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Joanna Pascale Pictured Joanna Pascale Pictured Joanna Pascale Pictured

Kimmel Center Presents

Joanna Pascale: The Language of Flowers

Apr 25, 2020
8:00 PM

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Jazz at the Kimmel Center

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As a Kimmel Center Jazz Resident Artist in 2017, Joanna Pascale created this very personal exploration of how we communicate our thoughts and feelings to others using flowers. We give them to each other to celebrate happy occasions, express sympathy, or offer love. Working with theater director Ellie Heyman, Joanna takes us on a journey to find out what we’re really trying to say with our bouquets.

Floriography is the art of communicating sentiment and emotion through flowers. It gained popularity during the Victorian Era (1837-1901) when open expressions of emotion were culturally unacceptable. Flowers were assigned meanings to express feelings that could not be spoken aloud. Small bouquets called "talking bouquets" were created and used to send coded messages to the recipient. Due to the insanely long list of flowers, dictionaries began to be published to help people decipher the hidden intentions within a floral bouquet.

The presence of floriography reveals itself in art, literature, poetry and religion. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ophelia is filled with intense emotion. Since speaking her mind might lead to her demise, she uses the secret language of flowers. “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray you, love, remember.” She goes on about pansies, rosemary and violets. Though people think she’s crazy, she’s actually using floriography.

"Listen with your eyes and then sing everything you see."
- Captain Noah

Who is Joanna?
Lyric is paramount for Philadelphia-based vocalist Joanna Pascale, who insists that she cannot perform a song unless she can connect personally with its lyrics. Once she’s found that connection, there’s no one who can better convey the emotion of those words more directly and intimately than Pascale. That gift is in ample evidence on Pascale’s release, Wildflower, on which she’s joined by an all-star ensemble including pianists Orrin Evans and Cyrus Chestnut, harmonica master Gregoire Maret, bassists Christian McBride, and neo-soul singer Bilal. The recording of Wildflower coincided with the end of Pascale’s decade-long engagement at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel, which allowed her to hone her voice, style, and vast repertoire. A singer of sophisticated taste, profound expressiveness, and raw emotion, Pascale is also a gifted educator who is a member of the vocal faculty at the University of Pennsylvania and also teaches in the Creative Music Program at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. She’s been featured on recordings by Jeremy Pelt, Tim Warfield, Orrin Evans, Larry McKenna, the Temple University Jazz Band, and Garry Dial and Dick Oatts. Pascale made her recording debut with 2004’s When Lights Are Low, followed by the 2008 Through My Eyes and a 2010 duo recording with pianist Anthony Wonsey released on her Stiletto Records label. She holds a BA from Temple University and currently teaches and performs internationally.

SEI Innovation Studio - BYOB logo*These are designated BYO performances. Acceptable forms of BYO are 6-pack of beer and/or 750ml bottles of wine only; no liquor or open containers are permitted. Limit of one (1) 750ml bottle of wine OR one (1) six-pack of beer per two guests. Corkscrews and rolling coolers are not permitted. Ice, cups and corking service available at venue at no cost. All BYO Night guests are subject to lawful ID checks and bag checks at the manager’s discretion.

"Pascale’s singing is the stuff of dreams"
Icon Magazine 

SEI Innovation Studio

Inside the Kimmel Center

2 levels below ground floor

300 S Broad St

Philadelphia, PA 19102

Our Jazz Residency program supports the long tradition of creating new jazz in Philadelphia.  For more information, click here.



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