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Benefit Concert: AIDS Quilt Songbook @ Twenty

Saturday, December 1, 2012, 7:30 - 9pm

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Sing for Hope will present AIDS QUILT SONGBOOK @ TWENTY at the Great Hall at Cooper Union on December 1st, 2012, in observance of World AIDS Day and to mark the 20th anniversary of the first AIDS Quilt Songbook performance, which took place on June 4th 1992 at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center.
Under the artistic direction of Thomas Bagwell, AIDS QUILT SONGBOOK @ TWENTY will include songs from the 1992 premiere, songs written for various regional Songbook performances over the last two decades, and new songs written especially for this performance. The performance will reflect the changing face of the disease over the two decades since the work’s premiere, and will benefit Sing for Hope’s HIV/AIDS outreach, even as it honors the memory of the many that have passed. In keeping with the spirit of the original Songbook, all artists involved are volunteering their time and talent.
The original songs for the AIDS Quilt Songbook were all written for the American baritone William Parker, who was joined for the premiere performance by three fellow baritones – Kurt Ollmann, William Sharp, and Sanford Sylvan – two of whom (Kurt Ollmann and William Sharp) will be appearing on December 1st along with many of today’s leading singers from the world of classical music.
Artists scheduled to perform on December 1st are: sopranos Amy Burton, Adrienne Danrich, Monica Yunus, and Camille Zamora; mezzo-sopranos Heather Johnson and Susanne Mentzer; tenors Anthony Dean Griffey and Michael Slattery; and baritones Kurt Ollmann, Sidney Outlaw, Randall Scarlata, and William Sharp.
Thomas Bagwell has envisioned this 20th anniversary version of the AIDS Quilt Songbook to include spoken text read by actors Alan Mingo, Jr. and Kyle Minshew, and poet Samantha Thornhill, to chronicle the three decades of the AIDS crisis in the United States. Lora Peress, artistic director of the MultiStages theater company, will direct the evening’s program.
Composers who have been invited to write new songs for the December 1st AIDS QUILT SONGBOOK @ TWENTY, and whose songs will be heard in their world premiere are: Robert Aldridge, Juhi Bansal, Stephen Dembski, Herschel Garfein, Gilda Lyons, Drew Hemenger, Fred Hersch, John Musto, Jack Perla, and Wolfram Wagner.
The AIDS Quilt Songbook was the inspiration of William Parker, a champion of new American music and an artist who was infected by the disease. (Parker died of AIDS in March of 1993). He felt that in the late 1980s and early 1990s there were classical music AIDS benefit concerts, but none where the word AIDS was ever mentioned in the music that was being performed. He set out to invite composers whom he knew to write a song about the AIDS epidemic or how AIDS affected their lives.
The collaborative pianist Thomas Bagwell and Philip Caggiano, the original publicist for the AIDS Quilt Songbook, conceived the idea for a 20th anniversary concert and by teaming up with Sing for Hope and its roster of over 1,000 Volunteer Artists, AIDS QUILT SONGBOOK @ TWENTY has become a reality.
AIDS QUILT SONGBOOK @ TWENTY tickets can be purchased in advance via BrownPaperTickets. Tickets will also be on sale at the door on the night of the performance, cash only.
$20 for General Tickets and $200 for VIP Tickets. VIP Tickets include priority seating and a cocktail reception with the artists.


Located in The Great Hall, in the Foundation Building, 7 East 7th Street, between Third and Fourth Avenues

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.