June 9 – Giving Keynote Speech (“Creative Resistance – Art As Activism in Difficult Times”), followed by a Listening Session (with Q&A) for my “All Things” Album, at the Hart Conference, Institute of Advanced Studies, University of London, England. 4:00pm. Registration required.

April 23 – Curating  for The Gardarev Center – “Sounding The Planet”, a special Earth Day event exploring climate change and environmental justice, at Massachusetts Audubon Society’s Boston Nature Center. Featuring artists:  Letta Neely ( spoken word poetry), Crystal Bi (visual art), Forbes Graham (sound design and spoken word), and Ian Condry (sound design).  Two sessions (at 12:30 and 2:30pm).  Registration required.


Summer 2021 – Participating in Interdisciplinary Artist Consortium (“IIAC”) Residency with Earthdance.  IIAC is a network of creative artists, educators and producers for whom the body and movement are central to practice, research and dialogue.

July 13 – Commenting on Anjali Vats talk, “Who the Fuck Can Make Up That Shit? Prince, Celebrity, and the Production of Anti-Racist Right of Publicity Norms.” ISHTIP Global Conference, 2021.


*Nov. 26 – Commentator for Transactional Sound Initiative’s global livecast, presented by Berliner Kuntsler Program des DAAD Arts & Media program, Berlin, Germany.


*Oct. 16  –  World premier of “Three Pieces for Piano”, a new set of jazz and minimalist-inspired pieces commissioned and performed by Stephen Porter.  Live stream: Old First Church Concerts, San Francisco.  Oct. 16th (8pm Pacific Time).  


*November 22 (7pm) – Talk: “Race, Artifical Intelligence and the Arts”, part of “Identity Gitter – Artificial Intelligence in Sound Cultures” Panel, with Jan Werner (Mouse on Mars, Nuremberg School of Design), and Louis Chude-Sokei (African-American Studies, Boston University), at Berliner Kunstler Program des DAAD Artist in Berlin Program, Germany.  For my article on AI and innovative music creation (“False Positives”), look here for English and German versions.

*September 15 and October 11 –  My “All Things ~ Seeking Transcendence in Difficult Times” album release dance concerts will take place in Boston and New York as follows:

*October 11 (8pm) – Bronx Academy of the Arts and and Dance “Blaktinx Festival”, featuring movement artists Megan Curet, Melani De Guzman, and Latoya Brooks.

*September 15 (2pm) – Massachusetts Audubon Society featuring movement artists Lonnie Stanton, Victoria Awkard, Michael Figuero and Mcebesis Xotyeni.

L. Stanton, M. Xotyeni, M. Figuero, V. Awkward (copyright 2019 Toni Lester).

Mcebesis Xotyeni (copyright 2019 Toni Lester).




*July 5 –  Talk: “Julius Eastman and John Cage: Questions of Trust, Betrayal and Control in the Avant Guard”, ISHTIP Conference, University of Rome.  Via Ostiense, Rome, Italy.  4pm.

*June 1 – Talk: “Stop, Look, Listen: Nature, Noise and Presence,” on how mindfulness about noise and nature can be a gateway to creativity.  Nirodha Insight Meditation Center, Buddhist Center Sampo. Helsinki, Finland.  7pm.


Jessi Rosinki performing “Reds” (copyright T. Lester 2018)

*April 14 – Performance: “Reds” (a piece for solo flute and sound design inspired by bird calls), featuring flutist Jessi Rosinski at the New Gallery Concert Series (Cambridge Art Center), Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA.  Other featured composers are Hugo Vasco Reis, Marti Epstein, Curtis K. Hughes, and Lior Navok.  7pm.

*March 9th – Performance: “All Things” (a music/sound design/spoken word piece) inspired by the life of Pauli Murrayat the MIT Dissolve Music and Sound Festival.  Featuring special movement artist, Lonnie Stanton.  Other performers: DJ Lychee, Imanishi Kohsetsu, Sei, and Toshiya the Tribal.  Warehouse XI, Somerville, MA. 7pm.

“Clare’s Flutes”
(copyright 2019 T. Lester)

*March 4 – Performance: “Reds” (for solo flute and sound design) featuring flutist Clare Nielsen at the Coolidge Corner Library Chamber Music Series, Brookline, MA.  The “Elara Trio” (Ellen Donohue-Saltman/horn, Laura Dowd/piano and Clare Nielsen/flute) will also perform works by Telemann, Grieg, Faure, and Schocker.  3pm.


