The Joseph G. Astman Cultural Events are presented in loving memory of Dr. Joseph G. Astman, founder of the Hofstra Cultural Center. Dr. Astman was a humanist, a cultural comparatist, and an international scholar. These concerts are made possible with the support of Dr. Astman's family.

See our Virtual Events Calendar for the most up-to-date information.

For More Information

For tickets and information, contact the John Cranford Adams Playhouse Box Office at 516-463-6644, Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-3:45 p.m.
No refunds. Program subject to change. All seats reserved.

Fall 2021

Sounds From the Silk Road with Eurasia Consort
Songs and Instruments From Europe, Middle East and East Asia 

Sounds from the Silk Road

Thursday, October 28, 7 p.m.

Like a multicolored thread, this concert connects classical music traditions from Europe, the Middle East, and Eastern Asia in a fascinating journey that educates the audience about cultural diversity. A highlight of this concert will be a new work by Alice Shields, The Wind in the Pines, a tale of climate catastrophe. 

This work is presented with support from Chamber Music America.

The Fortunoff Theater
Monroe Lecture Center, California Avenue
South Campus

Sweet Honey in the Rock®

Sweet Honey in the Rock

Friday, December 10, 7 p.m.

Sweet Honey in the Rock® is a performance ensemble rooted in African American history and culture. The ensemble educates, entertains, and empowers its audience and community through the dynamic vehicles of a cappella singing and American Sign Language interpretation for members of the deaf and hard of hearing communities.

Co-sponsored by Hofstra College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Hofstra University Honors College, the Center for “Race,” Culture and Social Justice, and the Noah Scholars program.

Funding for these programs has been provided, in part, by the Joseph G. Astman Family for the Hofstra Cultural Center.

Past Events

Memories from an Internment Camp: Paul Chihara, the Japanese American Internment, and his Music

Paul Chihara
Paul Chihara

Tuesday, February 23,  4:20-5:45 p.m.

Paul Chihara, a renowned Japanese American composer, will share his childhood memories from an internment camp in Minidoka, Idaho, and his journey to pursue his career in music. Born and raised in Seattle, Professor Chihara was one of those 120,000 Japanese Americans who were forcibly relocated into internment camps in desolate desert areas inland during World War II. His talk is accompanied by music pieces he composed remembering his years in the camp. Music, along with other activities such as sports, or art and craft making, was an important part of camp life and a source of inspiration for people who endured their long, unjust incarceration.

Co-sponsored: The Asian Studies program and the Hofstra Cultural Center by the departments of history and music.

Funding for these programs has been provided, in part, by the Joseph G. Astman Family for the Hofstra Cultural Center.

What Happens? Musings and Meditations on Life

A Tribute to Langston Hughes in Verse and Song by Tayo Aluko with live jazz band accompaniment featuring Everton Bailey, trumpet and Dennis Nelson, piano

Langston Hughes was one of the most important writers and thinkers that celebrated black life and culture. Hughes's creative genius was influenced by his life in New York City's Harlem, the birthplace of the Harlem Renaissance. His literary works helped shape American literature and politics.  Through his poetry, novels, plays, essays, and children's books, he promoted equality, condemned racism and injustice, and celebrated African American culture, humor, and spirituality.

Fortunoff Theater, Monroe Lecture Center

Faculty Cello Recital

Her Music in Our Time:
The Musical Works of Female Composers in the Era of Women’s Suffrage

In the era of the women's suffrage movement, there were talented female composers struggling for the respect and opportunities afforded their male counterparts. Despite receiving honors for their compositions, these women and their musical works are largely unknown to musicians and audiences of today. Hofstra cello professor, Tomoko Fujita, with members of the New York Chamber Music Co-Op (Lisa Tipton, violin, Adria Benjamin, viola, and Adrienne Kim, piano), and guest violinist Shannon Thomas of Florida State University, will celebrate and give voice to the music of Dame Ethel Smyth, Nadia Boulanger, Rebecca Clarke, Florence Price, and Germaine Tailleferre.

