w/ PUBLIQuartet, Violinist Curtis Stewart, Soprano Laquita Mitchell + Pianist Samantha Ege
Wed March 13th, 2024
Minimum Age: 16+
Doors Open: 7:00PM
Show Time: 8:00PM
Event Ticket: $20-$40
Day of Show: $20-$40
The Julia Perry Centenary Celebration and Festival Opening Night, presented by Experiential Orchestra and Videmus, features the multi-GRAMMY-nominated PUBLIQuartet, applauded by The Washington Post as “a perfect encapsulation of today’s trends in chamber music;” soprano Laquita Mitchell, praised in The New York Times for her “smooth-voiced and soothing presence;” and pianist and musicologist Samantha Ege, known for her “vivid, revelatory” performances (iNews). PUBLIQuartet will bring a creative re-imagining to the music of Julia Perry, performing world premieres of rediscovered works by Perry in arrangements by members of the quartet Jannina Norpoth, Hamilton Berry and Curtis Stewart, including Perry’s Miniature for Piano and Stewart’s We Who Seek, which draws on Perry’s choral work Ye, Who Seek the Truth in a new version for quartet, electronics, and spoken word to be performed by Stewart. Soprano Laquita Mitchell will perform two rediscovered songs by Perry, How Beautiful are the Feet and By the Sea. Samantha Ege performs Perry’s Miniature for Piano and Prelude for Piano. The evening also celebrates the release of Experiential Orchestra’s album American Counterpoints, which features contributions from all of the PUBLIQuartet members.
Proof of vax is NOT required for this event
Julia Perry was a composer, conductor, vocalist and teacher who surpassed countless social expectations by being a prominent African American artist in a world of music dominated by white elites.
She received both her Bachelor and Masters Degrees from Westminster Choir College and went on to study composition in Europe from famous composers including Luigi Dallapiccola and Nadia Boulanger. A few of her honors include two Guggenheim fellowships, the Boulanger Grand Prize, and a National Institute of Arts and Letters Award.
Perry’s own exploration of race throughout her life can be easily perceived through the audible changes to her style as time passes. For most of her musical upbringing she was surrounded by white teachers and colleagues, from her years at mostly white Westminster Choir College to her time in Europe studying from white teachers. Her early pieces include idioms of Spirituals and other African American influences but as she continued in her largely white American and European education her music began to follow the compositional techniques of her mentors. These techniques can be seen in pieces such as her well known Stabat Mater for contralto and strings.
In the 1959 she returned to the US after a long period spent in Europe, only to find that the racial atmosphere was nothing like that of the one she left behind years ago. During the 60s her view on race changed, and she began to embrace her race and express pride in her heritage, as well as anger at the injustice she was seeing around her. This affirmation of her racial identity can be heard in pieces like Symphony no. 10, which is also known as “Soul Symphony”, as well as her many settings of Spirituals such as “I’m a Poor Li’l Orphan in This Worl’” and “Free at Last”.
Applauded by The Washington Post as “a perfect encapsulation of today’s trends in chamber music,” and by The New Yorker as “independent-minded,” multi-GRAMMY®-nominated PUBLIQuartet is an improvising string quartet whose repertoire blends genres and highlights American multiculturalism. PUBLIQuartet rose on the music scene as winner of the 2013 Concert Artists Guild New Music/New Places award, and in 2019 garnered Chamber Music America’s prestigious Visionary Award for outstanding and innovative approaches to contemporary classical, jazz, and world chamber music. PQ’s genre-bending programs range from newly commissioned pieces to re-imaginations of classical works featuring open-form improvisations that expand the techniques and aesthetic of the traditional string quartet.
