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Valerie Coleman’s Portraits of Josephine

March 21 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Playwright and actor Kirya Traber joins the Orchestra of St. Luke’s for a journey through the life of Josephine Baker.

Journey through the life of Josephine Baker with Valerie Coleman’s Portraits of Josephine, a wind quartet dedicated to the iconic entertainer and her legacy. Playwright and actor Kirya Traber joins the 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.

This performance is part of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s Five Borough Tour.

SEATING POLICY | Programs are free and open to all, but registration is requested. Check-in line forms 45 minutes before the advertised start time. Registered guests are given priority check-in 15 to 30 minutes before start time. Five minutes before the advertised start time, all seats are released, regardless of registration, to our patrons in the stand-by line. If you arrive after the program starts, you will be seated at the discretion of our front-of-house staff.

STANDBY LINE | If registration is sold out or has ended, do not fret! We welcome you to come to the Library regardless of registration status and wait in our standby line, which forms 45 minutes before the advertised start time. Five minutes before the program starts, all remaining seats are released. While this is not guaranteed, we will do our best to get you into any of our programs.

ASSISTIVE LISTENING AND ASL | ASL interpretation and real-time (CART) captioning available upon request. Please submit your request at least two weeks in advance by emailing

BRUNO WALTER POLICY | Please note that any unoccupied seat will be released five minutes before the show begins and holding seats for anyone beyond that is prohibited. There is no food or drink allowed inside the venue.

AUDIO/VIDEO RECORDING | Programs may be photographed and recorded by and at the discretion of the Library for the Performing Arts and will post signs indicating as such. If you would prefer your image not be captured, please let us know and we can seat you accordingly. Attending any program indicates your consent to being filmed/photographed and your consent to the use of your recorded image for any and all purposes of the New York Public Library.

PRESS | Please send all press inquiries to Alex Teplitzky at Please note that all recording, including professional video recordings, are prohibited without expressed consent from the Library.


New York Public Library for the Performing Arts – Bruno Walter Auditorium
111 Amsterdam Ave. between West 64th and 65th Street
New York,NY10023-7498United States

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