American Voices


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About

American Voices is a nonprofit organization that has been conducting cross-cultural engagement with audiences in over 110 nations worldwide since 1993. Founded with a focus on the recently independent nations of Central and Eastern Europe, American Voices has expanded its mission towards supporting youth in nations emerging from conflict or ...

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Contact

Publicist
Ron Kadish
(812) 339-1195 X 204

Current News

  • 09/20/201710/21/2017
  • St. Louis, MO

American Voices Present Music Across Borders

Cross-Cultural Arts Organization Brings its Passion for International Musical Engagement to St. Louis

For over 25 years, St. Louis-based American Voices has created some of the most intriguing cross-cultural exchange projects around the world. It has run performing arts academies in nine countries, including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Sudan. It is currently putting together a Broadway revue tour in Pakistan, highlighting local performers adding their own South Asian twists to major...

Press

  • Hot Arabic Music, Feature story, 10/20/2017, Broadway! #Pakistan! Perfect! @rpsmusic Text
  • Al Jazeera English, Feature story, 07/31/2017, Life after ISIL: Mosul musicians and performers emerge from the shadows Text

News

10/21/2017, St. Louis, MO, The Folk School of KDHX, 2:00 PM-4:00PM
09/20/201710/21/2017, American Voices Present Music Across Borders
Event
10/21/2017
Event
10/21/2017
Event Notes
Free for all ages
Venue St. Address
3323 Washington Ave, St. Louis
Venue
The Folk School of KDHX
Concert Start Time
2:00 PM-4:00PM
Workshop Educational & Performance Workshop Saturday, October 21 2pm - 4pm The Folk School of KDHX 3323 Washington Ave, St. Louis Free, all ages MORE» More»

Cross-Cultural Arts Organization Brings its Passion for International Musical Engagement to St. Louis

For over 25 years, St. Louis-based American Voices has created some of the most intriguing cross-cultural exchange projects around the world. It has run performing arts academies in nine countries, including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Sudan. It is currently putting together a Broadway revue tour in Pakistan, highlighting local performers adding their own South Asian twists to major contemporary musicals – Hamilton meets Bollywood. It has a long and admirable track record as the implementing partner of the  U.S. Department of State’s American Music Abroad Program, supporting American musicians as they tour over 140 countries while sharing the best and most beautiful of America’s diverse culture.

Now, the organization is bringing its passion for international music and cross-cultural encounters home to St. Louis, launching a new global music series, Music Across Borders. The series kicks off with a residency, co-presented by KDHX Community Media, with masterful Persian tar and setar player, Sahba Motallebi, famous for her virtuosity-filled expansion of the traditional sounds and forms of these stringed instruments.  The residency will include: interactive performances for immigrant groups at the International Institute of St Louis; a workshop at the Folk School of St. Louis; and a solo concert including a collaborative performance with the Ryan Spearman Band, a local ensemble led by St. Louis music scene mainstay Ryan Spearman, at The Stage at KDHX.

“American Voices is excited to bring our focus on global musical exchange to Saint Louis, connecting our mission with the community in which we live while also contributing to the dynamic, multicultural music and arts scene already alive in the city,” says Executive Director John Ferguson.  “Through our work, which has brought American performing arts and education to over 140 nations around the world, we have seen the connections and excitement created by exposing audiences to new sounds and ideas, especially through collaborations between international and local artists. Additionally, through working with immigrant and refugee community leaders and institutions such as the International Institute, we hope to use this music as a catalyst for larger community conversation and connection.”

Motallebi is a fitting artist to spark this conversation. After a notable career of high-profile performances around the world with ensembles like the Iranian National Orchestra, Motallebi landed in Los Angeles. There, she pursued a new direction, one that aims to welcome new audiences to a music rarely heard in the US. She has also dedicated herself to sharing her extensive knowledge of her instruments by developing online resources and instructional materials.

“This will be the first of many Music Across Borders events to happen in St. Louis,” Ferguson notes, “and we are very excited to begin with Sahba Motallebi, a talented artist and arts educator, as she shares her musical talents and traditions with the St. Louis community.”

"KDHX is excited to be partnering with American Voices to bring Sahba Motallebi to The Stage and Folk School of KDHX. Our mission is to build community through media, and the kinds of cross-cultural exchanges that American Voices facilitates aligns perfectly with that mission,” says Allison Wilson of KDHX. “Collaborations across American and World music expand and deepen knowledge, provide context, and highlight not only the differences, but the overlaps in influences and inspirations. No matter where we're from, we make and enjoy music for the same reasons. Recognizing that promotes understanding and unity."

