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MARCH 9—APRIL 15, 2019

Festival Kicks Off at Carnegie Hall on March 9
with Live From Here with Chris Thile, An Evening of
Traditional Scots, Irish, and American Folk Music, Radio Broadcast Live Nationwide

(November 15, 2018; NEW YORK, NY)—From March 9-April 15, 2019, Carnegie Hall presents Migrations: The Making of America, a citywide festival that traces the journeys of people from different origins and backgrounds who helped to shape and influence the evolution of American culture. The five-week festival with more than 100 events will celebrate the many contributions—cultural, social, economic, and political—of the people who helped to build America’s culture with musical programming at Carnegie Hall and public programming, performances, exhibitions, and events at more than 70 leading cultural and academic institutions across New York City and beyond.

At Carnegie Hall, festival concerts will examine the musical legacies of three migrations: the crossings from Scotland and Ireland during the 18th and 19th centuries, the immigration of Jews from Russia and Eastern Europe between 1881 and the National Origins Act of 1924, and the Great Migration—the exodus of African Americans from the South to the industrialized cities of the Northeast, Midwest, and West from 1917 into the 1970s. Migrations concerts by leading artists at Carnegie Hall includes performances of bluegrass, old-time, klezmer, Yiddish musical theater, the Great American Songbook, blues, jazz, and more.

Events at festival partner organizations, ranging from music and dance to exhibitions, talks, and films, will further amplify the themes celebrated by Carnegie Hall as well as explore many other migrations from around the world—from elsewhere in Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Asia as well as the internal migration of Native Americans—all of which have contributed to American culture today. Programming throughout the festival also focuses on New York City’s history and identity as a city welcoming to immigrants, highlighting traditions and cross-cultural collaborations of the city’s many diverse communities.

“With Carnegie Hall’s largest festival yet, we invite audiences to look more closely at how the migrations of people to and within this country and the evolution of art forms that they have developed here have been powerful influences on the creation and development of American culture,” said Clive Gillinson, Executive and Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall. “As we have planned this festival, it has been wonderful to see the passionate responses from partner organizations and how this theme has resonated with so many of them, resulting in a truly citywide celebration. We hope Migrations will be opportunity to take a fresh look at how America has been enriched by the diversity of cultures, traditions, and people that make up this great nation.”

Click here for full event schedule by genre as of November 2018

The Migrations festival kicks off at Carnegie Hall on March 9, with Live From Here with Chris Thile, a program exploring American bluegrass and old-time’s Scots and Irish roots. The concert will be broadcast live on the radio and online, distributed nationwide by American Public Media. The festival continues at the Hall with a special double-bill with Scottish songwriter and spoken-word performer Karine Polwart and banjo player-songwriter Kaia Kater (March 23); an evening featuring a contemporary take on traditional Irish/Celtic music with The Gloaming (April 6); American klezmer clarinetist and bluegrass mandolinist Andy Statman and his trio (March 14); an evening with pianist and vocalist Michael Feinstein, featuring songs by Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, Richard Rodgers, Harold Arlen, and others drawn from the American Songbook (March 27); and From Shtetl to Stage: A Celebration of Yiddish Music and Culture features a company of extraordinary Yiddish talent as well as stars of the classical, folk, and theater worlds as they mix chestnuts from the Yiddish theater and folk song repertoire with Yiddish-tinged vaudeville, art song, classical music, and klezmer—plus a scene from the Tony Award-winning show Indecent, introduced by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel; featured artists include clarinetist David Krakauer, violinist Gil Shaham, pianist Evgeny Kissin, and 2018 Tony Award winner, and star of Broadway’s The Band’s Visit, Katrina Lenk (April 15). Trumpeter Nicholas Payton traces the path of African rhythms from their arrival in the Caribbean through their journey to New Orleans and throughout the United States (March 16) and singer-songwriter Deva Mahal takes to the Zankel Hall stage (April 13). With a roster of guest artists including tenor Lawrence Brownlee, Pastor Smokie Norful, Toshi Reagon, and filmmaker Ava DuVernay, jazz pianist Jason Moran and mezzo-soprano Alicia Hall Moran draw upon their own family lore and the historical record of the Great Migration with Two Wings: The Music of Black America in Migration, shining a light on an epic event that changed the sound of America forever (March 30).

