Young People's Chorus of New York City, Francisco J. Núñez, Founder/Artistic Director

YPC 25th Anniversary Gala February 11, 2013, 7pm

Guest Artist Bios

THE NEW YORK POPS is the largest independent pops orchestra in the United States and the only professional symphonic orchestra in New York City specializing in popular music. Led by Music Director Steven Reineke, the orchestra performs its annual birthday gala and subscription series at Carnegie Hall, enjoying one of Carnegie’s highest subscription renewal rates. Now in its 30th season, The New York Pops was founded by former NBC Music Director Skitch Henderson with a mission to create greater public awareness and appreciation of America’s rich musical heritage.  An annual collaboration with Central Park SummerStage pairs the orchestra with contemporary artists for free outdoor concerts, and through its education programs, thousands of children and their parents see The New York Pops in interactive and educational family concerts in partnership with Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute. Other educational programs offer free instrumental lessons, provide free tickets to performances, and teach composition, instrument building, percussion performance and literacy. The New York Pops tours throughout the world and is dedicated to lifelong learning through collaborations with public schools, community organizations, children’s hospitals and senior centers throughout the city’s five boroughs.


Soprano Renée Fleming, one of the most celebrated musical ambassadors of our time, captivates audiences in concert halls, opera houses, and on television with her sumptuous voice, consummate artistry, and compelling stage presence. Named 2012 Female Singer of the Year by the German Echo awards, she has won three Grammy awards. In 2009, Ms. Fleming was featured in the televised We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial concert. Last June, in an historic first, she sang on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in the Diamond Jubilee Concert for Queen Elizabeth II. In 2008 Ms. Fleming became the first woman in the history of the Metropolitan Opera to solo headline an opening night gala.  Ms. Fleming received her 14th Grammy nomination for her 2012 album Poèmes, a collection of 20th-Century French music.  Among her numerous awards are the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal, Sweden’s Polar Prize, the Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, and Honorary Membership in the Royal Academy of Music. Ms. Fleming currently serves on the Boards of Carnegie Hall and Sing for Hope. In 2010, she was named the first- ever Creative Consultant at Lyric Opera of Chicago


Brooklyn-born and raised Capathia Jenkins, star of the Broadway and concert stages, was most recently seen as Medda in the hit Disney production of Newsies and in Nora Ephron’s Love Loss, and What I Wore. She made her Broadway debut in The Civil War, where she created the role of Harriet Jackson, and her powerful rendition of Turn Back, O Man in the off-Broadway revival of Godspell wowed audiences and can still be heard on the original cast recording. For her virtuoso one-woman, off-Broadway performance in (Mis)Understanding Mammy-The Hattie McDaniel Story, she received a Drama Desk Award nomination. As an active concert artist, Ms. Jenkins has appeared with orchestras throughout North America from Atlanta and Toronto to Seattle, in Europe and Asia, and in 2011 was honored to perform in the Broadway Ambassadors to Cuba concert as part of the Festival De Teatro de la Habana. Ms. Jenkins is a frequent presence on national television with appearances on 30 Rock, The Practice, Law & Order SVU, the Sopranos, and Law & Order. She can be seen in the 2012 film Musical Chairs directed by Susan Seidelman and heard on the soundtracks for: Nine, Chicago, and Legally Blonde 2.


A native of Portland, Oregon, Kate Davis is a singer/songwriter, bassist, and multi-talented artist performing in venues ranging from The Kennedy Center and The Blue Note to Lincoln Center and Rockwood Music Hall. Kate performed as first chair in youth orchestras, later winning state competitions on both violin and bass and receiving national recognition for bass and singing as a winner in the National Young Arts Program. She has received four Downbeat Magazine Student Music Awards, was a double invitee to the Brubeck Summer Jazz Colony, and bassist in the Grammy Jazz Ensemble. In 2009, she was named a Presidential Scholar of the Arts, which included a White House visit.  Kate is frequently heard on radio, including famed New Jersey jazz station WBGO. Last year she spoke to government representatives about the importance of arts advocacy at the National Arts Policy Roundtable in Sundance UT and performed at TEDx Portland. ASCAP selected Kate to attend the 2012 ASCAP Foundation Paul Cunningham writing workshop, where she received the Robert Allen award for her original song, “Movie.” Kate studies at the Manhattan School of Music supported by the Clement Meadmore, and the Joseph McCrindle scholarships. 


Stephen Petronio has been acclaimed by audiences and critics alike and is widely regarded as one of the leading dance-makers of his generation. New music, visual art and fashion collide in his dances, producing powerfully modern landscapes for the senses. He has built a body of work with some of the world’s most talented and provocative composers, visual artists fashion designers, and resident lighting designer Ken Tabachnick. Founded in 1984, the Stephen Petronio Company has performed in 26 countries throughout the world, with New York City engagements that include 15 seasons at The Joyce Theater.  He has been commissioned internationally by dance companies in the U.K., France, Germany, and Holland, and in the U.S. by San Francisco Performances, The Joyce Theater, UCSB Arts & Lectures, Wexner Center for the Arts, Walker Art Center, and White Bird, among others. Most recently, The Joyce Theater Foundation launched a new Artist-in-Residence initiative, made possible, in part, from a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, naming Stephen Petronio its first Artist-in-Residence for 2012-14.


Antonio Ciacca, a pianist, composer, and arts-presenter, was born in Germany and raised in Italy.  He has established himself as a consummate musician and powerful advocate of the jazz tradition. Beginning his career as a sideman for such acclaimed jazz artists as Art Farmer, James Moody, Lee Konitz, Jonny Griffin, Mark Murphy, and Steve Grossman, he has appeared at numerous festivals and venues across Europe and the United States. He has also worked with such legendary musicians as Steve Lacy and Benny Golson, and with Wynton Marsalis has had a musical collaboration that continued through their work together at Jazz at Lincoln Center, where Mr. Ciacca was director of programming.  The Antonio Ciacca Trio, which has been playing together for six years and currently includes bassist Paul Gill and drummer Peter Van Nostrand, is the core unit of Mr. Ciacca’s Big Band.  A prolific recording artist, his latest CD, Lagos Blues (Motéma, 2010), features Steve Grossman and Stacy Dillard on tenor sax, Kengo Nakamura on bass, and Ulysses Owens on drums. Mr. Ciacca co-founded and previously served as artistic director of C-Jam Music, a cultural organization and booking agency in Europe.


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