Neil 'Nail' Alexander
Date and Time
Saturday, August 10th, 2013 at 8:00pm
100 Years of Spring: A Celebration of Community, Food and Stravinsky with Pianist Neil Alexander & Common Ground Farm.
Beacon, NY, August 10, 2013, 8:00 pm. The Howland Cultural Center will host an evening of acoustic music and a perspective on the current flourish of food farming initiatives in the area. Pianist Neil Alexander will perform his solo transcription of Igor Stravinsky's 'Rite Of Spring', other period works by Gershwin & Bartok and a collection of Jazz standards, original compositions and improvisations. Interspersed within the program, a look at fresh harvested local food, a prize drawing, special guests including violinist Rachel Evans and more as Neil Alexander invites the community farm and education organization Common Ground Farm to join his Hudson Valley presentation of '100 Years of Spring'.
May 29, 2013 marked the 100th anniversary of the premier of Stravinsky's 'Le Sacre du Printemps' (The Rite of Spring). This music masterpiece is an artistic representation of primitive sacrifice to the vernal forces so important to the life of our planet. In addition to conventional classical music venues, '100 Years of Spring' is appearing in farm/food markets and other places notable for enhancing environmental sustainability. These performances are part of an effort to bring music, originally directed at audiences of elite society, to places of public gathering where social division is less significant. "100 Years of Spring", seeks to honor the centennial of the premiere while connecting the concept of spring with sustainability and local food & farms.
As a long time supporter of Common Ground Farm and former member of their initial Community Supported Agriculture program, Alexander considered this Howland Cultural Center performance an obvious choice to help Common Ground raise awareness and supplemental funding for their programs.
Common Ground Farm, a community staple for many years, evolved as an organization to become a nonprofit farm project growing food for education and food justice programs. 'Our education programs, workshops, and Summer Camp bring children and adults opportunities to learn about sustainable farming, local food, and environmental stewardship.' This summer the Farm's Mobile Market ' staffed by the Green Teens -- is traveling the area bringing low cost, CGF- grown vegetables to low income housing areas. Children who might otherwise go without are receiving regular lunches from the Kids 'R Kids Summer Feeding Program, which includes donated vegetables from the Farm as well as activities for the kids each week with a local chef. The Farm is regularly delivering vegetables for Salvation Army Lunches and to the St. Andrew's & St. Luke's Food Pantry. The Farm's Food Justice programs make local, organically grown, fresh produce available to everyone, regardless of income.
In 1966, a young boy sat in a movie theater & watched the evolution of life and the rise and fall of the dinosaurs, accompanied by incredible music. The film was Walt Disney's 'Fantasia', the music, Igor Stravinsky's 'The Rite of Spring' and the young boy was Neil Alexander. The pounding rhythms and striking dissonances etched themselves into his subconscious, influencing & informing his musical life for decades to come. A 1985 NYU performance of the four-hand version with Pianist Bradley Kaus inspired Neil's 15-year process of condensing four hands to his own two-hand (plus one foot) arrangement. Neil premiered his solo transcription in 2001 at the Howland Cultural Center.
Neil is known widely for his electric keyboard work with groups like "The Machine" & 'The Mahavishnu Project" and has a recording, performance, and composition history with Tony 'Thunder' Smith, Gunther Hampel, Alphonse Mouzon, Marvin 'Bugalu' Smith and many others. His most recent release, 'Darn That Dream: Solo Piano Vol. 1? is currently available. The Howland Cultural Center is at 477 Main St. Admission is $20; $15 for students and seniors.
The Farm is a community resource; all are welcome to visit the fields, volunteer, learn, and gather together for the common good. Learn more about the Farm's mission and programs at their website http://www.commongroundfarm.org by calling (845) 231-4424 or by emailing email@example.com
'100 Years of Spring' is a sponsored project of Artspire, a program of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. www.100yearsofspring.org.