The 2023 American Music Festival: Convergence

TROY — You’re now about to witness the strength of street knowledge.

This year marks 50 years of hip-hop, and the Albany Symphony’s annual American Music Festival is making at least one stop to acknowledge the occasion.

The 2023 American Music Festival: Convergence celebrates the latest in musical innovation, featuring an array of premieres and performances in the exploration of Black American art forms.

Albany Symphony Music Director David Alan Miller (Photo courtesy of the Albany Symphony)

As part of a three-year collaborative project, Convergence brings together the symphony, an array of performers and organizations from across the Capital Region, and nationally acclaimed artistic partners to engage in various Black artistic disciplines relating to the breadth of American culture, new music, and meaningful community-building work.

Guests artists include Convergence Curating Artists: Renowned jazz violinist Regina Carter, Afro-Caribbean Choreographer Adia Tamar Whitaker, and multidisciplinary poet, dancer and spoken-word artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph.

New York Capital Region Festival Week, which runs Wednesday, June 7 to Sunday, June 11, is a nine-event celebration spread across the 518. It kicks off with a performance from the Regina Carter Quintet at The Egg on Wednesday, June 7, at 7:30 p.m.

Jazz Master Regina Carter leads her quintet in a powerful musical exploration of the impact of urban development in Black and immigrant communities beginning in the 1950s, and the resulting displacement of people, culture, and neighborhoods in Carter’s hometown of Detroit and others. The performance is to include a world premiere addition about the Capital Region, featuring musicians from the Albany Symphony.

Collectiveffort, the Troy-based creative agency that works to build and bridge communities, is leading the charge to celebrate hip-hop culture with “A Love Letter to Hip-Hop.” A collection of DJs are to spin a set from inside EMPAC Evelyn’s Cafe on Friday, June 9, at 9:30 p.m. The Late Night Lounge event immediately follows Dogs of Desire, set to perform in the EMPAC Theater at 7:30 p.m.

Dogs of Desire is Albany Symphony’s chamber orchestra, directed by Grammy Award-winner David Alan Miller. Music is arranged by a cadre of composers among whom, Jack Frerer, last year pieced together a captivating work based on the music of local band Bear Grass, and performed by its lead singer, Katie Hammon. This year, the troupe will premiere the works of Marie A. Douglas, Horacio Fernandez, Christian Quinones, and Kyle Rivera.

The 2023 American Music Festival: Convergence is funded in part with generous investment from the Carl E. Touhey Foundation, Convergence builds broad awareness of our contemporary world while working to expose and eliminate bias through artistic inquiry and musical creation.

Regina Carter will perform along with her quintet at The Egg on Wednesday, June 7 (Photo courtesy of

The 2023 American Music Festival: Convergence

GONE IN A PHRASE OF AIR — Wednesday, June 7, at 7:30 p.m.
Regina Carter Quintet at The Egg

COMPOSER MASTERCLASS — Thursday, June 8, from 2-3 p.m.
EMPAC Studio Beta, 44 8th StreetTroy
Watch and listen as composer and professor Christopher Theofanidis works with talented composers on honing their craft as part of his weeklong AMF workshop Orchestrating for the 21st Century. Hear how it all comes together on Sunday night at First Draughts Reading Sessions.

THRIVE & SURVIVE DANCE WORKSHOP — Thursday, June 8, from 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Sanctuary for Independent Media, 3361 6th Avenue, Troy
Dance and learn in an immersive Afro-Caribbean dance lesson with Convergence Curating Artists Adia Tamar Whitaker and Guy de Chalus. No experience is necessary, all are welcome.

DOGS OF DESIRE — Friday, June 9, from 7:30-8:30 p.m.
EMPAC at RPI, 44 8th Street, Troy, NY

LATE NIGHT LOUNGE: A LOVE LETTER TO HIP-HOP — Friday, June 9, from 9:30-10:30 p.m.
EMPAC at RPI, 44 8th Street, Troy, NY

HAVE K(NO!)W FEAR: A BLUESSICAL — Saturday, June 10, from noon-1 p.m.
Monument Square, 251 River Street, Troy
Rain location: Arts Center of the Capital Region, 265 River St.

A free outdoor community performance by Àṣẹ Dance Theatre Collective, which specializes in dance from the African Diaspora, and Albany Symphony musicians. HKF is a reimagining of ritual dance theater as an action of protest, prayer, and healing. HKF moves the audiences out of the concert hall and into multiple street locations and a world where embodied culture speaks, sings, and moves without fear. Join Adia Tamar Whitaker, dancers from the Àṣẹ Dance Theatre Collective, and musicians from the Albany Symphony for a free Afro-Caribbean music and movement event bringing together elements of Whitaker’s work from her Convergence residency.

AMERICAN MUSIC FESTIVAL: CONVERGENCE — Saturday, June 10, from 7:30-9:30 p.m.
EMPAC at RPI, 44 8th Street, Troy
Featuring: Adolphus Hailstork: Symphony No. 4, “Survive”; David Schiff: Selections from Four Sisters; Daniel Roumain & Marc Bamuthi Joseph: Forgiveness, Spoken Word Concerto for Orchestra (world premiere)

LATE NIGHT LOUNGE: DBR — Saturday, June 10, from 9:30-10:30 p.m.
EMPAC at RPI, 44 8th Street, Troy
An intimate performance by composer and violinist DBR (Daniel Bernard Roumain), hailed by The New York Times as “about as omnivorous as a contemporary artist gets.”

FIRST DRAUGHTS: READING SESSION & BEER TASTING — Sunday, June 11, from 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Bush Memorial Hall, 51 1st Street, Troy
From the composer’s imagination to the concert hall, watch as emerging composers have their newest works performed for the first time. David Alan Miller, composer Christopher Theofanidis, and musicians of the Albany Symphony guide each new voice through the challenges of composing in the 21st Century. In between the readings, sample new craft beverages from local upstate breweries.

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