NEW YORK - Harlem Stage is kicking off its 40th season this month with a celebration of living.
From the space where clean water was first delivered to New Yorkers now flows creativity and a classical, yet cultural, concerto.
Before Black musicians introduced the world to modern music, Black composers made their mark on the classics.
On Friday, Feb. 23, Harlem Stage will host a special edition of its Uptown Nights series, featuring Sugar Hill Salon in collaboration with the Concert Artists Guild.
"A lot of my mission has been trying to make the bassoon more vocal, and then finding a way to bring myself, my identity into that," said Sugar Hill Salon founder and bassoon player Alexander Davis.
Davis formed Sugar Hill Salon during the pandemic to combat the cultural disparities he experienced in the classical world.
"It's that moment to really take ownership of our own narratives, our own stories, and put it in a light that's just ours," Davis said.
Their selections celebrate living Black composers, some of whom started their journey to success right here. Like Tania Leon, won Harlem Stage's lifetime achievement award last year.
"They are bringing back younger artists, a new generation that they are appreciating, that they know and have recognized as deserving of support," Harlem Stage Artistic Director & CEO Pat Cruz said.
For its 40th anniversary, Harlem Stage now aims to expand its range and invite others to experience the classics from a new view.
"I'm able to take all those tools that I learned and put them in a very cultural, explorative environment that is shared amongst the community, both with the performers and with the audience themselves, especially here in Harlem," Sugar Hill Salon clarinetist David Valbuena said.
"They're seeing the impact that composers like Mozart and Beethoven have had on us, as well as the people who are driving the future," Sugar Hill Salon's Adam W. Sadberry said.
Adding soul to the sound of music.
Tickets are available now for the February 23rd concert.
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