ASCAP Foundation to present “Songwriters: The Next Generation”


“Songwriters: The Next Generation,” a new program of The ASCAP Foundation and The John F. Kennedy Center of the Performing Arts, will showcase the work of four emerging songwriters and composers in a free concert on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage on Thursday, January 28 and Friday, January 29 at 6 p.m.  Each evening’s hour-long program, designed to spotlight the talent of young songwriters and composers, will be hosted by award-winning composer and ASCAP member BJ Leiderman, whose works include theme music compositions for public radio programs including NPR’s Morning Edition, Weekend Edition and Wait…Wait Don’t Tell Me!, and American Public Media’s Marketplace.

“Songwriters: The Next Generation,” was conceived by jazz pianist, educator, composer and ASCAP Foundation Board member Dr. Billy Taylor—the Kennedy Center’s Artistic Director for Jazz.  Dr. Taylor stressed the importance of showcasing the talent of contemporary composers who are also performers.  “We want to show the audience that young people can be accomplished music creators,” he said, “as well as musicians and singers.” To that end, following the performances, BJ Leiderman will engage the performers in a conversation focusing on the craft of songwriting and their personal creative process. 

Thursday, January 28th
The Danny Rivera Electric 5 – Baritone saxophonist and composer Danny Rivera is a Masters Degree candidate at Manhattan School of Music.  Under the instruction of saxophonist Joe Temperly, Danny performs all over New York City.  In 2008, Danny was commissioned by percussionist and drummer, Bobby Sanabria, to transcribe two masterworks made famous by Machito and his Afro Cubans.  The recording, Kenya Revisited: 50th Anniversary Concert, was nominated for a 2009 Latin Grammy.

Nick Howard – A singer/songwriter from England who is now a firmly-rooted performer in the New York City music scene.  Nick’s 2008 independently released album, Something to Talk About, was the follow-up LP to his freshman offering in 2006, Contradicted.  His music has appeared on the soundtracks of popular television programs and films including The Hills (MTV), Mental (Fox) and Army Wives (Lifetime).

Friday, January 29
The Linda Oh Trio – Composer, double bassist and electric bassist, Linda Oh completed her Masters Degree at Manhattan School of Music in 2008 and now teaches in the pre-college division there and conducts jazz videoconference master classes for high schools around the country.  Linda just released her debut trio album Entry with Obed Calvaire and Ambrose Akinmusire which was named one of Vijay Iyer’s top ten albums of 2009.

Devon Sproule – A singer/songwriter from Charlottesville, VA, her newest collection of songs, Don’t Hurry for Heaven, was produced by her musician/songwriter husband, Paul Curreri, and given four stars by Mojo and Uncut Magazine. .  Her previous effort, 2007’s Keep Your Silver Shined, featured singing by Mary Chapin Carpenter. Devon’s breakout record, Upstate Songs, was included in Rolling Stone’s Critics Top Albums of 2003.