Festival partner programming will be presented by a wide range of organizations across the city, including the American Indian Community House; Americas Society; Center for Jewish History; Centro Primo Levi; China Institute; Cinema Tropical; Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration; Fiona Ritchie Productions/The Thistle & Shamrock on National Public Radio; Flushing Town Hall; Japan Society; Jazz at Lincoln Center; Museum of the City of New York; National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene; New York Genealogical and Biographical Society; New-York Historical Society; New York Public Library for the Performing Arts; Tenement Museum; plus numerous departments and research institutes from the City University of New York, Columbia University, Fordham University, and New York University, and many more. For a full list of festival partners, please see below.

Among the festival partner music highlights are:

  • Global Mashup: Bollywood Meets Global Roots Blues with internationally recognized Indian vocalist Falu mashing with Hazmat Modine, distillers of American music melded with African, Central Asian, Caribbean, and Eastern European influences (March 9 at Flushing Town Hall);
  • Lakecia Benjamin Quintet with A Woman’s Perspective: Jazz Takes Flight, exploring the story of the creation and evolution of America’s popular music from 1917 to 1971, featuring the music of Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, Muddy Waters, and Aretha Franklin, who provided the soundtrack to the Great Migration (March 13 at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center);
  • The Seventh Annual Celtic Appalachian Celebration of traditional Irish, old time, and American folk music, explores the shared lineage of Irish, West African, and Appalachian musical traditions, and is hosted by renowned musician-folklorist Mick Moloney (March 15 at Symphony Space; presented by the Irish Arts Center);

  • Music in Color: Gabriela Lena Frank—a series of performances by the St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble focusing on the music and life of Frank, an American composer of Peruvian, Chinese, and Lithuanian Jewish descent. Each performance also features a work by one of Frank’s inspirations, Chou Wen-chung, as well as a new work composed by a fellow of the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music (March 23 at the Gallery at Flushing Town Hall; further performances on March 24, 28, April 4 & 7 at venues across NYC; presented by the Orchestra of St. Luke’s);
  • New York–based Gregorio Uribe Big Band, which blends cumbia and other Colombian rhythms with a powerful big-band sound. Highlighting the contributions of Latin American immigrant musicians and composers in the US, the band is joined by special guests in Uribe’s own compositions, as well as new arrangements of works by Latin American immigrant composers (March 25 at Saint Peter’s Church; presented by the Americas Society);
  • Nhạc Quê Huong: Music of the Vietnamese Diaspora featuring a musical program that examines the migration of Vietnamese people, with arrangements that blend elements of traditional and modern Vietnamese music and Western music (April 6 at The Loreto Theater at the Sheen Center; presented by the Vietnam Heritage Center); and
  • Urban NDNS: A Celebration of Native American Music, Arts, and Culture—a musical celebration as part of the NYC American Indian Community House 50th Anniversary (April 11 at The New York Society for Ethical Culture; presented by the American Indian Community House).

Dance and theater highlights include:

  • Yeats + Tagore: India Meets Ireland (in America)—an afternoon of theater and music illuminating the friendship—forged in America—between Irish writer William Butler Yeats and Indian writer Rabindranath Tagore (March 16 at Bruno Walter Auditorium at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts);

  • Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company’s CrossCurrent VI, a contemporary collaborative dance project presented to showcase the dance works being developed by New York City–based Asian American artists (April 7 at Flushing Town Hall); and
  • You Took a Part of Me—a wired dance production with choreography by “punk ballerina” Karole Armitage for the five-member Armitage Gone! Dance. Loosely based on a 15th-century Noh play, the piece explores erotic entanglement, unresolved attachments, and the search for harmony. Set to live music by Reiko Yamada and Yuki Isami, the show embraces new technologies created by MIT Media Lab designers (April 12 and 13 at Japan Society).