Co-sponsored by the Department of Music.

Fortunoff Theater, Monroe Lecture Center

Unheard Voices

Conceived by Judy Tate

Unheard Voices

Tuesday, September 17, 6:30 p.m.

Unheard Voices is an original monologue piece, with singing and drumming, by the award-winning writers of the American Slavery Project. Up to 30,000 men, women, and children from New York’s Colonial era are buried in the African Burial Ground in Lower Manhattan. Based on specific burials, each monologue gives one of them voice and honors those African descendants – enslaved and free – who were buried without their names.

In collaboration with the Women's Studies Program, the Center for Civic Engagement, and the Center for"Race," Culture and Social Justice.

Toni and Martin Sosnoff Theater, John Cranford Adams Playhouse

Kyōgen Demonstration and Workshop
with Members of the Yamamoto Tojiro Kyōgen Company

Kyōgen Performance and Workshop

Tuesday, November 12, 11:15 a.m.-12:40 p.m.

Members of the Yamamoto Tojiro Kyōgen Company will perform a demonstration of kyōgen, the traditional comic theater of Japan. The Yamamoto Kyōgen Company carries on the ancient tradition of performance for samurai clans established by the Tokugawa Shogun. The current head has been awarded the Order of the Rising Sun with Gold and Silver Rays by the Emperor of Japan (2012) and designated an Intangible Cultural Asset.

This event is made possible by Japan Society, New York, NY in conjunction with their Taiten: Noh and Kyogen ( program on November 14-16, 2019.

In collaboration with the Hofstra Cultural Center and  the Peter A. Teleha Memorial Fund, Hofstra University Honors College.

Additional sponsors include the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan through the Japan Arts Council, Hofstra University’s Asian Studies Program, Office of the Provost, Departments of Comparative Literature, Languages, and Linguistics,Drama and Dance, History, Religion, Anthropology, Hofstra College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Hofstra University Honors College, and the Joseph G. Astman Fund for the Hofstra Cultural Center.

Fortunoff Theater, Monroe Lecture Center

Hevreh Ensemble and Native American Flute Maker Daniel Bigay

Hevreh Ensemble and Native American Flute Maker Daniel Bigay<

Thursday, November 14, 6:30 p.m.

Hevreh is a Hebrew word meaning “circle of friends." Hevreh’s essence is the thread of intention and imagination that connects a Cherokee flute to a shofar. Hevreh’s aesthetic is the double-image evoked by the intertwining of distinct musical languages, delivered with the respect of exacting classical technique, the playful joy of jazz improvisation, and the intense warmth, humor, and empathy that only a close-knit chamber ensemble can offer.

Hevreh is excited to welcome master artist, musician, and Native American flute maker Daniel Bigay to its circle of friends. Bigay belongs to the Echota Cherokee Tribe of Alabama and is of Cherokee, Choctaw, Taino, and Scot/Irish descent.

In commemoration of Indigenous Peoples Month, this collaboration includes commentary on the loss of indigenous language in Native American culture, demonstrations of the beautiful flutes that Bigay creates, opportunities to try playing a Native American flute, and a performance that includes solo works for Native American flute and works played together with the Hevreh Ensemble.

Lowenfeld Exhibition Hall, Axinn Library, 10th Floor

Dramatic Performance and Talk Back
Down the Rabbit Hole

by Liza Jessie Peterson

Down the Rabbit Hole

Wednesday, February 27, 6:30 p.m.
Straight from her sold-out 2018 New York tour of The Peculiar Patriot, artist Liza Jessie Peterson has done it again with her new play, Down The Rabbit Hole. The play is the story of Peterson’s journey into the prison system over two decades and how this starry-eyed actress tumbled down the rabbit hole of mass incarceration to find great purpose teaching incarcerated teenagers at Rikers Island while fighting to keep her dream of being an artist alive. A funny thing happens when purpose meets passion in prison and this artist has the hilarious and harrowing receipts. With striking clarity, sharp humor and heart-felt insight, Liza’s journey unfolds as her depth of inquiry reveals a shockingly entrenched system unique to the USA.

