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New York Andalus Ensemble Spring Concert, May 1

Our resident New York Andalus Ensemble‘s annual spring concert with the full ensemble is upcoming at La Nacional May 1st.

The title of their spring concert is “Ya Qalbi” (Oh my heart). Join them for a musical celebration of inter-cultural unity!

For five hundred years, Christians, Jews, and Muslims lived side by side in medieval Iberia, sharing their arts and sciences to create a scintillating, multicultural tradition of music and poetry. Singing in Arabic, Hebrew, and Ladino to reflect this cultural pluralism, the New York Andalus Ensemble presents spiritual texts and songs of love and everyday life in Al-Andalus, emphasizing the expressive quality of the region’s shared tradition even as it respects the individual cultures that comprise it. Meticulous attention is paid to authenticity of style and pronunciation as ensemble members, hailing from Algeria, Syria, Israel, Morocco, and the United States, pool their linguistic and musical expertise.

Advance tickets are $20 ($16 student/senior) and available through Eventbrite. Get your tickets early! Space is limited and NYAE shows always sell out.

$20 ($16)
7:30 PM, 1 May 2019
La Nacional
239 W. 14th St, NYC

Niño de Elche Residence at the Graduate Center

Spanish cantaor and sound artist Niño de Elche has a short residency upcoming at the James Gallery at the Graduate Center, from 30 April to 2 May. He will present his work “En un cuartito los dos,” which was specifically conceived for the James Gallery, in a project organized by Daniel Valtueña and Katherine Carl. About the work:

The notion surrounding the Spanish term cuarto –partially translated for “room” in English– is the main premise for this project. The cuartos flamencos used to be marginalized performing spaces where dissident bodies and practices used to take place in fin-de-siècle Spain. Related spaces such as cafés cantantes contributed to articulate traditional imaginaries on Iberian culture which ignored the individuals who inhabited them. Niño de Elche aims to explore the non-normative practices spaces censor by working on sound experimentation and performative actions in the gallery space. By calling on other cuartos such as black holes and dark rooms he will explore notions such as tradition, intimacy, and queerness.  

The artist’s residency will open on May 1 with a roundtable discussion, “Towards a Desanctification of the Gallery Space,” with curator Regine Basha and architect Lluís Alexandre Casanovas Blanco (Princeton University), moderated by Daniel Valtueña. 

The performance of the work will be May 2 at 6:30.

Niño de Elche is a multi-disciplinary artist who combines flamenco singing with poetry, minimalism, electronic and rock music. He has collaborated with philosophers, poets, dancers, and Spanish pop/rock artists. The residency is co-sponsored by the Foundation for Iberian Music with the James Gallery, the Latin American, Iberian, and Latino Cultures Department, the Theater and Performance Department, the Lucille Lortel Chair, and the Doctoral Students’ Council.


1 May, 6:30 PM – Opening Discussion

2 May, 6:30 PM – Performance

The James Gallery, The Graduate Center

1 April 2019: Music in the Soul: The Fairy-tale Life of Hans Christian Andersen

HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN: Tales Real and ImaginedMonday, April 1, 2019, 5:30 - 7:30 pm, at the CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Ave., Skylight Room, 9th floor

Music in the Soul: The Fairy-tale Life of Hans Christian Andersen

Hans Christian Andersen needs no introduction. His fairy tales have been delighting children and adults alike for almost two centuries, and have become ingrained in our collective consciousness. The seminar reflects on the particular nature of Andersen’s sensibility, his love of music, his ambiguous sexuality, and his fairy-tale life as a mirror of his literary imagination. Storyteller Laura Simms will discuss aspects of Andersen’s fairy tales and will perform “The Little Match Girl” as a demonstration of Andersen’s feel for narrative and emotional expression.

Laura Simms, writer, storyteller, and Artistic Director of The Hans Christian Andersen Storytelling Center, New York City

James Melo, Musicologist for the Ensemble for the Romantic Century and Senior Editor at RILM


Presented by the Barry S. Brook Center for Music Research and Documentation, CUNY, and the Ensemble for the Romantic Century in connection with ERC’s theatrical concert, Hans Christian Andersen: Tales Real and Imagined. To find out more about ERC’s theatrical concerts, visit our website:

Laura Simms is an award winning performer, writer, and educator advocating storytelling as compassionate action for personal and community transformation. She performs worldwide combining ancient myth and true life story for adult and family audiences.  She is the Artistic Director of the Hans Christian Andersen Storytelling Center in NY and the founder of The Center for Engaged Storytelling (new).   She has been  a Senior Research Fellow for the International Peace institute at Rutgers University Newark under the auspices of UNESCO.  As a spokesperson for storytelling she presents keynotes and workshops in conferences, villages, schools, universities and community events. She is a member of the Therapeutic Arts Alliance of Manhattan, and a senior teacher of Shambhala Buddhist meditation.  Laura received the Brimstone Award for Engaged Storytelling, CHOICE award for best story collection and Sesame Street’s SUNNY DAYS award for work with children worldwide. In 2011, she received a Life Time Achievement Award from the National Storytelling Network.  She is co-faculty with Terry Tempest Williams’ at University of Utah, consults with ETSU’s CANCER STORIES project, and is spoken word consultant for Foundations, NGOS working in post disaster and conflicts. She recently appeared at the Newark Peace Summit and the Conference on World Peace and Values in Monterrey, Mexico. Her Most recent book is OUR SECRET TERRITORY: The Essence of Storytelling (Sentient Publications, June 2011).  She is completing a new work:  THE SANCTUARY OF A STORY (TBA).  Laura is the mother of best selling author Ishmael Beah.

James Melo has written extensively for scholarly journals and music magazines in Brazil, Uruguay, the United States, and Austria, and has been invited to participate as a panel discussant in conferences in Indiana, New York, and Canada. He is the New York correspondent for the magazine Sinfónica in Uruguay, reviewer of music iconography for the journal Music in Art, and senior editor at RILM (Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale) at CUNY. In March 2005, he chaired a session in the conference Music and Intellectual History, organized by the Barry Brook Center for Music Research and Documentation (CUNY), and presented a paper on the history of musicological research in Brazil. He received a grant from the Paul Sacher Stiftung in Basel, Switzerland, where he conducted research on the manuscripts of Anton Webern. Mr. Melo is the program annotator for the recording of the complete piano music of Villa-Lobos and Camargo Guarnieri on Naxos, and the program annotator for the National Philharmonic in Strathmore, MD. He has been the musicologist for the Ensemble for the Romantic Century since 2001, where he is responsible for the musicological and academic backing of all musical and theatrical productions, in addition to writing some of the scripts for ERC’s theatrical concerts.

Rodrigo Discussion Panel at Harvard

Portrait of Joaquin Rodrigo, 1935Friends in the Boston area, we have added a discussion panel at Harvard to our Joaquín Rodrigo Festival calendar! 

The panel will be April 11 at the Harvard Instituto Cervantes, at 5:30 pm. It follow the same format as the one upcoming April 9 at the King Juan Carlos I Center at NYU, on Rodrigo’s life and works. 

Both panels will include Walter A. Clark, Antoni Pizà, Douglas Riva, and Javier Suárez-Pajares, moderated by our festival director, Isabel Pérez Dobarro. Mezzo-soprano Anna Tonna will perform with guitarist Hermelindo Ruiz. (The NYU panel will feature Graduate Center guitarist Federico Díaz.)

Read the event announcement (español and English) here.

5:30 pm
April 11
4th Floor, 2 Arrow St.
Cervantes Observatorio, Harvard University
Cambridge, MA

Or join us in NYC April 9!

Rodrigo’s Piano Music, April 4

We are delighted to announce the details of the next concert in our Joaquin Rodrigo: The Guitar and Beyond chamber music series, co-sponsored by the Hispanic Society.

The April 4 concert will feature music for piano, performed by Douglas Riva and Isabel Pérez Dobarro, including Cuatro piezas (4 Pieces), A l’ombre de Torre Bermeja (In the Shadow of the Torre Bermeja), Juglares (for four hands), the ironic Gran marcha de los subsecretarios (Grand March of the Under-Secretaries), and more.

There will be a pre-concert lecture with the performers, Douglas Riva and Isabel Pérez Dobarro, plus Cecilia Rodrigo, daughter of the composer, and her daughter, Patricia León Rodrigo. You can read the text of the lecture here.

You can also view the full program with notes here.

Admission is free but RSVP is required. You may RSVP by visiting the Hispanic Society’s event page or by emailing

4 April 2019
Lecture: 6:30 pm
Concert: 7:00 pm

American Academy of Arts & Letters
632 West 156 Street New York

You can view the program and pre-concert lecture for the first concert in the series here. The third and final concert will be May 2.

