Bartow-Pell and Bronx Music Heritage Center Bring Bronx Greats to First Friday! Series

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Popular First Friday! Series begins 2013 Season on April 5th with a performance by Julliard-trained violinist Kenneth Edwards and Friends.

Julliard-trained Kenneth Edwards is a teaching artist at PS/MS 218 in the South Bronx

I know the Bartows would approve of and enjoy wonderful music filling their house.

Two Bronx organizations—Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum and Bronx Music Heritage Center—are partnering to present great Bronx musicians at Bartow-Pell’s First Friday! music series for 2013.

“BMHC connected Bartow-Pell to Bronx master musician Bobby Sanabria for a performance last year and it was a great success,” said Nancy Biberman, President of WHEDco, the organization that launched the BMHC in 2010. “The Bronx Music Heritage Center is committed to preserving and promoting Bronx music and to presenting performers at our own BMHC Lab and at venues throughout the Bronx. Bartow-Pell is dedicated to preservation—and to a cultural understanding of life in the Bronx over the centuries. It’s a great fit.”

The line-up for 2013 is extraordinary: classical and jazz violinist Kenneth Edwards, award-winning trumpeter and composer Jimmy Owens, pianist Mark Reid and his band, a return performance by Bobby Sanabria, and renowned jazz pianist Dr. Valerie Capers.

BPMM executive director Ellen Bruzelius is enthusiastic about the partnership and the series: “We are delighted that our two Bronx organizations have found such a terrific way to work together. Bringing the modern musical brilliance of the Bronx to this 19th-century treasure just feels so right. I know the Bartows would approve of and enjoy wonderful music filling their house.”

First Up: Living Legend Kenneth Edwards on April 5th:
This season’s first First Friday! and the inaugural concert for this new partnership, on Friday, April 5 from 5:30–8:30 p.m., features Juilliard-trained violinist Kenneth Edwards. Edwards began playing the violin as a 13-year old New York City public school student. Through a scholarship from the Board of Education’s “Friends of Music”, he studied the violin privately with Blanche Schwartz Levy at The Hebrew Arts School for Music and Dance. He was later accepted into The Julliard School of Music and subsequently fine-tuned his musical training at the North Carolina School of the Arts and the National Orchestral Association. He has since performed with the Bronx Opera Orchestra (principal), the Bronx Arts Ensemble, The New York Virtuosi, the Bronx Symphony, the Harlem Symphony, the Kansas City Philharmonic, the Liederkranz Opera Orchestra (principal), the Puerto Rico Symphony, and the Harlem Festival Orchestra. Kenneth has taught violin to hundreds of Bronx public students in after school programs for more than a decade, including WHEDco’s After School at PS/MS 218.

In 2012, Mr. Edwards received the prestigious Bronx Community Living Legend award from the Bronx Music Heritage Center for excellence in classical music performance and music education.

Free Transportation and Refreshments:
In addition to reveling in the music, visitors may explore the mansion, stroll the garden and enjoy light refreshments. The free Bronx Seaside Trolley makes a continuous loop from the Bx29 bus stop at Pelham Bay Park/#6 Pelham Bay Park subway station to Bartow-Pell and to City Island. The trolley runs from 5:25 to 10:30 p.m. The last pick up at Bartow-Pell is at 8:40 p.m.

This partnership is made possible, in part, with public funds from the Bronx Council on the Arts through the New York State Council on the Arts Decentralization Program.

Registration requested: call 718-885-1461 or email info(at)bpmm(dot)org. Cost $10 adults, $8 seniors & students, BPMM members free.


Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum, an 1840s Greek Revival mansion and a National Historic Landmark, is located at 895 Shore Road, Pelham Bay Park, Bronx, New York. To reach us by public transportation, take the #6 Lexington Avenue Local subway to Pelham Bay Park station, followed by the Westchester Bee-Line #45 bus direct to the mansion gate. For driving directions, please visit The mansion and carriage house are open to the public for guided tours on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. The gardens and grounds are open daily from 8:30 a.m. to dusk. Mansion admission is $5 adults, $3 seniors and students; free for children under six. Visiting the garden and grounds is free.

WHEDco reaches 35,000 people annually through energy-efficient and affordable homes; early childhood education and youth development; family support; and home-based childcare microenterprise and food business incubation. WHEDco’s Bronx Music Heritage Center furthers its mission to make the Bronx a more beautiful, equitable and economically vibrant place to live and raise a family. For more information:

The Bronx Music Heritage Center (BMHC) is committed to preserving and promoting Bronx music, cultivating Bronx artists, spurring neighborhood revival, and making cultural programs accessible to the community. For more information:

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Meredith Leverich

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