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Universal Language: Music & Talk with Melanie Charles and PUBLIQuartet

Originally Aired: Friday February 8, 2019

Watch a live stream as esteemed ensemble PUBLIQuartet and the soulful Melanie Charles — musicians who refuse to be genre-dependent — take our stage in a one-of-a-kind performance, discussion and hosted improvisation.

Above all, this is a night for transformative experimentation, going beyond classical and jazz and hip hop to a further, deeper connection to music. Hear from active musicians who are looking to bring their traditions to new audiences and push musicianship into more inclusive territory.

Hosted by WQXR’s Jocelyn Bonadio-de Freitas, with Taja Cheek, Assistant Curator at MOMA PS1, and Karen Cueva, Manager of Learning and Engagement Programs for the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall, interviewing the artists.

About the Guests

Melanie Charles is a Brooklyn-born singer-songwriter, actress and flutist of Haitian descent, with a creative fluidity spanning jazz, soul, experimental, and Haitian roots music. Charles’ latest release “The Girl with the Green Shoes” established her as a progressive voice in Jazz catching the attention of India Arie and a feature in The New York Times Sunday routine as well as The Village Voice.  Charles creates a space where tradition meets present time, using Roland SPs, loop pedals, and the flute to blur the lines between and among social classes, cultures, genders, and theories to create a world where opposing elements can co-exist.

PUBLIQuartet’s creative programming lends a fresh perspective to the Classical music scene. PUBLIQuartet was selected as Concert Artists Guild’s New Music/New Places Ensemble at the 2013 CAG Competition, and then garnered Chamber Music America’s 2015 ASCAP Adventurous Programming Award for outstanding and innovative approaches to contemporary classical, jazz, and world chamber music. PQ’s genre-bending programs range from 20th century masterworks to newly commissioned pieces, alongside reimaginations of classical themes featuring open-form improvisations that expand the techniques and aesthetic of the traditional string quartet.

Taja Cheek is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and an Assistant Curator at MoMA PS1. Her solo project L’Rain explores the complexity of grief and joy.

Karen Cueva is a cultural worker and violinist based in NYC whose work is rooted in dismantling structures that limit youth of color from receiving high-quality music instruction. She currently works as the Manager for Learning & Engagement Programs at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute. Karen is a graduate of The Juilliard School and the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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