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The New York Philharmonic

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The March to Liberation

Mar 02 - Mar 04


Still’s Symphony No. 2, Song of a New Race, celebrates the Black American as, in the composer’s words, “a totally new individual.” Adolphus Hailstork’s oratorio Done Made My Vow, A Ceremony, conceived here for the stage by director Tazewell Thompson and video artist Rasean Davonté Johnson, honors the countless Black Americans who have faced “the bench of injustice, and, by doing so, changed a nation.” A World Premiere by Courtney Bryan, with a new libretto by Thompson, celebrates a variety of Black musical heritage. Leslie B. Dunner conducts. 

The March to Liberation


7:30 PM




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8:00 PM




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Wu Tsai Theater, David Geffen Hall


2 Hours with Intermission

Program To Include

Courtney Bryan & Tazewell Thompson

New work (World Premiere–New York Philharmonic Commission)


Symphony No. 2, Song of a New Race

Adolphus Hailstork

Done Made My Vow, A Ceremony


  • Leslie B. Dunner


    Conductor of the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra, Leslie B. Dunner has also been artistic / music director of the South Shore Opera since 2014 and resident conductor of New Jersey’s Trilogy Opera since 2018. He conducted Long Beach Opera in the world premiere of Anthony Davis’s historical work The Central Park Five, which received the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in Music, and his 2013 production of William Grant Still’s Troubled Island was rated No.1 by the Chicago Sun-Times for Chicago’s best classical music / opera moments of 2013.

    In 2014 Dunner led the premiere of Nkeiru Okoye’s Harriet Tubman with American Opera Projects. Other engagements include South Africa’s PACT Opera (Johannesburg), Starlight Pop Opera with the KZN Philharmonic (Natal), Mexico’s Opera / Ballet Gala in Bizet’s Carmen for the 2011 International Pan Am Games, and Opera Africa’s 2007 tour of Mzilikazi Khumalo’s Princess Magogo kaDinuzulu at Den Norske Opera in Oslo, Norway.

    Dunner has conducted virtually every major orchestra in America over his career. An avid ballet conductor, he’s been the Joffrey Ballet’s music director and Louisville Ballet’s principal conductor; led performances for Princess Diana and Nelson Mandela, among others, with Dance Theatre of Harlem; and guest conducted London’s Royal Ballet, Birmingham’s Royal Ballet, South African Ballet Theatre, and Michigan Opera Theater. In 2013 he served as interim music director of the Jalisco Philharmonic in Guadalajara.

    Leslie B. Dunner judged The International Jordania Conducting Competition in Ukraine, where in 2003 he had been the first and only multiple prize winner, receiving the orchestra, audience, and founder’s favorite prizes. His honors include the NAACP’s Distinguished Achievement and James Weldon Johnson Awards, National Association of Negro Musicians Charles Stone award, proclamations from New York, Michigan, and Maryland, and he has been named Cincinnati Conservatory’s Distinguished Young Alumnus, Detroit’s Man of the Year, and Spirit of Detroit.

    A clarinetist and composer, Dunner performs in the United States and abroad. His Motherless Child Songs are available, on Innova, and Magical, Mystical Mouse (San Diego Symphony), on Pro Arte. He performed Alvin Singleton’s BluesKonzert with pianist Ursula Oppens and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra with Neeme Järvi on the critically acclaimed album Ellington and the Great Masters, on Chandos. On his two most recent recordings, he leads works by Mary Watkins and Florence Price for the Center for Black Music Research, on Albany records.


