Met Museum Offering Everything From Virtual Concerts And Live Performances By Grammy Winner Angelique Kidjo To Weekend “Date Nights”

The Metropolitan Museum is celebrating spring and New York City’s return from the pandemic with special programming for visitors, including concerts by Grammy Award-winning performer Angelique Kidjo and “Date Night” events.

It will also offer a five-hour marathon of the music of Renaissance composer Josquin des Prez at the Met Cloisters, as well as in-gallery performances by the MetLiveArts artist-in-residence Bijayini Satpathy, who will explore the future and traditions of Odissi, an Indian classical dance.

Kidjo—who has won five Grammy Awards, including one for best global music album earlier this month—will perform tonight and tomorrow night in the museum’s Grace Rainey Rodgers Auditorium, accompanied by musicians on cajon (a wooden box used as a drum), percussion, guitar and bass.

According to the museum, Kidjo’s concerts “were organized in anticipation of the 2024 reopening of (its) Michael C. Rockefeller Wing, whose galleries, currently under construction, celebrate the genius of sub-Saharan creative expression. . . The concerts represent a musical odyssey from Africa (a fount of incomparably rich inspiration) to New York (unique global crossroads and catalyst for her continually expanding innovative repertoire.)”

The museum also called Kidjo “a leader among the community of some 30 visionaries . . .who are contributing their insights to the reenvisioning of the Michael C. Rockefeller Wing and the significance of the traditions it presents.”

“Date Night at the Met” offers everything from live musical performances of contemporary string quartets and Jazz Age classics, to “gallery chats” with “museum guides” who help visitors “’get to know’ a work of art, just like a first date.” Refreshments available for purchase include drink specials, small bites and light fare. Upcoming date nights will take place on April 29 and 30, May 6 and 7.

Satpathy’s in-gallery performances will take place twice each afternoon on May 14 (in the Islamic art galleries); May 15 (in the modern and contemporary art galleries); and May 21 in the Astor Chinese Garden Court. The museum said Odissi, the dance she performs, “is rooted in the temple sanctums, royal courts and village squares of the Indian state of Odisha . . .recreated on contemporary stages.”

The des Prez marathon, by the Clarion Choir and Orchestra, will be held from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on June 8 in the Fuentiduena Chapel of the Met Cloisters and celebrate the 500th anniversary of the composer’s death, featuring performances of early to mature compositions in what the museum calls “one of New York’s most enchanting spaces.”

The museum closed because of the pandemic in March 2020 and began offering digital arts programming, attracting millions of viewers, according to Limor Tomer, general manager of MetLiveArts. Although the museum reopened to the public in August 2020, it continued to film live performances without audiences and offer these online, including concerts with violinist Leila Josefowicz and with Anthony McGill, first-chair clarinet of the New York Philharmonic and the orchestra’s first African American principal player. The museum said his concert was “inspired by his family’s 20th century migration from the Deep South to Chicago as well as by the paintings of Kerry James Marshall and others in the Met’s collection.” Also new is the digital series, “Sonic Cloisters,” which the museum says “emphasizes the look, feel, and sound of the Cloisters as the inspiration and starting point for new electronic music.”

These concerts are available free of charge on the museum’s social media platforms.

Live programming with a live audience at the museum began again last October, with a concert by Gavin Creel.

Tomer said the museum’s virtual programming has attracted viewers “from all over the world and all 50 states. It’s been an incredible silver lining to this horrible time, opening up pathways to music” to those who “for whatever reason” cannot attend in person.


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