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The Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin Give World Premiere of Hannibal’s One Land, One River, One People

November 5, 2015

Philadelphia Orchestra-commissioned “spiritatorio” features soprano Laquita Mitchell, tenor Rodrick Dixon, and a combined choir drawn from Delaware State University Choir, the Lincoln University Concert Choir, and Morgan State University Choir under the direction of J. Donald Dumpson

Partner events throughout the Philadelphia region invite community dialogue about the intersection of faith and music, and the transformative power of art to effect change

The Free Library of Philadelphia hosts panel discussions with Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Hannibal, and noted poet Sonia Sanchez at the Parkway Central Library; and a discussion for high school students and their families at the Coleman Library

Other activities include Philadelphia Orchestra musicians in chamber performances at the Philadelphia Prison System’s Detention Center; with Play On, Philly! students at St. Francis de Sales School in West Philadelphia; and in conjunction with the African American Museum’s
Outcry! exhibit, part of the 14th Annual First Person Arts Festival, on display at Christ Church Neighborhood House

LiveNote® will be enabled for all performances providing live program notes and libretto

 

(Philadelphia, November 5, 2015)—The Philadelphia Orchestra, led by Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, presents the world premiere of Hannibal’s One Land, One River, One People at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, November 13-15. The piece rises from the composer’s personal experiences, his exploration of society and culture, and his desire to contribute to the betterment of the world through music and words. The oratorio features a libretto written by the composer; soprano Laquita Mitchell; tenor Rodrick Dixon; and a combined choir comprised of Delaware State University Choir, the Lincoln University Concert Choir, and Morgan State University Choir. These performances are made possible in part by the generous support of the Presser Foundation.

“Nothing is more sacred to me than music,” says American composer and jazz trumpeter Hannibal, who grew up among the cotton fields of Texas. A pastiche of spirituals, blues, and traditional African rhythms still influence his music-writing today. In the world premiere of this new work—commissioned exclusively by The Philadelphia Orchestra—Hannibal has developed what he calls a “spiritatorio,” a genre of art which uses images, music, and text to evoke a profound intellectual and spiritual response. He notes that “the sole purpose of the composition is to remind human beings of their divinity. The bulk of the text and orchestral concept comes from an intense realization of the gift of being. Three very powerful entities dominate in the work: science, spirituality, and the harmony which exists between them.”

The story of One Land, One River, One People is told in three movements, or Veils. The Philadelphia Orchestra premiered Veil One at the 25th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute Concert on January 19, 2015, at the Girard College Chapel to enthusiastic response.

Of the work, Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin said, “One Land, One River, One People: I think this is an extraordinary title. It sums up who Hannibal is as a person. He embraces the whole world, and uses music to break boundaries and bring people together. He is an open heart and his music is similarly open. Music is a powerful force to bring us all together, and I’m looking forward to having this piece bring us all together in Philadelphia and in the world.”

The work is part of the Orchestra’s season-long theme of national identity and love of country, and is joined on the program by two well-loved works: Sibelius’s Finlandia, the de facto national anthem of his Finnish homeland, and Copland’s Appalachian Spring, the Pulitzer Prize-winning depiction of the American idyll, which also popularized the Shaker folk song “Simple Gifts.”

The message of community and identity will be extended into the Philadelphia region throughout the week leading up to the concerts, with partner events designed to encourage community dialogue about the transformative power of art to effect societal change. Bringing the message of the music and the music itself to diverse community audiences builds on the successful model the Orchestra created around Bernstein’s MASS in 2015, adding another dimension to an ongoing conversation about the intersection of faith and music.

“In One Land, One River, One People Hannibal has created a piece that is as much a work of words as it is of music, joining diverse musical styles with beautiful poetry in the libretto,”  says Philadelphia Orchestra President and CEO Allison Vulgamore. “It fulfills a significant role of music: to connect people around important issues and emotions. We look forward to bringing together listeners in many different venues throughout the region, to celebrate and explore our humanity and spirituality. It is important to all of us that the music and message of this compelling composer resonate beyond the concert hall, and beyond Philadelphia."

