Big Picture Learning Benefit Concert
This concert started with a bet. Andrea Pizziconi has been a long admirer of Big Picture Learning and their pioneering work to sustain innovative schools that foster real-world learning environments for economically-challenged youth around the world. Last fall over lunch, friend and colleague Elliot Washor (Co-Founder of BPL) said, "Sing a benefit concert for us, and I’ll put together the team to create our first charter school in New York City." It was an offer Andrea couldn’t refuse. From there, Andrea had the great fortune of enlisting Oriente Lopez and his fabulous musical colleagues -- Julio Botti (saxophone), Itaiguara Brandão (bass), and Mauricio Zottarelli (drums)-- to lend their talents to the concert, suddenly: SCHOOL IS IN SESSION!
By the time Andrea was a young teenager doing regional theater gigs in New England, she had discovered that performing would be her ticket to explore foreign places and people. Her deep appreciation for song as a means to communicate across cultures opened an avenue for her to both learn from and share her many influences, from Czech opera and German lieder to gospel and spirituals. Thus Andrea's musical career has stretched across several genres--classical, musical theater, jazz, folk, and soul, among others. Music has brought her across four continents as a performer where concerts have run the gamut from solo recitals at major European concert halls to sometimes even opening for artists like Grammy-winning Latin pop diva Olga Tañón at Mohegan Sun. Andrea’s travels as an artist led to an equally strong passion for international development. She has spent the past decade increasingly devoted to creating a more permanent positive impact building schools for young people she once could only reach with a song.
Grammy Award-winning Oriente Lopez was born and raised in a musical family in Havana, Cuba. His renowned musical artistry interfaces various styles: classical, jazz, Brazilian, and Cuban folklore. Oriente has been performing internationally as a pianist and flautist, for over 30 years -- composing, arranging and/or performing with Latin legends like Silvio Rodriguez, Chico Buarque de Hollanda, Chucho Valdés, Arturo Sandoval, Fito Páez and Pablo Milanés; as well as, more recently, Paul Simon, Paquito D’Rivera (Grammy), Marc Anthony, Charlie Haden (Grammy) and Gonzalo Rubalcaba among others. Most recently, Oriente has received the ASCAP Composer’s Award and can be increasingly heard through performances of other emerging jazz artists he has inspired into the profession who are drawn to the complexity and richness of his compositions.
This benefit concert will rediscover favorite jazz and show tunes made famous by great divas of the past fifty years from Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday to Phyllis Hyman and Whitney Houston. The event will also mark the release of a recording of this captivating repertoire on which this same group of musicians has collaborated called "Learning to Live.” 100% of the net proceeds of the concert and album are tax-deductible and will benefit Big Picture Learning's efforts to launch a charter school network in New York City. For more information on Big Picture Learning or to make a donation towards their New York charter school project, please go to www.bigpicture.org/2012/12/skiffle/.