Experience a Dialogue between Konghou & Kugo by Masatora Goya

On Sunday, May 24, Composer Masatora Goya will present a new duo piece for konghou and kugo, ancient Asian harps with the same roots as the culmination of his Exploring the Metropolis Con Edison Composers Residency at Flushing Town Hall. Recently revived once-extinct harps, konghou (China) and kugo (Japan), will meet once again in New York City to find a new story.

The event is free, but with RSVPs. The event starts at 1:30 PM.

We talked with Masatora Goya about what’s in store.

Tell us about your background.

I was born in Malaysia and grew up in Japan. I loved singing and played rugby through my teenage years. I majored in sociology and started performing in musicals and bands while in college. Initially, I came to the US to study and pursue a career in musical theater both as an actor and writer, but while pursuing music degrees, one thing led to another and eventually the composition in a broader context has become my main focus.

Why did you pursue this career path?

I was a kind of kid always daydreaming, talking in my head and playing imaginary movies in the back of my mind. I always wanted to create something and express my imaginary world. However, I am extremely clumsy and never was good at playing instruments at all. I sang well, but my parents kept discouraging me all the time so that I never thought I was capable of creating anything. In my later 20’s I felt I really needed to write something and wrote a song. It took me another 10 years to become a composer, but I just felt I couldn’t live without giving shape to my imagination.

At your performance, what will audience members experience?

I am presenting a duo piece for two Oriental harps that went extinct once in history. They share the same roots, but China and Japan revived them in different shapes, which I felt very intriguing. When I write music, I always have this imaginary cinema and a certain kind of emotional quality that I try to convey (which I am figuring out so hard right now!). I am hoping that the audience can feel the emotional journey of the two harps and relate to it. 

What audience members will your presentation appeal to?

Given the nature of instruments, Asian people may show an interest in this, but it should appeal to any music-loving people.

What do you want people to take away (learn, discover…) from your presentation?

The combination of these two types of harps, konghou and kugo, would be the first and only of its kind. I hope people can witness the process of this wild challenge.

Is this your first time presenting at Flushing Town Hall? What does Flushing Town Hall mean to you?

 

I have attended a few performances at Flushing Town Hall before as an audience member. This venue has become my favorite workspace through the Exploring the Metropolis ConEdison Composers Residency program. It is a very unique gathering place in the heart of a very Asian area of New York City. Every time I come here, I feel like traveling to a foreign Asian city, which has been the main inspiration for my duo piece.

Flushing Town Hall’s statement regarding the coronavirus

(March 12, 2020) – Bringing people together and supporting one another have been an essential part of Flushing Town Hall’s organizational culture since our founding days. We are grateful for the support of our community, and audiences of all ages who come to us seeking new and exciting experiences.

We always want to ensure that we provide a welcoming and safe environment. So in recent weeks, we’ve watched with concern as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has reached our country, and, our city.

Out of an abundance of caution and given recent developments – large event cancellations, and recommendations from officials to socially isolate from others – we have decided to postpone this weekend’s two events, Global Mashup 2: Hungary meets Ghana on Saturday and The Very Hungry Caterpillar on Sunday. We do plan to bring them back to Flushing Town Hall at a later date.

If you purchased a ticket to an event that has been postponed, we will honor that ticket when the event is rescheduled, or you may request a refund by contacting our box office. We also ask you to consider converting the ticket to a tax-deductible donation, which would be greatly appreciated at this time.

We continue to actively monitor the latest information from public health officials regarding the coronavirus and are following their recommended guidelines. The city has not shut down, though officials have offered direction on how to take preventive measures.

At Flushing Town Hall, we encourage our audiences, artists, staff, and volunteers to follow the widely reported hygiene practices, taking necessary precautions to prevent community spread. That can be as simple as:

  • practicing good hygiene in public;
  • covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze with a tissue (then throwing out the tissue);
  • using hand sanitizer;
  • avoiding touching your face, eyes, and mouth;
  • washing your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds; and,
  • if you are sick, stay home and call a doctor to seek medical assistance.

These are some of the easiest and best ways to avoid the spread of infectious disease.

