Orchestra of St. Lukes: Valerie Coleman's Portraits of Josephine

SUN, MAR 17, 2024
2:00 PM

ATTENTION - ELEVATOR CLOSURE: As of March 4, 2024, the elevator to the 2nd floor will be closed for renovations. Click here for more information.
In-Person Tickets: This event is FREE w/ RSVP 

Journey through the life of Josephine Baker with Valerie Coleman’s Portraits of Josephine, a wind quintet dedicated to the iconic entertainer and her legacy. 

Playwright and actor Kirya Traber joins Orchestra of St. Luke's for the performances, weaving her original narrative together with Coleman’s musical memoir. 

Born in 1906, Baker began her journey as a performer at age on the vaudeville stages of St. Louis. From there, she headed to New York at the height of the Harlem Renaissance, and from New York to the cabaret halls of Paris, including the renowned Folies Bergère. Her presence as a singer and dancer captivated audiences, establishing her as a sensation and a cultural icon—the epitome of the Jazz Age to Parisians. She later naturalized as a French citizen, started a family, and largely remained in Europe for the rest of her life, as she vocally refused to perform for segregated audiences in the United States. 

Valerie Coleman, a distinguished composer and accomplished flutist, is the founder of the eminent wind quintet Imani Winds. Both Coleman and the ensemble have garnered recognition for their dedication to championing new compositions and diverse voices within the realm of classical music. In 2006, Imani Winds commemorated the centennial of Josephine Baker’s birth in 2006 with a multimedia tribute culminating in the recording of a soundtrack entitled “Josephine Baker: A Life of Le Jazz Hot!” Coleman adapted this production into the wind quintet arrangement we will hear on this tour, a celebration of Baker’s origins, adventures, and impact on culture and social justice. 


Kirya Traber
is a nationally awarded writer, performer, and cultural worker. She is a collaborating artist with Ping Chong + Company, and is Curator-in-Residence with Hi-ARTS. She was New York Stage and Film’s 2020 Founders Award recipient. From 2015-2020 she was Lincoln Center’s lead Community Artist in Residence. She is the recipient of a NY Emmy Nomination (First Person PBS), Robert Redford’s Sundance Foundation award for Activism in the Arts, a California Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, and an Astraea Lesbian Writers Fund award for Poetry. She has been a commissioned artist of notable New York arts institutions such as the New York Philharmonic, the Morgan Library & Museum, the Orchestra of St Luke’s, and La Mama Experimental Theatre Club, among others. Throughout her ambitious performance and writing career, Kirya has continuously utilized her art for social change as a cultural organizer. 

Orchestra of St. Luke’s (OSL) performs and produces in a variety of formats throughout New York City, including Orchestral and Chamber music series on each of Carnegie Hall’s iconic stages, programs focused on contemporary composers presented throughout the five boroughs, collaborations with Paul Taylor Dance Company at Lincoln Center, a composition institute, and much more. Many of OSL’s performances are presented for free through its Education and Community Engagement programs, reaching over 12,000 students and families annually with accessible, interactive student concerts, a thriving youth orchestra, and mentorship programs for emerging players. OSL built and operates The DiMenna Center in midtown Manhattan — the city’s only rehearsal, recording, and performance space built specially for classical music — where it hosts thousands of musicians and audience members year-round. 

Learn more about Orchestra of St. Luke's (OSL) at

LOCATION:  Flushing Town Hall Theater