Music Across Borders: Volume 1
Featuring Sahba Motallebi (Persian Tar / Setar) (Iran / US)

Public events:

Workshop
Educational & Performance Workshop
Saturday, October 21
2pm - 4pm
The Folk School of KDHX
3323 Washington Ave, St. Louis
Free, all ages

Concert
Sahba Motallebi and the Ryan Spearman Band
Saturday, October 21
8pm (Doors 7pm)
The Stage at KDHX
3524 Washington Ave, St. Louis
$15, all ages
Tickets and more information available at www.musicacrossborders.us

American Voices
www.musicacrossborders.us
www.americanvoices.org
www.facebook.com/amvoices
www.youtube.com/americanvoices

KDHX
www.kdhx.org
www.facebook.com/881kdhx
www.sahbamotallebi.com
www.ryanspearman.net

 

Event
10/21/2017

10/21/2017, St. Louis, MO, The Stage at KDHX, 8:00 PM
09/20/201710/21/2017, American Voices Present Music Across Borders
Event
10/21/2017
Event
10/21/2017
Event Notes
All Ages
Ticket URL
www.musicacrossborders.us
Ticket Price(s)
15.00
Venue City, State
St. Louis, MO
Venue St. Address
3524 Washington Ave,
Venue
The Stage at KDHX
Concert Start Time
8:00 PM
Doors Open
7:00 Pm
Sahba Motallebi and the Ryan Spearman Band Saturday, October 21 8pm (Doors 7pm) The Stage at KDHX 3524 Washington Ave, St. Louis $15, all ages Tickets and more information available at www.musicacrossborders.us MORE» More»

Cross-Cultural Arts Organization Brings its Passion for International Musical Engagement to St. Louis

For over 25 years, St. Louis-based American Voices has created some of the most intriguing cross-cultural exchange projects around the world. It has run performing arts academies in nine countries, including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Sudan. It is currently putting together a Broadway revue tour in Pakistan, highlighting local performers adding their own South Asian twists to major contemporary musicals – Hamilton meets Bollywood. It has a long and admirable track record as the implementing partner of the  U.S. Department of State’s American Music Abroad Program, supporting American musicians as they tour over 140 countries while sharing the best and most beautiful of America’s diverse culture.

Now, the organization is bringing its passion for international music and cross-cultural encounters home to St. Louis, launching a new global music series, Music Across Borders. The series kicks off with a residency, co-presented by KDHX Community Media, with masterful Persian tar and setar player, Sahba Motallebi, famous for her virtuosity-filled expansion of the traditional sounds and forms of these stringed instruments.  The residency will include: interactive performances for immigrant groups at the International Institute of St Louis; a workshop at the Folk School of St. Louis; and a solo concert including a collaborative performance with the Ryan Spearman Band, a local ensemble led by St. Louis music scene mainstay Ryan Spearman, at The Stage at KDHX.

“American Voices is excited to bring our focus on global musical exchange to Saint Louis, connecting our mission with the community in which we live while also contributing to the dynamic, multicultural music and arts scene already alive in the city,” says Executive Director John Ferguson.  “Through our work, which has brought American performing arts and education to over 140 nations around the world, we have seen the connections and excitement created by exposing audiences to new sounds and ideas, especially through collaborations between international and local artists. Additionally, through working with immigrant and refugee community leaders and institutions such as the International Institute, we hope to use this music as a catalyst for larger community conversation and connection.”

Motallebi is a fitting artist to spark this conversation. After a notable career of high-profile performances around the world with ensembles like the Iranian National Orchestra, Motallebi landed in Los Angeles. There, she pursued a new direction, one that aims to welcome new audiences to a music rarely heard in the US. She has also dedicated herself to sharing her extensive knowledge of her instruments by developing online resources and instructional materials.

“This will be the first of many Music Across Borders events to happen in St. Louis,” Ferguson notes, “and we are very excited to begin with Sahba Motallebi, a talented artist and arts educator, as she shares her musical talents and traditions with the St. Louis community.”

"KDHX is excited to be partnering with American Voices to bring Sahba Motallebi to The Stage and Folk School of KDHX. Our mission is to build community through media, and the kinds of cross-cultural exchanges that American Voices facilitates aligns perfectly with that mission,” says Allison Wilson of KDHX. “Collaborations across American and World music expand and deepen knowledge, provide context, and highlight not only the differences, but the overlaps in influences and inspirations. No matter where we're from, we make and enjoy music for the same reasons. Recognizing that promotes understanding and unity."

