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Aug. 3 Usdan Gala - World Premiere Jazz, Carmina Burana

Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, the renowned summer arts day camp once again cited by TimeOutNY as a "Best Camp" for 2011, and whose alumni include Natalie Portman and Mariah Carey, will ...

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Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, the renowned summer arts day camp once again cited by TimeOutNY as a "Best Camp" for 2011, and whose alumni include Natalie Portman and Mariah Carey, will present its annual Gala Concert on Wednesday August 3 at 7:00 PM at its campus center, the 1,000-seat McKinley Ampitheater. Tickets for the concert cost $25, and they can be obtained by writing to, calling (631) 643-7900, or by visiting In addition to the concert-only tickets, there are also special Patron packages available. These include on-site priority parking, a 5:00 PM pre-concert "dinner under the stars", and priority seating at the Gala Concert. For information, write to, or contact Patrice Frank at (631) 643-7900.

The Gala Concert is the highlight of Usdan's 44th summer season, during which 1,600 children, ages 8-18, will study the arts with the Center's faculty of world-class artist-teachers. Students travel to the Center each day from New York City and throughout the Tri-State Area. The Center is situated on a 200-acre woodland campus at 185 Colonial Springs Road, Wheatley Heights (Huntington), Long Island.

The 2011 Gala Concert will feature the World Premiere of a commissioned work by jazz composer Richard DeRosa, whose arrangements have been performed by Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Gerry Mulligan, Glenn Miller Big Bands and singer Susannah McCorkle. His original works have been played by orchestras throughout the United States and Europe. Another highlight of the Gala will be a performance of Carl Orff's cantata Carmina Burana, featuring Usdan's senior orchestra, chorus, and ballet, with Adam Glaser conducting.

The commissioned jazz work is part of a new two-year grant for audience building in jazz, one recently awarded to the Usdan Center by the Rauch Foundation's Founders' Memorial Program. The program, titled Sustaining American Jazz: Inspiring Young Artists and Audiences, is intended to encourage interest in listening and performance by young people. The program will provide scholarships each year to promising high school students for summer jazz study at the Center; commissions for new works by leading jazz composers; collaborations with Long Island high school jazz ensembles for additional performances of the new pieces; and concerts and master classes at the Usdan Center by prominent artists. Past performances and master class teachers have included Jimmy Heath, Arturo O'Farrill, John Faddis, and Marian McPartland. The 2012 commissioned piece will be composed by Ted Rosenthal, whose works have been performed by Ron Carter and other major artists, and who has been called "A new jazz leader" by the New York Times.

Adam Glaser, who has been in residence at the Salzburg Festival and led performances by such diverse groups at the Curtis Opera Theatre and the Oregon Bach Festival, is also a composer whose works have been played by the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Toronto Symphony and many other major ensembles. In addition, he is the conductor of the Juilliard Pre-College Orchestra, a professional-caliber youth orchestra that regularly performs at Lincoln Center.

Carl Orff (1895-1982) was not only a composer, but a pioneering music educator, whose methods of teaching young children are still in use, at Usdan Center and other educational institutions. 2011 is the 50th anniversary of the Orff Institute in Austria, which promotes both his music and teaching methods.

Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, whose alumni include jazz singer Jane Monheit, has introduced the arts to more than 50,000 Tri-State Area children since its founding in 1968. The Center is open to all young people from age 6 to 18. Usdan's program features more than 40 seven-week programs in music, dance, theater, visual arts, writing, nature & ecology, and chess. No audition is needed for most programs - rather, admission is based on an expression of interest in the arts. Each summer, 1,600 students are transported to the Center in air-conditioned buses each day. One-third of Usdan's students attend on scholarship. Although the mission of the Center is for every child to establish a relationship with the arts, the unique stimulation of the Center has caused many to go on to arts careers. Alumni include members of Broadway shows and major music, theater, and dance ensembles such as the Boston Pops and the New York City Ballet.

In addition to its regular programs, Usdan offers special opportunities for advanced high school- age performing and visual artists. These include Music Staff Internships, a Summer Ballet Intensive, and a program of immersion in the visual arts and college preparation for selected high school art students. It is called Usdan's Visual Arts Portfolio Preparation Track. Usdan Center is an agency of the UJA-Federation of New York.

For more information, write to, Call (212) 772-6060 or (631) 643-7900, or visit