25 April 2019: Florence Gétreau to present public lecture at the Graduate Center

The Brook Center is delighted to present FLORENCE GÉTREAU, in a lecture entitled MUSICIANS IN PORTRAITS: ARCHAEOLOGY OF A GENRE, CODES OF REPRESENTATION, SYMBOLIC AND SOCIAL MEANINGS. GÉTREAU is the renowned musicologist, art historian, and author of the award-winning book, Voir la musique.

Thursday, 25 April 2019, at 6:30 o’clock
The Martin E. Segal Theatre
The Graduate Center
The City University of New York
365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10016

Free and open to the public



(This event was streamed live on the internet.)

The event began with the presentation of the inaugural Claire Brook Award to Florence Gétreau for her book Voir la musique (Paris: Éditions Citadelles & Mazenod, 2017). Her lecture, described below, will follow. 

Considering that a portrait is the representation of a specific person, and not a “figure of character”, the lecture will be devoted to paintings (and sometimes graphic art representations) of identified musicians. The first visual evidence of renowned musicians (instrumentalists, singers, composers, theoreticians, cantors, and sometimes persons who have several such functions) comes from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries in a variety of media, from miniatures in codex to figurative tombstones. The production of medals, woodcuts, and painted panels during the sixteenth century spawned a tradition of representing the professional musician as a figure “acting”, sometimes with other persons, in a typical environment (chapel, court and official setting) or framed alone as a bust or face.

Since the Renaissance, individual portraits on canvas have expressed the social status of musicians with codes of representation and often with contextual attributes and elements. Selected from different Western countries and times, they present famous municipal or street musicians, court and ecclesiastic musicians, instrumentalists and virtuosi, singers on stage in their famous roles, but also “à la ville”, composers with their emblems and inspired attitudes, concert masters and conductors in action.

In addition to professional musicians, amateurs range from princes and other royal amateurs to aristocrats and bourgeois practitioners, with special focus on female painters making music. Portraits of especially famous music personalities will be presented as case studies to demonstrate each of these categories (the castrato Farinelli, the virtuoso Liszt, the composers Lassus, Rameau or Berlioz).

Group portraits support an understanding of the context in which musicians were acting together (in court bodies like chapels or chamber ensembles) but also in domestic companies. Artists’ colonies and communities were also sometimes portrayed as a manifesto.

Historiated portraits, self-portraits, caricatures, as well as “deconstructed” effigies (in the twentieth century, for example) are good opportunities to develop the symbolic vocabulary used by painters across the centuries to emphasize the peculiarity of musicians in portrait.

FLORENCE GÉTREAU is director emeritus of research at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS). For thirty years she has been a curator at the Musée Instrumental du Conservatoire de Paris and the Musée national des Arts et Traditions populaires, chef de projet of the Musée de la Musique, and she served as director of the Institut de recherche sur le patrimoine musical en France (2004–2013). She has authored or edited numerous publications on makers and cultural contexts of French musical instruments as well as their conservation and access, on the sociology of music, and on music iconography. She is the founding editor of the journal Musique • Images • Instruments and has frequently curated exhibitions, most recently “Wine and Music: Harmony and Dissonance” (Cité du Vin, Bordeaux). Elected to the Academia Europaea in 2010, Commandeur des Arts et Lettres, she is the recipient of the Anthony Baines prize and the Curt Sachs Award of the American Musical Instruments Society. She is Past President of the Société française de musicologie (2011–2015), and current member of the Directorium of the International Musicological Society.

THE CLAIRE BROOK AWARD, established in April 2018 by the Barry S. Brook Center for Music Research and Documentation (The Graduate Center of The City University of New York), honors an outstanding monograph, dissertation, edited collection, or exhibition catalogue on a designated topic related to the current work of the Brook Center.

CLAIRE BROOK (1925–2012) was vice president and music editor of W.W. Norton & Co. in New York, in a distinguished lineage that included Paul Henry Lang, Nathan Broder, and David Hamilton. She sponsored the publication of dozens of books in Norton’s series “Books that Live in Music,” including seminal works on the music of Africa, jazz, and contemporary music, as well as editions of Joseph Machlis’s The Enjoyment of Music and Donald Jay Grout’s A History of Western Music that have kept them at the forefront of music textbooks ever since. In 1999 she was awarded the degree of Doctor of Music, honoris causa, by the New England Conservatory. After retirement from Norton, she served for a number of years as Executive Editor of Pendragon Press. Claire left a generous bequest to the Brook Center that has supported many of its activities over the years. It is in her honor that this award has been established.

