Press Release: Great Music for a Great City Celebrates America the Beautiful

"the organizers admirably seek to democratize access to classical music…” The New York Times

In his first inauguration speech, during a time of great political division, Abraham Lincoln famously appealed to the “better angels of our nature” for unification. The CUNY Graduate Center’s Great Music for a Great City series will use music to appeal to the better angels of our nature this election season with a concert series titled “America the Beautiful: A Festival of Music and Poetry.” The concerts will focus primarily on music by American composers and/or inspired by America. A different arrangement of America the Beautiful will be performed at each concert to encourage reflection on the meaning of the words and of our nation’s identity.

America the Beautiful concerts will be held on September 8, October 16, November 20, and December 18, at 8 pm. In addition, the popular Shanghai String Quartet will be returning for a series of concerts, beginning September 18. The Graduate Center is located at 365 Fifth Avenue. All the concerts are free, though seats may be guaranteed with a $10 donation by calling 212-817-8215.

Wednesday, September 8
From Europe to America: Dvorak’s Influence
Marking Antonin Dvorak’s 163rd Birthday, the program will feature the Shanghai String Quartet performing Dvorak’s Quartet for Strings No. 12 American, and Quintet for Piano and Strings in A, opus 81 (with series Artistic Director, pianist Caroline Stoessinger); America the Beautiful sung by NYC High School of Professional Performing Arts Chorus, Chantal Wright, Artistic Director; and a series of poems set to music read by Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson and sung by soprano Camellia Johnson, including: Lee Hoiby, Lady of the Harbor (Emma Lazarus); Irving Berlin, Lady Liberty (Emma Lazarus); Ricky Ian Gordon Litany (Langston Hughes); Margaret Bonds, I, Too (Langston Hughes); and Leonard Bernstein, They Are So Pretty.

Saturday, October 16
Composers Who Made Us Famous
Works by George Gershwin, Aaron Copland, Duke Ellington, and Leonard Bernstein.

Saturday, November 20
Music on the Edge of Life, 1928–1945: Composers Who Found Safety in America
Works by Arnold Schoenberg, Igor Stravinsky, Paul Hindemith, and Kurt Weill.

Saturday, December 18
Celebrating Our Nation: Generosity in Music
Works by Howard Hanson, Samuel Barber, Douglas Moore, Norman dello Joio, and John Alden Carpenter.


Saturday, September 18
Shanghai String Quartet
This well received quartet returns this year, beginning with a program of Hayden, Quartet op 76, no. 1; Shostakovich, String Quartet no. 3; Ravel, Quartet for Strings.

The Graduate Center is the doctorate-granting institution of The City University of New York. The only consortium of its kind in the nation, The Graduate Center draws its faculty of more than 1,600 members mainly from the CUNY senior colleges and cultural and scientific institutions throughout New York City.

Established in 1961, The Graduate Center has grown to an enrollment of about 3,900 students in 30 doctoral programs and six master's degree programs in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. The Graduate Center also houses 28 research centers and institutes, administers the CUNY Baccalaureate Program, and offers a wide range of continuing education and cultural programs of interest to the general public.

According to the most recent National Research Council report, more than a third of The Graduate Center's rated Ph.D. programs rank among the nation's top 20 at public and private institutions, nearly a quarter are among the top ten when compared to publicly supported institutions alone, and more than half are among the top five programs at publicly supported institutions in the northeast.

Submitted on: FEB 1, 2004

Category: Music Ph.D. - D.M.A | Press Room