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Opening Night Gala Performance

Wednesday, June 2, 2010
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

About the Honoree
Stephen W. Hawking is one of the world’s foremost theoretical physicists. His dramatic breakthroughs into the origin of the universe and the properties of black holes are among the most revolutionary insights into the nature of the cosmos since the work of Albert Einstein. Until stepping down last October, Hawking was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University, a post once held by Isaac Newton. In presenting Professor Hawking the Presidential Medal of Freedom on August 12, 2009, President Barack Obama stated that “he’s led us on a journey to the farthest and strangest reaches of the cosmos. In so doing, he has stirred our imagination and shown us the power of the human spirit here on Earth.”


Stephen HawkingPhysicist

Stephen W. Hawking is one of the world’s foremost theoretical physicists. His dramatic breakthroughs into the origin of the universe and the properties of black holes are among the most revolutionary insights into the nature of the cosmos since the work of Albert Einstein.

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Alan AldaActor, Author, Director

Alan Alda, a seven-time Emmy® Award winner, played Hawkeye Pierce and wrote many of the episodes on the classic TV series M*A*S*H. He has starred in, written, and directed many films, and was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in The Aviator.

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Danny BursteinActor, Singer

Danny Burstein is a native New Yorker who got his Equity card at 19 and has been working ever since in summer stock, regional theatre, movies, television and on and off Broadway.

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Elizabeth AlexanderPoet

Elizabeth Alexander is a poet, essayist, playwright, and teacher, who composed and delivered “Praise Song for the Day” for the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Among her many awards was the first Alphonse Fletcher, Sr. Fellowship for work that “contributes to improving race relations in American society and furthers the broad social goals of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision of 1954.”

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Eldar DjangirovJazz Pianist

Grammy-nominated Eldar Djangirov is one of the top jazz pianists on the scene today. He has played with many of the masters, including Dave Brubeck, Michael Brecker, Wynton Marsalis and Dr. Billy Taylor. His latest recording Virtue, made it to the Top 20 on Billboard’s Jazz album chart and Jazzweek’s radio chart by the third week.

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John LithgowActor

John Lithgow’s many Broadway appearances include The Changing Room, My Fat Friend, Trelawney of the Wells, Comedians, Anna Christie, Once in a Lifetime, Spokesong, Bedroom Farce, Beyond Therapy, Requiem for a Heavyweight, The Front Page, M. Butterfly, and Sweet Smell of Success.

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Arturo DelmoniViolinist, Violist

Arturo Delmoni, violinist and violist, has earned critical acclaim in the United States and abroad for his stylish, elegant interpretations of classical masterpieces. His distinctive playing embodies the romantic warmth that was the special province of the great virtuosi of the golden age of violin playing.

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Tiler PeckDancer

Tiler Peck has danced leading roles in ballets by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, in addition to a wide variety of choreographers, including Peter Martins, Susan Stroman and Christopher Wheeldon. She has also had numerous works created for her, most recently by Wheeldon and Wayne McGregor for the 2010 New York City Ballet Spring season.

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Kelli O’HaraSinger

Kelli O’Hara recently starred in the Tony Award-winning revival of South Pacific at Lincoln Center, enrapturing audiences and critics alike with her interpretation of Nellie Forbush, garnering a third Tony-nomination in the process.

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Brian GreenePhysicist, Author

Brian Greene is a professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University, and is recognized for a number of groundbreaking discoveries in his field of superstring theory. His books, The Elegant Universe, The Fabric of the Cosmos, and The Hidden Reality, have collectively spent 65 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list.

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David HallbergDancer

David Hallberg has danced the title role in Apollo, Solor in La Bayadère, Albrecht in Giselle, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet and George Balanchine’s Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux, among many others, for the American Ballet Theatre.

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Yo-Yo MaCellist

The many-faceted career of cellist Yo-Yo Ma is testament to his continual search for new ways to communicate with audiences, and to his personal desire for artistic growth and renewal. In 1998 Mr. Ma established the Silk Road Project to promote the study of the cultural, artistic and intellectual traditions along the ancient Silk Road trade route that stretched from the Mediterranean Sea to the Pacific Ocean.

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The Silk Road EnsembleMusicians

The Silk Road Ensemble is a collective of internationally renowned performers and composers from more than 20 countries. Many of the musicians first came together under the artistic direction of Yo-Yo Ma at a workshop at Tanglewood Music Center in Massachusetts in 2000.

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Brad LubmanConductor

Brad Lubman, conductor/composer, is founding co-Artistic Director and Music Director of Ensemble Signal, hailed by The New York Times as “one of the most vital groups of its kind.” He has gained widespread recognition during the past two decades for his versatility, commanding technique, and insightful interpretations.

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Emalie SavoyOpera Singer

Emalie Savoy made her Carnegie Hall debut as the soprano soloist in Mendelssohn’s Paulus with The Oratorio Society of New York. A lover of concert and recital, she has also been seen in performance at Alice Tully Hall and the New York Society for Ethical Culture.

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