Alina Bloomgarden, producer and the person who was instrumental in creating Jazz At Lincoln Center. She now produces concerts called, “Music While We’re Inside” a weekly concert and program that supports the arts and offers mentoring programs for incarcerated people and those who will soon be released. (See our Live Performance Schedule for details.)
I want to give those isolated in prison today what Louis Armstrong had: music, mentorship, a band to play with….and hope.
In 1981, I begin working at Lincoln Center as Director of Visitors Services, running the tour and Meet the Artist program; I then produced the Celebration Series in Alice Tully Hall with ballet great, Jacques d’Amboise; I proposed jazz at Lincoln Center, bringing Wynton Marsalis on as artistic director and produced the launch in 1987 of Classical Jazz at Lincoln Center, which led to the establishment of Jazz at Lincoln Center as a separate constituent and world famous institution. I created the Lincoln Center Reel to Real series, combining film and live performance for families and children in 64 programs between 1996 and 2004, combining film moments from Hollywood’s heyday with live performance by artists of today.
In 2004, I became an independent producer and took Reel to Real on the road, bringing programs to the Schomburg Library in Harlem and other theaters. I wrote and produced 7 programs at the Lexington School for the Deaf.
When Hurricane Irene flooded Woodstock Vermont in August, 2011, I was asked to produce, within 3 weeks of the storm, “Goodbye Irene” to cheer up the town. It filled several venues and raised $20,000. In 2014, I produced a month-long “Satchmuration” in Woodstock, celebrating Louis Armstrong. The schools, Town Hall theater and the library featured events. All learned that they had a boys band when Armstrong was arrested at a young age and sent to the Colored Waifs Home for Boys. The music and mentorship he received confirmed the direction of his life which led me to question our treatment of incarcerated youth today.
In 2015, I co-founded Music on the Inside, in New York City, a music and mentorship program for incarcerated youth. Our artistic advisor, Wynton Marsalis, and many other leading musicians are participating and we have been invited to pilot our program at the Fortune Society this April.