Exhibition highlights include:

  • Interior Lives: Contemporary Photographs of Chinese New Yorkers, an exhibit featuring the work of three photographers—Thomas Holton, Annie Ling, and An Rong Xu—who have spent years documenting the lives of Chinese New Yorkers, providing a window into the complex realities of immigrant life in New York City (through March 24 at the Museum of the City of New York);
  • Music in America, which highlights the exchanges between cultures that have contributed to distinctly American musical styles and traditions. The installation includes English, Scotch, and Irish ballads; African vocal and rhythmic traditions; Cajun music; German accordions; and other influences—part of an exhibit on the various journeys of people coming to the US prior to 1890 (ongoing at Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration); and
  • Migrations at the Tenement Museum, which focuses on the experiences of immigrants, migrants, and refugees between the 19th and 21st centuries. Specialty tours—including a new music tour that will be featured on March 28—will explore the historic tenements and surrounding neighborhood, highlighting how food, music, politics, and policy have shaped American identities across generations (ongoing at the Tenement Museum).

Talks include:

  • Tracing Migrations to New York, a series of three workshops covering immigration to America during the periods 1600-1820, 1820-1924, and 1924 to the present, that will explore the pathways taken by thousands of immigrants as they’ve settled in America, along with an overview of techniques to trace the migrations of specific individuals and family histories (March 12, 19 and 26 at the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society);
  • Divided Loyalty: Being Chinese in America, with award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang, author of M. Butterfly, and other prominent Chinese exploring complex questions of identity (March 13 at the China Institute);
  • Immigration Matters: Jews, Other Immigrants, and America—a day-long symposium that examines the efforts exerted by American Jews to prevent, roll back, and resist immigration restriction (March 31 at the Center for Jewish History; presented by the Goldstein-Goren Center for American Jewish History at New York University, in conjunction with the Center for Jewish History and the American Jewish Historical Society);
  • Migrations: Rewriting America, a panel with Suketu Mehta (author of the forthcoming book This Land Is Their Land) and Gary Shteyngart (author of Lake Success), along with sociologists Nancy Foner and Philip Kasinitz, discuss how immigrants transform—and are themselves transformed by—American culture (April 1 at Elebash Recital Hall at The Graduate Center, CUNY);
  • Magnifico in New York—Corrado Cagli, Migrating Artists, and the Mirage of Italy. Art historian Raffaele Bedarida hosts this celebration of Italian artist and cultural organizer Corrado Cagli, who was forced to leave Italy because of racial persecution (April 8 at Bruno Walter Auditorium at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts; presented by the Centro Primo Levi, the Italian Cultural Institute, and the New York Library for the Performing Arts);
  • The Great Migration: Searching for Security, Finding Justice—a public conversation that examines the experiences of African Americans moving north during the Great Migration, with an expert panel reflecting on history and examining what it means today for racial justice, and the challenge of mass incarceration and voter suppression (April 10 at Lipton Hall at D’Agostino Hall, New York University School of Law; presented by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law);
  • Migration: The Making of Modern America, led by historian Mae Ngai, who will discuss how immigration has transformed the country and why it has become one of the most divisive issues in American politics (April 10 at the New-York Historical Society);
  • Diasporic Sound: Migration, Resilience, and Remix, a conversation curated by activist and DJ Ushka (Thanushka Yakupitiyage) that looks at the impact that migrations from South Asia, Africa, South America, and the Caribbean have had on the creation of diasporic, border-traversing sounds. An after-party hosted by Ushka will feature DJs and performers representing migrant sounds. (April 12 at Jurow Lecture Hall and Silverstein Lounge, New York University Silver Center for Arts and Science; presented by Asian/Pacific/American Institute at New York University); and
  • Migration: The Journey of Black Bodies—a one-day event that examines the movement of Black bodies in America and the impact that movement has had in the quest for liberation. Utilizing the archives of the Schomburg Center, and using multidisciplinary performance and community dialogue, the National Black Theatre commissions new pieces by theater-makers of African descent to examine the works of James Baldwin, Harriet Powers, Marcus Garvey, Harriet Tubman, and Jacob Lawrence to illuminate the complexities Black people have faced migrating in America (April 16 at The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; presented by the National Black Theatre in partnership with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture).

