Felipe Salles to be Featured in Kennedy Center’s Arts Across America Series

Felipe Salles Kennedy Center event poster

As part of its current Arts Across America online performance series, the Kennedy Center will present a performance by Felipe Salles, professor of jazz and African-American music studies, in “Revisiting The New Immigrant Experience” on Monday, Oct. 26 at 4 p.m. As selected by the UMass Fine Arts Center, composer, multi-reed player and conductor Salles will revisit his multimedia orchestral jazz work “The New Immigrant Experience” in an intimate duo setting with pianist Nando Michelin. They will perform and talk about how the themes and ideas in the piece were inspired by the 700,000 “Dreamers” currently protected by DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

“The New Immigrant Experience,” which was created through a grant from the John Simon Guggenheim foundation, was originally written for the 18-piece Felipe Salles Interconnections Ensemble. The powerful multi-media work combined music and interviews with nine Dreamers about growing up undocumented, encounters which heavily influenced Salles’ musical vision. A recording of the work released this year received 4.5 stars out of 5 from DownBeat magazine, and was also featured on a NPR’s Alt-Latino program in February.

The Kennedy Center launched Arts Across America to spotlight community arts leaders, unique regional arts styles, and organizations and artists focused on social justice. The 20-week program supported by Facebook began in August and features performances every weekday afternoon at 4 p.m. ET through Dec. 11 on the Kennedy Center's Facebook, YouTube and website. Mondays are dedicated to highlighting artists from New England and the Northeast. The UMass Fine Arts Center was among organizations from across the country to submit a program.

A native of São Paulo, Brazil, Salles has worked and recorded with prominent jazz artists including Randy Brecker, David Liebman and Lionel Loueke, and has toured extensively in Europe, the Americas, India and Australia. Salles’ awards include a 2018 Guggenheim Foundation Composition Fellowship, a 2015 NALAC Arts Grant, a 2009-2010 French American Jazz Exchange Grant and a 2005-2006 CMA New Works grant, among others. His music has been performed by some of the top ensembles in the world, including The Metropole Orchestra, UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra and the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra. Salles has released seven critically acclaimed recordings as a leader of The Felipe Salles Group and The Felipe Salles’ Interconnections Ensemble, including “The New Immigrant Experience,” which was released in March 2020.

The Kennedy Center is the nation’s designated cultural art center, and it is its responsibility to showcase artists from communities and regions across the country. In this extraordinary time of uncertainty due to a global pandemic, and as the nation faces its history of systemic racism and oppression, this promise to celebrate all who contribute to culture of the U.S. becomes paramount to addressing inequity and ensuring the livelihood of our artists and art forms. Through Arts Across America they seek to offer a platform to exemplify togetherness through the arts and utilize their digital platforms to connect and uplift the stories and art of communities from across the country, while also providing support to artists. More information and the full archive of performances can be found at www.kennedy-center.org/digitalstage/arts-across-america/.

The UMass Fine Arts Center is supported by the New England Foundation for the Arts through the New England Arts Resilience Fund, part of the United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund, an initiative of the U.S. Regional Arts Organizations and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with major funding from the federal CARES Act from the National Endowment for the Arts.

More information about the the Arts Across America presentation and links to the performance can be found at fineartscenter.com.

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