Longtime Resident Aims to Bring Vivaldi to Kips Bay

By Mary Johnson on September 2, 2011 5:28pm 

Jo-Ann Zaccarelli is the founder of JAZarts, an organization that is working to bring a series of concerts to Kips Bay.
Jo-Ann Zaccarelli is the founder of JAZarts, an organization that is working to bring a series of concerts to Kips Bay.
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Courtesy of Jo-Ann Zaccarelli

KIPS BAY — Longtime Murray Hill resident Jo-Ann Zaccarelli is planning to bring Vivaldi and his famed "Four Seasons" to Kips Bay this fall.

Zaccarelli, 59, the founder of JAZarts New York, an arts and cultural events organization, wants to launch a series of concerts in neighborhoods around Manhattan that are starved for such attractions.

Her first event is planned for late October or early November and will feature Antonio Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons,” Tomaso Albinoni’s “Adagio in G Minor,” Johann Pachelbel’s “Canon in D Major” and Jules Massenet’s “Meditation from Thais.”

The music will be performed entirely by local artists and conducted by Douglas Anderson, a music professor at CUNY's Borough of Manhattan Community College and conductor at the Downtown Symphony and the American Chamber Opera Company.

It will be held at the Chapel of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary on East 33rd Street between First and Second avenues, which holds about 200 people, and tickets will cost $25, with a discount price of $18 available for seniors and students.

“I really love this city,” said Zaccarelli, who was born in Manhattan and raised in Queens. “And I really want to do whatever I can for arts and culture.”

The appetite is there, Zaccarelli added, but the problem is funding.

To finance the first concert, Zaccarelli has launched a campaign on Kickstarter with a goal of raising $8,000 by Sept. 19. So far, she has collected just $350 of that.

Zaccarelli is also submitting proposals for sponsorships and using Facebook and email blasts to solicit additional donations.

If she has to, Zaccarelli said she will dip into her own pocketbook to fill in the gaps.  

“It’s going to happen,” she said of the concert series. “[And] it will supplement all the other things that are going on in the city in a very cohesive way.”

Zaccarelli is a musician herself, although not a professional. She sings and plays the piano and, in her childhood, learned the accordion.  

“Music has been my lifelong passion since I was 5 years old,” said Zaccarelli, who spent her career in marketing and communications. “I do it because I love it, and it just brings me joy.”

The Murray Hill/Kips Bay area seemed like a perfect place to launch her first concert. Zaccarelli said she has lived there for nearly 30 years and has watched its residents — a mix of young families and senior citizens — travel all over the city in search of music and art. She wants to offer them something right around the corner.

“It’s a pocket of New York that’s waiting for something like to this to happen,” she said, “and I hope I’ll be the catalyst that brings this all together.”

Zaccarelli has planned four concerts for the 2011-2012 season.

The first show will take place this fall, with the exact date yet to be determined. Then she plans to organize a holiday concert and another show in the spring. She will finish out the season with something opera-related around late May or early June.

Beyond the concerts, Zaccarelli is also planning to host culinary arts events in the neighborhood in the coming months. She hasn’t finalized the details, but she said she hopes to offer lectures, book signings and artistic food presentations by local chefs.

“It’s a mixture," Zaccarelli said, "so by offering a different variety of arts programs, you’re attracting different elements of the population."

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