GABRIEL KAHANE’S 8,980: BOOK OF TRAVELERS COMES TO
PRINCETON UNIVERSITY CONCERTS
The acclaimed song-cycle by the singer-songwriter tells the stories of Americans across the country, written after an 8,980-mile Amtrak train trip following the 2016 presidential election.
In addition to his performance, Kahane will also participate in a free a public talk
at the Princeton University Library.
Princeton University Concerts’ brand new “Crossroads” series, drawing together musicians and music from around the globe, lands in the United States on Valentine’s Day with acclaimed singer-songwriter Gabriel Kahane. He brings his 8,980: Book of Travelers song cycle, giving voice to the stories of Americans across the country immediately after the 2016 presidential election, on Thursday, February 14, 2019 at 7:30PM in Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall. Kahane will also participate in a free public discussion with Princeton University Professor Simon Morrison at the Princeton Public Library on Wednesday, February 13, 2019 at 7PM.
In these divided times, music has an ever-more important role as a universal language of connection, and a reminder of our shared experience. The morning after the 2016 presidential election, singer-songwriter Gabriel Kahane packed a suitcase and took a two-week, 8,980-mile train trip across the U.S. without a phone or internet. His resulting song cycle, drawn from the kaleidoscopic spectrum of his fellow travelers, is an eloquent cry for reconciliation and an attempt to rediscover our collective humanity in the face of all that seeks to separate us. Premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in 2017, the song cycle is performed by the composer, singing from the piano. In an interview on NPR’s All Things Considered, Kahane shared that although the idea for his journey across the country was instigated by the political climate, the song-cycle is simpler, “a plea for empathy. I think songwriting is a way to deliver that message. I think empathy is one of the primary currencies of any type of storytelling and songwriting is no exception to that.” The song-cycle addresses issues of love, economic privilege, race, military service, friendship, death, and more. The Economist wrote: “Kahane’s mosaic of stories reveals a country that is far more complex than the binary categories of the Twittersphere let on.”
Princeton University Concerts’ “Crossroads” series aims to distill chamber music to its purest and most elemental form, highlighting music’s steadfast intimacy and uncanny capacity to tell stories and spark new conversations. In celebration of Princeton University Concerts’ 125th anniversary this season, this series is a tribute to all that “chamber music” can encompass. The final performance in the series will be on April 16, 2019 at 7:30PM in a duo performance by mandolin virtuoso Avi Avital and bassist Omer Avital. More information is available at princetonuniversityconcerts.org.
AT THE PRINCETON PUBLIC LIBRARY
A brand-new program of public talks with artists on Princeton University Concerts’ “Crossroads” series provides a setting in which the public can engage in new conversations sparked by musical storytelling. Get to know the musicians and hear about their relationship to the music that they will perform in these hour-long, free and unticketed public talks.
Tickets for the concert are $30 General/$10 students, available at princetonuniversityconcerts.org, or by calling 609-258-9220. The Public Talk at the Princeton Public Library is free and unticketed.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
The day after the 2016 presidential election, singer-songwriter Gabriel Kahane boarded a train at Penn Station and traveled 8,980 miles around the continental U.S., talking to dozens of strangers in an attempt to better understand his country and fellow citizens. The resulting album, Book of Travelers (Nonesuch Records)—hailed by Rolling Stone as “a stunning portrait of a singular moment in America”—is at once a prayer for empathy and reconciliation, as well as an unflinching examination of the complex and often troubled history of the United States. This fall, Kahane embarks on a thirty-city North American tour in support of the album.
Gabriel has collaborated with a diverse array of artists, including Sufjan Stevens, Andrew Bird, Blake Mills, Chris Thile, Punch Brothers, and Paul Simon, for whom he arranged “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, heard throughout Simon’s farewell tour this year. As a composer, he has been commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Carnegie Hall, A Far Cry, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. For the Oregon Symphony, he wrote emergency shelter intake form, a nearly hour-long oratorio confronting the resurgence of deep poverty in America, and in particular, the national crises of housing insecurity and homelessness. That work premiered in May of 2018 and was recorded shortly thereafter for release in 2019. Other orchestral highlights have included solo appearances with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Colorado Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and The Knights, with whom Gabriel recorded his orchestral song cycle Crane Palimpsest, following a performance at Tanglewood’s Ozawa Hall.
An avid theater artist, Kahane has appeared twice at the BAM Next Wave Festival, in 2014 with the critically-lauded staged version of The Ambassador, directed by Tony-winner John Tiffany; and returning in 2017 with 8980: Book of Travelers, directed by Daniel Fish. He is also the composer-lyricist of the musical February House, which premiered in 2012 at the Public Theater. This fall, he makes his Broadway debut with an original score for Kenneth Lonergan’s The Waverly Gallery, starring Elaine May, Lucas Hedges, Michael Cera, and Joan Allen.
A graduate of Brown University and two-time MacDowell Colony fellow, Gabriel lives in Brooklyn, NY.
|8980: BOOK OF TRAVELERS
Gabriel Kahane, Singer-Songwriter
|PUBLIC TALK:||Wednesday, February 13, 2019 at 7:00PM at the Princeton Public Library (65 Witherspoon St).|
|CONCERT:||Thursday, February 14, 2019 at 7:30PM at Richardson Auditorium|
|TICKETS:||Concert tickets are $30 General/$10 Students. Tickets are available online at princetonuniversityconcerts.org, by phone at 609-258-9220, or in person two hours prior to the concert at the Richardson Auditorium Box Office. Both the public talk at the Princeton Public Library is free and unticketed.|