news releases

2006.01.31 > For Immediate Release
contact: Teresa Gleason - University Affairs
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: tmgleason@mail.unomaha.edu

The Langston Hughes Project Comes to UNO Feb. 26

Omaha - The work of one of the most important writers and thinkers of the 20th century is coming to the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Sunday, Feb. 26.

The McCurdy/Wright Consort will present The Langston Hughes Project, Ask Your Mama: Twelve Moods for Jazz – a multimedia event that embodies the writer and poet at his best – at 7:30 p.m. in the Strauss Performing Arts Center Recital Hall on the UNO campus.  It is free and open to the public.

Hughes was an integral part of the Harlem Renaissance, the African American artistic movement in the 1920s that celebrated black life and culture.  His poetry, novels, plays, essays and children's books promoted equality, condemned racism and injustice, and celebrated African American culture, humor and spirituality.

The Langston Hughes Project, based on a masterwork written in 12 parts by Hughes in the early 1960s, creates the mood of the Harlem Renaissance in the 800-line suite of poems illustrated by the spoken word, and accompanied by a live quartet and visual images from the era.  It has been presented at colleges, universities, museums and cultural centers across the United States, including Carnegie Hall.

"The performance recreates Hughes' vision of the global struggle for freedom in the early 1960s," said Pete Madsen, coordinator of jazz studies and assistant professor of trombone at UNO.

African American artists and photographers – including Jacob Lawrence, Gordon Parks and Romare Bearden – link words to music and a kaleidoscopic collection of images.  Spoken word artist John Wright brings Hughes' text vividly to life.  Music director and composer Ron McCurdy orchestrates the original music based on the music cues suggested by Hughes.

The UNO performance of The Langston Hughes Project is sponsored by the UNO Department of Music, the UNO Department of Black Studies, the Student Programming Organization, the Goodrich Program and the Nebraska Arts Council.

For more information about the Feb. 26 event, contact Kimberly Mettenbrink at 402.554.3427.

For more information about The Langston Hughes Project, visit the Web at http://www.ronmccurdy.com.

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