Music Haven: Embark on a Global Musical Journey
Schenectady’s Central Park Brings the World to Your Doorstep
Schenectady, a city known for its vibrant cultural scene, invites music enthusiasts and families to immerse themselves in a summer filled with free, family-friendly concerts and events at Music Haven. Celebrating its 33rd season, Music Haven promises to take listeners on a musical journey around the world, showcasing diverse genres and performing arts from renowned global artists.
Under the visionary leadership of Eddie Award-winning Producing Artistic Director Mona Golub, Music Haven unveils a captivating lineup that spans continents and oceans. From the pulsating rhythms of Ghana to the haunting melodies of Andalusia, the cultural tapestry of the world will come alive in the heart of Schenectady’s Central Park.
The summer season kicks off in July with an array of remarkable performances. Grammy-nominated “Afro Roots” artist Rocky Dawuni, hailed as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for the Environment for Africa, will entrance audiences with his rich and soulful melodies. Following Dawuni, La Banda Morisca, an Andalusian sextet, will transport listeners to the landscapes of Spain with their enchanting Spanish folk music infused with North African and Middle Eastern influences. The month continues with the return of jazz prodigy Joey Alexander, whose virtuoso piano skills have captivated audiences worldwide. Adding to the excitement, Gambian singer and kora virtuoso Sona Jobarteh will mesmerize with her modern take on ancient African grooves, followed by the second edition of NipperFest, a celebration of all things local.
July concludes with Music Haven’s annual Blues BBQ, an unforgettable feast of blues music featuring top artists such as Vanessa Collier, Jumpin’ Johnny Sansone, and Jontavious Willis. The combination of soul-stirring music and mouthwatering BBQ creates a three-course sensory delight.
As August arrives, Music Haven takes a sweeping Broadway turn with the inclusion of the Schenectady-Saratoga Symphony Orchestra, led by Artistic Director Glen Cortese, enchanting the audience with timeless standards. Eileen Ivers, the original fiddler of Riverdance, will captivate the largest Celtic crowd of the summer with her electrifying performance. Mid-month, the legendary Lin-Manuel Miranda is celebrated with a Latin Block Party, featuring live music by Taina Asili and a screening of the Tony Award-winning musical In the Heights. The eclectic sounds of the Aditya Prakash Ensemble, blending South Asian Karnatik vocals with jazz and funk, will further delight the audience. The grand finale of the global concert series comes in the form of a dance party led by four-time Grammy winner Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole, infusing the air with Cajun, Creole, and Zydeco tunes.
The 2023 season of Music Haven also showcases talented local acts as opening acts for the main performances. From the rhythmic beats of Ghanaian drum master Zorkie Nelson and the Umoja Drummers to Maria Zemantauski’s fiery Flamenco guitar and the jazz fusion of Joe Barna and Sketches of Influence, these local artists bring their unique flavors to the stage. Other notable opening acts include Heard, The McKrells, SUNY Schenectady Jazz Faculty Combo, and Old-Fashioned Aces, showcasing their diverse musical styles.
While enjoying the music, concertgoers can also indulge in a variety of delectable food and beverages available for purchase. Michele’s Charcoal Pit and Ben & Jerry’s return as beloved vendors, offering a wide range of options. The concession stand will also feature international cuisine reflecting the artists
Music Haven 2023 Season Line-Up
- Sunday, July 9—Rocky Dawuni—Ghanaian Reggae
- Thursday, July 13—La Banda Morisca—Spanish Roots Music
- Sunday, July 16—Joey Alexander—Jazz Piano Trio
- Saturday, July 22—Nipperfest—Music & Arts Festival
- Sunday, July 23—Sona Jobarteh—Gambian Kora Virtuoso
- Sunday, July 30—Blues BBQ—Blues
- Saturday, Aug. 5—Schenectady-Saratoga Symphony Orchestra—Broadway Standards
- Sunday, Aug. 6—Eileen Ivers—Celtic Roots Music
- Friday, Aug. 11—In the Heights—Film Screening
- Sunday, Aug. 13—Aditya Prakash Ensemble—South Asian meets Jazz
- Sunday, Aug. 20—Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole—Cajun/Creole/Zydeco
- Friday and Saturday, Aug. 25–26—Will Kempe’s Players—Shakespeare in the Park