Tag Archives: Andrew Wilk

Andrew Wilk Presents …

Like many Westporters, Andrew Wilk is very impressed by the recent transformation of the Westport Library.

But, he knows, a building that pulses with creativity is a lot more than “sticks and bricks.”

What really counts is the activity inside.

Andrew Wilk

Wilk is in a position to help make the library buzz even more than it does. An Emmy-winning television executive producer and director — as well as a playwright and symphony conductor — he has one of the most impressive Rolodexes* around.

Now he’s tapping his countless contacts — men and women he’s met through “Live at Lincoln Center,” as chief creative officer of Sony Music Entertainment, and vice president for the National Geographic Channel — to bring exciting, provocative pioneers in science, the arts and humanities to the interactive library stage.

“Andrew Wilk Presents…” debuts next month. Though he’s not crazy about the title — “I just find people, set them up for success and let ’em go,” he demurs — the library series looks like yet another Andrew Wilk smash.

The first guest (Thursday, December 12, 7 p.m.) is Michael Davie. A filmmaker who has worked on major projects for Oprah Winfrey, National Geographic, Discovery and many more, he’ll weave together hair-raising adventures from Kosovo to the Congo, adding personal reflections on travel, family and connecting with people all over the world.

Michael Davie in action.

Davie most recently co-created Oprah’s landmark 7-part series “Belief.” He began his video career by walking from Cape Town to Cairo (!) — alone (!!) — and recording that amazing journey.

Along the way Davie chronicled police brutality in Johannesburg, landmine victims in Mozambique, the sexual abuse of street children in Zimbabwe, and the disparity between rich and poor in Kenya.

He has also interviewed Nelson Mandela, and reported on terrorism, the persecution of gays in Iraq, the environmental cost of mining in Peru, and rescue climbing on Denali.

The second speaker is the celebrated oceanographer Dr. Robert Ballard. He found the Titanic, Bismarck, USS Yorktown and John F. Kennedy’s PT-109, and explored the Lusitania.

Dr. Robert Ballard

His next goal: discover Amelia Earhart’s plane. Wilk has no doubt Ballard will accomplish that too. “He’s an amazing person, with riveting stories,” Wilk says.

The third speaker is filmmaker Kevin Bachar. A 3-time Emmy Award-winning writer and cinematographer, he spent 10 years as a National Geographic producer. He also wrote specials for Discovery Channels’ Shark Week.

“There are so many great series at the library,” Wilk says. “I hope this is one more that will elevate the community.”

And — with speakers like Dr. Robert Ballard — take us to unimagined depths.

(General admission seats for Michael Davie are $20 each. VIP tickets cost $100, and include preferred seating, and pre-show food and drinks with Davie and Andrew Wilk. Click here for tickets.)

* The virtual kind, of course.

Bernstein On Broadway — And The Westport Library

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Leonard Bernstein’s birth. The legendary composer/conductor had a profound impact on Broadway, the Philharmonic, television, young people. You name it, he touched it.

He also had strong local ties. For much of his life he had a home in Fairfield, just over the Westport line. Area residents knew him well.

Leonard Bernstein

Andrew Wilk did not. But like many children of his era, he loved Bernstein’s “Young People’s Concerts” on CBS. They inspired his career in music and TV.

At New York University, Wilk was the only student who could read a full conductor’s score. When the CBS music coordinator was sick prior to a Lincoln Center show, Wilk’s professor got him to fill in.

The network paid him $50, and fired the other guy. At 19, Wilk won an Emmy for his work on the “Young People’s Concerts.”

He now has 4 more. And — in addition to his noted career as executive director of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts — the Westporter serves as a trustee of the Westport Library.

Last year he produced the organization’s Malloy Lecture in the Arts, one of the library’s signature annual events. Past programs have featured Arthur Miller, Christo, Joshua Bell, Joyce Carol Oates, Christopher Plummer and Salman Rushdie.

Andrew Wilk in the “Live From Lincoln Center” remote truck, during “Falsettos.”

Wilk had just produced the film version of “Falsettos” for PBS. He brought the director and cast to the library. It sold out the day it was announced.

So it’s only natural that this year he’s reprising his producing role for the Malloy Lecture — and focusing on Leonard Bernstein.

The event — set for Monday, October 22 (7:30 p.m., Quick Center at Fairfield University) has 2 parts.

