Piano Slam 2024 4/11/24

Piano Slam 2024
Thursday, 04/11/2024-, 07:30 pm-
Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts
1300 Biscayne Blvd,
Miami, Florida, 33132
Cost: Free

The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County and the Dranoff 2 Piano Foundation are proud to present PIANO SLAM 2024 on April 11, 2024 at 7:30 p.m. in the Center’s Knight Concert Hall. Taking place during National Poetry Month, the event features Miami’s top teen poets who will share their original spoken word mash-ups paired with classical and hip-hop music around the theme, “My Music, Miami, All We Can Save – Rhythms & Writings of Restoration,” and set to “Suite Afro Cubana to Lico Jimenez” created by the legendary Cuban artist, Chucho Valdés.

Admission to PIANO SLAM 2024 is free*. First-Access Passes, which give guests early access to general admission seating, can be reserved for the performance now. Reserve passes online at arshtcenter.org by calling the Adrienne Arsht Center box office at 305- 949-6722.

In its 17th year, PIANO SLAM features live musical performances and program opportunities for students, families and teachers. This year’s focus centers on the history of artists neglected through cultural suppression. The chosen musical piece for this theme is “Suite Afro Cubana to Lico Jimenez,” Chucho Valdés’ composition dedicated to reclaiming the legacy of Afro-Cuban composers and musicians who have been unjustly overlooked. The poetry competition will expand to include student music and soundscapes that should be safeguarded for future generations. It will also include writing workshops for educators that will include the inspiration of music and the sounds of our environment.

“I am so proud that my piece ‘Suite Afro Cubana to Lico Jimenez’ was selected to be part of Piano Slam 2024. This program and its young generation of poets will help us keep alive Lico’s name and legacy in our culture,” says Chucho Valdés.

In a career spanning more than 60 years, both as a solo artist and bandleader, Valdés has distilled elements of the Afro-Cuban music tradition, jazz, classical music, rock and more, into a deeply personal style. Winner of seven GRAMMY® and six Latin GRAMMY® Awards, Valdés received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Science in 2023 and was also inducted into the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame.

“PIANO SLAM 2024 is a dynamic convergence of Miami’s young poets and the rhythmic legacy of Chucho Valdés, weaving together spoken word and music in a celebration of restoration, inclusion and the enduring power of artistic expression,” says Carlene Sawyer, Piano Slam creator and producer.

PIANO SLAM presents live concerts, poets, scientists and hip-hop spoken word to teens in Miami’s middle and high school classrooms culminating in a countywide poetry competition based on the role of music in their lives. Out of thousands of creative submissions, 16 semifinalists are chosen to perform in the Grand Finals concert and competition on the Arsht Center’s Knight Concert Hall stage. Prizes of $1,000 are awarded to the top student poets. For the past 11 years, PIANO SLAM has included a STEAM track and has taken students and their teachers to music performances, provided teacher workshops, environmental science research activities, and citizen science field trips by students to study environmental issues impacting their lives.

For over a decade, the Dranoff 2 Piano Foundation’s PIANO SLAM has been bridging the creative divide between teenage music enthusiasts and professional performance artists across Miami-Dade County, from Hialeah to the beaches and Miami Gardens to Homestead. The event is co-presented with the Adrienne Arsht Center and sponsored by some of Miami’s most respected institutions, including Miami-Dade County, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Books & Books, The Children’s Trust, and the Miami HEAT.

PIANO SLAM is directed by Tanisha Cidel with music direction by Martin Bejerano. PIANO SLAM’s wildly popular County-wide music-based poetry competition has worked with more than 150,000 Miami-Dade Public middle and high school students making classical music fun and an inspiration for their own creative writing. Additional musicians include: Anthony “Tony” Laurencio, DJ and the New Canon Chamber Collective for the classical ensemble.

About the Dranoff 2 Piano x Adrienne Arsht Center Partnership
The partnership between The Dranoff Foundation and the Adrienne Arsht Center dates back to 2006, when the Arsht Center had just opened. The Dranoff Foundation, which aims to discover young artists, nurture their talent, and provide them with a platform to showcase their music, joined forces with the Arsht Center to establish a community school-based outreach program in the performing arts. This program was designed to serve young people and their families in the neighborhoods surrounding the new performing arts center.

In the very first year of the PIANO SLAM program, five middle schools located in Overtown, Liberty City, Brownsville, and Little Haiti – participated. Today, more than 100 middle and high schools in Miami Dade Public Schools enjoyed in-school professional artist programs and performances and submitted student poetry to the music-based competition.

Over the 15 years in partnership with the Arsht Center’s community engagement and education initiatives, Dranoff 2 Piano Foundation has brought artists, musicians, scientists and educators into over 100 middle and high schools and every school and community district in the county. The ArshtCenter has partnered in teacher professional development, training educators in all core subjects to use music and arts-integrated curriculum in their classrooms.

Dranoff 2 Piano and the Arsht Center provide performance, art, music, writing, coaching and training for students participating in PIANO SLAM. The Adrienne Arsht Center provides a world-class community-based platform for students and top professional artists to perform in the Finals competition concert in the Knight Concert Hall. Tens of thousands of families throughout Miami Dade County have become part of Miami’s art scene through PIANO SLAM in the schools and the Dranoff 2 Piano performances with award-winning musicians, dancers and top theater professionals as part of a student and professional artist extravaganza of great entertainment in the Knight Concert Hall.

For more information on Dranoff 2 Piano, please visit www.Dranoff2Piano.org.