"Songwriters: The Next Generation," a program of The ASCAP Foundation and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, which is made possible by the Bart Howard Estate, showcased the work of four emerging songwriters and composers -- Angélica Negrón, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Rebecca Jordan and Camille Thurman on the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage on March 14 and 15, 2013.
Each evening's hour-long program, designed to spotlight the talent of young songwriters and composers, was hosted by celebrated singer/songwriter and arts entertainment producer Larry Groce.
Larry is one of the founders of Mountain Stage, a live music program on NPR produced by West Virginia Public Radio. Since 1983 he has served as the show's artistic director and host. He holds the same positions in the television version of the show. His musical tastes and leadership have been instrumental in defining Mountain Stage since its beginning.
"Songwriters: The Next Generation," was conceived in 2010 by the late jazz pianist, educator, composer and ASCAP Foundation Board member Dr. Billy Taylor. Throughout his life, Dr. Taylor stressed the importance of showcasing the talent of contemporary composers who are also performers.
"Songwriters: The Next Generation," presented by The ASCAP Foundation and made possible by the Bart Howard Estate, is part of The Kennedy Center's free, daily performance series. The concerts and Q&A with the artists were webcast live and are now archived for viewing at: http://www.kennedy-center.org/programs/millennium/.
Composer and multi-instrumentalist Angélica Negrón was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and currently lives in New York City. She writes music for accordions, voices, toys and electronics as well as chamber ensembles and orchestras. Her music has been performed by janus trio, Cadillac Moon Ensemble, TRANSIT Ensemble, Iktus Percussion Quartet, NYU Symphony Orchestra, the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra and Cantori NY (MATA Festival 2011), among others. She holds a master's degree from New York University and is currently pursuing a doctorate in music composition at The Graduate Center (CUNY), where she studies with Tania León. Angélica has released several albums with indie electronic group Balún and ambient chamber ensemble Arturo en el Barco, and co-founded in 2011 the Spanish immersion music program for young children ¡Acopladitos!.
Aaron Lee Tasjan
Aaron Lee Tasjan
Photo by Curtis Wayne Millard
Aaron Lee Tasjan grew up in central Ohio, where he learned to play the guitar and by the age of 16, had performed with Peter Yarrow and made his first trip to New York City. That same year he received the Outstanding Guitarist Award at The Essentially Ellington Competition at Lincoln Center. Following high school he returned to New York City and formed the band Semi Precious Weapons. World-renowned producer Tony Visconti produced their debut album, We Love You, which landed them a deal with Razor & Tie Records. In 2008/2009 Aaron performed with the New York Dolls as lead guitarist while simultaneously forming his own band, The Madison Square Gardeners. The Village Voice hailed the band as, "The best NYC has to offer." Aaron then joined forces with BP Fallon to write the song "I Believe in Elvis Presley" which was produced by Jack White and released on the Third Man Records label. Fallon and Tasjan continued their collaboration joining up with Sean Lennon and Irina Lazareanu in the art rock band Operation Juliet, and the two have since formed yet another project called BP Fallon & The Bandits that also features Rock Hall Of Famers Clem Burke and Ian Mclagan. Tasjan's song "Apathy Junkie"," from the Enemies! LP release Desolation Dream, is being featured in the Steve Carell film, The Way, Way Back.
Rebecca Jordan grew up in Ohio and studied classical piano as a kid and taught herself guitar to write songs. Since moving to New York, she has made a name for herself as an artist and a songwriter. She is the 2010 recipient of the Abe Olman Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame, a 2010 NPR Mountain Stage NewSong Finalist and a 2011 Independent Music Award Nominee for her self released Souvenir EP. Rebecca has written for Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, and co-wrote five songs for Alice Smith's upcoming EP, executive produced by Citizen Cope. Of late, Rebecca's focus has been on completing a record of her own. Her latest video for the single "Eve" premiered on American Songwriter and was received with critical acclaim. It led to her recent live performances at BAM Cafe, Rockwood Music Hall and Tin Angel in Philly. Of the new single, "Eve", Rebecca says "It speaks to the first romantic relationship we ever have - the one we have with our dreams".
Camille Thurman, multitalented saxophonist, flutist, vocalist, composer and educator, can boast of an impressive list of accomplishments for a person her age. Her ability to take sounds evocative of the past and creatively give them the nuance, edge and freshness of today has gained her the respect of audiences in Israel, Peru, Switzerland and around the world. An accomplished performer and composer in her own right, Camille has shared the stage with Dr. Billy Taylor, Benny Golson, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Russell Malone and many other jazz greats. She is a two-time recipient of an ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award and leads her own quartet, which has performed at the International Women in Jazz Festival, the Superjazz Ashdod Israel Jazz Festival and other festivals and notable jazz venues around the world. Camille will be releasing her debut album ORIGINS in 2013 on the Hottone Music Label.
About The Millennium Stage
The Millennium Stage was created and underwritten by James A. Johnson and Maxine Isaacs to make the performing arts accessible to everyone in fulfillment of the Kennedy Center's mission to its community and the nation.
The Millennium Stage is brought to the public by Target Stores, with additional funding provided by Capital One Bank, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, The Isadore and Bertha Gudelsky Family Foundation, Inc., The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, Jaylee M. Mead†, The Meredith Foundation, The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, Suzy and Bob Pence, Dr. Deborah Rose and Dr. Jan A.J. Stolwijk, Thomas W. Haas Foundation, U.S. Department of Education, and the Millennium Stage Endowment Fund.
Millennium Stage Endowment Fund - James A. Johnson and Maxine Isaacs, Fannie Mae Foundation, James V. Kimsey, Gilbert and Jaylee Mead, Mortgage Bankers Association of America, Anonymous, and other gifts to secure the future of the Millennium Stage.