Sonidos Negros Presentation for Flamenco Festival NY

The Foundation for Iberian Music is pleased to once again participate in the New York Flamenco Festival, which will be held in early March this year. (See the City Center’s website for information on mainstage performances, March 7–10.)

Sonidos Negros book coverThis year, we are hosting a presentation by none other than K. Meira Goldberg, our resident flamencologist and director of the Natives, Africans, Roma, and Europeans conference series (which will have its third installment this April).

On March 5, Goldberg will present her latest book, Sonidos Negros: On the Blackness of Flamenco, in a discussion with Antoni Pizà (Foundation for Iberian Music). You will have the chance to see the films that are the subject of two of the book’s chapters:  Danse Espagnole de la Feria (1923), shot by Lumière at the World’s Fair in Paris, 1900, which features the first male flamenco dancer ever recorded (a black man of Cuban descent, Jacinto Padilla, “El Negro Meri”); and four short films shot in Sevilla in 1917 by Léonide Massine as preparation for choreographing The Three-Cornered Hat (1919), which feature Juana Vargas “La Macarrona,” her sister María Vargas “La Macarrona,” and their first cousin Antonio López Clavijo “Ramírez.” 

About the book:

What can flamenco dance tell us about race and racism in the world wrought by slavery? From 711–1492, parts of the Iberian Peninsula were ruled by a succession of vast Afro-Islamic caliphates—and were simultaneously the epicenter of Christian Europe’s battle to eject these forces. Christian victory came in the same year that Christopher Columbus’s landing in the Americas set in motion a massive and catastrophic shift in global hegemony. Gradually, Spain’s system of “blood purity,” a tool in the battle against Islam, became what we now think of as “race”; Christian evangelization was a weapon of conquest. Sonidos Negros: On the Blackness of Flamenco (Oxford University Press, 2018), traces how flamenco’s ostentatious rebelliousness, tumultuous sensuality, quixotic idealism, and fierce soulfulness embody resistance, the lament for what has been lost, and the values and aspirations of those rendered imperceptible by abjection, enslavement, and colonization.

 Brenda Dixon Gottschild (professor amerita Temple University, author of The Black Dancing Body) calls the book “a majestic work—readable, revelatory,”  Alberto del Campo Tejedor (Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Seville) calls it “surprising and necessary.” Please join us for this chance to have a conversation with the author about a vital and overlooked part of flamenco’s history.

Sonidos Negros is available for purchase from Oxford for $35. 

Admission: free
7:30 pm
5 March, 2019
Martin E. Segal Theater
The Graduate Center
365 5th Ave, NYC


Joaquín Rodrigo Panel at NYU’s Juan Carlos I Center

As a part of our Joaquín Rodrigo: The Guitar and Beyond festival, we will be holding a panel at  NYU’s King Juan Carlos I Center. The panel will feature performances by  Federico Díaz (guitar, DMA student at the Graduate Center) and Anna Tonna (mezzo-soprano).

The panel will include Walter A. Clark (UC Riverside), Isabel Pérez Dobarro, Antoni Pizà (Foundation for Iberian Music), Douglas Riva, Javier Suárez-Pajares (visiting scholar at the Graduate Center, with Brooks Center projects Foundation for Iberian Music and Music in Gotham), and special guest Cecilia Rodrigo, daughter of Joaquín (founder of Ediciones Joaquín Rodrigo and Fundación Victoria y Joaquín Rodrigo).

A reception will follow the panel.

9 April 2018
7 pm 
Admission: Free

King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center at New York University
Conference Room and Atrium
53 Washington Square S, New York, NY 10012



NYAE Winter Concerts

New York Andalus Ensemble will be having their annual winter concert next week, December 12, at La Nacional. Don’t miss this chance to see the full ensemble!

Tickets are $20 ($16 student/senior). You can view more information and buy tickets here.


7:00 pm
12 December, 2018
La Nacional, 239 W. 14th St



If small ensembles are more to your liking, you are also in luck. Samuel Torjman Thomas will be performing with a few NYAE members at the Metropolitan Museum, in conjunction with their Delacroix exhibit. This two-part concert highlights rural and urban Judeo-Islamic music from Morocco.

The concerts are free with museum admission.

5:00 pm
21 and 22 December, 2018
Metropolitan Museum, Great Hall Balcony