Opening the Gates

Opening the Gates


Sunday, September 19, 2021 – 7:30PM

Funded with the help of Brooklyn Council Arts, “Opening the Gates” is a project that narrates the stories of inspiring women throughout history with music. All the members of the band, a diverse group made up of only women, write and develop the music together, creating a storytelling format without musical pauses, where they connect and present all of the compositions with spoken-word narration. Both the music and the prose talk about the events and circumstances in which these brilliant women made a difference. Opening the Gates aspires to be an inspiration for young women, not only based on the content, but also by the presentation.

The band includes Amirtha Kidambi on voice, Kalia Vandever on Trombone, Charlotte Greve on alto saxophone, Endea Owens on bass, Lesley Mok on drums and Marta Sanchez on piano.


  • Vaccination Card or Excelsior Pass required to attend
  • Children under 12 must present a negative COVID test done within 7 days prior to the event.
  • Mask wearing will be required for all audience members throughout the concert.
  • Limited seating– Reserve your free ticket(s) below now!

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AMIRTA KIDAMBI is known for her improvisational vocabulary as a vocalist, utilizing experimental timbral techniques and infusing aesthetics and methodologies from Carnatic music, noise, rock, free jazz and classical avant-gardes. Kidambi is drawn to the subversive, driven by social and political issues of inequity and injustice. She leads the vocal ensemble Lines of Light, is co-founder of a duo with Lea Bertucci, and is the bandleader of Elder Ones. She has received grants from the Jerome Foundation and the Asian Cultural Council, and has been Artist-in-Residence at Bucareli 69, Roulette, and EMPAC. She also teaches at the New School, where she works to decolonize the canon, promoting racial and gender equity.

KALIA VANDEVER is a trombone player and composer. She has played with Herbie Hancock, Wynton Marsalis, Demi Lovato and Lizzo at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House, and Walt Disney Concert Hall. Kalia published an article on Medium, titled “Token Girl,” discussing her experiences with misogyny and sexual harassment at The Juilliard School, mentioned by the New York Times one year later.

ENDEA OWENS is a bass player and composer. She is a Lincoln Center 2019 Emerging Artist. She has been mentored by the likes of Marcus Belgrave, Rodney Whitaker, and Ron Carter and toured and performed with Jennifer Holliday, Jazzmeia Horn, Dee Dee Bridgerwater, and Steve Turre. Endea has done music exchange programs in Cuba, and Trinidad and Tobago.

LESLEY MOK is a drummer and composer. Interested in the ways social conditions shape us, Lesley’s work focuses on manipulating humanness to explore ideas about privilege. She has performed with artists such as Jen Shyu, Cory Smythe, and Tomeka Reid.

CHARLOTTE GREVE is a New York-based alto saxophonist and composer originally from Germany and also on BKCM’s jazz faculty. With a unique concept of tone and composition, she has been making a mark on both the Brooklyn and German jazz scenes. Charlotte has released seven albums as a leader of her bands Lisbeth Quartett and Wood River, two of which received an ECHO Jazz.

MARTA SANCHEZ is a piano player and composer from Spain and teaches piano at BKCM. As a leader she has released three records with her quintet, two of them, “Partenika” (2015) and “El Rayo de Luz” (2019), selected by The New York Times as one of the best 10 jazz records of the year. She has toured the United States, Europe, South America and Central America, performing as a leader or as a sideman at prestigious venues and festivals such as North Sea Jazz Festival, Eurojazz in Mexico City, Eurojazz in Athens, Jazz Festival Vitoria Gasteiz, Winter Jazz Festival in New York, Madrid Jazz Festival and many others. In 2017 and 2021 she was granted a residency at MacDowell Colony.