Deep River: Black Currents in Classical Music

Digital Broadcast

from The Greene Space

Event Details

There is a rich tradition of Black composers, conductors, and musicians in classical music, from William Grant Still, Scott Joplin, and Florence Price to Marian Anderson and Jessye Norman.

The Apollo, WQXR and ACO present Deep River: Black Currents in Classical Music, broadcast live from New York Public Radio’s The Greene Space. Howard Watkins, renowned pianist and assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera, curates a recital delving into the rich repertoire by Black American composers, featuring internationally acclaimed soprano Karen Slack and baritone Kenneth Overton. Following the performance, WNYC host Jami Floyd will lead a panel discussion with the performers and composer Carlos Simon, about the over 100-year tradition of Blacks as creators, conductors, and patrons of classical music.


William Grant Still (1895-1978) | Weeping Angel
Mr. Overton

William Grant Still | Selections from Songs of Separation:
–If I Should Go
–Black Pierrot
Ms. Slack

Margaret Bonds (1913-1972) | Dream Variation from Three Dream Portraits
Florence Price (1887-1953) | To My Little Son
H. Leslie Adams (b.1932) | Love Response
Mr. Overton

Terence Blanchard (b.1962) | “Far Away Long Ago” from Champion
Ms. Slack

Adolphus Hailstork (b.1941) | My Heart to Thy Heart
Mr. Overton

Undine Smith Moore (1904-1989) | I Want to Die While You Love Me
Carlos Simon (b.1965) | Prayer
Ms. Slack

Carlos Simon Dead Fires
Mr. Overton

Zenobia Powell Perry (1908-2004) | De Angels Done Bowed Down
Ms. Slack

arr Timothy Amukele (b.1976) Stand the Storm
Mr. Overton

arr Margaret Bonds You Can Tell the World
Ms. Slack

To learn more about The Gathering: A Collective Sonic Ring Shout on May 7, 2022, click here. For a full listing of community events, click here.

Our Mission & Vision

American Composers Orchestra (ACO) is dedicated to the creation, celebration, performance, and promotion of orchestral music by American composers. With commitment to diversity, disruption and discovery, ACO produces concerts, pre-college and college education programs, and emerging composer professional development to foster a community of creators, audience, performers, collaborators, and funders.

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