PUBLIQuartet has held artist residencies at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and National Sawdust, and has performed everywhere from Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center to the Montreal, Newport and Detroit Jazz Festivals. Their 2016 appearance on The Colbert Report, “Requiem for a Debate” – in which they improvised a live soundtrack to the third presidential debate – not only received over a million views, but saw the Washington Post declaring them “the winner…indubitably.” Their 2023-2024 season includes performances at USC and the Library of Congress, with the New York City Ballet, as well as tour dates with jazz artists including Hiromi, Diane Monroe, and Magos Herrera.
The quartet’s latest album, the GRAMMY®-nominated What Is American, released in June 2022 on the Bright Shiny Things label, explores resonances between contemporary, blues, jazz, freely-improvised, and rock-inflected languages, all of which trace their roots back to the Black and Indigenous musical traditions that inspired Dvorak’s “American” String Quartet (Op. 96). The album also includes CARDS 11-11-2020, written by Roscoe Mitchell for PUBLIQuartet, as well as works by Ornette Coleman, Rhiannon Giddens, and Vijay Iyer.
Committed to creating an inclusive performance space, supporting living composers of varying genres, and expanding the classical canon, PUBLIQuartet was the inaugural ensemble-in-residence for Carnegie Hall’s PlayUSA program in 2021-2022, working with high school music classes across the country on a large-scale creative project called Reflections on Resilience. Their innovative PUBLIQ Access program has promoted emerging composers by presenting a wide variety of under-represented music for string quartet–from classical, jazz and electronic, to non-notated, world and improvised music. Other unique projects include MIND | THE | GAP, a series of creative projects developed by PQ that weave together different styles of music via group composition, arranging, and improvisation. These unique works range from “Bird in Paris” (Claude Debussy meets Charlie Parker) to more recent extended works including Reflections on Beauty, a multimedia celebration of the life and legacy of Madam C.J. Walker featuring visual projections and narration by Walker’s great-great-granddaughter, A’Lelia Bundles.
Founded in 2010, PUBLIQuartet is based in New York City.
Praised for “combining omnivory and brilliance” (The New York Times), four-time GRAMMY Award-nominated violinist and composer Curtis Stewart translates stories of American self determination to the concert stage. Tearing down the facade of “classical violinist,” Stewart is in constant pursuit of his musical authenticity, treating art as a battery for realizing citizenship. As a solo violinist, composer, Artistic Director of the American Composers Orchestra, professor at The Juilliard School, and member of award-winning ensembles PUBLIQuartet and The Mighty Third Rail, he realizes a vision to find personal and powerful connections between styles, cultures and musics. The Strad described his playing as “profound and deeply moving,” while JazzTimes raved, “he shows his audience the colors inside of himself—color(s) not yet invented. Far from self-indulgent, it is self-revelatory. It is vulnerable. It is creation.” Stewart’s 2023 album of Love., a tribute to his late mother Elektra Kurtis-Stewart, has been nominated under Best Instrumental Solo in the 2024 GRAMMY Awards.
As a soloist, Curtis Stewart has been presented by Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, Cal Performances, Washington Performing Arts, Virginia Arts Festival, The Juilliard School, and the 2022 GRAMMY Awards, among many others. He has made special appearances with Los Angeles Opera and singer-songwriter Tamar Kali; as curator and guest soloist with Anthony Roth Costanzo and the New York Philharmonic “Bandwagon,” touring performance installations from NYC’s Whitney Museum, Guggenheim Museum, and Museum of Modern Art; to MTV specials with Wyclef Jean; and sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden with Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, and Seal. Stewart’s 2021 album of quarantined song cycles and art videos, Of Power (Bright Shiny Things), was nominated for a GRAMMY Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo.
Stewart has been commissioned to compose new solo, chamber, and orchestral works by the Seattle Symphony, Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Carnegie Hall’s Play/USA, countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo and members of the New York Philharmonic, The Knights, La Jolla Music Society, Sybarite5, the New York Festival of Song, Newport Classical Festival, the Royal Conservatory of Music, the Eastman Cello Institute, and more. In 2022, he was named Artistic Director of the American Composers Orchestra, a national organization dedicated to the creation, celebration, performance, and promotion of orchestral music by diverse and innovative American composers. Among his recent commissions, he composed The Famous People, five recompositions of Dvorák’s Slavonic Dances, for a premiere by violinist Gil Shaham with the Virginia Symphony in March 2023.