Visit here to access the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene’s Coronavirus prevention recommendations: https://on.nyc.gov/2TLjjQU

We recognize that there is heightened concern about the reach of this virus, particularly given the endless news cycle. This is an uncertain time for everyone, and we will continue to make decisions informed by the information we have and the guidance of public health officials.

We are following guidance from city, state, and federal agencies, especially the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, which is working closely with cultural institutions on public land such as Flushing Town Hall. We proactively increased and intensified our already thorough cleaning routines and will continue to do so.

We will continue to monitor the situation and will adapt our protocols as directed to keep Flushing Town Hall as safe as possible for all who come through our doors. Flushing Town Hall is exploring postponing dates for all upcoming events currently scheduled through March 31st.  This is a very time consuming and challenging process, and we ask for your patience during this difficult time.  We urge you to check our website, www.flushingtownhall.org, for updates.

It’s important to us as an institution that we do our part, because we care about our community, and the future of our city.

Ellen Kodadek

Executive and Artistic Director

Flushing Town Hall

Global Mashups is Featured on WNYC!

In keeping with its mission to present global music to a global community, Flushing Town Hall’s popular series of Global Mashups has returned in 2020 for its seventh season, bringing together a truly international array of artists in concert and collaboration. The series kicked off on February 29 with its first concert, Klezmer meets Venezuela, and will next present Hungary meets Ghana this Saturday, March 14, the second of five concerts presenting through May.
Sami Abu Shumays, Flushing Town Hall’s deputy director and one of the series’ organizers, sat down with WNYC radio host John Schaefer to discuss the inspiration for this beloved series. He was joined by klezmer trumpeter Frank London who participated last year and Martin Vejarano, whose Cumbia River Band will perform this April in Colombia meets the Philippines.
You can listen to the full show by clicking on the video below!

Jazz Vocalist Akua Allrich Pays Tribute to Powerwomen Nina Simone and Miriam Makeba on March 28, 2020 at

On March 28, in honor of Women’s History Month,  jazz vocalist Akua Allrich will deliver a soul-stirring tribute to powerhouse musician-activists Nina Simone and Miriam Makeba at Flushing Town Hall.

As a Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation Jazz Touring Network Artist, Allrich exudes extraordinary talent and crowd-moving passion. With finesse and charisma, the vocalist, composer, and teacher has successfully etched out a place for her unique musical expression, electrifying audiences with sold-out performances.

At Flushing Town Hall on March 28, Allrich will lead a sizzling hot band in renditions of beloved classic songs made famous by Simone and Makeba. Tickets for Allrich’s 8 PM performance are $18 for non-members, $12 for members and students, and available at www.flushingtownhall.org or by calling the box office at (718) 463-7700 x222.

“These two were mainstays in my development as a child. My parents came out of the civil rights movement, and Nina Simone and Miriam Makeba were artists who made music based on freedom and self-expression, and particularly African expression,” says Akua Allrich, “I am thrilled to perform my tribute to these two great women during Women’s History Month at Flushing Town Hall in Queens, the most diverse place on earth.”

Allrich is the child of a musical familyher father, Agyei Akoto, was a founding member of the jazz group, Nation, and recorded two albums during her youth. Her style is fluid and ever evolving, and her musical roots run deeply into soul and rhythm and blues, with a clear grounding in jazz and pan-African music. She sings in many languages, including Portuguese, French, Spanish, English, Xhosa, and Tw, and has inspired music lovers from all walks on an international scale. Akua offers an artistry that she aptly—and perhaps playfully—summarizes as “Jazz + Neo Afro-Soul-Blues-reggae-funk-rock-folk music.” 

The innovative sound of her albums, A Peace of Mine, Uniquely Standard, Akua Allrich Live!, and her latest album, Soul Singer, has earned the young artist’s music and performances international acclaim. Given her ability to capture the essence of a broad range of musical genres, Allrich is often likened to legendary artists such as Makeba and Simone.

You can experience a taste of what’s to come at Flushing Town Hall by watching this video.

Teens can attend the concert for free: in 2020, Flushing Town Hall is continuing to open its doors to teenagers for free. Under the “Teen Access Program,” all 13- to 19-year-old boys and girls (whether a member or not) are welcomed to attend any performance for free. The program is designed to appeal to students and help foster a greater love in the arts and culture.