    Learn more about Leslie B. Dunner
  • Tazewell Thompson


    Internationally acclaimed director of opera and theater and an award-winning playwright, teacher, lecturer, and actor, Tazewell Thompson is the 2020 MCANNA Award recipient, as librettist, with composer Jeanine Tesori, for Best New Opera in North America for Blue, which The New York Times and Washington Post named Best in Classical Music in 2019. He has over 150 directing credits, including 30 world and / or American premieres in opera houses and theaters in the US, France, Spain, Italy, Africa, Japan, and Canada. He received an Emmy nomination for Best Direction and Best Classical Production for the Live from Lincoln Center production of the Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess. Blue has been presented at Glimmerglass (in its premiere) and in Detroit and Seattle, and is scheduled for performances in in Pittsburgh, Toledo, Washington, DC, Chicago, and Minneapolis, and at the English National Opera and Dutch National Opera, among others.

    Learn more about Tazewell Thompson
  • Rasean Davonté Johnson

    Video Artist

    Rasean Davonté Johnson is a video artist and designer of projections for theater, film, and installations. He is owner of the Chicago-based practice eightinfinitystudio, which specializes in design, video engineering consultation, and content creation for the performing arts.

    Learn more about Rasean Davonté Johnson
  • Ryan Speedo Green


    Grammy Award–winning bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green has quickly established himself as an artist of international demand at the world’s leading opera houses. He opened The Metropolitan Opera’s 2021–22 season as Uncle Paul in Terrence Blanchard’s Fire Shut up in my Bones, and sings Varlaam in Stephen Wadsworth’s new production of Musorgsky’s Boris Godunov, reprises his Grammy-winning role of Jake in the Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, Colline in Puccini’s La bohème, and also sings Truffaldino in Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, broadcast as part of the Met’s Live in HD series. Additional appearances include Colline with the Vienna Staatsoper and concert performances at the Grand Teton Festival conducted by Donald Runnicles. Green makes house debuts with Washington National Opera, as Escamillo in Bizet’s Carmen, directed by Francesca Zambello and conducted by music director Evan Rogister, and at Santa Fe Opera as Basilio in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. He returns to Tanglewood as the Commendatore in a concert performance of Mozart’s Don Giovanni.

    Learn more about Ryan Speedo Green
  • To Be Announced


  • Janinah Burnett


  • Rodrick Dixon


  • To Be Announced

    Boy Soprano

  • New York Philharmonic Chorus
        Malcolm J. Merriweather, Director


    The New York Philharmonic has established the New York Philharmonic Chorus to mark the opening of the new David Geffen Hall in the 2022–23 season. The ensemble — comprising New York–based, freelance professional vocalists — appears in four of the Orchestra’s programs over the season, each time prepared by Malcom J. Merriweather. The New York Philharmonic Chorus makes its debut in October on the two David Geffen Hall Opening Galas: The Journey, a star-studded evening, and The Joy, performing in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and the World Premiere of Angélica Negrón’s You Are the Prelude, which the NY Phil commissioned for the occasion. Later in the season the Chorus appears in Adolphus Hailstork’s Done Made My Vow, A Ceremony, in March, and in the New York Premiere of John Luther Adams’s Become Desert, a work co-commissioned by the Orchestra, in June. Malcolm J. Merriweather, a Grammy–nominated conductor and baritone, is preparing the New York Philharmonic Chorus for all of its appearances in the Orchestra’s 2022–23 season. He is music director of New York City’s The Dessoff Choirs, an associate professor at Brooklyn College, and on the faculty at the Manhattan School of Music. He has conducted ensembles in venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Madison Square Garden in New York, as well as at Westminster Abbey in London and the Vatican, before Pope Francis. Merriweather's repertoire ranges from J.S. Bach to the world premiere recording of Margaret Bonds’s The Ballad of the Brown King (AVIE Records). As a baritone, Merriweather, who studied with Rita Shane, has appeared as soloist throughout the United States and premiered dozens of contemporary solo works. He was a fellowship recipient at Tanglewood and earned degrees from the Eastman School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, and Syracuse University.

    Learn more about New York Philharmonic Chorus
        Malcolm J. Merriweather, Director

Special Thanks

Liberation, featuring The March to Liberation, is presented by Judith and Stewart Colton.

These concerts are part of the Wu Tsai Series Inaugural Season.


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