Curtis Stewart is a member of award-winning ensembles, PUBLIQuartet (Chamber Music America Visionary award, winner Concert Artist Guild, 2023 Grammy Award Nomination) and The Mighty Third Rail (Best Music, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Comic Book Theater Festival). PUBLIQuartet’s album What Is American (Bright Shiny Things) was nominated for a 2023 GRAMMY Award. He has held chamber music residencies at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Sawdust, and made return appearances at the Newport, Detroit, Vision, NYC Winter Jazz Festivals. Curtis Stewart has worked with many of today’s forward-thinking musicians, including Henry Threadgill, SilkRoad Ensemble, Jessie Montgomery, Alicia Hall-Moran and Jason Moran, Mark O’Connor, Julia Bullock, members of the International Contemporary Ensemble, Billy Childs, Alarm Will Sound, Linda Oh, JACK Quartet, members of Snarky Puppy, Don Byron, Matt Wilson, among many others.
An avid teacher, Curtis Stewart teaches Chamber Music, Improvised Chamber Music, and “Cultural Equity and Performance Practice” at The Juilliard School; directs the Contemporary Chamber Music program at the Perlman Music Program; served on the board of Concert Artist Guild; conducted several orchestras and opera pit orchestras; and for 10 years led all levels of music theory and string orchestra at the Laguardia High School for Music & Art and Performing Arts in New York City.
Stewart was born into a musical family – his father is avant jazz tuba pioneer Bob Stewart and mother Elektra Kurtis, a soulful Greek jazz violinist – who formed the framework of his sound world through daring improvisation, rigorous western classical training, and conceptual composition. Learn more at www.curtisjstewart.com.
Soprano Laquita Mitchell consistently earns acclaim on eminent international opera and concert stages worldwide, having recently been nominated for a Grammy for her contribution as the soprano soloist in the world premiere of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Paul Moravec’s Sanctuary Road at Carnegie Hall with Oratorio Society of New York. This season, Mitchell returns to the role of Countess in the New Orleans Opera production of Le nozze di Figaro and reprises her lauded performance of Sanctuary Road with Virginia Opera, Princeton Pro Musica, and the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park. In addition, Mitchell appears in concert with the Oratorio Society of New York for Bach’s Magnificat and Mozart’s Requiem, Saint Thomas Church for Poulenc’s Stabat Mater, Chattanooga Symphony for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, and Waterbury Symphony for their performance of Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 final movement.
Last season, Mitchell reprised “Julie” in Omar with UNC Chapel Hill at Carolina Performing Arts – a role she created in the world premiere at the Spoleto Festival USA the previous season – and returned to the role of Josephine Baker in Cipullo’s Josephine with Music of Remembrance. In concert, Ms. Mitchell performed Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Madison Symphony, Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with Sarasota Orchestra, Sanctuary Road with the Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati, Verdi’s Requiem with Rhode Island Philharmonic and Buffalo Philharmonic, Tippet’s A Child of Our Time with Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, and Dett’s The Ordering of Moses with the Cincinnati May Festival.
