From the time I was a young boy growing up in New York, I was fascinated by the connection between music, imagery and history. Pure and simple…that’s my passion.
“Breathing of an ancestor’s space and time,” is a phrase I often use when describing my passion. Accordingly, my objective is to create historical “New York experiences,” not only for New Yorkers, but for all its visitors as well. What was it like growing up in nineteenth and twentieth century New York? What was it like for our parents and grandparents who grew up and experienced the city through two wars? What was it like for our ancestors, who arrived at the docks of New York, hungry, exhausted and dressed in rags?
I’m a cultural and musical historian by education, but I focus on blending, imagery and performance art to create uniquely New York experiences. My historically-themed shows, including “Crossing Boroughs,” which was recently performed at the Museum of the City of New York, “The Musical History of the Lower East Side,” and “New York City: A Shining Mosaic” incorporate story, music, imagery and dance.
Over the past three years I have performed “Jazz and the City” on the New York scene, which features narration and David Raleigh’s jazz quartet in a musical tribute that transports the audience back in time through personal recollections, anecdotes and stories of the artists and musical geniuses who created the great American Songbook and made New York City the jazz capitol of the world. Currently, I am working on a new presentation “The Blues Meet Jazz…in the City,” which will premiere in the Spring.
In 2017, 2018 and 2019, I introduced a series of shows at The Cell in New York City called respectively, “New Yorkers: Together in Story and Song,” “Thoroughly New York,” and “Classically Exposed: From Carnegie to The Cell,” which featured performers who now reside in New York, but who came to America from all over the globe, including Japan, Argentina, Peru, England, Ireland, Germany and China. New York City has always been a melting pot and the home for aspiring artists. The arts, particularly music, have also been a melting pot, a cultural melting pot of antiquity, an integral component of human civilization that has been shared between cultures for the millennia.
I enjoy emceeing and curating events, including Showcases for Artists Without Walls, an organization I cofounded with Niamh Hyland. Niamh and I have always been inspired by the flowering of artistic achievement, which often arises when cultures come together, thus, we founded Artists Without Walls, which is purposed to inspire, uplift and unite people and communities of diverse cultures through the pursuit of artistic achievement.
Other similar roles include emcee and curator at OurLand Fest at Lincoln Center, curator for Irish Stand, 2017, a grassroots movement devoted to civil rights protection for all immigrants, and Masters of Ceremony for “The Dean’s Award 2015” at Lehman College.
One of many great moments in the last few years was meeting with and interviewing singer-songwriter Judy Collins and creating the film “Walls We Are Not Forgotten,” about her life. The film was presented at the 2012 Eugene Neill Award ceremony, which honored Ms. Collins work in the arts and humanities.
I also enjoy lecturing at college campuses. Currently I have a lecture series at Lehman College as part of the City and Humanities Program which centers on immigration and family history, “Bringing, History, Music and Story Together in a Digital World.”
Behind the scenes from the filming of “A Moment”