Gather family and friends, pack a picnic, and join the NHSO and International Festival of Arts and Ideas in celebrating our healthcare heroes, first responders, and essential workers. This free, outdoor concert will mark the NHSO’s first concert with the full orchestra since March 2020.
Conducted by NHSO music director Alasdair Neale, the concert will feature Tony Award-winning star of stage and screen Brian Stokes Mitchell and soprano Harolyn Blackwell.
This concert is the centerpiece of the International Festival of Arts & Ideas and NHSO “Arts for Labor” Weekend Festival September 4 and 5. This end-of-summer celebration features two days of programming honoring the workers who carried us through the pandemic.
Brian Stokes Mitchell emerged early on in the pandemic as a Covid-19 survivor and champion of healthcare heroes and frontline workers. In April 2020, after the 7pm tribute to the health care workers in Manhattan, Stokes would lean out his apartment window and sing with his legendary booming voice to give thanks. Since then, he has dedicated numerous performances to frontline workers and has advocated tirelessly for the arts industry, which has been devastated by shuttered venues and restrictions on large gatherings.
Dubbed “the last leading man” by The New York Times, Tony Award-winner Brian Stokes Mitchell has enjoyed a career that spans Broadway, television, film, and concert appearances with the country’s finest conductors and orchestras.
He received Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle awards for his star turn in Kiss Me, Kate. He also gave Tony-nominated performances in Man of La Mancha, August Wilson’s King Hedley II, and Ragtime. Other notable Broadway shows include Kiss of the Spider Woman, Jelly’s Last Jam, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and Shuffle Along. In 2016 he was awarded his second Tony Award, the prestigious Isabelle Stevenson Tony for his charitable work with The Actors Fund. That same year Stokes was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame.
An extremely versatile and in-demand singer, Stokes has performed at venues spanning jazz, opera, pops, country, and musical theater worlds. He has worked with John Williams, Marvin Hamlisch, Gustavo Dudamel, Keith Lockhart, Michael Tilson Thomas, The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Big Band, The Mormon Tabernacle choir and the Muppets. He has been invited twice to perform at the White House (both times aired on PBS’s Great Performances) and has performed multiple times for Presidents Clinton and Obama.
His extensive screen credits began with a guest starring role on “Roots: The next Generations”, followed by a 7-year stint on Trapper John, MD and have continued with memorable appearances on everything from PBS’ Great Performances to The Fresh Prince, Frasier, Glee, Jumping the Broom and his most recent recurring roles on Madam Secretary, Mr. Robot, The Path, Billions and The Good Fight. Other recent TV appearances include The Blacklist, Elementary, and Bull. To learn more, visit BrianStokes.com.
One of the brightest stars on stages in the US and abroad, charismatic soprano Harolyn Blackwell has been hailed for her expressive and exuberant performances and her radiant voice, making a wide and varied career on opera, concert and recital stages of the world.
Following study at The Catholic University of America in her native Washington, D.C., Miss Blackwell’s performing career began on the Broadway stage in Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story. The transition from musical theater to opera occurred shortly afterwards, when she was selected as a finalist for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Since that time, the soprano has performed with many of the major national and international opera companies and at festivals around the world, including numerous leading roles with the Metropolitan Opera, as well as roles with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Glyndebourne Festival, Teatro Colon de Buenos Aires, San Francisco Opera, Netherlands Opera, Seattle Opera, Opéra de Nice, Miami Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Aix-en-Provence Festival, Opera Orchestra of New York, New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival, and the Ravinia Festival, among others.
She has appeared with many of the most distinguished orchestras in the United States and abroad including the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, among many others.
Miss Blackwell is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the New Haven Symphony Orchestra’s 2021 Artistry Award. As an advocate for Arts Education, Miss Blackwell is a Board Member of The Metropolitan Opera Guild, The Voice Foundation, The Martina Arroyo Foundation, The George London Foundation and The Morgan Library. She is a member of The Artists Committee for The Kennedy Center Honors and has also served on the Artists Selection Committee for The Marian Anderson Competition and The NEA Awards. To learn more, visit HarolynBlackwell.com.
The International Festival of Arts & Ideas is a year-round organization that culminates with an annual celebration of performing arts, lectures, and conversations each summer in New Haven, Connecticut. The Festival convenes leading artists, thought leaders, and innovators from around the world for dynamic public programs to engage, entertain, and inspire a diversity of communities. In 2021, more than 95% of Festival programs will be free to the public, including events that feature some of the most influential musical, dance, and theater artists of our time. To learn more, visit ArtIdea.org.
The International Festival of Arts and Ideas is presented with major support from Yale University, The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, Connecticut Office of the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts with additional support from The City of New Haven, the Avangrid Foundation in partnership with United Illuminating and Southern CT Gas, and Connecticut Humanities, a non-profit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
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