Previously, Mitchell delighted concertgoers across the US with performances such as The Ordering of Moses for the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony for the Memphis Symphony, Brahms’ Requiem and a Bel Canto Gala with Albany Pro Musica, Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with Lima Symphony Orchestra, Sanctuary Road with Chautauqua Symphony, and a Holiday Concert for the Princeton Symphony. Additionally, she performed Robinetta in On Site Opera’s production of Rachel J. Peters’s Lesson Plan; the title role in Tom Cipullo’s Josephine for the New Orleans Opera and Opera Colorado, where it was presented alongside The Promise of Living, a concert program conceived by Ms. Mitchell; Bess in Porgy and Bess with Grange Park Opera in the UK, Lithuanian State Symphony, Detroit Symphony, and Baltimore Symphony; a reprisal of Sanctuary Road with the Columbus Symphony; a Gala Concert for Colorado Symphony; and Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 and Barber’s Knoxville: Summer 1915 with the Augusta Symphony. Mitchell appeared in New York Philharmonic’s Bandwagon concerts and the Kauffmann Music Center’s Musical Storefront series as part of New York City’s Pop-Up Arts Revival. She performed Mahler’s Symphony No.4 for Rhode Island Philharmonic, the soprano solo for the opening night concert of Classical Tahoe’s Tenth Anniversary season, as well as in Bard Music Festival’s concert performances of Nadia Boulanger and Her World.
Notable previous engagements include the role of Coretta Scott King in I Dream with Opera Grand Rapids, Toledo Opera, and Opera Carolina, Violetta in La Traviata with Opera Memphis, New York City Opera, and Edmonton Opera, and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Florentine Opera and Portland Opera. Recent concert engagements include the soprano solo in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Berkeley Symphony, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with Missoula Symphony, and her return to the Philadelphia Orchestra to perform in their Academy Ball alongside Steve Martin, led by Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
In her compelling début as Bess in Porgy and Bess with San Francisco Opera, Opera News said “Laquita Mitchell, in her first outing as Bess, dazzled the SFO audience with her purity of tone and vivid theatrical presence.” She has since reprised the role with The Atlanta Opera, The Tanglewood Festival, Madison Symphony, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Toledo Opera, Springfield Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Santa Barbara Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra, Traverse City Symphony, the Margaret Island Open-Air Theatre in Budapest for their summer festival, and as the season opener for the Energa Sopot Classic Festival with the Polish Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra. Additionally, PBS invited Ms. Mitchell to perform a solo recital including excerpts from Porgy and Bess with pianist Craig Terry for the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Los Angeles in preparation for the broadcast and DVD release of SFO’s Porgy and Bess.
In her role début as Violetta in La Traviata with New York City Opera, she was labeled “extraordinary,” thanks to her “wide expressive range and big-hearted sound that contains just a hint of sexy smokiness. Her ‘Sempre libera’ was enlivened by a rhythmic clarity that made it seem almost danceable.” Other appearances include Leonora in Il trovatore in South Carolina and with Nashville Opera; Countess in Le nozze di Figaro with Toledo Opera; Sharon in Terrance McNally’s Master Class at The Kennedy Center; Musetta in La bohème in a return to Los Angeles Opera; Mimì in La bohème with Cincinnati Opera and at the Utah Symphony and Opera; Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Florentine Opera, Portland Opera, and Opera New Jersey; Clara in Porgy and Bess with Los Angeles Opera, Washington National Opera, Opéra Comique in Paris, and on tour in Caen and Granada, Spain; and Micaëla in Carmen with New York City Opera, Opera Pacific, and most recently Cincinnati Opera, where the Cincinnati Enquirer raved, “Mitchell shone in the role of Micaëla… She was a natural actress and sang with expressive beauty whenever she was onstage.”
An active concert artist, Ms. Mitchell’s recent performances include: Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Philadelphia Orchestra at Saratoga Performing Arts Center; Over the Rainbow – an evening honoring Harold Arlen at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall; Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Louisville Orchestra; a début with the New World Symphony in Alberto Ginastera’s Cantata para América Mágica; the world premiere of composer Steven Stucky’s August 4, 1964 with Dallas Symphony Orchestra; her Boston Symphony Orchestra début as the soprano soloist in Wynton Marsalis’ All Rise under the direction of Kurt Masur; and the soprano solo in Tippett’s A Child of our Time with the Washington Chorus at Kennedy Center. She has also performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony, Princeton Symphony Orchestra, the New York Symphonic Ensemble at Alice Tully Hall, and with Branford Marsalis and the Garden State Philharmonic. Additionally, she performs in recitals annually at Harare International Festival of the Arts in Zimbabwe.
