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Sergio Assad with daughter Clarice Assad and musicians with Scott Yoo.
Courtesy of Arcos Film & Music
Sergio Assad with daughter Clarice Assad and musicians with Scott Yoo.

Sunday, Aug.7, 2022 at 4 p.m. on KPBS 2 / On demand now with KPBS Passport!

Following the traditions of Amy Beach, Florence Price and Aaron Copland, host Scott Yoo explores how American composers are inspired by their immigrant roots today through two composers: Brazilian-born Sergio Assad and Indian American Reena Esmail on "New American Voices."

Breaking Down Classical Indian Music: Raga and Tala

To get a sense of the inspirational dance rhythms that Assad grew up with, Yoo meets the composer in Chicago, where Assad performs a lively traditional Brazilian song with his daughter and a band. Assad and Yoo also visit a capoeira studio, where the Brazilian martial art originating from Africa that is “fought” to music by combining elements of dance and acrobatics.

Samba and Brazilian Maxixe with Sergio Assad

In San Francisco, composer Esmail teaches Yoo how Indian scales and rhythms, known as raag and taal, influence her music by demonstrating traditional Indian classical music with violinist Kala Ramnath and percussionist Abhijit Banerjee.

They also visit San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum, where Esmail performs her mixture of baroque violin and Indian vocal styles with her husband, violinist Vijay Gupta, surrounded by ancient Indian art.

Places visited: Chicago, Illinois; San Francisco, California

About Season 3:

Follow celebrated violinist and conductor Scott Yoo as he travels the United States to uncover the musical influences of some of America’s most prominent composers — Amy Beach, Florence Price and Aaron Copland — in of the third season of GREAT PERFORMANCES: NOW HEAR THIS.


The documentary miniseries also spotlights two contemporary composers weaving the traditional music of their heritage into their compositions: Brazilian-born Sergio Assad and Indian American Reena Esmail. From coast to coast, the series shines a light on the immigrant experience as told through music, featuring local artists across musical genres including gospel, blues and more. Season 3 premieres Fridays, April 8-29, 2022 on PBS, and the PBS Video app as part of #PBSForTheArts.

Watch On Your Schedule:

This episode is available on demand with KPBS Passport, a benefit for members supporting KPBS at $60 or more yearly, using your computer, smartphone, tablet, Roku, AppleTV, Amazon Fire or Chromecast. Learn how to activate your benefit now.


Created by producer, writer and director Harry Lynch and is a production of Arcos Film + Music. Harry Lynch, Scott Yoo and Richard Lim are executive producers. For GREAT PERFORMANCES, Bill O’Donnell is series producer and David Horn is executive producer.