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Irish Singer-Songwriter Duke Special Debuts Original Songs at Metropolitan Museum Inspired by Photographs in Stieglitz, Steichen, Strand


Irish musical sensation Duke Special will debut all-new songs on March 24, 2011, at 7 p.m. in a performance presented by Spectrum at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. In this concert conceived specifically for the Met, Duke Special has been inspired by the Museum’s current exhibition Stieglitz, Steichen, Strand, which features masterpieces of photography from the early 20th century. Duke Special’s signature atmospheric sound will take listeners back to a bygone era of steam trains, tycoons, grandes dames, and artists—a world of foggy city streets and tranquil country scenes.

On this extraordinary night of music, Duke Special will perform in the Metropolitan Museum’s Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium accompanied by members of the Orchestre de Chambre Miniature, a string quartet founded by violinist Olivier Manchon of the popular indie band Clare and the Reasons. The stage design company 59 Productions will bring the space to life with projections of photographs by Stieglitz, Steichen, and Strand.

Tickets for this one-time event are $18. To order tickets for Duke Special at the Met, go to

The concert is presented by Spectrum, is an initiative organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art to provide fresh perspectives on the Museum’s collections and special exhibitions. Spectrum events offer the chance to interact with contemporary artists, to discuss art, music, video, and new media, and to socialize with other Museum fans.

About the Artist
Duke Special has had a dynamic and ambitious solo career since 2002. Among the eight albums he has released in the past six years is “Songs from the Deep Forest” (2006), which achieved platinum status in Ireland. He continues to play sold-out shows across Ireland, the U.K., and Europe, and he has opened for artists such as Van Morrison and Snow Patrol. He also has collaborated with the acclaimed RTE National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland and the Ulster Orchestra.

Duke Special has often found inspiration in the visual arts and written word. In 2009, he wrote the music for and starred in a production of Bertolt Brecht’s “Mother Courage and Her Children” at the Royal National Theater in London. On one of Duke Special’s latest albums, the fictional character Hector Mann from Paul Auster’s novel “Book of Illusions” was the catalyst for twelve new songs.

Related Exhibition
Stieglitz, Steichen, Strand, on view at the Metropolitan Museum now through April 10, 2011, features three giants of 20th-century American photography whose stories are interwoven: Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, and Paul Strand. The groundbreaking work of these artists is revealed through a presentation of 115 photographs, drawn entirely from the Museum’s collection. On view are many of the Museum’s greatest photographic treasures from the 1900s to 1920s, including important series of photographs that have not been on display together for 10 or 20 years. Among the highlights are: Alfred Stieglitz’s famous portraits of Georgia O’Keeffe; Edward Steichen’s large colored photographs of the Flatiron building; and Paul Strand’s pioneering abstractions.

The exhibition is made possible in part by Joseph M. Cohen.

59 Productions
For Duke Special at the Met, the London-based company 59 Productions will create an engaging stage design with projected photographs by Stieglitz, Steichen, and Strand and video of Strand’s film Manhatta (1921). 59 Productions’ previous work includes productions at the Metropolitan Opera, English National Opera, and Royal Opera House; the sets of War Horse on the West End and Broadway; and designing the live stage show by the Icelandic post-rocker Jónsi (of the band Sigur Rós).


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