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2009 Provocative Thinkers in Science Series

The 2009 Provocative Thinkers in Science Series, a set of five evening events, brings together world-renowned scientists to explain cutting-edge topics in science to a lay public audience.

 It will be held on weeknights this September through December, 2009. Richard Dawkins

Says Adrienne Burke, Executive Editor of Science & the City, "Now in its third season, the Science & the City event series serves the Academy's mission to promote the understanding of science in society. This fall our audiences will have the chance to engage with some of the most fascinating minds in research and learn about science that is changing the world, and our understanding of it."

Science & the City events are held in the evenings in the Academy's conference center on the 40th floor of 7 World Trade Center. Wine and cheese receptions and book-signings take place following each lecture.

Read more: 2009 Provocative Thinkers in...

Brooklyn Book Festival Joins Forces With New York Comic Con

This year’s Brooklyn Book Festival will again feature a literary marketplace with more than 150 booksellers, publishers and literary organizations in Borough Hall Plaza as well as panel discussions and readings, a children’s authors stage and special programming for teens and exhibitors that will include bookstores, publishers and literary organizations. Readings are held at Brooklyn Borough Hall, in Borough Hall Plaza and Columbus Park, at St. Francis College and the Brooklyn Historical Society.

Programming will include fiction, nonfiction and poetry panels on hot topics such as:

“The International Graphic Novel,” featuring Guy Delisle (The Burma Chronicles), Peter Kuper (Diario de Oaxaca: A Sketchbook Journal of Two Years in Mexico), and Sarah Glidden (How To Understand Israel In 60 Days Or Less), moderated by Matt Madden

“The Great Recession” (featuring Justin Fox, Naomi Klein, Kai Wright and moderator Errol Louis of the New York Daily News)
“The Naked City: Urban Realism and the Global City in Fiction & Non-Fiction” (featuring David Lida, Meera Nair, Hirsh Sawhney and moderator Cheryl Harris Sharman

“Literature in a Digital Age” (John Freeman, Dwight Garner, Sarah Schmelling)

“Poetry, Pop and Hip-Hop” (Lupe Fiasco, Thurston Moore, Tracie Morris, Matthew Zapruder and moderator Touré)

“PSA Presents” (a reading by the nation’s oldest poetry organization, featuring some of the country’s best bards, including Anne Carson, Sonia Sanchez, Philip Schultz, Arthur Sze and Alice Quinn).

Confirmed authors include:
Nelson George
Jonathan Ames
Paul Auster
Staceyann Chin
Guy Delisle
Lupe Fiasco
Edwidge Danticat
Rawi Hage
Tao Lin
Jonathan Lethem
Colson Whitehead
David Lida
Matt Madden
Thurston Moore
Gary Shteyngart
Melvin Van Peebles
Sherman Alexie
M.T. Anderson
Naomi Klein
Danica Novgorodoff
Esmeralda Santiago
George O’Connor
Raina Telgemeier
Jessica Abel
Nick Bruel
Peter and Randall de Seve
Christopher Myers
Tom Tomorrow
Mo Willems
Russell Banks
Kate DiCamillo
Cynthia Ozick
Anne Carson
A.M. Homes
David Cross
Mary Gaitskill
Oliver Sacks
Nelson George
Amy Sohn
Jeffrey Rotter
Keith Gessen
Greg Milner
Francine Prose
and more.

The 2009 Brooklyn Book Festival is presented by Brooklyn Tourism and the Brooklyn Literary Council, initiatives of Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. Sponsors include the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation; the NYC & Company Foundation; New York Comic Con; Astoria Federal Savings; Citi; Boar’s Head Provisions; the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge; and Time Out New York, media sponsor again this year.

Cultural partners are BAM; the Brooklyn Historical Society; Brooklyn Public Library; and the National Book Foundation. Programming partners include Housing Works Bookstore Café; PEN American Center; Poetry Society of America; The New York Review of Books; St. Francis College; and The Nation.

For more information about the Brooklyn Book Festival, visit www.visitbrooklyn.org or check out the official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Brooklyn-Book-Festival-Official-Site/20650359836. On Twitter, follow the Brooklyn Book Festival at bkbf.

