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W. C. Handy & the Birth of the Blues

Shereen Pimentel, soprano
Lucia Bradford, mezzo-soprano
Joshua Blue, tenor
Justin Austin, baritone
Scott Robinson, saxophone
Vince Giordano, bass instruments and guitar
Joseph Li, piano
Steven Blier, piano

NYFOS delves into the world of W. C. Handy, often referred to as the “Father of the Blues,” and his vast influence as a prominent African-American composer and publisher in the early 20th century. Born in Alabama in 1873 (the son of former slaves), Handy took the blues from a regional style with a limited audience to a new level of popularity. In 1912 he wrote and published the first commercially successful blues song, “Memphis Blues.” In 1914, he made his fame writing and publishing “The St. Louis Blues,” which became a million-selling sheet music phenomenon (in the days before hit records).


Wednesday, November 14, 2018, 8pm

Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center
129 West 67th Street, New York, NY
Tickets $20-62 | 212-501-3330

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Shereen Pimentel
Lucia Bradford
Joshua Blue
Steven Blier

British-American tenor Joshua Blue slayed audiences in NYC and Hudson, NY last season when NYFOS presented a program called ProtestThe Brooklyn Rail wrote: “Joshua Blue’s performance of Fats Waller and Andy Razaf’s ‘Black and Blue’ was nothing short of extraordinary.” Also last season, mezzo Lucia Bradford, a Brooklyn native, was featured in NYFOS’s all-Bernstein program in NY and DC. Washington Classical Review praised her “huge passion in ‘I Too Sing America/Okay Negros’ from Songfest. And Bradford, armed with a luscious voice and a formidable dramatic flair was devastating in ‘Ain’t Got No Tears Left’ from On the Town.” NYFOS also welcomes back the astounding young soprano Shereen Pimentel who stepped into the cast of Protest a week before its performances and opened the show “with flair” in Stevie Wonder’s “Is It Magic” (The Brooklyn Rail).


Mainstage concerts will be followed by a complimentary wine reception with the artists.


New York Festival of Song • One Penn Plaza • #6108 • New York, NY 10119 • 646-230-8380 • info@nyfos.org