September 27, 2022
The Minnesota Orchestra to debut a new concert initiative, the Listening Project, on Friday, October 7

Aimed at performing and recording orchestral works from historically underrepresented composers, the concert is an expansion of a Minnesota Orchestra recording project that began in 2021

Conducted by Kensho Watanabe, hosted by Dr. Louise Toppin and featuring bass-baritone soloist Christopher Humbert Jr., the October 7 concert features six works new to the Orchestra

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA (September 27, 2022) — The Minnesota Orchestra will debut a new concert initiative—the Listening Project—on Friday, October 7, focused on performing and recording orchestral works by historically underrepresented composers. Led by guest conductor Kensho Watanabe and hosted by Dr. Louise Toppin, the performance will feature six works by Black composers that have never been played by the Minnesota Orchestra, with the aim of introducing musicians and audiences to a trove of rarely heard music and creating recordings to help promote these compositions across the orchestral field.

The evening opens with Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Idyll followed by Jamaican-born composer Eleanor Alberga’s recent work The Soul’s Expression and Hale Smith’s jazz-inspired Contours. The concert’s second half begins with Adolphus Hailstork’s Lachrymosa: 1919 and continues with Spirituals, a collection of five popular African American spirituals arranged by Margaret Bonds, one of the first Black composers to gain wide recognition in the United States. The program concludes with Colonial Dance, a composition by Florence Price—who in 1933 became the first African American woman to have her music played by a major symphony orchestra. Bass-baritone Christopher Humbert Jr. will perform as soloist in both Alberga’s The Soul’s Expression and Bonds’ Spirituals.

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