Asheville Symphony joined by Hamilton star Bryan Terrell Clark and Pulitzer-Prize winning composer Jennifer Hidgon.
The Asheville Symphony’s November 18 Masterworks performance, “American Portraits” is set to have a star-studded line up of guests on this all-American program.
Bryan Terrell Clark, known for portraying George Washington in Broadway’s Hamilton, and Marvin Gaye in Motown: the Musical, will be the narrator for this program. Clark will join the Asheville Symphony for Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait,” a tribute to Abraham Lincoln that combines orchestral music with spoken narration, featuring excerpts from Lincoln’s speeches and writings.
Pulitzer Prize- and three-time Grammy-winning composer Jennifer Higdon will also attend the performances, as the Asheville Symphony plans to play the North Carolina debut of her newly commissioned work, “Cold Mountain Suite.”
The Asheville Symphony, along with several orchestras across the nation, co-commissioned “Cold Mountain Suite.’’ While it first premiered in Delaware, the piece’s content is intimately tied to western North Carolina: it is based on Higdon’s award-winning opera, “Cold Mountain,” which, in turn, is based on the bestselling novel Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier, set in Haywood County, North Carolina.
The program will conclude with the “Negro Folk Symphony,” a transformational work composed by the 20th-century Black composer William Levi Dawson. This piece, based on Black spirituals, had a significant influence on what came to be defined as the “American sound.”
“Our third Masterworks concert of the year features a very special program with a star soloist that should be familiar to Asheville,” said Asheville Symphony Executive Director Daniel Crupi. “We were delighted to work with Bryan Terrell Clark this summer in conjunction with UNC – Asheville’s Ideas Fest, and couldn’t be happier to have him back for this momentous concert.
Crupi continued, “There are so many interlocking narratives and wonderful stories to tell through this program, from having Jennifer Higdon herself in attendance to hear the North Carolina premiere of her very own “Cold Mountain Suite,” to Copland’s powerful musical depiction of our 16th President, to performing the music of William L. Dawson, whose body of work is experiencing a well-deserved renaissance. This will be a concert to remember for the Asheville Symphony.”
“Masterworks 3: American Portraits” will be held on Saturday, November 18, 2023, at the First Baptist Church of Asheville, with performances at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at www.AshevilleSymphony.org, by calling the Asheville Symphony box office at (828) 254-7046, or in person at 27 College Place, Suite 100, in Asheville.