Tune in this Friday for NEXT AT THE KENNEDY CENTER on PBS

PBS premiered NEXT AT THE KENNEDY CENTER, the public broadcaster’s recently announced collaboration with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to highlight critical contributions to the arts that continue to inspire contemporary artists. Over the next three years, this primetime series of performance specials will explore the enduring influence of artistic changemakers across art forms, genres and backgrounds. The first five-part season of NEXT AT THE KENNEDY CENTER will premiere with “Let My Children Hear Mingus” on Friday, October 14 at 9:00 p.m. ET (see local entries) on PBS, PBS.org, and the PBS Video app.

Each episode of NEXT AT THE KENNEDY CENTER was recorded to match the artists’ unique style, and blends performances filmed live at the Kennedy Center with intimate backstage moments and first-person commentary. The debut episode “Let My Children Hear Mingus” celebrates the legacy of composer, bassist and bandleader Charles Mingus (1922-1979). a seminal figure in American culture – a leader who has spent his life challenging musical norms and social injustice – during Mingus’ centenary.

Set to a performance by the Mingus Big Band at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater, “Let My Children Hear Mingus” features performances and interviews with legendary musicians, record producers, historians and activists from all generations, including Charles McPherson, Jason Moran, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Robert Glasper, Christian Scott a Tunde Adjuah, Keki Mingus, and Christian McBride. These artists share their personal experiences of Mingus and growing up with his music. Together, NEXT AT THE KENNEDY CENTER offers a picture of Mingus’ extraordinary personality, unique style and tender heart through the lens of music and story. This full-man portrait gives his music context and a deeper understanding of how he fused classic jazz styles with gospel and world music, pushing musical and cultural boundaries and influencing future generations of performers in the world of contemporary jazz, R&B, soul and beyond out. In the words of James Newton, Mingus’ music is “art created on the edge of a cliff”.

The second episode of NEXT AT THE KENNEDY CENTER, “A Joni Mitchell Songbook,” premieres Friday, November 18 at 9 p.m. ET (see local entries) on PBS, PBS.org, and the PBS Video app. This special highlights the timeless and genre-bending influence of Joni Mitchell with an all-star cast that includes Renée Fleming, Lalah Hathaway and Raul Midón, accompanied by the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Grammy Award-winner Vince Mendoza.

More information and the remaining three episodes will be announced later.

NEXT AT THE KENNEDY CENTER is a production of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Matthew Winer is showrunner and executive producer at the Kennedy Center. Kristin Fosdick is directing the series with her team at the Kennedy Center’s multimedia department. Elizabeth O’Neil is Associate Director of Content and Strategy at PBS.

About the Kennedy Center

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is America’s living memorial to President John F. Kennedy, attracting millions of visitors each year to more than 2,000 performances, events and exhibits. With its artistic affiliates, the National Symphony Orchestra and the Washington National Opera, the center is one of the busiest performing arts centers in the country, dedicated to providing world-class arts, powerful education, and outstanding memorial experiences to the widest possible constituency. The Kennedy Center is committed to creating accessible, inclusive opportunities for all people to participate in and learn through arts in all of its offerings, including more than 400 free performances each year and a variety of discounted ticket programs for students, seniors , people with disabilities and others. On September 7, 2019, the Kennedy Center dedicated REACH, its first major expansion. Designed by Steven Holl Associates, REACH offers visitors new ways to interact and engage with the Center as the nation’s premier nexus for arts, learning and culture. On September 8, 2022, the Kennedy Center unveiled Art and Ideals: President John F. Kennedy, a new 7,500-square-foot permanent exhibition exploring Kennedy’s presidency and his commitment to the arts.

About PBS

PBS, with more than 330 member channels, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches over 120 million people on television and 26 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear different perspectives and have a front row seat to world-class drama and performance. PBS’ wide range of programming has consistently been recognized by the industry’s most coveted competitions. Teachers of preschool through 12th graders turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring lessons to life in the classroom. Decades of research confirms that PBS KIDS, PBS’s premier media service for children, helps children build essential literacy, math and social-emotional skills that will enable them to thrive in school and in life. Delivered through member stations, PBS KIDS offers quality educational content on television—including a 24/7 channel, online at pbskids.org, across a range of mobile apps and in communities across America. For more information on PBS, see pbs.orgone of the leading dot-org websites on the web, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebookor about ours Apps for mobile and connected devices. Specific program information and press updates are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by consequences PBS Communications on Twitter.

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