Ms. Mitchell is an alumna of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, where she performed a variety of roles including stand-out performances in contemporary operas such as Orquidea in Daniel Catán’s Salsipuedes (world premiere), Myrrhine in Mark Adamo’s Lysistrata (world premiere), Barena in David Alden’s production of Jenůfa, and The Water in Rachel Portman’s The Little Prince (world premiere) directed by Francesca Zambello and conducted by Patrick Summers. Ms. Mitchell was previously a member of San Francisco Opera’s world-renowned Merola Program. She then joined Wolf Trap Opera in performances as
Alice Ford in Salieri’s Falstaff, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, and presented a recital with renowned pianist Steven Blier.
A native of New York City, Ms. Mitchell was a 2004 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Grand Prize Winner and was awarded a Sara Tucker Award. She was also the First Prize Winner of the Wiener Kammeroper’s Hans Gabor Belvedere Competition, making her the first American to win this competition in more than twenty years. Additionally, Ms. Mitchell was the First Prize Winner of the Houston Grand Opera Eleanor McCollum Competition for Young Singers, as well as the winner of the Audience Choice award. Ms. Mitchell holds a Master of Music degree and a Professional Studies Certificate from the Manhattan School of Music and completed undergraduate studies at Westminster Choir College.
Dr. Samantha Ege is an Anniversary Research Fellow at the University of Southampton. She was the Lord Crewe Junior Research Fellow in Music at Lincoln College, University of Oxford (2020-2022). She holds a PhD in Musicology from the University of York and a BA with honours in Music from the University of Bristol. She spent her second undergraduate year at McGill University as an exchange student. She taught music internationally for almost a decade after graduating from Bristol.
Dr. Ege is a leading interpreter and scholar of the African American composer Florence B. Price. Dr. Ege’s publications and performances shed an important light on composers from underrepresented backgrounds. In 2023, she won the Society for American Music’s Irving Lowens Article Award for “Chicago, the ‘City We Love to Call Home!’: Intersectionality, Narrativity, and Locale in the Music of Florence Beatrice Price and Theodora Sturkow Ryder” (American Music journal). In 2021, she received the American Musicological Society’s Noah Greenberg Award for her Black Renaissance Woman album. In 2019, she received both the Society for American Music’s Eileen Southern Fellowship and a Newberry Library Short-Term Residential Fellowship for her work on women’s contributions to concert life in interwar Chicago. Dr. Ege’s first book is called South Side Impresarios: How Race Women Transformed Chicago’s Classical Music Scene. It will be published with the University of Illinois Press in Autumn 2024.
As a concert pianist, Dr. Ege made her Barbican debut in 2021 with a “vivid, revelatory recital” (Michael Church, iNews) in which she gave the UK premiere of Vítězslava Kaprálová’s Sonata Appassionata. In her London debut at the 2021 London Festival of American Music she gave the world premiere of Florence Price’s complete Fantasie Nègre set. In 2018, she made her international lecture-recitalist debut at the Chicago Symphony Center with her event A Celebration of Women in Music: Composing the Black Chicago Renaissance. She has additionally presented her research and repertoire at a number of other institutions and venues in the UK, Ireland, US, Canada, Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
Dr. Ege released her debut album in May 2018 called Four Women (Wave Theory Records). She released her critically acclaimed second album in March 2021 called Fantasie Nègre with Lorelt (Lontano Records Ltd.). Her third and fourth albums (both with Lorelt) came out in 2022: Black Renaissance Woman and Homage with the Castle of our Skins string quartet. Her next album highlights 19th and 20th century piano concertos by three prolific women, including Clara Schumann and Doreen Carwithen.