Laurie Anderson and Angélique Kidjo Inaugurate Perelman Center

The first public occasions on the new $500 million Perelman Performing Arts Center, the opulent new theater close to the positioning of the World Trade Center, are intentionally laden with symbolism. The middle is opening its doorways with 5 exhibits on Sept. 19-23, collectively titled “Refuge: A Concert Series to Welcome the World.”

Each live performance provides a distinct sort of refuge as its theme: Home, Faith, School, Family and Memory. Home (Sept. 19) presents musicians who gravitated from world wide to New York City; Family (Sept. 22) has sibling and multigenerational teams. School (Sept. 21) options musicians who’ve made training an integral a part of their work.

The sequence affirms the town’s range with a global lineup that features Grammy-winning stars — Angélique Kidjo on Sept. 19, Common on Sept. 21, José Feliciano on Sept. 23 — together with lesser-known musicians devoted to preserving and extending deep-rooted traditions. The program for Devotion: Faith As Refuge, on Sept. 20, consists of klezmer music from the Klezmatics, digital transformations of Afro-Cuban Yoruba incantations by Ìfé and Moroccan Sufi trance music from Innov Gnawa.

Two a long time after the Sept. 11 assault, the middle’s inventive director, Bill Rauch, describes the Perelman’s mission as “civic healing.”

“We want to say that everyone is welcome,” Mr. Rauch mentioned. “There’s a lot of trauma and resilience on our part of the island that we want to honor. You know, there were 93 countries represented in the people who lost their lives on 9/11. And so it’s important that we welcome as many different artists and audiences into our building as possible.”

The Perelman joins a New York City arts panorama stuffed with big-budget performing-arts establishments, from Lincoln Center to the Brooklyn Academy of Music to the Shed. Is the scene too crowded? “When every man, woman and child who lives in the five boroughs of New York City has a life that is saturated in performing arts, then we can begin to talk about whether there’s too much,” Mr. Rauch mentioned.

Although the brand new arts middle is a monumental marble dice with elaborate technological underpinnings — theaters that may be configured greater than 5 dozen methods, sitting on foot-thick rubber helps to insulate them from subway noise — the tickets for the inaugural exhibits had been priced pay-what-you-will from $15-120. Most of the live shows are bought out, however some will even function free after-parties within the Perelman’s public foyer. Forró within the Dark, which performs upbeat music from Northeastern Brazil, follows the Sept. 19 present. The middle plans frequent free foyer performances.

Arturo O’Farrill, the pianist who leads the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, is acting on Sept. 20 within the “School as Refuge” live performance. He based the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, which offers devices and music classes to public-school college students in New York City. When the middle was being constructed, Mr. O’Farrill was a part of an advisory committee of artists; he urged the middle to pay shut consideration to acoustics. “I found it incredibly welcoming to artists’ voices,” Mr. O’Farrill mentioned. “That’s not always the case with institutions.”

He added, “Bill’s a very forward-looking person. This programing is about community. He’s a very thoughtful man, and he’s looking to expand the conversation on what performing arts is, what elitism does to the arts. He’s not interested in perpetuating elitism.”

Laurie Anderson, who’s to carry out on Sept. 19, is pragmatic however hopeful concerning the middle’s future. “Sometimes a place opens and it never finds its audience,” she mentioned. “I always like it when it’s opened up to the people who live in the neighborhood, but nobody lives in that neighborhood — it’s mostly abandoned offices now. So how do you make a community out of a bunch of empty offices? We’ll see. Maybe you make it by bringing music that’s just so incredible that everybody wants to get on the subway and go down there. That would be great.”

Ms. Kidjo, the clarion-voiced singer and songwriter whose albums have linked West African music to the Americas and Europe, was enthusiastic concerning the middle’s inaugural assertion. “We are all refugees from somewhere,” she mentioned. In 1983, she fled to Paris from the dictatorship in her homeland, Benin; she now lives in Brooklyn. “I think that each one of us, we have the responsibility and the duty to welcome somebody that is in a dire situation. For a performing arts center to support that speaks straight to my heart. Because everybody needs a place to put your load down and say, ‘I’ve found a place.’

She added, “We have a special status after what happened on 9/11 — to prove our openness to the rest of the world. And we have the place called the Perelman Center right next to ground zero that is open to the whole world. It’s just the beginning. We have to live up to the promise.”

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