Flushing Town Hall is accessible by car, bus, train and foot—located a short distance from the 7 train—at 137-35 Northern Blvd., in Flushing, Queens. Access for wheelchair users and individuals with limited mobility is available. More information is available at www.flushingtownhall.org.

Hungary meets Ghana at Flushing Town Hall’s Second Global Mashup Concert of 2020

On Saturday, March 14, the Hungarian folk band Életfa will join the Ghanaian Kotoko Brass on stage at Flushing Town Hall for the second concert of the venue’s five-part Global Mashups series.

Beloved by world music fans, this is the seventh season for the popular series in which Flushing Town Hall mashes up two cultures on stage with an open dance floor. Each concert features a pre-show dance lesson. Audiences then enjoy a separate set from two different musical ensembles who then collaborate in a grand finale jam session. At Hungary meets Ghana, audiences can look forward to highly energetic and danceable beats.

Inspired by the traditional drum rhythms of Ghana, Kotoko Brass performs a joyful, improvisational style of West African dance music described by The Boston Globe as “propulsive, infectious party music.”

The band was founded by Massachusetts-based brothers Ben Paulding, a performer and scholar of Ghanaian drumming, and Brian Paulding, a longtime trombone player in Boston’s reggae scene. They joined forces with Kwame Ofori and Attah Poku, both master percussionists from Ghana, and rounded out their rhythm and horn sections with M’Talewa Thomas of Antigua on the bass, Yusaku Yoshimura of Japan on keyboard, and Andrew Fogliano of Connecticut on the saxophone.

“At its core, our music is a celebration of tradition, diversity, and unity,” say the band’s leaders.

Joining them on stage will be Életfa, the beloved house band of the Hungarian community living in New York and New Jersey. Originally founded in 1987 by the children of Hungarian immigrants, it is now comprised of both Hungarian and first-generation Hungarian-American musicians dedicated to spreading the joy of authentic, Hungarian folk music, song, and dance.

From Életfa audiences will experience the familiar sounds of the violin, bass, and accordion, as well as discover the traditional folk music sounds of the kontra (a three-stringed Hungarian viola), the gardon (a Hungarian cello), and a woodwind instrument known as the tárogató.

“Our vision for Global Mashups was inspired by this city,” says Ellen Kodadek, Flushing Town Hall’s Executive and Artistic Director. “When you think about New York City, on an everyday basis you have people of all different cultural backgrounds who live together and work together. So we thought that it would be fun to bring artists of different backgrounds together in performance. And it really has been great fun. That’s why we bring the series back each year with a new lineup.”

Concert goers are invited to arrive early for a 7:15 PM dance lesson before each 8:00 PM concert to learn the traditional steps of the countries presenting music that evening.

Hungary meets Ghana concert goers are also invited to attend a 4:00 PM panel discussion led by Society for Ethical Culture leader and historian Jone Johnson Lewis that will explore the connections between the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 and New York’s feminist Seneca Falls convention of that same year.

Flushing Town Hall is accessible by car, bus, train and foot—located a short distance from the 7 train—at 137-35 Northern Blvd., in Flushing, Queens. Access for wheelchair users and individuals with limited mobility is available. More information is available at www.flushingtownhall.org.

In 2020, Flushing Town Hall will continue to open its doors to teenagers for free. Under the “Teen Access Program,” all 13- to 19-year-old boys and girls (whether a member or not) will be welcomed to attend any performance for free. The program is designed to appeal to students and help foster a greater love in the arts and culture.

Tickets can be purchased at www.flushingtownhall.org or by calling (718) 463-7700 x222.

NY-Based Ensemble Music from China Takes Audiences on a Musical Journey Through China

Take a musical excursion to China without leaving New York City as Music from China comes to Flushing Town Hall on Sunday, April 5. Chinese American audiences can connect with their cultural heritage, while guests from all other parts of the world will get immersed in a different culture.

“It is our mission to combine the traditional with the modern world, and we feel that there is no better place to do this than at Flushing Town Hall,” says Artistic Director, Wang Guowei. “We are excited to bring music from China to this venue for global arts in the vibrant and bustling neighborhood of Flushing, home to many different Asian and international cultures.”

