NEW YORK, March 21, 2016 -- “Songwriters: The Next Generation,” a program of The ASCAP Foundation and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, showcased the work of four young songwriters and composers in free concerts on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage on Wednesday, March 23 and Thursday, March 24.
On March 23, award-winning, Grammy-nominated songwriter Alastair Moock took the stage with his Americana/folk take on family music. The bill also featured jazz drummer Colleen Clark, described as one of the most respected young jazz musicians and composers of her generation. On March 24, Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Chaz Langley brought his vintage soul-inspired songs to the Kennedy Center audience. Albert Behar, a multi-faceted composer of classical, film and experimental music, also performsed.
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. Groce is one of the founders of Mountain Stage, a live music program on NPR produced by West Virginia Public Radio.
The concerts and Q & A took place from 6-7 each evening, and wwere webcast live and archived for future viewing at http://www.kennedy-center.org/programs/millennium/
“Songwriters: The Next Generation” was conceived by pianist, educator, composer and ASCAP Foundation board member Dr. Billy Taylor, who also served as Artistic Director for Jazz at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts from 1994 until he passed away in 2010. Throughout his life, Dr. Taylor stressed the importance of showcasing contemporary composers and songwriters 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. ASCAP member Bart Howard (1915 – 2004) was the writer of the great standard, “Fly Me to the Moon.”
Additional performer background is below:
Wednesday March 23rd
Alastair Moock is a songwriter committed to celebrating the roots of American music while knocking down the walls between different audiences, genres and musical traditions. He began his career in Boston in the mid-90s, working his way up through the Americana/folk circuit and eventually graduating to national and international events like the Newport Folk Festival and Norway’s Bergen Music Fest. In 2007, he was nominated for a Boston Music Award for Outstanding Singer-Songwriter of the Year. The birth of Moock’s twin daughters drew his creative energies closer to home, and much like his boyhood hero Woody Guthrie, Moock expanded his repertoire to include family music. Over the last nine years, he has released four albums “for kids and their parents,” garnering two Parents’ Choice Gold Medals, a 2013 Grammy Nomination for Best Children’s Album and, most recently, the 2015 ASCAP Foundation Joe Raposo Children’s Music Award. Last June, Moock released his newest album, All Kinds of You and Me, which celebrates individuality, tolerance, and changing cultural norms about gender roles.
Colleen Clark has been described as one of the most respected young jazz musicians and composers of her generation. Her first album Introducing Colleen Clark, consisting entirely of her original music, was produced by Gordon Stout, a member of Percussive Arts Society's prestigious Hall of Fame. Clark received an ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award (Honorable Mention) in 2014 andThe ASCAP Foundation Phoebe Jacobs Prize in 2015. Clark has performed on some of the most prominent stages, including Jazz at Lincoln Center, 92Y, Smoke Jazz Club, Smalls and Birdland, having also toured Central America and Europe. She believes music changes lives and currently teaches for the New York Pops Education Program, where she proudly performs jazz master-classes for children in the Bronx
Thursday March 24th
Chaz Langley is a Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter and hailing from Nashville, TN. His versatile songwriting style has led to a catalogue that spans many genres, from R&B to country to female pop and more. He has been featured in national publications like American Songwriter magazine, Singer Universe, and Creative Spotlight. In addition to songwriting, his vocal talents span into jingles and supporting major recording artists. He's also performed with Grammy award winning and nominated artists such as Imagine Dragons, Keri Hilson, and Michael McDonald. In June, Langley released a self-titled EP featuring a vintage soul sound that recalls greats like Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra. He is looking to be a force in today's music industry with his unforgettable and catchy melodies and thought-provoking yet accessible lyrics.
Albert Behar is a multifaceted composer of classical, film, and experimental music. Described as “charming” (The New York Times), “inventive” (The Los Angeles Times), and “truly remarkable” (I Care If You Listen), he has collaborated with the Kronos Quartet, Contemporaneous, Europa Ritrovata and other international ensembles. Behar draws upon American minimalism, French chanson, and baroque music, but moves in a more propulsive rhythmic direction. An avid film composer, he has created original music for PBS, Showtime, ESPN, VICE, MSNBC, and The New Yorker. “Love in the Time of March Madness,” a short animation with score by Behar, was recently shortlisted for the 2016 Academy Awards. Behar also designs new musical interfaces such as megaphone helmets, tactile sound orbs, and heart-rate tempo controllers. Behar’s apprenticeship with MacArthur ‘Genius’ sound sculptor Trimpin led to several new compositions for kinetic musical installations. Upcoming projects include ‘Lost Wax,’ a new work for the Kronos Quartet and phonograph celebrating the wax cylinder field recordings of Béla Bartók. Albert is also collaborating with soprano Ariadne Greif on ‘Calligrammes,’ a song cycle celebrating the visual poetry of Guillaume Apollinaire. He performs regularly as an accordionist in Albert et son Orchestre, The Bailsmen, and the Avalon Jazz Band.
About The ASCAP Foundation
Founded in 1975, the ASCAP Foundation is a public charity dedicated to supporting American Music creators and encouraging their development through music education and talent development programs. Included in these are songwriting workshops, grants, scholarships, awards, recognition and community outreach programs for songwriters, composers and lyricists. The ASCAP Foundation is supported by contributions by ASCAP members and from music lovers throughout the United States. www.ascapfoundation.org
About The Millennium Stage
The Kennedy Center is the only U.S. institution that presents a free performance 365 days a year. Created in 1997 and underwritten by James A. Johnson and Maxine Isaacs, the Millennium Stage features a broad spectrum of performing arts each day at 6 p.m. Brought to the public by Target Stores and The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, the Millennium Stage helps fulfill the Center’s mission of making the performing arts accessible to everyone. In the past 17 years, more than 3 million visitors have seen 6,000 groups with performances as varied as: jazz, ballet, storytelling, popular music, contemporary dance, opera, choral music, tap dance, theater, chamber music, symphonic music, puppetry, stand-up comedy, and cabaret. Of the more than 43,000 performers that have appeared on the Millennium Stage, approximately 25,000 have been Washington-area artists and over 4,500 have been international performing artists representing more than 50 countries. The Millennium Stage has also hosted artists representing all 50 states, and has presented more than 15,000 artists in their Kennedy Center debuts. Since 1999, each night’s performance has been broadcast live over the Internet, and more than 4,430 of these performances have been digitally archived on the Kennedy Center’s website, kennedy-center.org.
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