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Tuesdays on the Terrace | A Celebration of Alice Coltrane with Brandee Younger

July 23, 20245:30 pm - 8:00 pm

This event is free, but capacity is limited. Reserve a Fast Pass for expedited entry.

Brandee Younger. Photo courtesy of the artist.

About the Event

Summer Tuesdays come alive on the MCA terrace with free concerts highlighting artists from Chicago’s internationally renowned music community. Enjoy live music while relaxing on the lawn with your own picnic, or savor snacks and drinks available for purchase. Then head inside to catch the MCA’s summer exhibitions—we’re open late on Tuesdays and free for Illinois residents.

Grammy-nominated harpist, Brandee Younger returns to Chicago for a rare intimate concert. A leading voice on the harp today, performer, composer, educator, and curator Brandee Younger defies genres and labels.

Don’t miss Younger with Michelle Coltrane during a special program honoring the life and legacy of Alice Coltrane on July 21.

About the Artist

The sonically innovative harpist Brandee Younger is revolutionizing harp for the digital era. Over the past 15 years, she has worked relentlessly to stretch boundaries and limitations for harpists. In 2022, she made history by becoming the first Black woman to be nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition. That same year, she was also nominated for an NAACP Image Award. Ever-expanding as an artist, she has worked with cultural icons including Common, Lauryn Hill, John Legend, and Moses Sumney. 

Younger was born and raised in Hempstead, New York. As a teen in the early 1990s, she bopped to the beats of artists like LL Cool J, Queen Latifah, and Busta Rhymes. Among these hip-hop greats, she discovered Dorothy Ashby’s music by way of hip-hop legend Pete Rock. She began playing harp at the age of 11 and eventually enrolled at the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford in Connecticut where she studied classical music. It was through the encouragement of legendary saxophonist Jackie McLean that she made her first foray into jazz with the harp. Hearing Ashby for the first time led her to envision new possibilities for herself as a harpist. “She was covering all of these popular tunes and soundtracks [of the time] and I wanted to do that. She’s playing pop, jazz and everyone’s sampling her–DJ Premier, Pete Rock, J. Dilla. Hearing, then seeing her as a Black Woman, while I’m this random little isolated black girl playing a harp by myself was everything to me.” Younger forged her way with a small but mighty group of Black women harpists as examples—Sarah Lawrence from her hometown, Ann Hobson-Pilot, Dorothy Ashby, and Alice Coltrane—who were consistent sources of inspiration. After graduating from the Hartt School in 2006, Younger went on to develop a name for herself on the jazz and commercial recording scene in New York City. To date, her performance roster is fierce. As a side-woman, she has played alongside jazz icons such as Pharoah Sanders, Ravi Coltrane, Jack DeJohnette, and Reggie Workman.

Younger’s commitment to carrying the torch can also be seen through her work as a performer and educator. In 2008, she earned a Master of Music from New York University’s Steinhardt School. She has been guest faculty and lecturer at Berklee College of Music, Princeton University, Howard University, and Tulane University, among others. Currently, she serves as teaching artist faculty at New York University and The New School. In recent years, she has appeared on albums by Lakecia Benjamin, Robert Glasper, Jeremy Pelt, The Baylor Project, and Makaya McCraven, just to name a few. In addition to her contributions as a side-woman, Younger’s commitment to honoring the legacy of Black women harpists can be seen through her curatorial work. She has curated a number of performances dedicated to honoring the work of Dorothy Ashby and Alice Coltrane.

Funding

Tuesdays on the Terrace is presented by NBC 5 and Telemundo Chicago.

Tuesdays on the Terrace is made possible in part by a generous gift from Luminarts Cultural Foundation.

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