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As the year draws to a close, we’re looking back at our favorite programs of 2015. Last week we discussed the year’s most memorable speakers and now we are revisiting the performances that stunned and captivated Rubin audiences in 2015. From the riveting Brooklyn Raga Massive concert in August to the solemn poetry and song of our To Nepal with Love concert in May, the performances below left a lasting impression on all who attended.

1) Tenzin Choegyal with Jesse Paris Smith and Guest Laurie Anderson

In February, we hosted a sold-out show starring international award-winning Tibetan singer/songwriter Tenzin Choegyal, his composer friend Jesse Paris Smith, and two accompanying musicians for a special concert inspired by the Tibetan Book of the Dead. The concert, Bardo Songs for In-between, also featured live narration by performance artist, Laurie Anderson. Tenzin’s beautifully evocative vocals combined with Anderson’s words and the enthralling layers of music, setting a meditative ambiance that unlike any other.

2) Brooklyn Raga Massive All-Stars Perform Terry Riley’s “In C”

Brooklyn Raga Massive, a globally recognized musician’s collective, is made up of world class, forward thinking musicians rooted in Indian classical music. In late August, the Brooklyn Raga Massive All-stars brought magnificent music, great energy, and loads of fun to the Rubin, performing “In C,” by American composer Terry Riley. Originally a minimalist piece, the group elaborated on the composition, elevating it to a new level of beauty. The concert was followed by a jam session between Brooklyn Raga Massive All-stars in the lobby, which was free and open to the public so visitors could join in.
Learn more about Brooklyn Raga Massive.
Photo credits: Lyn Hughes

3) Raas Garba Performance in Celebration of Ganesha’s Birthday

In honor of Ganesha’s birthday in September, the Rubin’s Himalayan Heritage Meetup group hosted an event with India Home, Inc., a senior daycare center in Jackson Heights, Queens that brings culturally dynamic programming to members of the South Asian community. The dancers, many of whom were in their eighties, heated up the stage as they performed the vigorous folk dance from Gujarat, India ““ Raas Garba. The vibrantly-dressed dancers swirled rhythmically in unison as the beats of the traditional dhol quickened, leaving the audience in awe. It was truly a treat for the senses!

Photo credits: Chotalal Mehta

4) Honor Nepal: To Nepal with Love – Spiral Music Concert with Jesse Paris Smith and Friends

Earlier this year, as devastating news and photographs emerged following the great earthquake in Nepal, we launched an institutional initiative to honor and celebrate the people of the region. In order to further this mission, we organized a series of talks, tours, and special programming focused around Nepal. In mid-May, as a part of our Honoring Nepal programming, Jesse Paris Smith and friends returned to the Rubin to pay respects to Nepal through poetry and music. Many visitors came to hear the stories and songs of the Himalayas from Sonam Tsomo, Muna Gurung, and Tenzin Dickie; poets and writers from Tibet and Nepal; and Nepalese musicians, Shyam Nepali, Raju Lama, and Sonam Rinzin. The performances that night proved to be touching and even transformative for audience members.

5) Mongolian Horse-Head Fiddle Virtuoso – Jidjiddorj

Earlier this month, Mongolian Horse-head Fiddle virtuoso and state laureate artist of Mongolia, Jidjiddorj, performed on the Rubin stage. Jidjiddorj’s enthralling presence and musical precision complemented the beautiful and ancient fiddle, also known as the morin khuur, transporting audience members to the glorious grasslands of the Mongolia. Jidjiddorj performed modern and traditional Mongolian pieces alongside contemporary Western classical works, making his work accessible to all.

Honorable Mention | Toshi Reagon: Naked Soul

In April, visitors were treated to a performance by singer-songwriter-guitarist, Toshi Reagon, an experience Vibe Magazine has called”one helluva rock’n’roller-coaster ride.” Toshi is a one-woman celebration of all that’s dynamic, progressive and uplifting in American music. Since first taking to the stage at the age 17, she has moved audiences of all kinds with her big-hearted, hold-nothing-back approach to various genres of music.

The best may still be yet to come! There’s still time to check out more performances at the Rubin before 2015 officially ends. Check out upcoming performances at the Rubin.