In collaboration with ongoing exhibition, Hidden in Sight: Photographing Incarceration  

Fortunoff Theater, Monroe Lecture Center

A World Music Duo From Hungary

Artemisia’s Intent

Tuesday, March 12, 6:30 p.m.
A World Music Duo From Hungary

Flora Tandi, vocals
Robert Sinha, guitar

This is a concert program based on multicultural diversity in music featuring traditional Hungarian folk songs uniquely arranged by Robert Sinha, with the use of rhythmic and harmonic patterns from flamenco, bossa nova, tango, and jazz. One of the songs in the duo’s repertoire, titled Szól a kakas már, is the symbol of the multicultural musical fusion they work on: It is a Hungarian- Jewish folk song originating from Transylvania that Sinha arranged with the use of Spanish flamenco. Apart from the songs based on Hungarian folk music, the duo will perform songs in French, which serves as a good example of cooperation between different nationals through arts.    

In collaboration with the Department of Global Studies and Geography.  Co-sponsored by the National Cultural Fund of Hungary. 

Fortunoff Theater, Monroe Lecture Center

Artemisia's Intent

Artemisia’s Intent

Tuesday, March 26, 6:30 p.m.
Dramatic Performance and Talk Back

Artemisia’s Intent delivers a captivating physical performance to unearth the life, work, and words of 17th century painter Artemisia Gentileschi. Inspired by every proclamation of Me Too, The Anthropologists craft a startling portrait of a woman caught at the intersection of power, assault, and art.

In collaboration with the Women’s Studies, Department of Drama and Dance, Department of English, and Hofstra University Honors College.

Fortunoff Theater, Monroe Lecture Center


Friday, February 16, 7 p.m.

I Entered the Garden of Love – Classical Turkish Music Recital

featuring Ahmet Erdogdular, vocal and Daf (frame drum); Dr. Adem Birson, oud (lute)
This concert showcases Ottoman art songs of the 19th century based on mystic Sufi poetry.

Fortunoff Theater, Monroe Lecture Center

For more information, please call the Hofstra Cultural Center at 516-463-5669 or visit


The Hevreh Ensemble

Hevreh Ensemble

Thursday, October 26, 8 p.m.
The Hevreh Ensemble presents original compositions by group member and composer Jeff Adler on dozens of instruments from around the globe as a way to help promote cultural identity, exploration, spirituality, tolerance and world peace. The works include elements from classical, jazz and world music. Since its founding in 2004, Hevreh has toured throughout the United States and Europe, meeting with audience and critical acclaim for its passionate performances and inspiring programming. Recent highlights of the ensemble’s U.S. touring include performances at Hofstra University, Hudson River Museum, Museum of Tolerance New York, Newport Music Festival and Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, while a grant from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation allowed the group to tour Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley. Abroad, the ensemble has appeared in Austria (Vienna), the Czech Republic (Prague), Germany (Berlin, Bonn, Hamburg, Munich), the Netherlands (Amsterdam) and Poland (Krakow). For this performance, Hevreh is honored to welcome two distinguished guest artists: George Farmer, double bass, and Yousif Sheronick, percussion.

