Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Sergio Mims: Tenor Lawrence Brownlee Gives New York Premiere of "Cycles of My Being" in Zankel Hall on April 24

Lawrence Brownlee
(Shervin Lainez)

Sergio A. Mims forwards this release:

Carnegie Hall



Program Features New York Premiere of 

Tyshawn Sorey’s Cycles of My Being,

Conducted by the Composer, and

Schumann’s Dichterliebe, with Pianist Myra 


On Tuesday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m. in Zankel Hall, acclaimed American tenor Lawrence Brownlee presents the New York premiere of Cycles of My Being, a new song cycle composed by Tyshawn Sorey with lyrics by Terrance Hayes that explores the realities of life as a black man in America. Brownlee—hailed as one of “the world’s leading bel canto tenors” by the Associated Press—is conducted by composer Tyshawn Sorey and joined by violinist Randall Goosby, cellist Khari Joyner, clarinetist Alexander Laing, and pianist Kevin Miller for Cycles of My Being, which is co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall as part of the Hall’s 125 Commissions Project. The program opens with Schumann’s Dichterliebe, to be performed alongside pianist Myra Huang.

“I’m honored to be working with the extraordinary talents of Tyshawn and Terrance on this new song cycle, and I’m grateful to Carnegie Hall for helping to make it possible,” said Lawrence Brownlee. “In these divided times, we hope to create something that brings people together with mutual respect, understanding, and communication across races and generations.”

Carnegie Hall’s commitment to the music of today and tomorrow continues this season with the third year of its five-year 125 Commissions Project, during which at least 125 new works will be commissioned from today’s leading composers. Through this initiative, Carnegie Hall expands upon its history as the preeminent venue where music history is made. Launched during the Hall’s 125th anniversary season, the project features new solo, chamber, and orchestral music from both established and emerging composers, including John Adams, Timo Andres, Donnacha Dennehy, Bryce Dessner, Sofia Gubaidulina, Hannah Lash, James MacMillan, Olga Neuwirth, Steve Reich, Frederic Rzewski, Caroline Shaw, Chris Thile, and Jörg Widmann. 

About the Artists
Named 2017 “Male Singer of the Year” by both the International Opera Awards and Bachtrack, American-born Lawrence Brownlee has been hailed by the Associated Press as one of “the world’s leading bel canto tenors.” Brownlee captivates audiences and critics around the world, and his voice has been praised by NPR as “an instrument of great beauty and expression…perfectly suited to the early nineteenth century operas of Rossini and Donizetti,” ushering in “a new golden age in high male voices” (The New York Times). Brownlee also serves as Artistic Advisor at Opera Philadelphia, helping the company to expand their repertoire, diversity efforts, and community initiatives.

One of the most in-demand singers around the world, Brownlee has performed with nearly every leading international opera house and festival, as well as major orchestras including the Berliner Philharmoniker, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Boston Symphony Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.

In addition, Brownlee has appeared on the stages of the top opera companies around the globe, including The Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Bavarian State Opera, Royal Opera Covent Garden, Vienna State Opera, Opera National de Paris, Opernhaus Zürich, Berlin State Opera, Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona, Teatro Real Madrid, Théâtre Royale de la Monnaie, and the festivals of Salzburg and Baden-Baden. Broadcasts of his operas and concerts—including his 2014 Bastille Day performance in Paris, attended by the French President and Prime Minister—have been enjoyed by millions.

The 2017–2018 season began with a run of Rossini operas, beginning with his house debut at the Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona with Il viaggio a Reims, followed by Semiramide at the Royal Opera House in London, and then to Zürich for Le Comte Ory. Brownlee will then sing Bellini’s I puritani at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier at the Bayerische Staatsoper (including a concert performance at Carnegie Hall), and then Donizetti’s Don Pasquale at Opéra National de Paris.

The season also includes the world premiere of a song cycle centered around black male experience in America today, touching on the recent series of tragic deaths, and the Black Lives Matter movement that has arisen as a result. Tyshawn Sorey composed the music, with text by poet Terrance Hayes. The piece was commissioned by Opera Philadelphia and Carnegie Hall, and Brownlee is currently on tour at major venues around the US, including the world premiere in Philadelphia, followed by performances in San Francisco, Utah, Portland, Boston, Princeton, Illinois, Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall, Virginia, and Michigan.

Brownlee’s latest album, Allegro Io Son, received a Critic’s Choice from Opera News, among numerous other accolades, and followed his previous Grammy Award-nominated release on Delos Records, Virtuoso Rossini Arias, which prompted New Yorker critic Alex Ross to ask “is there a finer Rossini tenor than Lawrence Brownlee?” The rest of his critically-acclaimed discography and videography is a testament to his broad impact across the classical music scene. His opera and concert recordings include Il barbiere di Siviglia with the Bayerische Rundfunk Orchestra, Armida at the Metropolitan Opera, Rossini’s Stabat Mater with Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and Carmina Burana with Berliner Philharmoniker. He also released a disc of African-American spirituals entitled Spiritual Sketches with pianist Damien Sneed, which the pair performed at Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series, and which NPR praised as an album of “soulful singing” that “sounds like it’s coming straight from his heart to yours.”

Brownlee is the fourth of six children and first discovered music when he learned to play bass, drums, and piano at his family’s church in Youngstown, Ohio. He was awarded a Masters of Music from Indiana University and went on to win a Grand Prize in the 2001 Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions. Alongside his singing career, Brownlee is an avid salsa dancer and an accomplished photographer, specializing in artist portraits of his on-stage colleagues. A die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers and Ohio State football fan, Brownlee has sung the national anthem at numerous NFL games. He is a champion for autism awareness through the organization Autism Speaks, and he is a lifetime member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity Inc., a historically black fraternity committed to social action and empowerment.

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