A chamber ensemble of Philadelphia Orchestra musicians performs three very special concerts on Tuesday, November 10: at the Philadelphia Prison System’s Detention Center in Northeast Philadelphia; with Play On, Philly! students at St. Francis de Sales School in West Philadelphia; and at the Christ Church Neighborhood House, presented in conjunction with the African American Museum’s Outcry! exhibit at the 14th Annual First Person Arts Festival. Principal Second Violin Kimberly Fisher, Assistant Principal Second Violin Dara Morales, Associate Principal Viola Kirsten Johnson, and cellist Derek Barnes perform Hannibal’s Fannie Lou Hamer, which features jazz vocalist Tulivu-Donna Cumberbatch. Additionally, violist Judy Geist performs When Peace Comes, a piece Hannibal wrote for her that he narrates.

On Thursday, November 12, the Free Library of Philadelphia hosts two discussions. One Land, One River, One People: Art and its Unifying Power is presented at 5:30 PM at the Parkway Central Library’s auditorium, and features Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Hannibal, and Philadelphia’s first poet laureate Sonia Sanchez discussing the message of the new work. Earlier in the day, at 3:30 PM at the Joseph E. Coleman Northwest Regional Library, Hannibal and Sanchez speak to area high school students and their families. These conversations are free and open to the public. Also on Thursday at 7:30 PM, Hannibal is a featured guest speaker at the Historic Belmont Mansion, as part of the Underground Railroad Legacy Series at the Underground Railroad Museum.

Additional experiences for Philadelphia area students include a chamber performance at Camden’s Creative Arts Morgan Village Academy on Wednesday, November 11 at 10 AM; and, on Friday, November 13, 700 students from schools throughout the region will attend an Open Rehearsal in Verizon Hall, following a Pre-Rehearsal Lecture by Hannibal in the Kimmel Center’s Innovation Studio.

All three performances of this concert will be LiveNote® enabled, allowing concertgoers to access custom-created information about the performed musical works through the mobile app. The content follows along with the music in real time, presenting musical, emotional, and historical highlights. Such information will be available for Sibelius’s Finlandia and Copland’s Appalachian Spring. For One Land, One River, One People, audience members using LiveNote will be able to read Hannibal’s libretto as the soloists and choir sing, enhancing the listener’s ability to appreciate its poetic nature.

The Philadelphia Orchestra has had a relationship with Hannibal since performing his highly acclaimed African Portraits, detailing the slave experience, in 1997. Hannibal became one of eight composers commissioned to write works in honor of the Orchestra’s Centennial Celebration and in 1999, the Orchestra gave the world premiere of his One Heart Beating.

For more information, please visit philorch.org.


About The Philadelphia Orchestra
About Yannick Nézet-Séguin
About Hannibal



Community Chamber Performances
November 10 at 9:30 AMTuesday morningPhiladelphia Prison System’s Detention Center (Philadelphia)
November 10 at 3:30 PM — Tuesday afternoon — Play On, Philly! at St. Francis de Sales School (Philadelphia)
November 11 at 10 AM — Wednesday morning — Creative Arts Morgan Village Academy (Camden)

Kimberly Fisher Violin
Dara Morales Violin
Kirsten Johnson Viola
Derek Barnes Cello
Tulivu-Donna Cumberbatch Vocalist

Hannibal Narrator
Judy Geist Viola

Hannibal

Fannie Lou Hamer, for string quartet and vocalist

Hannibal

When Peace Comes, for viola and narrator

Mendelssohn   

Finale of String Quartet in D major, Op. 44, No. 1



Outcry! and the Orchestra
November 10 at 7 PM — Tuesday evening — Christ Church Neighborhood House (20 N. American Street, Philadelphia)


Kimberly Fisher Violin
Dara Morales Violin
Kirsten Johnson Viola
Derek Barnes Cello
Tulivu-Donna Cumberbatch Vocalist

Hannibal Narrator
Judy Geist Viola 

Hannibal

Fannie Lou Hamer, for string quartet and vocalist

Hannibal

When Peace Comes, for viola and narrator

Mendelssohn   

Finale of String Quartet in D major, Op. 44, No. 1

 

 

Experience the convergence of art forms as organizations come together to explore the transformative power of art to effect societal change. The Philadelphia Orchestra and the African American Museum present an evening of art and music at Christ Church Neighborhood House. Situated within the African American Museum’s Outcry! exhibit, a small ensemble from The Philadelphia Orchestra presents a program that features Hannibal’s composition about civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer. This is part of the Orchestra’s immersive week of community activities around the world premiere of Hannibal’s One Land, One River, One People.

