Strathmore presents its Artists-in-Residence in a group concert on Nov. 17 at AMP in Rockville. From left: Tap dancer Gerson Lanza, cellist Titilayo Ayangade, jazz pianist James Fernando, jazz flutist & vocalist Alex Hamburger, jazz saxophonist Langston Hughes II and singer-songwriter Taisha Estrada. (Robert R. Roberts/The Washington Informer)
Strathmore presents its Artists-in-Residence in a group concert on Nov. 17 at AMP in Rockville. From left: Tap dancer Gerson Lanza, cellist Titilayo Ayangade, jazz pianist James Fernando, jazz flutist & vocalist Alex Hamburger, jazz saxophonist Langston Hughes II and singer-songwriter Taisha Estrada. (Robert R. Roberts/The Washington Informer)

Strathmore presents nearly 400 accessible and affordable events every year. In the 2021-22 events calendar, Strathmore includes teas, exhibits and performances from Béla Fleck, Johnny Mathis, Ledisi and Gipsy Kings.

But Strathmore also serves as a training ground for young talent getting eager to begin their careers through the Artist-in-Residence [AIR] program, housed at their North Bethesda multi-complex arts center.

On Nov. 17, “Fresh Air” will feature this year’s six Artists-in-Residents where their talent will be on display at AMP in Rockville — Strathmore’s “listening room” space in the Pike and Rose complex located on Old Georgetown Road and Rockville Pike.

The AIR program runs from September to June and pairs artists with mentors. Through professional development seminars, the young artists learn the rubrics of the entertainment career. Betty Scott has served as the program’s coordinator since it began in 2005.

“Up to 100 artists have come through the program,” said Scott, a retired elementary school teacher. “They meet before the formal start of their year to network, then perform an amazing jam.”

The 2022 AIR participants include cellist Titilayo Ayangade; singer-songwriter Taisha Estrada; jazz pianist James Fernando; jazz flutist & vocalist Alex Hamburger; jazz saxophonist Langston Hughes II; and tap dancer Gerson Lanza. One Strathmore supporter sponsors each artist who will perform both with their colleagues and in solo performances. New works are commissioned from each artist during their residency with a world premiere production scheduled for the final concert signaling the end of the 2022 AIR year.

“One of our mentors, percussionist Victor Provost, said he discussed the financing of independent schooling, appropriate venues, approaching and dealing with record labels and other funding opportunities,” Scott said. “We want to make sure the mentor is someone who understands the sensibility of the genre that artists and residents are trying to build on.”

The application process, now open for the next group of Artists-in-Residence, requires applicants to reside in the Washington, D.C., area and be between 16 and 32 years old.

To see the full Strathmore schedule or to purchase tickets for “Fresh Air” at AMP on Nov. 17, visit the website https://www.strathmore.org

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Brenda Siler is an award-winning journalist and public relations strategist. Her communications career began in college as an advertising copywriter, a news reporter, public affairs producer/host and a...

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