Master storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston teams up with Philadelphia Orchestra members, Juliette Kang, violin and Priscilla Lee, cello for the musical stories of Hansel and Gretel, The Bremen Town Musicians and more.
Charlotte Blake Alston
Charlotte Blake Alston is an internationally acclaimed storyteller, narrator and librettist who performs in venues throughout North America and abroad. Her stories are rooted in African and African American oral traditions. She has made multiple appearances at the Smithsonian Institution, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and at numerous festivals around the country including the National Storytelling Festival, the National Festival of Black Storytelling and the Timpanogos Festival. She has been a presenter and featured artist at festivals in Ghana, South Africa, Ireland, Switzerland and more recently in Austria and Brazil. She has been commissioned to create libretti and narrative texts for the Opera Company of Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Commonwealth Youth choirs, and Singing City Choir and has appeared as a narrator for orchestras around the country. The 2020-2021 season marks her 27thas the host of The Philadelphia Orchestra’s preschool concerts and her 30th as a host and narrator on the orchestra’s Family and School concerts. For 17 years, she was the featured host, storyteller, and narrator on the Carnegie Hall Family and School Concert series and performed as an artist for the Lincoln Center Institute. She is the narrative voice of Health Training Videos for UNICEF and Global Health Media. She has performed at both Presidential and Gubernatorial Inaugural celebrations. She was one of two storytellers selected to represent the National Association of Black Storytellers at the weekend opening of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture Her honors include a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, the Commonwealth of PA Artist of the Year Award, the National Storytelling Network’s Circle of Excellence Award, the Zora Neale Hurston Award and two Best of Philly®awards. Her newest audio installation, Voices in the Landscape: Deeply Rooted… at Longwood Gardens runs through March 21, 2021.
Juliette Kang, Violin
Appointed first associate concertmaster of The Philadelphia Orchestra in 2005, Canadian violinist Juliette Kang enjoys an active and varied career. Previously assistant concertmaster of the Boston Symphony and a member of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Ms. Kang’s solo engagements have included the San Francisco Symphony, l’Orchestre National de France, the Baltimore Symphony, the Boston Pops, the Omaha Symphony, the Syracuse Symphony, and every major orchestra in Canada. Internationally she has performed with the Czech Philharmonic, the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the Singapore Symphony, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, and the KBS Symphony in Seoul. She has given recitals in Philadelphia, Paris, Tokyo, and Boston. In 1994 she won first prize of the 1994 International Violin Competition of Indianapolis and was presented at New York’s Carnegie Hall in a recital that was recorded live and released on CD. She has also recorded the Schumann and Wieniawski violin concertos with the Vancouver Symphony for CBC Records. Ms. Kang has been involved with chamber music since studying at the Curtis Institute of Music. Festivals she has participated in include Bravo! Vail, Bridgehampton (Long Island, NY), Kingston (RI), Marlboro, Moab (UT), Skaneateles (NY), and Spoleto USA. In New York she has performed with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; at the Mostly Mozart Festival with her husband, cellist Thomas Kraines; and at the Bard Music Festival. After receiving a Bachelor of Music degree at age 15 from Curtis as a student of Jascha Brodsky, Ms. Kang earned a Master of Music degree at the Juilliard School under the tutelage of Dorothy Delay and Robert Mann. She was a winner of the 1989 Young Concert Artists Auditions, and she subsequently received first prize at the Menuhin Violin Competition of Paris in 1992. She serves on the Board of Trustees at Philadelphia’s Settlement Music School, one of the oldest and largest community schools of the arts in the country, founded in 1908 and having served more than 300,000 students since.
Priscilla Lee, Cello
Priscilla Lee joined the Philadelphia Orchestra as Associate Principal Cello at the start of the 2016-2017 season. A 2005 Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient, she began studying at age five and made her solo debut in 1998 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. A native of California, Priscilla studied with Ronald Leonard at the Colburn School of Performing Arts and in 1998 went on to the Curtis Institute of Music to study with David Soyer. In 2005, she received a Master of Music degree from the Mannes College of Music where she studied with Timothy Eddy. Priscilla has participated in the festivals of Marlboro, Santa Fe, Seattle, Delaware, St. Denis in Paris, Kingston, Lexington, Burlington and Taos. She was a member of Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society Two for the 2006-2009 seasons. She was a founding member of Trio Cavatina, a piano trio that won Grand Prize at the 2009 Naumburg International Competition. Priscilla was the Principal Cellist of both Opera Philadelphia (from 2014-2016) and The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia (from 2015-2016). She resides in Bryn Mawr, PA with her husband, Burchard Tang (Philadelphia Orchestra violist) and their two daughters.