Established in 1984, Music From China is a NY-based chamber ensemble performing eclectic programs of traditional Chinese music, contemporary work and popular music styles. The combination of Chinese strings and a Western wind instrument offers a different sound that will intrigue adventurous listeners. The thematic program of music and poetry is unique and eclectic, not often heard in typical Chinese music performances.

Classical poetry offers a rich source of material for Chinese musical works in traditional, contemporary and popular styles. The quintet of Chinese strings with Western flute performs music inspired by Shijing poetry from Confucian times to the great poets of the Tang and Song dynasties. As arrangements of ancient melodies or modern creative works, they reflect the tone and sentiments of timeless poetry.

You can get a taste of what to expect on April 5 here: Mount a Long Wind – Music From China.

For three decades, Music From China has been on the crossroads of East and West, the traditional and contemporary. In this age of instant new media and globalization, their mission is more important than ever.

As proponents of new music, Music From China has commissioned and performed works by celebrated composers such as Chen Yi, Zhou Long, Bright Sheng, Huang Ruo, Eric Moe, Lei Liang, and Derek Bermel.

They have performed at venues like the Library of Congress, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Chautauqua Institution, 92nd Street Y, Freer & Sackler Galleries of Art; festivals including the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, National Folk Festival, Boston Early Music Festival, Skaneateles Music Festival; and residencies at colleges and universities across the US.

Performing on April 5 are:

  • Susan Cheng, daruan – The Founder and Executive Director of Music From China. She has maintained a life-long devotion to the promotion and development of Chinese music in the United States, founding Music From China in 1984.
  • Wang Guowei, erhu –The Artistic Director is a virtuoso in the Chinese two-string fiddle erhu, as a performer, composer, and teacher. He has been hailed by critics as a “master of the erhu” and “an extraordinary performer.” (The New York Times).
  • Sun Li, pipa – She graduated from Shenyang Music Conservatory and is a member of Central Song and Dance Ensemble in Beijing.
  • Wang Junling, zheng – She is a soloist with the Henan Song and Dance Academy.
  • Anna Urrey, flute – She is a solo and chamber music artist and an active orchestral musician.

At Flushing Town Hall on April 5, Music From China will take visitors on a unique musical journey. Tickets for the 2 PM performance are $18 for non-members, $12 for members and students, and available at www.flushingtownhall.org or by calling the box office at (718) 463-7700 x222.

Teens can attend the concert for free: in 2020, Flushing Town Hall is continuing to open its doors to teenagers for free. Under the “Teen Access Program,” all 13- to 19-year-old boys and girls (whether a member or not) are welcomed to attend any performance for free. The program is designed to appeal to students and help foster a greater love in the arts and culture.

Flushing Town Hall is accessible by car, bus, train and foot—located a short distance from the 7 train—at 137-35 Northern Blvd., in Flushing, Queens. Access for wheelchair users and individuals with limited mobility is available. More information is available at

A Palo Seco Brings Fiery Flamenco to Flushing Town Hall on March 28

The rhythm is going to move you on March 28, when A Palo Seco takes the stage at Flushing Town Hall with a family-friendly flamenco production full of vibrant dance, live music, and emotion.

The afternoon event begins with an interactive dance workshop at 1 PM, when A Palo Seco Artistic Director Rebeca Tomás teaches the basic techniques and skills of flamenco music and dance and general body and rhythmic awareness, followed by an engaging, interactive, 75-minute performance.

“I am thrilled to be sharing my passion for Flamenco with the diverse population of Queens at Flushing Town Hall, presenting and teaching the intricacies of the rhythm, music, and dance from Southern Spain to audiences of all ages,” says Artistic Director Rebeca Tomás.

A Palo Seco is a New York-based flamenco company that strives to develop a unique voice, employing their flamenco expertise, while also taking into account the context in which they live. Their work aims to expose people to an innovative way of looking at flamenco, combining traditional techniques with a modern, metropolitan flare. Run by artistic director and choreographer, Rebeca Tomás, the company debuted its first production in May 2010 at Theatre 80 St. Marks in New York City.

