Founded in 1972, the Bronx Arts Ensemble is the premier professional music organization serving the borough. With a Local 802, AFM contract the BAE employs some of New York’s finest freelance musicians who perform on a regular basis. BAE commands the respect of the music world for its high artistic standards, innovative programming, acclaimed arts-in-education programs and extensive recordings, as well as its demonstrated commitment and service to the Bronx community. BAE comprises all instruments of the standard orchestra, performing as a small group or full symphony. We present over 100 concerts each season, reaching an annual audience of over 50,000.
Mission statement: Our purpose is to nourish the arts in the Bronx, serving its diverse communities and developing audiences through arts education and musical performances of the highest professional standard. The BAE serves its community with programs which include repertoire of many cultures, educational services for children and traditional chamber and orchestra concerts. Featuring notable guest artists and conductors of varied backgrounds, concerts frequently include new works, commissions or rarely-performed music of all periods. Concerts are taken to neighborhoods free of charge or at low admission so that our outreach is accessible to all.
WHAT IS OUR ROLE IN THE COMMUNITY?
Since 1979 the BAE has been in Residence at Fordham University (Bronx Rose Hill Campus) which includes free summer concerts, performances with the University Chorus at both Rose Hill and Lincoln Center campuses, and free chamber concerts for students and the adjacent community.
Popular FAMILY CONCERTS including “Peter and the Wolf”, “The Three Little Pigs”, “Hansel and Gretel”, “The Emperor’s New Clothes” and more are given each season at New York Botanical Garden, Whitehall Apts. Ballroom, Lehman College and International Caterers in Pelham Bay.
The BAE has a special relationship with NYC Department of Parks and Recreation which provides free concerts in both Van Cortlandt and Pelham Bay Parks. Other venues include Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture at Hostos Community College (CUNY), the city’s leading bilingual college. Programs there include celebrations of Hispanic heritage with concerts of music by Rafael Hernandez, Ernesto Lecuona, Paquito d’Rivera and others, featuring such artists as trombonist Papo Vázquez, clarinetist Paquito d’Rivera and vocalist Brenda Feliciano. The BAE presented the New York premiere of Roberto Sierra’s El Éxtasis de Santa Teresa and Manuel Gonzalez’ Los Jibaros Progresistas as part of our extensive programs that bring both popular and serious music to the Latino community. Other Latino composers receiving world premiere performances by BAE include Héctor Campos-Parsi, William Cepeda and Raymond Torres-Santos.
Special Saturday jazz programs are offered free of charge at local senior centers, and free family concerts are also given in neighborhood libraries.
WHAT IS OUR STATUS IN THE ARTISTIC COMMUNITY?
The BAE has won consistent praise from the press and public for its performances not only in the Bronx but also Manhattan at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Town Hall and Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center. We are the recipient of the NYC Arts & Business Council Encore Award for adventurous programming and service to the people of New York. In 2002 we were selected by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to represent our borough in 9/11 Commemorative Concerts presented throughout the city. This program was heard by an audience of over 3000 in Van Cortlandt Park.
SERVING OUR MANY CONSTITUENTS
Bronx Arts Ensemble has presented many programs in celebration of Black History Month, Israel Independence Day, Irish Heritage, Italian Heritage and Women’s History Month, each with appropriate music, free to the public. These programs have taken place at local libraries and parks, New York Botanical Garden and other public venues.
CHAMBER MUSIC IN ELEGANT HOMES Popular chamber music concerts in notable homes in Riverdale, as well as at Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum and Whitehall Ballroom, featuring world-renowned guest artists including pianist Stewart Goodyear, violinist Joan Kwuon and guitarist Sharon Isbin. Programs feature music from all periods, including world premieres composed especially for the Ensemble.
SUMMERTIME ~ AND THE LIVIN’ IS EASY The BAE is in business 12 months a year, and our audiences are treated to A Fourth of July Salute to George M. Cohan at Rockwood Drive Circle, a bucolic setting in Van Cortlandt Park, featuring jazz and Dixieland favorites by Cohan, Duke Ellington, W.C. Handy, Irving Berlin and more. Summer officially begins on Memorial Day, with a gala outdoor orchestra tent concert celebrating popular and patriotic American music, also in Van Cortlandt Park. Our SummerMusic series comprises 10 Sunday afternoons in July and August in both VC Park and Fordham University. 6 pm Twilight Concerts of jazz and popular music are presented in Pelham Bay Park on three Friday evenings during the summer season. ALL SUMMER CONCERTS ARE FREE.
ENCOURAGING TALENTED MUSICIANS ~ BAE YOUNG BRONX ARTIST CONTEST An annual competition for student musicians ages 14 to 20 who live in the Bronx and/or attend school here. Winners receive a monetary award and solo performance at a BAE subscription concert. Open to all students in public, private and parochial schools.
PREMIERES AND COMMISSIONS Since 1976, when the BAE gave the New York premiere of Debussy’s opera fragment La Chute de la Maison Usher, we have presented numerous New York and world premieres by John Freeman, Robert Baksa, Roberto Sierra, Meyer Kupferman, Oliver Caplan and many others. BAE’s CD list includes first recordings of the oratorio Bayoán and chamber opera El Mensajero de Plata by Roberto Sierra, Morton Gould’s Concerto Concertante, William Cepeda’s Bomba Sinfónica, and as well rarely-heard chamber pieces by Bruch, Rheinberger and Louise Farrenc. (Please visit our website for complete CD list.)
ACCLAIMED ARTS-IN-EDUCATION PROGRAMS Carrying out its strong commitment to comprehensive arts education for our young people, the BAE provides arts instruction in over 60 schools through its contract with the NYC Dept. of Education, with funding from New York State Council on the Arts, NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs and private corporations and foundations. BAE early developed its arts-in-education philosophy and programs with an Annenberg Grant to work at PS 156 in the South Bronx, and through grants from Project CASA and NYC Dept. of Youth and Community Development. Current programs are taught during school hours, after school and on Saturday mornings, with a large teaching staff overseen by BAE Education Associates. Our programs are praised for their scope and adherence to New York State Learning Standards and Blueprint for the Arts, and include:
Drama/Literacy Visual Arts (basic drawing, painting, clay work, papier maché, bookmaking, collage)
Music/drama Dance (modern, tap, hip-hop, step, ballroom, Latin, African)
Applied music instruction in song flute, recorder, clarinet, trumpet, band, keyboards, violin, guitar,
African drumming, Latin drumming and percussion
Introduction to basic music
Media arts/videography Sewing and homemaking
Professional Development workshops are offered for teachers in order to incorporate arts into daily curriculum, and frequent in-school performances of BAE favorite shows are offered, including “The House that Ruthie Built”, “Ferdinand the Bull”, “Rapunzel”, “Jack and the Beanstalk” and others