Film highlights include:

  • A Brivele der Mamen, which tells the heart-wrenching story of a mother who tries to keep her family together despite the disruptions caused by immigration and the traumatic events of World War I, their move to America, how it divided the family, and the work of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (April 1 at King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center; presented by the Goldstein-Goren Center for American Jewish History at New York University);
  • The Biggest Jewish City in the World and A Storm of Strangers: Jewish American—two historical 16mm documentaries (April 4 at Bruno Walter Auditorium at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts);
  • Black Shadows on a Silver Screen: The Great Migration and Independent Filmmaking—a celebration and discussion of African American independent filmmakers that features films from the Reserve Film and Video Collection of the New York Public Library with commentary by special guests (April 15 at Bruno Walter Auditorium at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts); and
  • Indocumentales—a film and conversation series that explores multiple Latin American migrant experiences in the US through compassionate and politically motivated filmic representation and prompted dialogue. A special screening of a recently released documentary on US-Latin American migration will be presented as part of the Migrations festival, followed by a panel discussion (at King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center; dates and times to be announced; presented by the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at New York University, Cinema Tropical, What Moves You?, and the World Council of Peoples for the United Nations).

Culinary events include:

  • A series of three gastronomic events in New York City, hosted by notable personalities from the food world, will focus on three migrations: the Great Migration with Dr. Jessica B. Harris as well as those who migrated to the US from Colombia with Mariana Velasquez; and from India with Madhur Jaffrey. Presented by Oxford Cultural Collective, each dinner will explore culinary heritage as a form of cultural patrimony (May 1, 8 and 15; location to be announced).

Many festival partners will offer programming highlighting New York City’s unique identity as a city with a tradition of welcoming immigrants, including events at the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration, the Museum of the City of New York, the New-York Historical Society, the Tenement Museum, and more. Special tours include The Hospital Zone at Ellis Island: A Walking Tour with guides from Save Ellis Island at Castle Clinton in Battery Park (March 23; presented by the New York Academy of Medicine and the Museum of the City of New York in collaboration with Wellcome).

The Migrations festival immediately precedes the City of New York’s Immigrant Heritage Week (April 15-21), when New Yorkers hold a week-long celebration of collective immigrant heritage with events throughout the week in recognition of the date on which the most immigrants entered the US through Ellis Island: April 17, 1907 (presented by the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs).

Inspired by the Migrations festival, a Spring Family Day in Carnegie Hall’s Resnick Education Wing will highlight how Harlem became the hub for African American artistic expression, offering a wide range of free, interactive fun activities for children and families (April 7). Through songwriting workshops this season created by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute, New Yorkers of all ages will explore the music that their families brought to America, crossing generations and borders, culminating in a performance titled Soul Mechanisms: A Concert Celebrating the Music of Migrations led by celebrated performer Toshi Reagon in Zankel Hall (May 19).

Migrations festival—Radio and Digital Offerings:

In addition to the March 9 national radio broadcast of Live From Here with Chris Thile on American Public Media which kicks off the festival, Migrations will reach national and international audiences through radio and digital offerings, including: a six-week radio series on This Irish American Life presented by Glucksman Ireland House / The Center for Irish Studies at New York University; radio interviews on Fiona Ritchie’s award-wining NPR show The Thistle & Shamrock with festival artists Chris Thile and Karine Polwart; The Museum of Modern Art’s digital exhibit, One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series, which takes an in-depth look at Lawrence’s landmark 1941 painting series about the mass movement of African Americans from the rural South to the urban North; an online course, Oh Mama, I’m in Love!: The Story of the Yiddish Stage presented by the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, plus more.

For a full Migrations: The Making of America event schedule by genre as of November 2018, click here.

Migrations: The Making of America Festival Partners (as of November 2018)