Guthart Cultural Center Theater, Axinn Library

Related Event:
Thursday and Friday, October 26 and 27
Conference: Culture and Identity Configurations: Reflections on the 21st Century
For more information, please visit



Friday, November 10, 2:55-5 p.m.
Exploring Giuseppe Verdi’s Enduring Legacy: Through Spoken Word, Music and Film Screening: In the Mouth of the Wolf (In Bocca al Lupo) Unseen for over 50 years

August Ventura, author and filmmaker, explores the world of traditional opera in articles and lectures and through the medium of documentary film. An ardent devotee of the life and works of Giuseppe Verdi, he has trained his sights on this “enduring legacy,” which, in the words of Verdi biographer Mary Jane Phillips-Matz, “remains a mighty force for continuing good.” To investigate how the composer’s 27 operas have served as an agent of social and political change, Ventura created an initiative he calls “27” The Verdi Documentary Film Project, with particular emphasis on the community of Parma, Italy – known for its fierce connection to the art form – where Verdi is rightly venerated.

Fortunoff Theater, Monroe Lecture Center



Tuesday, February 28, 7 p.m.
Call Mr. Robeson: A Life, With Songs

Written and performed by Tayo Aluko, with live piano accompaniment by Hofstra alumnus Dennis Nelson, Class of 1986

Paul Robeson is a world-famous actor, singer and civil rights campaigner. When over the years he gets progressively too radical and outspoken for the establishment's liking, he is branded a traitor to his country, harassed, and denied opportunities to perform or travel. Just as physical, emotional and mental stress threaten to push him over the fine line between genius and madness, he is summoned to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee, to give the most difficult and important performance of his career.

This roller-coaster journey through Robeson's remarkable and eventful life highlights how his pioneering and heroic (but largely forgotten) political activism led many to describe him as the forerunner of the civil rights movement. It features much fiery oratory and some of his famous songs, including a dramatic rendition of "Ol' Man River." Tayo Aluko revives one of the 20th century's most impressive but overlooked figures in this powerful, compelling tour de force.

This event is FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. Limit two tickets per person. Tickets are available through the Hofstra Box Office by calling 516-463-6644, Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-3:45 p.m.

Fortunoff Theater, Monroe Lecture Center

Presented in conjunction with the symposium Performing Politics: Embodying Advocacy.

Paul Robeson, photo by Yousuf Karsh

Monday, May 1, 7 p.m.
The Bronx Opera Company
Michael Spierman, artistic director presents
A partially staged production of


By Giuseppe Verdi
In his 80th year, Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) wrote his comic masterpiece, Falstaff, along with librettist Arrigo Boito. The opera is based on Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, with scenes from Henry IV, Parts I and II. Sir John Falstaff, the chubby, cowardly, bawdy, bragging, sack-drinking, lying, licentious yet loveable everyman, attempts to solve his monetary problems by romancing two married women to gain access to their husbands’ wealth. Watch as the female characters band together to outsmart Sir John and others who stand in the way of a happy ending.

The Bronx Opera Company, under the direction of Maestro Michael Spierman, brings Falstaff to life in this opera-in-concert performance sung in English outstanding professional singers, with piano accompaniment.

Fortunoff Theater, Monroe Lecture Center

For more information, please contact the John Cranford Adams Playhouse Box Office at 516-463-6644, Monday through Friday, 11 a.m.-3:45 p.m.

Download PDF

Thursday, November 3, 6:30 p.m.
Singing at the Guru’s Court: Sacred Hymns From the Sikh Tradition

Dr. Francesca Cassio, Sardarni Harbans Kaur Chair in Sikh Musicology at Hofstra University, will perform sacred hymns from the Sikh tradition (late 15th-early 18th century). On this occasion Dr. Cassio will be accompanied by Parminder Singh Bhamra and Nirvair Kaur Khalsa, who will respectively play medieval instruments such as the drum pakhawaj and the bowed taus.

Concert presented in conjunction with Traditions in Transition: Intangible Heritage in South and Southeast Asia symposium.

For more information on symposium, please contact the Hofstra Cultural Center at 516-463-5669

Singing at the Guru’s Court: Sacred Hymns From the Sikh Tradition

Friday, November 18, 2:55 p.m.
The Music of Brazil Concert

Directed by Alejandro Avilés and Shawn Lovato, Department of Music, Hofstra University.