Music Across Borders: Volume 1
Featuring Sahba Motallebi (Persian Tar / Setar) (Iran / US)

Public events:

Workshop
Educational & Performance Workshop
Saturday, October 21
2pm - 4pm
The Folk School of KDHX
3323 Washington Ave, St. Louis
Free, all ages

Concert
Sahba Motallebi and the Ryan Spearman Band
Saturday, October 21
8pm (Doors 7pm)
The Stage at KDHX
3524 Washington Ave, St. Louis
$15, all ages
Tickets and more information available at www.musicacrossborders.us

American Voices
www.musicacrossborders.us
www.americanvoices.org
www.facebook.com/amvoices
www.youtube.com/americanvoices

KDHX
www.kdhx.org
www.facebook.com/881kdhx
www.sahbamotallebi.com
www.ryanspearman.net

Event
10/21/2017

10/19/2017, Passionately Smashing Expectations: Broadway Bridges Goes to Pakistan
10/19/201710/19/2017, Passionately Smashing Expectations: Broadway Bridges Goes to Pakistan
Announcement
10/19/2017
Announcement
10/19/2017
Broadway is too good to keep to ourselves. This unique American genres has international appeal, and American Voices’ project Broadway Bridges harnesses that excitement to boost mutual understanding between the two nations as well as support the upcoming generation of musical theater talent. MORE» More»

Broadway is too good to keep to ourselves. This unique American genres has international appeal, and American Voices’ project Broadway Bridges harnesses that excitement to boost mutual understanding between the two nations as well as support the upcoming generation of musical theater talent. This November, St. Louis-based arts diplomacy, youth engagement and exchange organization, American Voices, is bringing Broadway to Pakistan, where 7 aspiring Pakistani performers will hone their “triple threat” by perfecting pieces from Hamilton, Rent, and other recent hits with a team of two Broadway performers from New York City, Rhyn McLemore Saver and Peter Thoresen.

“The level of interest in Musical Theater in Pakistan is surprisingly strong. You might assume there to be a negative perception of American genres. The opposite is true,” says director John Ferguson. “American Voices has witnessed huge audiences for an array of genres ranging from Bluegrass and Jazz to Hip Hop and Broadway over our 12 years of engagement in Pakistan.”

Ferguson also notes that this project builds on existing interest and capacity. There is a strong legacy of English language theater in the country, and several amateur and professional companies producing musicals in Karachi and Islamabad. There have even been several original Pakistani-themed musicals written in recent years. American Voices auditioned over 50 talents nationwide before selecting a brilliant cast of 7 young singers, actors, and dancers for this revue: Broadway Bridges Pakistan-USA.

These performers range from lifelong theater fanatics to established young pop singers, from TV directors to one of the first generation of  improv comedians in Pakistan. The variety of experience and youthful enthusiasm promises to put a new spin on the hit songs selected. The revue cast will rehearse intensively for one week before hitting the road in early November. Then the revue will tour Pakistan’s largest cities, Islamabad, Karachi, and Lahore.

"There is a stunning amount of talent in Pakistan,” reflects Ferguson. “Such diplomatic engagement initiatives are often referred to as ‘soft power’ or ‘cultural diplomacy’ and allow all participants to focus on the shared values and artistic traditions that unite us and demonstrate our shared humanity.”

“I first experienced the Broadway Bridges program in Islamabad in 2010. This first contact between our young professional theater company and experienced professionals from New York gave us the shot-in-the-arm we needed to move forward with a production of ‘The Producers’ that same year,” explains Karachi-based singer-songwriter Natasha Ejaz. “I have since attended several Broadway Bridges trainings in Thailand and they have been essential to the development of my  musical theater skills.”

 

 

About Broadway Bridges

 

The concept of the ‘triple threat’, a performer equally skilled in acting, singing and dance, is unique to the U.S. and Broadway Bridges offers training in these three fields to aspiring young performers who usually only have training in one art form. Through training in singing, acting and dance, young professionals learn solo and ensembles selections from musical favorites such as Rent, West Side Story, Grease, Wicked and Footloose and knit these diverse selections into a cohesive Revue.

 

The Broadway Bridges program is celebrating is 16th year with an illustrious history of bringing the first Broadway performances to nations such as Vietnam, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Jordan and Kurdistan (Iraq). This is the second program in Pakistan, the first being a tour of the country in 2010 with excerpts from Footloose and Hairspray.


As part of the American Voices theater training program, students learn the technical aspects of putting on a show, such as sound, lighting, scenery and costume.In addition, American Voices provides courses on teacher training in adult and children’s theater.