Cast from Toni Lester’s “Night Turns To Day” (copyright 2017 T. Lester)

*Oct. 10 – Performance: “Night Turns to Day”, a theatrical reading (with original music) at the iconic National Black Theater in New York City, as part of their “Keep Soul Alive” series.  A play filled with laughter, music, and pathos, “Night Turns To Day” is a love story across generations in communities of color during Depression era and the height of the AIDS epidemic.  Directed by Bronx BAAD founder Charles Rice-Gonzalez and produced by Bryan E. Glover.  With Sentell Harper and Perri Gafney in the lead roles. Also featuring Justin Crowley, Philip Gregory Burke, Victoria Wallace, Jesse Hawkes and Sara Thigpen.

wellesleybirdtext2*April 29 – “Nature and Creative Collaboration”, a special “Earth Day” talk and performance about nature and “place” as a collaborator in the creative process that uses film, text, noise, natural sounds, and art music. Boston-area flutist, Jill Dreeben (from the Kaleidoscope Ensemble) will perform “Reds,” a piece inspired by bird calls.  The event also celebrates release of the album, “Will The Time Ever Come?”  Margaret Ferguson Greenhouses, Wellesley College.

innerear*Feb. 2-5 – Performance: “The Thing Itself”, a multimedia (sound design/text/music/film) piece inspired by the life of Virginia Woolf.  Selected for the 25th Anniversary of the Sounding the Inner Ear of Performance Festival, Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance, University of Toronto, Canada. Featuring special movement artists – Uri Livne-Bar and Jenn Boulay.


*Aug. 19th – Talk and Presentation: “Writing for Sound and Spirit,” about “The Thing Itself,” my multi-media (sound design/text/music/film) work inspired by the life of Virginia Woolf.  Other artists on the panel: Gordon Sasaki and Eugene IngloriaRagdale Artist Residency Program, Lake Forest, IL. 

lestershadowsbrandeis*Feb. 28 – Performance: “Tantrum Time” (for flute and piano) and “Reds” (for solo flute and sound design) performed at the Women Across Four Centuries Concert.  Featuring Clare Nielsen (flute) and Eileen Hutchins (piano).  Slosberg Hall, Brandeis University.


umdhall*October 18 – Performance: “Four Pieces for Flute and Cello,” performed at the LIVEWIRE CONTEMPORARY MUSIC FESTIVAL by award winning flutist, Lisa Cella, and cellist, Gita Ladd, in the new Linehan Performing Arts Center.  Also giving a Master Composition Class to students.  University of Maryland. 

katherinemansfieldsorbonne*June 24 – Talk and Music Presentation: “Making Katherine Sing,” on solo soprano piece (“Winter Song”) set to a poem by Katherine Mansfield and composed for  soprano, Jessica Petrus, for my album “Will The Time Ever Come?”.  Mansfield was 33 when she died in France from complications related to TB.  She was Viriginia Woolf’s friend and rival, and a follower – along with Harlem Renaissance writer Jean Toomer – of the spiritual teacher, Gurdjieff“Katherine Mansfield and France” conference.  Universite Sorbonne, Paris, France.


Maria Ferrante

Maria Ferrante

*Dec. 15 – Performance: “The Mind Will Wander” (string quartet) and “Circling” (string quartet and spoken word/also on “Will The Time Ever Come?” album) performed at “The Music of Toni Lester, Beth Denisch and Rebecca Clarke” concert.  Featuring Maria Ferrante (soprano) and the New England String Quartet.   Brandeis University, MA.

*Dec. 7 – Performance: “Remain Calm,” featuring Jessica Petrus (voice) and Michele Oshima (Tibetan bell) at the Margaret Ferguson Greenhouses, Wellesley College, MA.

*October 6 –  Performance: “Night Turns To Day,” a theatrical reading. Presented by Turning Point Social Services of NYC, featuring members of the Turning Point community and Indira Allegra in the lead role.  Center for Dance Studies, Brooklyn NY.  Turning Point is a holistic, community-based organization supporing individuals and families in need through health, education, supportive housing, and social services.

*September 27 and 28 – Performance: “For Nina Simone” (spoken word & electronic sound design) featured in Sheena Johnson/REBEL HOME’s  “Up Close & Personal” site specific dance performance.  The Milk Bar, Oakland, CA. 


*November 4Performance: “Earth Songs” (for piano, baritone and contralto), performed by the Jubilee Trio (Leslie Amper, Robert Honeysucker and Marion Dry) at Houghton Memorial Chapel.  Wellesley College, MA.  8pm.

(Giving a pre-concert talk on “Composing and the Creative Process,” at the Houghton Memorial Chapel. Wellesley College, MA. 7pm)

*April 25th – Talk: “Justice, Activism and the Creative Heart” at Harvard Divinity School. Co-sponsored by Harvard Divinity School Office of Campus Life, the HDS Buddhist Community, Harambee, & the HDS Anti-Oppression Coalition.  Andover Hall, Cambridge, MA. 7pm


April 25 – Performance: Krista River (soprano), Stephen Porter (piano), and Clare Nielsen (flute) in a recital of poetry and art songs inspired by nature, including my “Cascade Range”, and “To Rivers” (dedicated to the victims and survivors or Hurricane Katrina – in 3 movements: “I’ve Known Rivers”, “To Rivers” and “This River”).  With other music by Copland and Brahms.  Taylor House, Jamaica Plain, MA.