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Great Performances Spotlights American Composers in Third Season of Now Hear This

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Scott Yoo playing the violin and pianist Ieva Jokubaviciute as part of Great Performances: Now Hear This “Amy Beach: American Romantic.” Photo by Arcos Film & Music.

Great Performances Spotlights American Composers Inspired by Their Cultural Heritage in Third Season of Now Hear This, Premiering Fridays, April 8-29 at 9 p.m. on PBS

Host Scott Yoo explores the works of Aaron Copland, Florence Price, Amy Beach, Sergio Assad, Reena Esmail and more

Follow celebrated violinist and conductor Scott Yoo as he travels the United States to uncover the musical influences of some of America’s most prominent composers — Amy Beach, Florence Price and Aaron Copland — in of the third season of Great Performances: Now Hear This. The documentary miniseries also spotlights two contemporary composers weaving the traditional music of their heritage into their compositions: Brazilian-born Sergio Assad and Indian American Reena Esmail. From coast to coast, the series shines a light on the immigrant experience as told through music, featuring local artists across musical genres including gospel, blues and more. Great Performances: Now Hear This Series 3 premieres Fridays, April 8-29 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings), pbs.org/nowhearthis and the PBS Video app as part of #PBSForTheArts.

Great Performances: Now Hear This “Amy Beach: American Romantic”

Premieres Friday, April 8 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), pbs.org/nowhearthis and the PBS Video app

Host Scott Yoo and his wife, flutist Alice Dade, perform the work of Romantic era classical composer Amy Beach at Festival Mosaic and uncover Beach’s many musical influences. Featuring performances of Beach’s works, the duo visits places Beach took inspiration from throughout her life, including an artist residency at MacDowell in New Hampshire, where she wrote “Hermit Thrush at Morn,” “Hermit Thrush at Evening” and more. Along the way, Yoo and Dade also explore the works of European female composers and musicians Clara Schumann, Fanny Mendelssohn and Louise Farrenc, and even stop to discover the music in the vineyards of California.

Places visited: Boston, Massachusetts; Peterborough, New Hampshire; New York, New York; San Luis Obispo, California

Great Performances: Now Hear This “Florence Price and the American Migration”

Premieres Friday, April 15 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), pbs.org/nowhearthis and the PBS Video app

Host Scott Yoo follows the trail of great African American composer Florence Price, learning that West African music and European hymns inspired nearly all American popular music. He begins with the Arkansas archives that house Price’s work, which was originally found in the attic of an abandoned Chicago house. Then, Yoo joins pianist Karen Walwyn to discover where Price grew up and the spiritual music she was surrounded by in the South before moving to Chicago seeking equality and opportunity. Yoo explores Southern migrants’ musical impact on the city and gospel music with singer Vernon Oliver Price and former choir director Lou Della Evans Reid. Other performances by musicians inspired by Price, include pianist Michelle Cann, blues musician Jonn Primer, opera singers Rod Dixon and Alfreda Burke, showing how powerful Price’s influence remains today.

Places visited: Little Rock and Fayetteville, Arkansas; Chicago, Illinois

Great Performances: Now Hear This “Aaron Copland: Dean of American Music”

Premieres Friday, April 22 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), pbs.org/nowhearthis and the PBS Video app

Drawing from his Jewish roots, modernism and American folk music, Pulitzer-, Grammy- and Oscar-winning composer Aaron Copland created a distinctive American sound in both his classical compositions and film scores. Like Copland did for much of his career, host Scott Yoo and fellow musicians spend time working with students at a music festival in Colorado to strengthen their auditioning skills and better understand Copland’s music. To discover Copland’s inspiration, Yoo travels to New York to explore the Jewish music Copland was raised with as well as modernist music through performances by Cantor Daniel Mutlu, violinist Steven Copes, cellist Mark Kosower, festival music director and pianist Susan Grace and more. Later, Yoo becomes the student and learns from pianist and Copland enthusiast John Novacek about how the composer developed his signature sound, now so familiar to us all.

Places visited: Colorado Springs, Colorado; New York, New York

Great Performances: Now Hear This “New American Voices”

Premieres Friday, April 29 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), pbs.org/nowhearthis and the PBS Video app

Following the traditions of Amy Beach, Florence Price and Aaron Copland, host Scott Yoo explores how American composers are inspired by their immigrant roots today through two composers: Brazilian-born Sergio Assad and Indian American Reena Esmail. To get a sense of the inspirational dance rhythms that Assad grew up with, Yoo meets the composer in Chicago, where Assad performs a lively traditional Brazilian song with his daughter and a band. Assad and Yoo also visit a capoeira studio, where the Brazilian martial art originating from Africa that is “fought” to music by combining elements of dance and acrobatics. In San Francisco, composer Esmail teaches Yoo how Indian scales and rhythms, known as raag and taal, influence her music by demonstrating traditional Indian classical music with violinist Kala Ramnath and percussionist Abhijit Banerjee. They also visit San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum, where Esmail performs her mixture of baroque violin and Indian vocal styles with her husband, violinist Vijay Gupta, surrounded by ancient Indian art.

Places visited: Chicago, Illinois; San Francisco, California

Yoo is the Chief Conductor of the Mexico City Philharmonic, Music Director of Festival Mozaic, Conductor of the Colorado College Music Festival and the Founder of the Medellín Festicámara, a chamber music and social program in Colombia. He has conducted the London Symphony, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Yomiuri Nippon Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony and San Francisco Symphony, among many others.

#PBSForTheArts is a multiplatform campaign that celebrates the arts in America. For more than 50 years, PBS has been the media destination for the arts, presenting dance, theater, opera, visual arts and concerts to Americans in every corner of the country. Previous Great Performances programs include Romeo & Juliet from the National Theatre, The Arts Interrupted, Coppelia, From Vienna: The New Year’s Celebration 2022, Reopening: The Broadway Revival and The Conductor premiering Friday, March 25 on PBS. The collection of #PBSForTheArts programs is available at pbs.org/arts and the PBS Video app. Curated conversation and digital shorts are also available on PBS social media platforms using #PBSForTheArts.

Throughout its nearly 50-year history on PBS, Great Performances has provided an unparalleled showcase of the best in all genres of the performing arts, serving as America’s most prestigious and enduring broadcaster of cultural programming. Showcasing a diverse range of artists from around the world, the series has earned 67 Emmy Awards and six Peabody Awards. The Great Performances website hosts exclusive videos, interviews, photos, full episodes and more. The series is produced by The WNET Group.

Great Performances is available for streaming concurrent with broadcast on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS Video App, available on iOS, Android, Roku streaming devices, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and VIZIO. PBS station members can view many series, documentaries and specials via PBS Passport. For more information about PBS Passport, visit the PBS Passport FAQ website.

Great Performances: Now Hear This was created by producer, writer and director Harry Lynch and is a production of Arcos Film + Music. Harry Lynch, Scott Yoo and Richard Lim are executive producers. For Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is series producer and David Horn is executive producer.

Series funding for Great Performances is made possible by The Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, Jody and John Arnhold,  The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, the Thea Petschek Iervolino Foundation, Rosalind P. Walter, The Starr Foundation, the Seton Melvin Charitable Trust, the Estate of Worthington Mayo-Smith, and Ellen and James S. Marcus. Funding for Now Hear This is also provided by The Iris and Joseph Pollock Fund, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, and the Jack Lawrence Charitable Trust.

Websites: http://pbs.org/nowhearthishttp://facebook.com/GreatPerformances@GPerfPBS, http://youtube.com/greatperformancespbs, giphy.com/greatperformances #NowHearThisOnPBS #PBSForTheArts

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