 
Announcement
10/19/2017

07/31/2017, YES Academy celebrates ten years of supporting the rich legacy of the performing arts in Iraq. Emerging from the Rubble of Mosul and ISIS Occupation, musical academies endure as safe havens for recovery, training and collaboration
07/31/201707/31/2017, YES Academy celebrates ten years of supporting the rich legacy of the performing arts in Iraq. Emerging from the Rubble of Mosul and ISIS Occupation, musical academies endure as safe havens for recovery, training and collaboration
Announcement
07/31/2017
Announcement
07/31/2017
YES Academy celebrates ten years of supporting the rich legacy of the performing arts in Iraq. Emerging from the Rubble of Mosul and ISIS Occupation, musical academies endure as safe havens for recovery, training and collaboration MORE» More»

St. Louis, MO, June 22, 2017 – American Voices, an award-winning U.S. Cultural Diplomacy and Youth Engagement organization, is proud to announce the 10th anniversary of the Youth Excellence on Stage (YES) Academy in Erbil, Iraq (Kurdistan Region), taking place July 14 – 27, 2017. The training and performance program will welcome over 150 of the nation’s most talented aspiring young musicians and dancers for intensive collaborations, trainings, rehearsals, and performances on the campus of the Institute of Fine Arts, Erbil.

With support from The Sinquefield Charitable Foundation, The U.S. Embassy, Family Mall Erbil and Babylon FM, and private donors around the world, the YES Academy Erbil affords participants the opportunity to study breakdance, jazz, songwriting, youth orchestra, composition, guitar, woodwinds, and piano with a faculty of 14 selected from the United States’ finest universities, orchestra, bands, and hip hop crews. Program participants are recruited nationwide and come from across the Kurdistan Region as well as from cities such as Mosul, Basra, Najaf, Baghdad, Kirkuk, and Kurdistan.


The YES Academy is the nation’s only international training program offering rare opportunities for Iraqis and Kurds from a of plethora of confessional, linguistic, regional and ethnic backgrounds to study a together and build lifetime bonds. All programs encourage student and faculty collaborations across genres and musical styles, whether Kurdish, Iraqi or Western traditions. Among the planned collaborations in this Academy: The First Step Crew, comprised of break dancers from across Iraq, will dance with the Academy Youth Orchestra; and a band of traditional musicians from Mosul (recently featured on BBC and Al Jazeera) will partner with Argentinian-American composer Alejandro Rutty of University of North Carolina-Greensboro in creating an arrangement for the YES Festival String Orchestra of Ameen Mukdad’s composition, Yosur, composed while jailed by ISIS in Mosul.

The faculty is represented by artist teachers such as Julliard School graduates cellist Avery Waite and violist Kim Mai Nguyen; conductor Mariano Vales of the D.C. Youth Orchestra Program and the Orchestras of the Americas for Social Inclusion; dancer/choreographer Rick Camargo aka Bboy Lil Ric of HaviKoro Crew; violinist Robert Diggins of the Portland Baroque Orchestra; Derek Beckvold of the Boston Philharmonic; guitarist Susan McDonald; Marc Thayer of Symphony New Hampshire; Baritone Ira Spaulding of City College of New York;  composer Dr. Patrick Clark of University of Missouri and YES Academy founder and director, pianist John Ferguson. New this year is the Cultural Entrepreneurship seminar, led by motivational speaker Ravi Hutheesing, designed to inspire youth to envision and create new career paths, opportunities, and institutions leading to a more peaceful future.

The YES Academy will conclude with two free public concerts on Wednesday, July 26 at 4:00pm UTC +3 (9:00am EST) and Thursday, July 27 at 7:00pm UTC +3 (12:00pm EST) at the Institute of Fine Arts – Erbil. Wednesday, July 26 is the YES Erbil 2017 Showcase, featuring performances in guitar, voice, woodwind, piano, and strings, and the debut of new compositions by Academy composition students. Thursday, the YES Erbil 2017 Gala will feature Festival Strings, the Academy Choir, Mesopotamian Guitar Orchestra, the First Step Hip Hop Crew, Awtar Nergal (a new band from Mosul), and others. Also planned is Iraq’s first nationwide B-boy battle, on Saturday July 22, 8 pm, at the Family Mall in Erbil. All events will be streamed live and available for viewing after at www.facebook.com/amvoices.

