Our fall 2020 digital season takes the performance to you
Posted September 1, 2020
Martha Graham Dance Company, Photo by Hibbard Nash Photography
We are excited to announce our fall 2020 digital season! Curated and created just for our patrons, our exclusive live performances will bring some of the best dance and music artists from our stage to your home. Also, new for this season, we are pleased that films will be returning to our line-up, broadening our programming and supporting independent film on campus and in West Philadelphia.
Each one-night-only music and dance performance will be broadcast live from our theatre and be followed by a Q&A with the artists. Viewers will have the opportunity to chat live with each other and the performers, forging connections at a time when we all feel so apart. Read on to discover what’s coming to our virtual stage! Read more...
5 Questions with Tivon Pennicott
Posted October 6, 2020
Let’s learn more about tenor saxophonist Tivon Pennicott in just five questions! This three-time Grammy® Award-winner is making his Annenberg Center debut on October 22
as part of our fall 2020 season. We know he’s in-demand, as the go-to tenor player for Stevie Wonder, Jon Batiste, Gregory Porter, Esperanza Spalding and more, but we’re eager to discover more about this rising jazz star.
1. Talk about your background.
During the American civil rights movement, my parents were listening in a small town in Jamaica from a choppy radio signal on all the happenings. As the early beginnings of positive change came to be, the Land of Liberty became more enticing to my folks. They decided to move to North Carolina in the mid 70's. They eventually moved to Marietta, Georgia where my sister and I were born. Needless to say, our way of living remains deeply rooted within our Jamaican heritage. Read more...
Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month
Posted September 28, 2020
Photo of Ballet Hispánico by Paula Lobo
September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic American Heritage Month
, an annual event celebrating the cultural contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans. We are proud to serve Philadelphia as a cultural destination that connects you with some of the best Hispanic music and dance artists each season. To honor Hispanic Heritage Month, we wanted to share some video highlights from some of the amazing array of Hispanic artists who have performed on our stages over the past few years. Enjoy! Read more...
Tiny Desk Concerts by Annenberg Center Artists
Posted August 31, 2020
Esperanza Spalding's 2010 Tiny Desk concert
Since 2008, NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts
has presented over 800 performances. The online concert series, perhaps the most popular of its kind in the world, features different artists from every musical genre in intimate, in-studio performances lasting about 15-20 minutes. There’s only one main rule for the artists to follow: All equipment, instruments and people must fit behind the desk. The famed desk space, reminiscent of a quirky, jam-packed office cubicle, has hosted many Annenberg Center artists over the years. Here are a few of our recent favorites! Read more...
Reflection: Jazz as protest music
Alexander Freeman · Posted August 19, 2020
Max Roach's We Insist!
addressed political and racial issues during the 1960s.
From the beginning, jazz – rooted in slave songs and the blues, born in New Orleans in the early twentieth century, and coming of age during the Harlem Renaissance – has been at the nexus of musical expression and social justice. Wynton Marsalis says jazz is “unbelievably democratic
” and jazz historian and critic Stanley Crouch wrote, “jazz predicted the civil rights movement more than any other art form.”
As early as the 1920s, jazz musicians were using their music to call attention to discrimination. In his 1929 recording of Fats Waller’s tune, “(What Did I Do To Be So) Black and Blue,” Louis Armstrong altered the lyrics to emphasize the notion of racial prejudice. Ten years later, Billie Holiday recorded Abel Meeropol’s “Strange Fruit,” a song written in response to the 1930 lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith in Indiana. TIME magazine named it the best song of the century in 1999. Read more...
5 Questions with Emmet Cohen
Posted July 20, 2020
Emmet Cohen protesting alongside Jon Batiste of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
In five questions, we aim to discover more about Annenberg Center artists, Penn faculty and others whom we find interesting. This time, we feature Harlem-based piano phenom Emmet Cohen who made his Annenberg Center debut back in 2019. Cohen blew us away with his prodigious technique, innovative sound and exuberant charm. And now, you can enjoy this rising jazz star from the comfort of your home every Monday night for his Live from Emmet’s Place series. Read on to learn more about Emmet Cohen, and join us tonight at 7:30 PM as we share his Monday night concert on our Facebook page!
1. What first got you into music?
I first started piano lessons at three years old, and there was always a lot of music – not in my immediate family, not my parents – but on my dad’s side of the family. I think he always wanted to be a musician and it was something that he considered going into as a profession when he was a teenager in the 1960s. Out of high school, he had a recording contract with Brunswick, the same record label with the same management as Jackie Wilson. Jackie’s record came out the same time as his record and no one ever called him back again. Read more...
Penn honors composer Henry Threadgill with an Honorary Doctor of Music
Alexander Freeman · Posted May 13, 2020
Photo by Caitlin Ochs / The New York Times
Last year, Annenberg Center staff clocked in to work very early in the morning on Monday, May 20. The caterers wheeled in the continental breakfast at 4:30 AM. By 7 AM, Facilities had set up chairs and flags throughout the main lobby, and the Penn Bookstore arrived to begin setting up their regalia stations. Faculty members arrived around 8:30 to robe and mingle over bagels and coffee, and by 9 AM, President Gutmann made brief remarks to the 390 people that had gathered. By 9:30, everyone exited the Annenberg Center in an orderly fashion, and the 263rd Commencement Procession began, complete with marching bands blaring down Locust Walk. It was one of the most important celebrations of the academic year.
This year, the 264th Commencement will be held Monday, May 18th at 11 AM. Like every year since 2003, the event will be live-streamed; however, due to the unprecedented circumstances of COVID-19, this year’s celebration will take place exclusively on-line. Read more...
ListenUp: Jazz Playlist
Posted April 29, 2020
This week’s ListenUp playlist features artists from our jam-packed 19/20 jazz season. We kicked things off in October with the electrifying pianist Hiromi
in a rare solo performance. In November, we welcomed drummer Ralph Peterson
, who brought with him a group of elite alumni from the Jazz Messenger bands, in a show celebrating the 100th anniversary of Art Blakey’s birth. The following week, we were delighted to present the Philadelphia debut of vibraphonist Joel Ross
. Two of today’s top jazz vocalists, Dianne Reeves
and Alicia Olatuja
graced our stages in December and February, and the sizzling hot salsa and Latin band Spanish Harlem Orchestra
returned to the Annenberg Center on a cold night in January. Earlier this month, SFJAZZ Collective
was slated to celebrate the 50th anniversary of two essential albums: Sly and Family Stone’s Stand!
and Miles Davis’ In a Silent Way
. Although we missed them this time, we can’t wait to have SFJAZZ Collective back next April.
Emmet Cohen continues to amaze us
Posted April 21, 2020
, a recent guest at the Annenberg for his Center debut, has already become one of our favorites. After selling out our Harold Prince Theatre last spring with his trio, Emmet continues to amaze us with his innovative approach to making and sharing his music. You can experience the trio’s terrific music making at Emmet’s apartment in Harlem every Monday evening via “Live at Emmet’s Place
.” We’ll post these weekly events on our calendar
, so be sure to check back regularly to see the latest from this dynamic and charismatic performer.