this year – 10 years of audacious musical collaborations by artists who are transforming the way we hear music. Ecstatic artist Nathalie Joachim distills traditional songs, oral history, chamber music and electronics into a joyful collage celebrating Haitian women’s voices. Broadway Close Up explores how books, plays, poems and movies get turned into musicals like Wicked, South Pacific, Cats and West Side Story. And for our youngest theater fans, Broadway Playhouse illuminates the process by which songwriters transform stories into Annie, Shrek, Pippin and more. At their Tuesday Matinees performance, Omer Quartet highlights the enormous shift in chamber music from early Schubert to late Beethoven, and plays new music that transforms the concept of what a string quartet sounds like.


In the Classroom and Beyond – Face the Music & Special Music School

Kaufman Music Center’s teen new music program Face the Music begins its season with an exploration of the theme of transformation in composer-violinist-vocalist Finnegan Shanahan’s The Two Halves, a song cycle tracing the flow of the Hudson River. Students in grades one through four at Special Music School, NYC’s acclaimed public school that teaches music as a core subject, will learn how to use harmony, rhythm, lyrics and other devices to transform a simple song into a unique arrangement, and fourth graders will write original songs inspired by the season’s theme. SMS High School students will study Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a work filled with magical transformations, and explore music based on the play, including Purcell’s opera The Fairy Queen. Theory classes will follow the evolution of the sonata’s structure from Haydn and Mozart through the 21st century. SMS Middle School students will perform works by female composers from Hildegard von Bingen to Caroline Shaw, investigating the ways in which female composers’ lives have changed and looking ahead to a future of classical music free from gender inequality.


Lucy Moses School – Music, Dance & Theater for All Ages

At Kaufman Music Center’s community arts school, weekly Young Musicians in Concert performances will explore Beethoven as a transformative figure between the Classical and Romantic periods, and beyond! Student performances in this year’s Composer Festival will demonstrate the transformation of études, dances and preludes through the century. The 2019 Summer Musical Theater Workshop students performed in original musicals inspired by magical, mythical changes in stories from Greek mythology to Roald Dahl and the Brothers Grimm, and this spring, the Musical Theater Workshop, ComposerCraft program and dance classes will use stories of transformation as a point of creative departure for a musical revue, new compositions and choreography. In LMS’s Adult Division, musicians in the school’s celebrated Jazz Program and Nashir! ensemble will perform musical transformations across genres and centuries, from traditional Jewish choral music to the Great American Songbook.


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