Explore the unique and original musical history of Brazil with a multicultural concert featuring a panorama of musical groups, native instruments and repertoires from the Brazilian, Indian, and Jazz music traditions.

Fortunoff Theater, Monroe Lecture Center

Related Event:
Wednesdays, September 14-November 16, 4-5 p.m.
The Music of Brazil Workshops

The workshops are FREE and open to all students and members of the community.
All instruments and all levels welcome.
Room 020 New Academic Building

The Music of Brazil Workshops

oseph G. Astman International Concert Series
Spring 2016

Sunday, February 21, 3 p.m.
Songs of Resistance:
Protest Music and Dance From Around the World

Songs of Resistance

Join Hofstra's Department of Music and the Hofstra Cultural Center as we explore songs and dances that have inspired, motivated and brought together individuals to fight injustice, to rally around a cause, or to demand a better life. The performance features Hofstra student dancers and musicians, ensembles from Hempstead High School and invited internationally acclaimed South African a cappella vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

… From enslaved Africans' cries for freedom to the struggles for civil rights in the Americas, in Apartheid South Africa and in Tiananmen Square; … from oppressed workers' demand for better wages and working conditions to immigrants' longing for economic and social justice; … from these silenced souls pour forth SONGS; these shackled bodies erupt into DANCE. This concert celebrates their voices.

This performance is made possible by a generous grant from the D'Addario Music Foundation (D'Addario Music Appreciation Initiative), Hofstra University Department of Music and the Hofstra Cultural Center.

John Cranford Adams Playhouse

Tickets are $12 general admission, $10 senior citizen (over 65) or matriculated non-Hofstra student with ID. Students under 16 receive one free ticket. Group rates are available. Members of the Hofstra community receive two free tickets upon presentation of a current HofstraCard.

For tickets and more information, visit or call the Hofstra Box Office at (516) 463-6644, Monday through Friday, 11 a.m.-3:45 p.m.

Thursday, April 14, 7 p.m.
The Blooming Garden of Beauty

Songs of Resistance

Experience a full immersion into the world of classical Japanese dance and music, with a Kabuki performance by Sachiyo Ito and Dancejapan. The performance will be followed by a Q&A on women in Japanese arts, with participants Francesca Cassio, PhD, Hofstra University, and Patricia Welch, PhD, Hofstra University.

Fortunoff Theater, Monroe Lecture Center

Wednesday, May 4, 8 p.m.
The Bronx Opera Company


Michael Spierman, artistic director presents
Cinderella (La Cenerentola)
by Gioachino Rossini
This delightful comic opera will be performed in English.

Fortunoff Theater, Monroe Lecture Center

Tickets are $15 general admission; $12 senior citizen (over 65) or matriculated non-Hofstra student; $10 group rate (10 or more); One free ticket for student under 16 (with ID); Two free tickets for Hofstra faculty/staff/student (must pick up ticket(s) and present current HofstraCard at Box Office) For tickets call the Hofstra Box Office at 516-463-6644 Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-3:45 p.m. or purchase online at If available, tickets will also be sold at the door by cash or check only, starting 60 minutes prior to show time.

For more information, please contact the Hofstra Cultural Center at 516-463-5669.


Audience interaction for both Master Classes is limited to Hofstra students.

Friday, October 16, 2:55 p.m.

Hevreh Ensemble

The ensemble performs original contemporary American compositions by group member and composer Jeff Adler. The works are often inspired by themes of religious and racial tolerance, World peace and environmental sustainability, and combine classical, jazz and world music elements. The wide and varied instrumentation includes the innovative use of Native American flutes, along with oboe, oboe d’amore, English horn, clarinet, bass clarinet, world percussion, piano, keyboard and shofar. The ensemble has performed widely throughout North America and has also presented concerts in Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland. Most recently, the ensemble performed for the Newport Chamber Music Festival in Rhode Island and toured the Netherlands and Germany. This master class features Hofstra adjunct music professors Judith Dansker and Laurie Friedman-Adler.

