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In this video, pianist Abdullah Ibrahim talks about his composition, Mannenberg.

WithUBUNTU: Music and Arts of South Africa festival less than a month away, we will continue to post videos that explore the many threads that make up South Africa's vibrant culture.


 



Ibrahim
Abdullah Ibrahim
Friday, October 17 at 8:30 PM
Abdullah Ibrahim

A revered pianist and composer, Abdullah Ibrahim has been hailed as the greatest exponent of Cape jazz. During his long and glorious career, he has toured the world extensively, performing as soloist with symphony orchestras and with legendary jazz artists such as Max Roach and Randy Weston. He returns to Zankel Hall for a solo concert that coincides with his 80th birthday.

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Welcome to the new group of Ensemble ACJW fellows! We look forward to a fun, productive, and engaging two years.

Learn more about each fellow at acjw.org, and don't forget to visit Ensemble ACJW's Facebook page for regular updates.


ACJW Fellows Times Square 640px
Photo by Deanna Kennet.

In case you haven't seen the Fellow Friday posts this summer, we asked each new fellow a series of questions to which they all responded with fantastic answers. Read the Fellow Friday posts.


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Carnegie Hall's Director of Artistic Planning, Jeremy Geffen, reflects on South Africa—the country of his birth—and how it is evolving.

WithUBUNTU: Music and Arts of South Africa festival less than a month away, we will continue to post videos that explore the many threads that make up South Africa's vibrant culture.


 



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Throughout the UBUNTU festival, visit Zankel Hall to celebrate the expression of South Africa’s visual arts community through the medium of printmaking. The displayed works were created in the city of Johannesburg and highlight the vibrant David Krut Print Workshop, which has fostered a creative community of emerging and established artists in South Africa for more than a decade.


 

David Krut Projects is active in New York, Johannesburg, and Cape Town as an alternative arts institution dedicated to encouraging awareness of, and careers in, the arts in South Africa and to promoting contemporary culture in a dynamic, collaborative environment. Having started as an art book publisher in South Africa, activities have grown to include exhibition project spaces, adjacent arts bookstores and print workshops located in Parkwood and Arts on Main in Johannesburg, as well as a satellite in Cape Town at the Montebello Design Centre. The Chelsea location was originally established in 2001 with an attached etching studio, and continues now as a gallery to show exhibitions by artists from Africa and the African diaspora.

David Krut Print Workshop (DKW) produces fine art limited edition prints with William Kentridge, Diane Victor, Deborah Bell, Senzo Shabangu, Stephen Hobbs, Quinten Williams, Maja Maljevic, and a range of other local and international artists.


What You'll See

 

Diane Victor explains the genesis of her "smoke portraits" and provides viewers with an inside look at how they are produced, using the lit wick of a candle.

 

 

Zankel Hall Ubuntu exhibition Four Instruments   William Kentridge
Four Instruments, 2003

Drypoint
15.5 x 21 inches
Published by David Krut Projects, New York
Printed by the Galamander Press  

 

 

William Kentridge
Scribe, 2011

Drypoint
17.5 x 15.5 inches
Published by David Krut Projects  
  Zankel Hall Ubuntu exhibition Scribe

 

 

Zankel Hall Ubuntu exhibition Next Meal   Senzo Shabangu
Next Meal, 2012

Linocut
31 x 20.5 inches
Published by David Krut Projects  
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In this video, violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter discusses her many years working with the Berliner Philharmoniker.

Anne-Sophie Mutter joins Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker at Carnegie Hall's Opening Night Gala on Wednesday, October 1 at 7 PM.




Violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter's passionate commitment to artistic excellence and dedication to the growth of classical music are core themes in her 2014–2015 Perspectives series. In addition to her relationships with great orchestras, conductors, and soloists, Ms. Mutter has invested in the future of classical music by championing new violin repertoire and promoting young musicians through the Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation.

Audiences have wonderful opportunities to see Ms. Mutter in a variety of performances throughout the 14–15 season, beginning as soloist with Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker at Carnegie Hall's Opening Night Gala. Her other collaborators range from longtime favorites—including pianist Yefim Bronfman, cellist Lynn Harrell, pianist Lambert Orkis, and conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos—to the some of the finest training ensembles, such as The Mutter Virtuosi and the New World Symphony.