“A Palo Seco” is a phrase that refers to a bare-bones style of flamenco music, often consisting of singing or percussion alone. This stripped-down aesthetic has become a central theme in the choreography, characterizing Tomás’ biggest departures from tradition, while also rooting her work in the emotional rawness that lies at the heart of the art of flamenco.

Rebeca Tomás has been described as “awesomely fiery” (New York Times), “masterful” (Eva YaaAsentawaa), and “a postcard image of the feminine Flamenco dancer” (Kansas City Metropolis).  After years of performing and touring with such companies as Noche Flamenca and Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana, she founded A Palo Seco Flamenco Company (2010).

For her choreographic work, Tomás, has received support from Arts Westchester, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Jerome Foundation, Connecticut Office of the Arts, and was awarded a fellowship in choreography by the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) in 2013 and 2019. Tomás, and company have performed throughout the U.S. at venues such as Central Park Summer Stage, (le) Poisson Rouge, Jacob’s Pillow, the Chicago Flamenco Festival, Eastman School of Music’s World Music Series, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund at the Pocantico Center, and in the New Victory Theater’s “Victory Dance Festival” in July 2018.

Beginning with a full-body warm-up set to lively flamenco music, the workshop introduces participants to zapateo (footwork), braceo (armwork), palmas (rhythmic hand-clapping), and more. Families (of all ages) will discover how to play castanets before the session culminates with a dance combination that ends with an energetic “Ole!”

Following the workshop is a high-energy performance intermixing explanations and interactive exercises during which audience members will discover the history and geography of Southern Spain. Families will be taught the castanets and las palmas, and will be led through “zapateo”. To conclude this exciting afternoon, everyone is brought on stage for a short dance number.

You can catch a glimpse of A Palo Seco’s colorful and vibrant performance.

The workshop begins at 1 PM, followed by the 2:15 PM performance. Tickets to the performance only are $14, $10 for Members, $8 for Children, and $6 for Member Children. Tickets to the workshop and performance are $22, $15 for Members, $13 for Children and $9 for Member Children. The workshop and the performance are both free for teens.

Flushing Town Hall is accessible by car, bus, train and foot—located a short distance from the 7 train—at 137-35 Northern Blvd., in Flushing, Queens. Access for wheelchair users and individuals with limited mobility is available. More information is available at www.flushingtownhall.org.

In 2020, Flushing Town Hall is continuing to open its doors to teenagers for free. Under the “Teen Access Program,” all 13- to 19-year-old boys and girls (whether a member or not) are welcomed to attend any performance for free. The program is designed to appeal to students and help foster a greater love in the arts and culture.

Tickets can be purchased at www.flushingtownhall.org or by calling (718) 463-7700 x222.

Poetry, Dance, Visual Arts and Music Come Alive With Paige in Full on March 7

Paige in Full is a blending of poetry, dance, media and music that tells the tale of multicultural girl’s journey through hip hop to self-discovery. Since its premiere in May 2010, Paige in Full has packed theaters, had exceptional reviews, successful events, unique workshops and sold-out performances throughout the country.

This Women’s History Month, on Saturday, March 7, audiences can experience this visual mix-tape when creator Paige Hernandez, a critically acclaimed multidisciplinary artist, takes the stage at Flushing Town Hall. The special event starts with a hip hop workshop at 1 PM, followed by the family performance at 2:15 PM.

Paige in Full portrays Hernandez‘s chronicle of growing up with a mixed-race identity, as she engages with the audience in the enlightening and thought-provoking event. The Washington Post says, “Such pointed moments will prompt theatergoers to ruminate a little about identity politics and the molding of the self in a multicultural world.”

And DC Theatre Scene says, “the one-hour show that grabs the audience by the throat and doesn’t let them go. Part comedy, part pain, and part retrospective on growing up in Baltimore in the late 80’s and early 90’s, we experience Paige trying desperately to fit in, before finding her voice, accepting herself and becoming one of the most fascinating artists to watch of this generation.”

Says Hernadez, “With PIF (Paige in Full), I aimed to create what I wanted to see on stage: a positive story from a woman of color that is both uplifting and insightful. The show needed to blur cultural lines with infectious music, choreography that moved the story forward, poems that defied structure, accessible emotion, and a strong narrative of love, pain, and triumph.”