The first focuses on Bernstein and Broadway. A panel discussion with his children Nina and Alexander will be moderated by conductor/composer/ producer George Steel. Rare family footage will be shown, including scenes from their life in Fairfield.

The second half of the evening features live musical performances of iconic shows like “West Side Story,” “On the Town” and “Wonderful Town.” Broadway soloists will be joined by the Staples High School Orphenians.

Musical director Michael Barrett will also perform a 4-hand piano arrangement of the “Candide Overture,” with Westport’s own internationally famed Frederic Chiu.

It will all be “a unique perspective on an amazing man,” Wilk promises.

Susan Malloy

It’s one more in the series named after a remarkable person herself. Artist and philanthropist Susan Malloy  died in 2015, age 91.

Thirteen years earlier, she had endowed the lecture series. It’s a free, public annual discussion by a person with significant cultural influence, and whose work has enhanced the understanding and appreciation of the arts.

(The Malloy Lecture in the Arts has already sold out. Call the Quick Center at 203-254-4010 or email boxoffice@quickcenter.com to be put on the wait list. For more information, click here.)

 

Andrew Wilk Picks Up Pops’ Baton

Most days, Andrew Wilk works behind the scenes. As executive director of PBS’ “Live from Lincoln Center,” the longtime Westport resident has brought the magic of Luciano Pavarotti, Leonard Bernstein, George Balanchine, Yo-Yo Ma, Renée Fleming, Nathan Lane and many others to viewers across the country. The show is noted for stretching technical and creative boundaries.

Last year Wilk advised the Staples TV production staff, as they aired the high school’s 1st-ever Pops Concert at the Levitt Pavilion.

The event returns this Friday. (Tickets sold out as soon as they were available.)

This time, Wilk takes center stage: literally.

One of his passions is conducting. So — at the invitation of orchestra director Adele Valovich — Wilk will wield the baton for Friday’s grand finale: the rousing “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

Andrew Wilk, rehearsing the orchestra at Staples.

“It’s a beautiful facility,” Wilk says of the Levitt. “It’s so picturesque, smack on the river. It will be packed with musicians, and the audience will be full. I’ll be happy to stand up there, as a proud Westporter.”

For once he won’t have to worry about camera angles or cutaway shots.

Making sure the brass and piccolos don’t miss a beat — that’s a snap.

The Live From Lincoln Center remote truck during television production of Lincoln Center Theater’s production of FALSETTOS which is now nominated for five Tony Awards

UPDATE: Staples Pops Concert At Levitt Sold Out

At this time, no tickets remain for the free “Staples Pops at the Levitt” concert. This status may be updated on Friday, May 27 — check back by clicking here or calling 866-811-4111 then!

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The Staples High School music department is famous for its professional-style concerts.

That’s not hyperbole.

For the 1st-ever “Westport Pops Concert at the Levitt” (Thursday, June 9, 7 p.m.), the symphonic and chamber orchestras, jazz band and Orphenians vocal ensemble will be joined by a pair of Broadway notables.

James Naughton

James Naughton

James Naughton emcees the all-star event. The Weston resident and 2-time Tony Award winner has a long history as a narrator and soloist with orchestras like the Boston Pops, New York Pops and Rhode Island Symphony.

He’ll feel right at home. The Staples event is modeled on the Boston Pops’ Esplanade concert series (right down to the riverside setting).

Meanwhile, Andrew Wilk — executive producer of “Live from Lincoln Center” and a 5-time Emmy-winning director, writer and producer of TV programming — is consulting on the production. Staples students and alum will capture all the action for a Cablevision special.

Wilk — a Westporter and father of a Staples grad — worked with Naughton several years ago, on “Lincoln Center.” He says the emcee will add “real elegance and sizzle” to the evening.

From right: Andrew Wilk and Adele Valovich meet with Staples senior Emma Cataldo and Elon University junior Katie Shannon, for a Levitt Pavilion pre-production session. The 2 students will be part of the camera crew for Staples' pops concert June 9.

From right: Andrew Wilk and Adele Valovich meet with Staples senior Emma Cataldo and Elon University junior Katie Shannon, for a Levitt Pavilion pre-production session. The 2 students will be part of the camera crew for Staples’ pops concert June 9.

Selections range from “Rodeo” and “Phantom of the Opera” to “I Got Rhythm,” “Shenandoah” and a rousing finale.