poster for "Ain't I a Woman!"CHAMBER MUSIC THEATRE WORK CELEBRATES AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN

The University at Albany Performing Arts Center, operating under the auspices of the College of Arts and Sciences and in conjunction the Office of Multicultural Student Success, is pleased to present the Core Ensemble in a performance of Ain’t I a Woman! on Thursday, March 29, 2012 at 7:30pm.  This chamber theatre work celebrates the life and times of four powerful African American women: renowned novelist and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston, ex-slave and fiery abolitionist Sojourner Truth, exuberant folk artist Clementine Hunter and fervent civil rights worker Fannie Lou Hamer.

Chamber music theatre is a unique performance format developed by the Core Ensemble featuring a marriage of theatrical narrative to chamber music performance.  Performers in Ain’t I a Woman! include cellist Tahirah Whittington, pianist Hugh Hinton, percussionist Michael Parola and actress Shinnerrie Jackson, who portrays multiple characters while interacting with the onstage musical trio.  The show is written by Minneapolis native Kim Hines, a playwright, actor and stage director who is currently an Associate Artist at Illusion Theater in Minneapolis.The musical score is drawn from the heartfelt spirituals and blues of the Deep South, the urban vitality of the Jazz Age and contemporary concert music by African Americans.

Since 1993, the Core Ensemble has toured its works in every region of the United States and internationally to Australia, England, Russia, Ukraine and the British Virgin Islands. Performances have taken place in such prestigious venues as the Guggenheim Museum, Central Park SummerStage, the Chautauqua Institution, the Daytona International Festival, the Fromm Series at Harvard University and New Music Festivals in Massachusetts, California, Ohio and Indiana.

Originally from Houston, Tahirah Whittington has performed for audiences in the United States, Chile, France, Italy, Spain, Canada, Bermuda, St. Kitts and Japan. She is a founding member of The Young Eight, a touring string octet based in Seattle, and a resident member of the Ritz Chamber Players based in Jacksonville, FL. She is featured on Cedille Records' recording of Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson's unaccompanied cello work, "Lamentations: a Black Folk Song Suite," for which she received a Grammy nomination. Whittington has collaborated with jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman and reggae artist Beres Hammond and has performed on recordings with R&B artists Alicia Keys, Angie Stone, Joe and gospel singer Donnie McClurkin.

Hugh Hinton has performed widely as a chamber musician and recitalist including concerts and residencies throughout the Middle East as a U.S. Information Agency Artistic Ambassador. Orchestral concerto engagements include the Aequalis Ensemble’s world premiere performances of the Chinary Ung Triple Concerto with the Phoenix, Honolulu, New Hampshire and Stony Brook symphonies as well as the world premiere performances of the Bernard Rands Triple Concerto with the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Florida Philharmonic, Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony and the New Hampshire Symphony. His recordings of chamber and contemporary music have been broadcast internationally on "Art of the States" and can be found on the New World, Albany, CRI, Etcetera and Newport Classics labels.

A founding member and percussionist with the Aequalis Trio from 1984-93 and then founder of the Core Ensemble, Michael Parola has commissioned dozens of new chamber music trios for the unique instrumental combination of cello, piano and percussion.  He has served as percussion instructor at the Harid Conservatory of Music from 1993-99, Florida Atlantic University from 1993-98 and the Conservatory of Music at Lynn University from 1999-2008. In addition to his roles as percussionist and Executive Director, Parola has served since 1995 as Executive Producer for nearly a dozen Core Ensemble chamber music theatre works.

Shinnerrie Jackson is a member of Actor’s Equity Association and has appeared in regional theatre and collegiate theatre in such productions as Guys and Dolls, A Christmas Carol, The Tempest, Much Ado About Nothing, King Lear, All My Sons, The Glass Menagerie and Raisin in the Sun. Jackson holds an MFA in Acting from the University of Tennessee and a B.M. in Vocal Performance from Oberlin Conservatory.

Tickets for the performance are $15 for the general public, $12 for seniors and UAlbany faculty-staff and $10 for students.  For reservations and further information, contact the Box Office at (518) 442-3997.

There will also be a special morning matinee performance of Ain’t I a Woman! for high school groups on Thursday, March 29 at 10am. Information and reservations for this matinee are available by calling the Performing Arts Center office at (518) 442-5738.