As a master teaching artist, Paige has taught throughout the country, to all ages, in all disciplines. She has reached 10,000 students, from pre-K through college, in over 100 residencies, workshops and performances.

She has been recognized in many organizations including the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning through the Arts and Arena Stage, where she was awarded the Thomas Fichandler award for exceptional promise in theater education.

The Huffington Post named Paige a “classroom hero” because of her outstanding arts integration and work with STEM initiatives. Paige was named a “Top Theatre Worker You Should Know” by American Theatre Magazine and a “Rising Leader of Color” by Theatre Communications Group.

As an award-winning dancer, her choreography has been seen all over the world, including Bahrain, Singapore, India, Jamaica and Bermuda. And in the United States, her choreography has been seen at Imagination Stage (MD), The Kennedy Center (DC), Playhouse Square (OH), Alliance Theatre (GA) and at Woolly Mammoth Theatre (DC). She recently received an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council as well as two Helen Hayes nominations for choreography and performance.

At 1 PM, attendees can take part in an interactive workshop, Hip Hop Body Rock. Learn about significant hip hop choreographers, different styles of hip hop dance and regional/cultural influences. Then it‘s time to stretch and flex before you learn a brand new hip hop routine.

Paige in Full is produced by B-FLY ENTERTAINMENT, which specializes in productions of all art mediums that speak to a multi-faceted hip hop generation. Informed by jazz, stimulated by hip hop and created in the spirit of B-girls, B-FLY seeks to elevate hip hop within the art community.

Flushing Town Hall is accessible by car, bus, train and foot—located a short distance from the 7 train—at 137-35 Northern Blvd., in Flushing, Queens. Access for wheelchair users and individuals with limited mobility is available. More information is available at www.flushingtownhall.org.

In 2020, Flushing Town Hall will continue to open its doors to teenagers for free. Under the “Teen Access Program,” all 13- to 19-year-old boys and girls (whether a member or not) will be welcomed to attend any performance for free. The program is designed to appeal to students and help foster a greater love in the arts and culture.

Tickets can be purchased at www.flushingtownhall.org or by calling (718) 463-7700 x222.

An Evening of Indian Classical Arts With Navatman Music Collective & Dance Company on March 21

Navatman is a performing arts organization that empowers the individual to nurture his or her personal evolution through interactions with the Indian classical arts. Founded with an eye towards creating a home for the Indian classical performing arts in New York City, Navatman is best known for Manhattan-based classes, a critically acclaimed productions, and a dynamic dance company and stellar music ensemble.

Audiences can experience the Navatman Music Collective & Dance Company at Flushing Town Hall at 4 PM on Saturday, March 21. Tickets to the performance are $18 for non-members, $12 for members and students, and available at www.flushingtownhall.org or by calling (718) 463-7700 x222.

Navatman Music Collective, which is led by artistic director Roopa Mahadevan, is a one-of-a-kind choir that aims to bring out the depth and beauty of Carnatic (South Indian classical) music while imbuing it with a soul and energy from our members’ contemporary and diverse influences.

Their sound is simultaneously nostalgic and boundary-breaking, aiming to engage the discerning and uninitiated alike. Their respect for rich musical tradition is paired with an honest joy for the music they sing and a desire for self-expression, quirk, and judgment-free community.

The event features a special appearance by Navatman Dance Company, whose mission is to bring extraordinary, boundary-pushing productions to the stage. The Dance Company, which is led by artistic director Sahasra Sambamoorthi, makes Indian classical dance more accessible to understand and experience without removing the beauties of tradition and history that the style has developed from.

Says Brown Girl Magazine, “In a culturally renowned city highlighted in the global map for its rich abundance of the arts, the traditional classical dances of India thrive on the stage.”

Flushing Town Hall is accessible by car, bus, train and foot—located a short distance from the 7 train—at 137-35 Northern Blvd., in Flushing, Queens. Access for wheelchair users and individuals with limited mobility is available. More information is available at www.flushingtownhall.org.

In 2020, Flushing Town Hall continues to open its doors to teenagers for free. Under the “Teen Access Program,” all 13- to 19-year-old boys and girls (whether a member or not) are welcomed to attend any performance for free. The program is designed to appeal to students and help foster a greater love in the arts and culture.