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Musicians Abdullah Ibrahim, Angélique Kidjo, and Dizu Plaatjies reflect on Nelson Mandela.

WithUBUNTU: Music and Arts of South Africa festival less than a month away, we will continue to post videos that explore the many threads that make up South Africa's vibrant culture.


 



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In a career that spanned five decades, she was a singer, actress, and political activist. She performed for dignitaries who included Nelson Mandela, John F. Kennedy, and Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie. She even had three private audiences with the Pope. She was Miriam Makeba, the most influential African diva of the 20th century. After initial successes with South African doo-wop pioneers the Manhattan Brothers and her own girl group the Skylarks in the 1950s, starring roles in the seminal black jazz opera King Kong (1959) and anti-Apartheid documentary Come Back Africa (1960) permitted Makeba to advance her career in exile.

Building on the rapturous reception she received during her residency at New York’s Village Vanguard, she released her eponymous debut album in 1960. American audiences were enchanted by the onomatopoeic range of vocalized clicks of Makeba’s native Xhosa vernacular on Afro-pop jazz hits like the “Click Song.” TIME magazine compared this distinctive sound, made with a percussive flick of the tongue off the palate to “the popping of champagne corks,” and hailed Makeba as “the most exciting new singing talent to appear in many years.” Journalists were so seduced that from the first rhapsodic reviews in Billboard in 1960, she was quickly tagged as the “click-click girl.”

 

Yet while “The Click Song” would become her signature tune in live performance over the next five decades, Makeba herself had something of a love-hate relationship with it. As a vocal proponent of black consciousness, she was all too aware of its novelty value as an “exotic” signifier. It was only after the end of Apartheid that she recorded a new studio version on her final album, Reflections (2004).

Her penchant for swinging through traditional Xhosa wedding songs, airy Afro-Latin moods, and catchy Calypso grooves on early albums such as The World of Miriam Makeba (1963) may later have had revisionist American critics pigeonholing her as a world music pioneer, but “genre-fication” was never her thing.

As writer Bongani Madondo rhapsodized in Rolling Stone South Africa, hers “was a voice and spirit for all seasons.” Over different eras, “yours has been a child’s, a friend’s, a lover’s, a mother’s, a revolutionary’s and indeed a diviner’s voice,” he wrote. Whether she was belting out playful Afro-pop ballads, sultry jazzy seductions, or powerful political protest songs, Makeba transmuted pain, love, and sorrow in a honeyed, yet heart-wrenchingly vulnerable mezzo-soprano that emanated deep from within her African soul. And yet, as Madondo observed, it was never really her voice that distinguished Makeba as a singer. It was the place from which it came.

Exile.

It was exile that shaped Makeba’s music from the moment her South African citizenship was revoked after testifying against Apartheid at the United Nations in 1963. “Nobody will know the pain of exile until you are in exile,” she reflected about being unable to return to her homeland. “No matter where you go, there are times when people show you kindness and love, and there are times when they make you know that you are with them but not of them. That’s when it hurts,” she added of the ensuing three decades she was forced to spend as “a global citizen.”

 

It was the pain of exile that fueled her 1966 Grammy Award–winning album with Harry Belafonte, An Evening with Belafonte/Makeba, that railed against the horrors black South Africans were living in under Apartheid. Her rendition of executed African National Congress member Vuyisile Mini’s “Ndodemnyama Verwoerd” quickly became an anthem for the oppressed masses who would chant “Beware Verwoerd!” at protest rallies across South Africa.

It was the sound of an exiled artist channeling her homesickness on haunting renditions of Christopher Songxaka’s struggle requiem “Mayibuye” and Solomon Linda’s “Mbube,” captured on her classic Live at Bern’s Salonger album, that so bewitched Swedish audiences in 1966. It was her yearning for home that inspired her to burst onto the American Billboard charts in 1967 with an impeccably funky cover of Dorothy Masuka’s addictive dance instruction ditty, “Pata Pata” that, married township marabi-jazz grooves and samba-kissed swing into an infectious Afro-pop party starter.

