TENOR LAWRENCE BROWNLEE CELEBRATES
BLACK COMPOSERS AND WRITERS AT
PRINCETON UNIVERSITY CONCERTS
Tenor Lawrence Brownlee returns to Princeton University Concerts on March 8, performing “Rising”, a song cycle that sets Harlem Renaissance texts by Black writers to music by contemporary Black composers.
PRINCETON, NJ – Tenor Lawrence Brownlee returns to Princeton University Concerts (“PUC”) to premiere an exciting new program entitled “Rising” on Wednesday March 8, 2023 at 7:30 PM at Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall. Alongside pianist Kevin J. Miller, Brownlee will perform newly commissioned songs by Black composers, including Jasmine Barnes, Margaret Bonds, Shawn Okpebholo, and Damien Sneed, which utilize texts drawn from Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, Georgia Douglas Johnson, James Weldon Johnson, and other great Black writers of the Harlem Renaissance.
“These past years have been a trial, both for humanity as a whole, and the African-American population here in the United States,” says tenor Lawrence Brownlee, “but, through all these many challenges we have faced, I have also seen moments of strength, inspiration, hope, and great beauty. It is those themes of uplift, elevation, and rebirth that we have tried to focus on with this new project ‘Rising,’ taking poems from the giants of the Harlem Renaissance, and working with some of today’s most talented African-American composers, to create something that speaks not just to our struggles, but to our triumphs.”
“When Lawrence Brownlee made his PUC debut in 2018, he focused part of his program on traditional spirituals,” says PUC Director Marna Seltzer. “It is exciting to have him return to Princeton with a new project that focuses entirely on celebrating Black artists from the Harlem Renaissance through a contemporary lens. Creating space for music to speak to our history — past, present, and future — is at the heart of PUC’s mission, and I am grateful to Larry for using his glorious voice in support of this goal.”
Tickets ($25-40 General/$10 Student) are available at puc.princeton.edu or by calling 609-258-9220.
As part of his time at Princeton, Brownlee will also visit Trenton Public Schools with Trenton Arts at Princeton to work with middle school music students as part of PUC’s “Neighborhood Music Project.” He will perform for and rehearse with students, as well as facilitate discussions around music.
PUC’s other upcoming vocal programs include the Jupiter Ensemble (Thursday, March 30 at 7:30PM) and Cécile McLorin Salvant (Wednesday April 12 at 6PM & 9PM). More information about these offerings and the rest of PUC’s 2022-23 season is available at puc.princeton.edu.
ABOUT LAWRENCE BROWNLEE
Lawrence Brownlee is a leading figure in opera, both as a singer on the world’s top stages, and as a voice for activism and diversity in the industry. Captivating audiences and critics around the globe, he has been hailed as “an international star in the bel canto operatic repertory” (The New York Times), “one of the world’s leading bel canto stars” (The Guardian), and “one of the most in-demand opera singers in the world today” (NPR).
In the 22-23 season, Brownlee performs a program with longtime friend, collaborator, and fellow Rossini expert Michael Spyres titled, “Amici e Rivali” at the Theatre des Champs-Élysées and makes his role debut as Rodrigo in Rossini’s Otello as part of Opera Philadelphia’s Festival O22 in September 2022. Then, Brownlee will return to Lyric Opera of Chicago for the title role of Le comte Ory, and as Elvino in Bellini’s La Sonnambula at Teatro Real in Madrid in December. In January 2023, he premieres “Rising” in venues across the US before performing one of his signature Rossini roles as Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden in February 2023. Brownlee’s season ends with his return to the Metropolitan Opera as Tamino in a new production of Die Zauberflöte.
In spring 2021, Brownlee joined The Juilliard School as a Distinguished Visiting Faculty Member. He serves as artistic advisor for Opera Philadelphia, where his responsibilities include increasing and expanding audience diversity, advocating for new works, and liaising with the General Director from the perspective of a performing artist. “As an artist, I think it is important that we are actively advocating for this beautiful art form we love so much,” said Brownlee, “ensuring that it will be alive and well for many years to come.” Mr. Brownlee also serves as an Ambassador for Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Lyric Unlimited, and is an Ambassador for Opera for Peace.
ABOUT KEVIN MILLER
American pianist and collaborator Kevin J. Miller is acclaimed for his dynamically artful performances. Recent collaborations include recitals with international tenor Lawrence Brownlee at Carnegie Hall and Houston Grand Opera, countertenor John Holiday at the Kennedy Center and The Barbican in London, Joseph Calleja and Nadine Sierra at the Supreme Court of the United States, as well as an appearance with Mr. Calleja on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series. Mr. Miller prepared soprano Jessye Norman for performances of Laura Karpman’s production of Ask Your Mama, which was performed at Carnegie Hall. He also collaborated with the acclaimed countertenor David Daniels in a recital at the Glimmerglass Festival. He can be heard on piano on the recording Been in da Storm So Long, which features baritone Kenneth Overton.
Mr. Miller studied at the Mannes College of Music, where he received a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano. He continued his studies at the University of Michigan School of Music where he received both a Master of Music degree and the Artist Diploma in Collaborative Piano under the tutelage of Martin Katz.
LAWRENCE BROWNLEE, TENOR AND KEVIN MILLER, PIANO: “RISING”
Wednesday, March 8, 2023 at 7:30 PM
Lawrence Brownlee and Kevin Miller present “Rising,” a song cycle comprising new settings of Harlem Renaissance texts by contemporary composers, including Jasmine Barnes, Margaret Bonds, Jeremiah Evans, Shawn Okpebholo, Damien Sneed, Brandon Spencer, and Richard Thompson.
Princeton University Concerts, Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall, Princeton University
$25-40 General/$10 Students. Tickets are available online at puc.princeton.edu, by phone at 609-258-2800, or in person 45 minutes prior to the concert at the Richardson Auditorium Box Office.