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Presented By: School of Music, Theatre & Dance

University Symphony Orchestra

University Symphony Orchestra University Symphony Orchestra
University Symphony Orchestra
pre-concert lecture 7:15pm

Kenneth Kiesler, conductor

The University Symphony Orchestra presents the world premiere of Tales: A Folklore Symphony by Carlos Simon, U-M alumnus, now Resident Composer of the Kennedy Center. The 25-minute, four-movement work is the second piece of the project conceived and launched by Music Director Kenneth Kiesler in spring of 2020 which aims to commission a new orchestral work by a Black composer annually for a minimum of ten years.

The concert opens with Voices Shouting Out, an affirmative and optimistic work by Nkeiru Okoye. Okoye recalls sitting down to write music in the wake of 9/11, "I originally attempted to write Voices Crying Out, I could not…In the end, rather than “crying out,” my official response was Voices Shouting Out in freedom as it were, through the music. It was a march to acknowledge those fighting on behalf of our safety, and yet a sparkling celebration of life for those of us who continue living;."

When William Dawson earned his master’s degree at the American Conservatory, he and other Black students were not allowed to come to the stage to receive their degrees. When his Negro Folk Symphony was premiered by the Philadelphia Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in 1934, an outburst of applause followed the second movement, and thunderous applause called him back to the stage for multiple bows, and it received rave reviews from critics; a rare event for new music of the day. Dawson revised the Symphony in 1952 after a trip to West Africa.

Voices Shouting Out - Nkeiru Okoye
tales: a folklore symphony - Carlos Simon (world premiere)
Negro Folk Symphony - William Dawson

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University Symphony Orchestra University Symphony Orchestra
University Symphony Orchestra


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