This event is free and open to the public.



One Land, One River, One People
: Art and its Unifying Power
November 12 at 3:30 PM — Thursday afternoon — Joseph E. Coleman Northwest Regional Library (68 W. Chelten Avenue, Philadelphia)

Hannibal Panelist
Sonia Sanchez Panelist
Jeremy Rothman Moderator

The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Free Library of Philadelphia present composer Hannibal and poet Sonia Sanchez in conversation about Hannibal’s One Land, One River, One People. They will explore the transformative power of art and how it can be used to stimulate important dialogue and promote unity in times of injustice.

This event is free and open to the public.



One Land, One River, One People
: Art and its Unifying Power
November 12 at 5:30 PM — Thursday afternoon — Parkway Central Library, Auditorium (1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia)

Yannick Nézet-Séguin Panelist
Hannibal Panelist
Sonia Sanchez Panelist
Jeremy Rothman Moderator

The Philadelphia Orchestra and the Free Library of Philadelphia present Philadelphia Orchestra Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin, composer Hannibal, and poet Sonia Sanchez in conversation about Hannibal’s One Land, One River, One People. They will explore the transformative power of art and how it can be used to stimulate important dialogue and promote unity in times of injustice.

This event is free and open to the public.



Underground Railroad Legacy Series at the Underground Railroad Museum at the Historic Belmont Mansion Presents: Hannibal Lokumbe – A Public Conversation
November 12 at 7:30 PM — Thursday evening — Historic Belmont Mansion, Cornelia Well Conference Center and Banquet Hall (2000 Belmont Mansion Drive, Philadelphia)

Experience composer Hannibal Lokumbe in an informal Meet the Artist event at the Historic Belmont Mansion. Hannibal will share his story and speak about the upcoming world premiere of his composition One Land, One River, One People with The Philadelphia Orchestra.

This event is open to the public. Admission: $10 with free parking.



Philadelphia Orchestra Concerts
November 13 at 8 PM — Friday evening — Verizon Hall at The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
November 14 at 8 PM — Saturday evening — Verizon Hall at The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
November 15 at 2 PM — Sunday afternoon — Verizon Hall at The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

The Philadelphia Orchestra
Yannick Nézet-Séguin Conductor
Laquita Mitchell Soprano – Philadelphia Orchestra Subscription Debut
Rodrick Dixon Tenor
Combined Choirs featuring
Delaware State University Choir (Lloyd Mallory Director)
The Lincoln University Concert ChoiR (Edryn Coleman Director)
Morgan State University Choir (Eric Conway Director)
J. Donald Dumpson Choral Direction 

Sibelius

Finlandia

Copland

Appalachian Spring

Hannibal

One Land, One River, One People—Philadelphia Orchestra Commission—World Premiere 

“Nothing is more sacred to me than music,” says American composer and jazz trumpeter Hannibal, who grew up among the cotton fields of Texas. A pastiche of spirituals, blues, and traditional African rhythms still influence his music-writing today. In the world premiere of this new work—also commissioned exclusively by The Philadelphia Orchestra—Hannibal has developed what he calls a “spiritatorio,” a genre of art using images, music, and text to evoke a profound intellectual and spiritual response. He notes that “the sole purpose of the composition is to remind human beings of their divinity. Three very powerful entities are dominant in the work: science, spirituality, and the harmony that exists between them. Ultimately, in my estimation, they are one in the same.”

All three performances of this concert will be LiveNote® enabled.

These performances are made possible in part by the generous support of the Presser Foundation.

Tickets start at $35, and are available at 215.893.1999 or philorch.org.



Chamber Postlude
November 15 at 4 PM — Sunday afternoon — Verizon Hall at The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

Miyo Curnow Violin
Elisa Kalendarova Violin
Kerri Ryan Viola
Katheryn Picht Read Cello 

Bartók                                      String Quartet No. 1, Op. 7

Immediately following Sunday’s concert, Philadelphia Orchestra musicians perform the first chamber postlude of the 2015-16 season, featuring the music of Béla Bartók. Similarly to Sibelius and Copland, Bartók is noted for his use of folk music and close musical roots to his homeland. This event is free for all ticketholders. 

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