Fortunoff Theater, Monroe  Lecture Center

For more information, please contact the Department of Music at 516-463-5444.

Wednesday, November  11, 5 :30 p.m.

Italian American Experience Lecture Series Hofstra Celebrates Sinatra with Jerry Bruno Interview 

Master Class with Jerry Bruno, bass D’Addario Foundation Visiting Artist and legendary musician who played and toured with Frank Sinatra.

For more information, please contact the Hofstra Cultural Center at 516-463-5669

Joseph G. Astman International Concert Series
Presents the
The Bronx Opera Company with Michael Spierman, artistic director performing concert excerpts from The Marriage of Figaro
Wednesday, April 15, 8 p.m.
Fortunoff Theater, Monroe Lecture Center

This insightful and lively comedic opera was composed by  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart . It premiered in Vienna in 1786.

$12 General Admission
$10 senior citizen (over 65) or matriculated non-Hofstra student with ID
Students under 16 recieve one free ticket; $8 group rate (15+)

Two free tickets with current faculty/student/student HofstraCard

For tickets and information please contact the John Cranford Adams Playhouse Box Office at 516-463-5669

The Marriage of Figaro

Joseph G. Astman International Concert Series
Music From Around the World

The Taiko Masala Drum Ensemble*
Friday, September 19 at 12:30 p.m.

Founded by master drummer Hiro Kurashima, the ensemble combines the training and discipline of Japanese martial arts with the precision and power of complex drumming.

*Presented in conjunction with the Hofstra Cultural Center conference Asia Transforming: Old Values and New Presences
Main Dining Room, Mack Student Center

Taiko Masala Drum Ensemble

Tuesday, November 11, 7 p.m.
Lecture and Demonstration: Women in India: Music and Culture
Professor Rita Ganguly, New Delhi, India Professor Rita Ganguly is an authority in the fieldvof semiclassical Indian music, with particular reference to the romantic repertoire performed by female artists. She is the foremost disciple of the legendary Ghazal singer Begum Akhtar, and she will be at Hofstra to share her memories and her music.
Fortunoff Theater, Monroe Lecture Center

Logo Professor Rita Ganguly

Friday, November 14, 7 p.m.
Gamelan Kusuma Laras performing The Spirit of Gamelan

Gamelan Kusuma Laras is a classical Javanese gamelan orchestra based in New York City that performs music, dance and theater from the classical repertoire of the courts of Central Java. The orchestra was formed 30 years agoto study and present Indonesian performing arts to American audiences. Kusuma Laras has entranced music and dance lovers in the United States and in Indonesia with its authentic performances on instruments created especially for the Indonesia Pavilion at the World's Fair of 1964-65 in New York.
Tickets: $10 general admission; $8 senior citizen (over 65) or matriculated non-Hofstra student with ID.
Tickets on sale beginning October 14, 2014

For more information and to purchase tickets, please contact the John Cranford Adams Playhouse Box Office at 516-463-6644, Monday-Friday, 11a .m.-3:45 p.m.

Fortunoff Theater, Monroe Lecture Center

Gamelan Kusuma Laras

Monday, November 17, 7 p.m.
Lecture: Sacred and Secular in the Sikh Musical Tradition

Dr. Virinder S. Kalra, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, University of Manchester, UK
How does the sacred/secular opposition explain itself in the context of musical production? Through the deconstruction of the sacred/secular opposition, Dr. Kalra explores the relationship of religion and music to wider questions of religion and politics. Its postcolonial approach brings Asia into the Western sacred/secular opposition, and provides a set of analytical tools — a language and range of theories — to allow further exploration of non-Western religious music.
Presented in collaboration with the Sardarni Harbans Kaur Chair in Sikh Musicology at Hofstra University
Guthart Cultural Center Theater, Axinn Library
For more information, please email Francesca.Cassio[at]

Sacred and Secular in the Sikh Musical Tradition