But Makeba’s political commitment had its consequences. Her marriage to Black Panther activist Stokely Carmichael in 1968 resulted in broken record deals, cancelled tours, and exodus from America. But that didn’t stop Makeba. She spent the next 22 years championing African liberation across the continent. She played the first Pan-African Cultural Festival, held in Algiers, Algeria, in 1969 [video]. She provided the soundtrack for Muhammad Ali and George Foreman’s legendary “black consciousness” boxing showdown, The Rumble in the Jungle, in Kinshasa, Zaire, in 1974. She became Guinea’s official delegate to the United Nations. She teamed up with boycott-busting US folk-pop star Paul Simon on his worldwide Graceland tour of 1987–1988. And she performed at the anti-Apartheid Mandela Day concert at Wembley Stadium in 1988 before her triumphant South African homecoming in 1990.



Miriam Makeba recounts her return to South Africa
 

Of course, it wasn’t merely her politics or music that elevated Miriam Makeba to the status of “Mama Africa.” She was also a fashion icon. Whether she was bewitching audiences make-up free in a sexy leopard-skin print dress in the 1950s; rocking knee-length African royalty silk drapes in the ’60s; or brandishing braids, beads, and batik cloth in the ’70s; she revolutionized notions of African female beauty, sensuality, and style. Her constant search for individualism inspired Afropolitan fashion trends from Paris and Atlanta to Georgia, Johannesburg, Lagos, Brooklyn, and beyond for decades to come.

makeba 01 300x300 makeba 02 300x300 makeba 03 300x300

While Makeba eased into her status as an elder stateswoman of South African music during her later years—choosing to explore themes of African spirituality, love, homecoming, and her legacy rather than overt politics on 1988’s Sangoma (Healer), 2000’s Homeland, and 2004’s Reflections—she never let go of musical activism. On November 9, 2008, at a concert to support writer Roberto Saviano’s stand against the Italian mafia, she checked out in style, suffering a fatal heart attack on stage after performing her hit “Pata Pata.”

In 2013, Miriam Makeba joined previous recipients Nelson Mandela, Kenneth Kaunda, and Fidel Castro in being honored with an Ubuntu Award for her lifelong championing of the African value system of ubuntu.

—Miles Keylock
© 2014 The Carnegie Hall Corporation


Elza van den Heever
Angélique Kidjo
Wednesday, November 5 at 8 PM
Angélique Kidjo and Friends
    MAMA AFRICA: A TRIBUTE TO MIRIAM MAKEBA
Grammy Award–winning vocalist Angélique Kidjo celebrates the life and music of iconic South African singer and political activist Miriam Makeba, known popularly as “Mama Africa.” Kidjo shared a close relationship with Makeba, studying with her and eventually performing with her in Paris and South Africa. Kidjo returns to Carnegie Hall—with Makeba’s supporting singers Zamokuhle "Zamo" Mbutho, Faith Kekana, and Stella Khumalo—in this tribute to a remarkable woman.

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In this video, singer Angélique Kidjo speaks about the life of Miriam Makeba and her time in exile from South Africa from 1963–1990. 

WithUBUNTU: Music and Arts of South Africa festival less than a month away, we will continue to post videos that explore the many threads that make up South Africa's vibrant culture.


 



Elza van den Heever
Angélique Kidjo
Wednesday, November 5 at 8 PM
Angélique Kidjo and Friends
    MAMA AFRICA: A TRIBUTE TO MIRIAM MAKEBA
Grammy Award–winning vocalist Angélique Kidjo celebrates the life and music of iconic South African singer and political activist Miriam Makeba, known popularly as “Mama Africa.” Kidjo shared a close relationship with Makeba, studying with her and eventually performing with her in Paris and South Africa. Kidjo returns to Carnegie Hall—with Makeba’s supporting singers Zamokuhle "Zamo" Mbutho, Faith Kekana, and Stella Khumalo—in this tribute to a remarkable woman.

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Below are 10-second musical excerpts to put your classical music knowledge to the test. See how many you can identify, and good luck!




Question 1




Answer: MOZART Piano Concerto No. 21 (Andante)

 

Did you know?

Mozart's Piano Concertos are some of the composer's greatest works, and No. 21 is a particularly popular one. Mozart was only 29 when he gave the premiere performance himself. Hear it live on Sunday, October 12, performed by pianist Maurizio Pollini and The MET Orchestra.  

Question 2




Answer: TCHAIKOVSKY The Tempest

 

Did you know?