American Indian Community House
American Irish Historical Society
American Jewish Historical Society
The American-Scottish Foundation
Americas Society
The Art Students League of New York
Asian/Pacific/American Institute at New York University
Association for Cultural Equity
Association for the Study of African American Life and History
Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law
Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute
Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, New York University
Center for Jewish History
Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, New York University
Centro Primo Levi
China Institute
Cinema Tropical
El Museo del Barrio
Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration
Fiona Ritchie Productions/The Thistle & Shamrock, National Public Radio
Flushing Town Hall
Glucksman Ireland House/The Center for Irish Studies, New York University
Goldstein-Goren Center for American Jewish History, New York University
The Graduate Center, CUNY
Harlem One Stop/Harlem Cultural Collaborative
Harlem Stage
Hutchins Center for African & African American Research, Harvard University
Immigration and Ethnic History Society
The India Center Foundation
Indo-American Arts Council
Institute of Irish Studies, Fordham University
Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies, Columbia University
Institute for Research in African-American Studies, Columbia University
Irish Arts Center
Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America, Columbia University
Italian Cultural Institute
Japan Society
Jazz at Lincoln Center
The Jewish Museum
The John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, Queens College, CUNY
Keyes Art Projects
Latin American & Caribbean Studies and Center for the Arts and Culture, Hostos Community College, CUNY
Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Museum of Chinese in America
Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust
The Museum of Modern Art
Museum of the City of New York
National Black Theatre
National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene
The New York Academy of Medicine
New York Caledonian Club
New York Genealogical and Biographical Society
The New-York Historical Society
The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
New York Tartan Week
Northern Ireland Bureau
Orchestra of St. Luke’s
Origin Theatre Company
Oxford Cultural Collective
Saint Andrew’s Society of the State of New York
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
Scotch-Irish Society of the United States of America
Scottish Government
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
Studs Terkel Radio Archive
Tenement Museum
Ulster Historical Foundation
Ulster-Scots Agency
Vietnam Heritage Center
WFMT Radio Network
What Moves You?
World Council of Peoples for the United Nations
Yiddish Book Center
YIVO Institute for Jewish Research


Nicholas Payton on March 16 and the Joyce and George T. Wein Shape of Jazz series are made possible by the Joyce and George Wein Foundation in memory of Joyce Wein.

Two Wings: The Music of Black America in Migration is sponsored by United Airlines®, Official Airline of Carnegie Hall. The Trustees of Carnegie Hall gratefully acknowledge the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Earle S. Altman in support of the 2018-2019 season.

Thanks to the Department of Homeless Services for supporting families during Family Days. Family Days are generously supported, in part, by an endowment gift from Linda and Earle S. Altman.

Soul Mechanisms: A Concert Celebrating the Music of Migrations, a creative learning project for young people across New York City, is made possible in part by generous support from Martha and Bob Lipp.

Support for the Russian and Eastern European Jewish Migration series of the Migrations festival is provided by The Polonsky Foundation.

Lead support for Migrations: The Making of America is provided by the Ford Foundation, The Morris and Alma Schapiro Fund, and Igor Tulchinsky.

Additional support is provided by the Howard Gilman Foundation, Dr. Lynne Harrison, and Anonymous (2).

Public support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Chris Thile is holder of the 2018-2019 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair at Carnegie Hall.

Bank of America is the Proud Season Sponsor of Carnegie Hall.

Ticket Information
Tickets for events taking place at Carnegie Hall are available at the Carnegie Hall Box Office, 154 West 57th Street, or can be charged to major credit cards by calling CarnegieCharge at 212-247-7800 or by visiting the Carnegie Hall website,

For tickets to Migrations: The Making of America festival partner events, please contact the specific venue. For links to more information, please see the Migrations full event listings.


For high resolutions images of Migrations: The Making of America artists, please contact the Carnegie Hall Public Relations Office at 212-903-9750 or [email protected].

Visit to watch Migrations festival videos.

Photo Credits: Pictured on page two L to R: Nicholas Payton by Gus Bennett Jr.; Chris Thile by Devin Pedde; Karine Polwart by Sandy Butler; Kaia Kater by Raez Argulla; Andy Statman by Larry Eagle; Michael Feinstein publicity photo provided by artist’s management; Jason and Alicia Hall Moran by Dawoud Bey; The Gloaming by Rich Gilligan; Deva Mahal by Shervin Lainez; and Evgeny Kissin by Sasha Gusov. Pictured on page three: Gabriela Lena Frank by Mariah Tauger and Nai-Ni Chen CrossCurrent VI by Steven Vandervelden. Pictured on page four: Tenement Museum photo by Gemma Solomons and David Henry Hwang photo by Gregory Costanzo. Pictured on page six: Playground on Ellis Island, c. 1910 courtesy of Library of Congress, an Underwood & Underwood Press Photo.

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