Hosted by late Natalie Cole's music director on Friday, September 29 at 7:00 p.m.
Published : Wednesday, August 30, 2017 | 11:36 AM
Women have been gifted musicians for millennia. But until recently they were either virtually unknown – how many have heard of 12th century composer Hildegard de Bingen? – or like Fanny Mendelssohn and Anna Magdalena Bach, were overshadowed by a brother or husband. (An assertion in 2014 that Anna Magdalena composed several of JS Bach’s more acclaimed works set off a firestorm.) Even today, American audiences may be unfamiliar with artists like Natalia Lafourcade, a star throughout Mexico and Latin America, or realize that the legacies of such Latina singers as Selena and Linda Ronstadt equal those of Luis Miguel or Ricky Martin.
The musical tide is changing, however – which Clazzical Notes upcoming program, Celebrating Women in Music: Gender, Genres, and Generations, will reveal on Friday, September 29 at 7:00 p.m. at Pasadena City College’s Westerbeck Hall.
“Just look at the documentaries of recent years,” says Clazzical Notes’ founder and executive director, Jerri Price-Gaines. “They’ve chronicled the lives of artists like Nina Simone, Amy Winehouse, Selena, Marian Anderson, Anita O’Day, and even – in 20 Feet from Stardom – female backup singers. Meanwhile the National Museum of History celebrated the legacy of Celia Cruz, operatic soprano Renee Fleming received the 2012 National Medal of Arts from President Obama, and NPR recently produced, in partnership with Lincoln Center, a list of the 156 Greatest Albums by Women. Plus it’s the 100th anniversary of Ella Fitzgerald’s birthday!”
Celebrating Women in Music: Gender, Genres, and Generations will present vocal performances by jazz Rita Edmond (Jazz), Stephanie Amaro (Latin POP, Boleros) and Madeleine and Melina Adragna (Opera, Broadway). Gail Deadrick, music director for the late Natalie Cole, will appear as guest host.
“This will be a very special evening, where three generations of extraordinarily gifted women will come together to provide a musical train ride of genres,” Deadrick explains. “We’ll ‘travel’ through generations of music, making ‘stops’ along the way to experience an array of cultures and styles. I call this ‘the musician’s mantra’ – the willingness to embrace what may be unfamiliar and, in so doing, gain insight from it.”
Clazzical Notes also hopes that that this production will inspire young women to make their own artistic contributions to the community and the world. But Price-Gaines – a former opera singer, herself – adds one caveat. Upcoming artists should heed the advice of Nina Simone, who said, “There’s no excuse for the young people not knowing who the heroes and heroines are or were.”
“Take Rita, Stephanie, Madeleine, and Melina,” Price-Gaines continues. “The female icons from the past and present may have influenced them, but their artistry and talent is strictly their own.”
Celebrating Women in Music: Gender, Genres, and Generations is presented free to the public, although free will offerings will be very gratefully accepted. Parking at PCC – which is located at 1570 East Colorado Blvd in Pasadena – is complimentary as well.
Clazzical Notes also gives special thanks to the Pasadena City College music department.
Clazzical Notes’ mission is to create engaging, educational, and experiential music programs that foster community understanding across diverse cultures, genres, and generations. For more information about Clazzical Notes, visit www.clazzicalnotes.com or call (626) 529-5133.