Features dramatic performances by Barry Bostwick, Camryn Manheim, Michael Nouri and other guest stars
THIRTEEN’s Great Performances and Pacific Symphony, led by music director Carl St.Clair, pay tribute to America’s history with a performance of composer Peter Boyer’s “Ellis Island: The Dream of America,” a Grammy-nominated contemporary classical work celebrating the historic American immigrant experience. Great Performances – Ellis Island: The Dream of America with Pacific Symphony premieres nationwide Friday, June 29 at 10 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) in honor of Immigrant Heritage Month. It will be available to stream the following day via pbs.org/gperf and PBS apps.
Using texts from the Ellis Island Oral History Project and historic Ellis Island images in combination with an original orchestral score, “Ellis Island” features seven, first-hand stories of immigrants dramatically interpreted by guest stars Barry Bostwick, Camryn Manheim, Michael Nouri, Lesley Fera, Lucas Near-Verbrugghe, Samantha Sloyan and Kira Sternbach. Over 40 percent of the U.S. population can trace their ancestry through Ellis Island, and immigration remains at the forefront of global news. Great Performances – Ellis Island captures the emotions, elation and uncertainties of America’s epic immigrant experience.
The special was recorded by Great Performances at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in 2017 during Pacific Symphony’s 17th American Composers Festival. Peter Boyer’s “Ellis Island: The Dream of America” premiered in 2002 to great acclaim. It has since received nearly 200 performances by more than 80 orchestras, and earned a Grammy nomination for Best Classical Contemporary Composition in 2005.
A co-production of Pacific Symphony and THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET in association with PBS SoCal, Great Performances – Ellis Island: The Dream of America with Pacific Symphony was directed for stage and television by Matthew Diamond and produced by John Walker; with Shawn Murphy as audio producer, production design by Matt Steinbrenner, lighting design by Bob Barnhart and projection design by Perry Freeze. For Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is series producer and David Horn is executive producer.
Major funding for the program is provided by The Ellis Island Honors Society, The Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation, the Jewish Federation and Family Services of Orange County, Nasser and Yvonne Kazeminy, and Seth & Yasuko Siegel and Blossom Siegel. Major funding for Great Performancesis provided by the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, the Irene Diamond Fund, the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, The Agnes Varis Trust, The Starr Foundation, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, Ellen and James S. Marcus, The Abra Prentice Foundation, Rosalind P. Walter and PBS.
Great Performances is produced by THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET, one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers. Throughout its more than 40-year history on public television, Great Performances has provided viewers across the country with 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.
About WNET and About American Composers Festival
WNET is America’s flagship PBS station and parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21. WNET also operates NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its broadcast channels, three cable services (THIRTEEN PBSKids, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings. WNET’s groundbreaking series for children and young adults include Get the Math, Oh Noah! And Cyberchase as well as Mission US, the award-winning interactive history experience. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Theater Close-Up, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the daily multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. In addition, WNET produces online-only programming including the award-winning series about gender identity, First Person. Through multi-platform initiatives Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America and Peril and Promise: The Challenge of Climate Change, WNET showcases the human stories around these issues and promising solutions. In 2015, THIRTEEN launched Passport, an online streaming service which allows members to see new and archival THIRTEEN and PBS programming anytime, anywhere: www.thirteen.org/passport.
About American Composers Festival
Each year, Pacific Symphony explores a different facet of American music through the American Composers Festival (ACF). Since 2000, the festival has featured composers from Aaron Copland to Ana Lara to Michael Daugherty and artists from Yo-Yo Ma to Stephen Scott’s Bowed Piano Ensemble. By examining this diverse musical heritage, the Symphony points a microscope at who we are as a culture, where we’ve been, and where we are going—some of the most important questions that music can raise. More information and a complete history of the American Composers Festival is available at www.PacificSymphony.org/ACF.
About Pacific Symphony and About PBS SoCal KOCE
Pacific Symphony, led by Music Director Carl St.Clair since 1990, has been the resident orchestra of Orange County’s Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall for over a decade. Founded in 1978, the Symphony is the largest orchestra formed in the U.S. in the last 50 years and is not only a fixture of musical life in Southern California, but also is recognized as an outstanding ensemble making strides on both the national and international scenes. In April 2018, Pacific Symphony made its debut at Carnegie Hall, where it was invited to perform as part of a yearlong celebration of composer Philip Glass’s 80th birthday. The Symphony will make its first-ever tour to China, with performances in five cities beginning with Shanghai on May 9. In Orange County, the orchestra presents more than 100 concerts and events each year and a rich array of education and community engagement programs, reaching more than 300,000 residents of all ages. The Symphony has been recognized with multiple ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming and included among the country’s five most innovative orchestras by the League of American Orchestras. The Symphony’s education and community engagement activities have also been recognized by the League, as well as the National Endowment for the Arts.
About PBS SoCal KOCE
PBS SoCal is the home to PBS for Greater Los Angeles and Southern California. We deliver the full schedule of PBS programs, plus content that is for, about and by the people of Southern California. Our content is available free through four broadcast channels, at pbssocal.org, on our mobile apps, and via connected TV services. And we provide the community with early education resources and cultural and educational experiences through partnerships, events and grassroots outreach. PBS SoCal has offices in Century City, Costa Mesa, and Los Angeles. Connect with us at pbssocal.org and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.