Despite rich performing arts heritages and educational institutions, most nations emerging from conflict and isolation are unable to provide such opportunities to their next generation of teachers, performers and cultural leaders. American Voices provides a cultural lifeline to young artists in fragile nations through the YES Academy programs. Similar programs are held annually in Lebanon, Sudan and Indonesia and the nations of ASEAN. More information can be found at yesacademy.info and facebook.com/YesAcademyKurdistan

Announcement
07/31/2017

07/14/2017, ANNOUNCING THE 2017 YOUTH EXCELLENCE ON STAGE (YES) MUSIC AND DANCE ACADEMIES IN ERBIL AND BEIRUT
07/14/201707/14/2017, ANNOUNCING THE 2017 YOUTH EXCELLENCE ON STAGE (YES) MUSIC AND DANCE ACADEMIES IN ERBIL AND BEIRUT
Announcement
07/14/2017
Announcement
07/14/2017
ANNOUNCING THE 2017 YOUTH EXCELLENCE ON STAGE (YES) MUSIC AND DANCE ACADEMIES IN ERBIL AND BEIRUT: American NGO American Voices celebrates ten years of programming in the region with summer academies for young talent from across the Middle East. MORE» More»
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd">

ANNOUNCING THE 2017 YOUTH EXCELLENCE ON STAGE (YES) MUSIC AND DANCE ACADEMIES IN ERBIL AND BEIRUT: American NGO American Voices celebrates ten years of programming in the region with summer academies for young talent from across the Middle East

July 5, 2017 - American Voices, an award-winning U.S. Cultural Diplomacy and Youth Engagement organization, is proud to announce the 10th anniversary of the Youth Excellence on Stage (YES) Academy in Erbil, Iraq (Kurdistan Region), taking place July 14 – 27, 2017, as well as the 8th YES Academy Lebanon from July 31 – August 12, 2017.

The YES Academies afford participants the opportunity to study breakdance, jazz, songwriting, youth orchestra, composition, guitar, woodwinds, and piano with a faculty of 14 selected from the United States’ finest universities, orchestra, bands, and hip hop crews.

The YES Academy Erbil is the nation’s only international training program offering opportunities for Iraqis and Kurds to study and collaborate across genres and musical styles, whether Kurdish, Iraqi or Western traditions. Among the planned collaborations in this Academy: The First Step Crew, comprised of break dancers from across Iraq, will dance with the Academy Youth Orchestra; and a band of traditional musicians from Mosul (recently featured on BBC and Al Jazeera) will partner with Argentinian-American composer Alejandro Rutty of University of North Carolina-Greensboro in creating an arrangement for the YES Festival String Orchestra of Ameen Mukdad’s composition, Yosur, composed while jailed by ISIS in Mosul.

The YES Academy Erbil will conclude with two free public concerts on Wednesday, July 26 and Thursday, July 27, at the Ministry of Culture’s Peshawa Hall, featuring the Academy Festival String Orchestra, First Step Dance Crew, young composers, pianists, vocalists, guitarists, and the Academy Jazz Ensemble, as well as distinguished faculty soloists. Also, planned is Iraq’s first nationwide B-boy battle, on Friday July 28, at the Family Mall in Erbil.

YES Academy Lebanon will welcome over 150 aspiring young musicians from across the region, including five classical singers from Aleppo as they prepare a memorial performance of Mozart's Requiem in Aleppo. YES Lebanon will also conduct a series of community outreach concerts for children in Syrian refugee camps and centers and other at-risk youth in the Bekaa Valley, Tripoli and Beirut.

The YES Academy Lebanon’s series of free public concerts will open with a performance on Friday, August 06, at 7pm at Assembly Hall, AUB by the Academy Baroque Orchestra featuring distinguished faculty soloists. The concerts will continue with gala performances on August 11 (Spotlight on Piano, Guitar, Chamber Music and Voice) and August 12 (Academy Festival Orchestra and Young Voices of Lebanon, Composers in Concert) at 7pm at the Issam Fares Hall on NDU campus.

American Voices provides cultural exchange through the performing arts and arts education in areas of the world that lack opportunities for cultural exchange and dialogue with the United States. The Youth Excellence on Stage (YES) Academy program serves as the organization’s flagship cultural engagement program. Similar programs have been held in Sudan, Indonesia, and the ASEAN Region, among other locations. 

In October 2011, American Voices was the chosen by the U.S. Department of State to administer the American Music Abroad program. The American Music Abroad program has evolved out of an illustrious line of cultural diplomacy programming conducted by the U.S. government, including the renowned Jazz Ambassadors and The Rhythm Road programs. For its cultural diplomacy work, the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy (USCCD) selected American Voices as a "Best Practice Organization" in 2010.

 

 

Ameen Mukdad on BBC: www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-39651261

 

www.yesacademy.info

www.americanvoices.org

www.facebook.com/amvoices

www.youtube.com/user/americanvoices

Announcement
07/14/2017