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Langston Hughes’ Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz

Laura Karpman
Performances by Janai Brugger (soprano), Victoria Kirsch (piano), Taura Stinson (voice), David Young (bass)
July 29, 2015

From Africa to the Americas, the south to the north, cities to suburbs, opera to jazz, gospel to be-bop, and “shadows to fire”—discover “Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz,” Hughes’ response to the riots at the 1960 Newport Jazz Festival. Emmy Award-winning composer Laura Karpman, originally commissioned by Carnegie Hall to create the first vocal performance of Hughes’ poem, created an orchestral composition with plural voices including Hughes’, projected images, and recorded selections drawn from a dozen musical traditions, in an epic tapestry evoking the turbulent flux of American cultural life. This special presentation of “Ask Your Mama,” adapted for the ALOUD stage, features Karpman and soprano Janai Brugger, and marks the release of a new recording of the orchestral work.

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