The 2009 Brooklyn Book Festival is presented by Brooklyn Tourism and the Brooklyn Literary Council, initiatives of Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz.

Sponsors include the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation; the NYC & Company Foundation; New York Comic Con; Astoria Federal Savings; Citi; Boar’s Head Provisions; the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge; and Time Out New York, media sponsor again this year. Cultural partners are BAM; the Brooklyn Historical Society; Brooklyn Public Library; and the National Book Foundation. Programming partners include Housing Works Bookstore Café; PEN American Center; Poetry Society of America; The New York Review of Books; St. Francis College; and The Nation.

For comics exhibitors and vendors, the NYCC programming area will provide a unique opportunity for them to not only have a home that attracts like-minded customers and fans, but to have a central location where new fans and readers can check out the latest in comics and pop culture entertainment.  Comic book writer and editor Denny O’Neil, creator Phil Jimenez, and writer and editor Tom DeFalco are just a few of the many popular guests who will appear in the NYCC programming area. 

In addition to guest speakers, NYCC’s diverse Brooklyn Book Festival programming includes Hip Hop Hearts Anime, a live-performance featuring local DJs which focuses on the intermixing of American hip hop culture and Japanese anime.  Some of the companies who will be participating include Captain Action, Midtown Comics, Moonstone Publishing, and Disney Publishing. An additional announcement with more guest names and participating companies will be made in the near future.     

"The Brooklyn Book Festival is an awesome gathering and I have had tremendous respect for the festival from the moment it started,” notes Lance Fensterman, Vice President and Show Manager for New York Comic Con. “We are proud to bring an intense graphic lit and pop culture presence to such a great festival. I am sure this will provide our customers with the opportunity to connect directly with lots of new fans.  Plus, it’s all for free!  This is a win-win in every respect.”
 
“These days, Brooklyn is a hotbed of pop culture, high-tech culture, literary and blog culture, ethnic culture, indie culture, and has basically become an international hub for in-your-face creativity,” says Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. “It’s only fitting that the Brooklyn Book Festival would form a dynamic duo with New York Comic Con!”

The renowned Brooklyn Book Festival and New York Comic Con (NYCC) announce that the premiere pop culture convention and its stars will have a powerful presence at this year’s Brooklyn Book Festival, which the L.A. Times has called “the center of the literary universe.” NYCC will have its own colorful and exciting programming area at the free Festival, which draws nearly 30,000 visitors to experience readings and panels featuring international literary superstars, buzzworthy newcomers and more than 150 booksellers, publishers, independent presses and literary organizations in a bustling literary marketplace.

NYCC’s programming area at the Brooklyn Book Festival will include a performance tent, guest presentations, guest autographing sessions and a dedicated marketplace area.  NYCC’s participation will be a positive way to spread further awareness of comics and graphic literature while providing free interaction and entertainment for thousands of NYCC fans. 

The next NYCC will take place October 8 – 10, 2010 at the Jacob K. Javits Center. Ranked by Crain's New York Business as the second-largest annual event in NYC, it has grown from a convention that attracted 33,000 visitors when it was launched in 2006 to a show that will occupy the entire Javits Center and will attract well over 75,000 fans in 2010. 

For more information about the Brooklyn Book Festival, go to: www.visitbrooklyn.org or check out the official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Brooklyn-Book-Festival-Official-Site/20650359836.

On Twitter, follow the Brooklyn Book Festival at bkbf.

Brooklyn Book Festival
Borough Hall Plaza

Lesser Known Classics at the Mostly Mozart Fest

Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Lincoln Center

The first program, entitled "The Singing Heart", in this year's Mostly Mozart Festival—which I attended on the evening of Wednesday, July 26th, at David Geffen Hall and which featured the house orchestra confidently conducted by the enthusiastic music director, Louis Langrée—proved to be an unusually memorable one.

The concert opened with the sublime Kyrie, K. 90, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, gorgeously sung by the appealing Young People's Chorus of New York City, under the direction Francisco J. Núñez. This was followed by a splendid account of the first movement of the same composer's excellent "Haffner" Symphony, with some of the movements interrupted by other works sung by the chorus, in accord with the practice of the time. These included the 19th century American hymn, "Hark, I hear the Harps Eternal", and the Brazilian "Three Indigenous Songs of the Kraó Tribe", as much performance art as beautiful music. After the final two movements of the symphony, the chorus performed the powerful black spiritual, "Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel".
 
