New World Symphony debuts I Dream a World: The Harlem Renaissance in Europe Concert Series

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This February, visit the stunning New World Symphony for a concert series honoring Black History Month.

I Dream a World: The Harlem Renaissance in Europe captures a unique time in history – 1938 Paris and its sophisticated cafe society, where all kinds of minds and ideas came to life.

The festival takes visitors on a grand tour of interwar Europe, showcasing the rich Black heritage that molded the modern art, fashion, and culture of the era on both sides of the Atlantic.

The two-week series will explore pivotal moments in music that defined early jazz and inspired endless artists and composers.

Julia Bullock
Julia Bullock, soprano

Taking off on Friday, February 3rd, the series begins with Welcome to Bricktop’s: A Night of Jazz and Blues in 1930s Paris at the New World Center’s Truist Pavilion. Sopranos Julia Bullock and Louise Toppin will be accompanied by pianist Christian Reif in transporting audiences to a chic intimate Parisian nightclub inspired by Chez Bricktop, the iconic dancer, singer, and Vaudeville star. 1920s and 1930s partywear is encouraged.

William Eddins
William Eddins

Saturday, February 4th at 7:30 pm and Sunday, February 5th at 2:00 pm join us for I Dream a World: Symphonic Persuasion. Conductor William Eddins, Louise Toppin, and curator, host and musicologist Tammy Kernodle will dive deep into the music of the Jazz Age, both its inspiration and influence on modern culture. This event will take place at the Michael Tilson Thomas Performance Hall in the New World Center.

Branford Marsalis
Branford Marsalis

Tuesday, February 7th, at 7:30 pm, head to The Sound Heard Around the World: The Music of James Reese Europe, also at the Michael Tilson Thomas Performance Hall. Grammy-Award-winning saxophonist and bandleader Branford Marsalis will share the story of James Reese Europe, the trailblazing artist who brought ragtime into the mainstream.

Samantha Ege
Samantha Ege

Wednesday, February 8th, British musicologist and pianist Dr. Samantha Ege will take us on a musical journey for Transatlantic Conversations: Black Renaissance Pianism across the Pond. Ege will explore beloved piano-centric works by influential Black composers like Amanda Aldridge, Harry T. Burleigh and Robert Nathaniel Dett. Dr. Ege performance and discussion will be accompanied by conductor and NWS alum William Eddins and NWS’s current Piano Fellows.

Chamber musicians
Chamber musicians

Friday, February 10th at 7:30 pm, join the New World Symphony for an evening of jazz and chamber music at I Dream a World: Chamber Music in Historic Overtown. The event will take place at the Historic Lyric Theater in Overtown, which similar to Harlem, experienced its own cultural renaissance in the 1930s, and served as a refuge for artists like Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Cab Calloway when they performed in Miami.

Concert for kids NWS
Concert for kids

For some family fun, bring your children to the Concert for Kids: I Dream a World on Sunday, February 12th at 11:30 am. This family-friendly interactive concert was designed with children ages 4 to 9 in mind. The show will celebrate 20th century Black artists whose work went on to shape musical and cultural trends for decades to come.

NWS Harlem Hellfighters
Harlem Hellfighters

Finally, on Wednesday, February 15, at 8:00 pm, don’t miss SoundScape Film Screening: The Harlem Hellfighters Great War. Enjoy this free documentary screening at SoundScape Park, all about the life and times of James Reese Europe, a trailblazing musician and his regiment of Black soldiers. The film features commentary from Brandford Marsalis, President Barack Obama, and more. Don’t forget your blankets, chairs, and picnic baskets!

I Dream a World: The Harlem Renaissance in Europe

Picture this: It’s 1938, Paris. You’re at Chez Bricktop, the glamourous nightclub where café society rubs shoulders with the likes of Josephine Baker, Cole Porter and Ernest Hemingway. A woman takes the stage, and she starts to sing… 

This year’s I Dream a World festival takes us on a tour through interwar Europe to meet the Black musicians who transformed art and culture on both sides of the Atlantic. Over the course of two weeks, join New World Symphony for a closer look at the pivotal moment in music that went on to shape early jazz and inspire composers like Ravel and Stravinsky. 

I Dream a World Festival Pass | A Festival Pass is your ticket to two weeks of live music, film, art and learning. For $150 or less, attend as many events as you’d like by showing your festival pass at the door. Click here to choose a Festival Pass.

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