Tchaikovsky sketched the fantasia in 10 days at Usovo. At the end of the sketches is the note: “Begun 7 August. Finished 17 August 1873 at Usovo.” According to Modest Tchaikovsky, the instrumentation of The Tempest was begun in September and finished on 22 October 1873. Hear this piece performed by Orchestra of St. Luke’s on Thursday, November 6..

Question 3




Answer: LISZT Piano Sonata in B minor

 

Did you know?

Vladimir Horowitz created a sensation with the sonata at his 1928 Carnegie hall debut. When, four years later, Horowitz made his now legendary recording of the B Minor Sonata, pianists world-wide made haste to learn it. The piece subsequently became an indispensable part of the repertoires of Argerich, Barenboim, Brendel, Gilels, Pollini and many others, all of whom have recorded it. Hear the sensational pianist Daniil Trifonov perform this piece on Tuesday, December 9.  

Question 4




Answer: BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 (Allegretto)

 

Did you know?

The Sixth Symphony is one of the only two symphonies that Beethoven intentionally named. The full title was “Pastoral Symphony, or Recollections of Country Life.” Hear this piece on Sunday, December 28 performed by the New York String Orchestra.  

Question 5




Answer: ROSSINI La regata veneziana

 

Did you know?

Published in 1835 under the title of “Soirees Musicales,” this collection of songs are not often heard. As part of her Perspectives series, listen to Joyce DiDonato perform Rossini’s La regata veneziana on Tuesday, November 4.  

Question 6




Answer: SCHUMANN Piano Quintet in E Flat Major, Op. 44 (Allegro brillante)

 

Did you know?

Schumann’s piano quintet is scored for piano, two violins, viola, and cello. By pairing the piano with string quartet, Schumann introduced a new genre. Prior to Schumann, piano quintets were ordinarily composed for keyboard, violin, viola, cello, and doublebass. Hear this quintet performed by Emerson String Quartet and pianist Yefim Bronfman on Tuesday, October 14.  

Question 7




Answer: SHOSTAKOVICH String Quartet No. 3 in F Major, Op. 73 (Allegretto)

 

Did you know?

Presented as a "war quartet", Shostakovich initially supported the idea of a program by giving subtitles to each of the movements: "Calm unawareness of the future cataclysm"; "Rumblings of unrest and anticipation"; "The forces of war are unleashed"; "Homage to the dead"; and "The eternal question: why and to what purpose?". These descriptions were withdrawn by Shostakovich without explanation. It is suspected that this withdrawal might have been a response to the cold reception of his Ninth Symphony at the time. Come hear the Borromeo String Quartet perform this work on Friday, October 10.  

Question 8




Answer: MAHLER Symphony No. 7 in E Minor

 

Did you know?

Mahler’s seventh symphony remained for a while as one of his least appreciated works. More recently, conductors have experimented with a range of interpretations of the work. As such, the work has thrilled more audiences worldwide and has since become more popular. Listen to Michael Tilson Thomas lead the San Francisco Symphony in a performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 7 on Wednesday, November 19.  

Question 9




Answer: SCHUMANN Symphony No. 1

 

Did you know?

While it is common for nicknames to be given to musical compositions by enthusiastic publishers, in the case of Schumann’s “Spring” Symphony, preserved on the manuscript’s first page, is the composer’s writing that reads “Frühlings Symphonie.” This symphony will be performed by the Berlin Philharmonic on Friday, October 5.  

Question 10




Answer: BEETHOVEN Violin Sonata No. 9 in A Major, Op. 47, "Kreutzer"

 

Did you know?

This violin sonata was originally dedicated to the violinist George Bridgetower, who performed it with Beethoven at the premiere in 1803 at the early hour of 8 AM. Bridgetower had to sight-read the sonata having never seen the work before. It is suggested that after the performance, Bridgetower insulted a woman whom Beethoven cherished. Angered, Beethoven removed the original dedication and instead gave it to Rodolphe Kreutzer. Kreutzer, however, never performed it, considering it “outrageously unintelligible” and not did particularly care for Beethoven’s music. Hear the violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter perform this sonata on Tuesday, November 11.  

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We asked and you answered! Gear up for an afternoon of football with the ultimate classical music playlist featuring suggested tunes from our social media fans.


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