The choral director's enjoyable arrangement of the children's song, "Ah vous dirai-je, maman" was a prelude to the thrilling finale, Ludwig van Beethoven's superb, rarely performed "Choral Fantasy". The Festival Orchestra and the Young People's Chorus were here joined by the fine Concert Chorale of New York —directed by James Bagwell—along with the precocious pianist, Kit Armstrong, and a sextet of wonderful singers: sopranos Janai Brugger and Brandie Sutton, mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano, tenors Jack Swanson and Miles Mykkanen, and basso Adam Lau. An enthusiastic ovation elicited a magnificent encore, Leonard Bernstein's unforgettable finale to Candide,"Make Our Garden Grow".
 
The first week of the festival concluded with its second house orchestra program on the evening of Saturday, July 29th.
 
A lovely pre-concert recital featured Franz Schubert's lyrical, seldom heard Introduction and Variations on "Trockne Blumen" for flute and piano—based on one of the composer's songs from his extraordinary first cycle, Die schöne Müllerin—here effectively realized by flautist Jasmine Choi, accompanied by Roman Rabinovich.
 
After a brief introduction by guest conductor Edward Gardner, the concert proper began superbly with what proved to be the highlight of the evening: a moving account of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's rarely performed, glorious Masonic Funeral Music in C minor of 1785.
 
Acclaimed soloist Jeremy Denk then took the stage for a solid reading of Ludwig van Beethoven's ubiquitous Piano Concerto No. 4, in which he played the composer's own cadenza, which is standardly heard. Passionate applause was answered by a welcome encore, the exquisite Andante from Mozart's Sonata in C Major, K. 545.
 
The program concluded gracefully with an enjoyable performance of Schubert's lesser known, elegant Symphony No. 5.

MET Orchestra Perform the Cycles of Mahler

Esa-Pekka Salonen

A glorious season of orchestral music at Carnegie Hall finished this month with three superb concerts featuring the excellent MET Orchestra under the inspired direction of Esa-Pekka Salonen, with each program devoted in part to a Gustav Mahler song cycle. The first performance, presented on the evening of Wednesday, May 31st, opened with selections from Mahler's sensuous Des Knaben Wunderhorn sung by two outstanding artists, renowned mezzo-soprano Susan Graham and the fine tenor Matthew Polenzani. Both singers unexpectedly sounded slightly underpowered but the orchestral playing was crystalline. The second half of the program was more impressive with probably the most extraordinary account I have heard in the concert hall of the same composer's frequently performed, magnificent Symphony No. 1, the apotheosis of all three programs.

The next concert—given on the afternoon of Saturday, June 3rd—merited comparable esteem, opening with a sterling reading of Robert Schumann's beautiful Symphony No. 3, the "Rhenish", a work surprisingly not much heard on New York stages lately. The latter half of the program surpassed the first with a stunning version of Mahler's sublime Das Lied von der Erde, showcasing two thrilling singers—the lovely mezzo-soprano, Karen Cargill, and the dynamic tenor, Stuart Skelton—both exquisitely accompanied by the ensemble in another pellucid realization.

The final program—which took place on the evening of the following Tuesday—also satisfied, beginning with an elegant account of Mahler's seldom performed, posthumously published, but gorgeous Blumine. Celebrated virtuoso Christian Tetzlaff then took the stage for a rewarding performance of the wonderful Violin Concerto of Jean Sibelius, a composer with whom the conductor has had a privileged relationship. Vigorous applause earned the audience an enjoyable encore from the soloist: the challenging Presto from the Solo Violin Sonata, BB 124, of Béla Bartók.

The second half of the concert started with the moving Mahler Kindertotenlieder, appealingly sung by the popular mezzo-soprano, Anne Sofie von Otter, who nonetheless seemed slightly underpowered. The event closed strongly with a compelling rendition of the idiosyncratic, mysterious Sibelius Symphony No. 7. One looks forward enormously to hearing these distinguished musicians again next season.

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