Singing Freedom –
Part I

Sunday, January 15, 2023 - 3:00 pm
Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center

Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center

300 South Broad Street Learn More

$30.00 per ticket

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About This Performance

Singing Freedom utilizes Freedom on the Move—Cornell University’s database devoted to the experiences of fugitives from slavery in North America—to “capture a multiplicity of voices and perspectives, each meditating on what it means to risk all to be free.” A trio of exceptional vocalists—Karen Slack, Reginald Mobley, and Will Liverman—brings this project to life alongside celebrated pianist Howard Watkins and Grammy winner Rhiannon Giddens. This first of two programs features PCMS collaborating with New York-based Sparks & Wiry Cries (innovator of songSLAM Festival and Art Song Magazine) on a new work (co-commissioned by PCMS) by American composer Shawn Okpebholo, whose music has been described as “devastatingly beautiful… fresh and new and fearless” (Washington Post).

Karen Slack, soprano; Reginald Mobley, countertenor; Will Liverman, baritone; Howard Watkins, piano; Rhiannon Giddens, vocals/guitar

Freedom on the Move: Songs in Flight
Program includes a Philadelphia Premiere/PCMS Co-Commission by Shawn Okpebholo. The work sets texts curated by Dr. Tsitsi Ella Jaji (Duke University), whose own work, along with the work of poet Crystal Simone Smith (Duke University), and Pulitzer Prize winner Tyehimba Jess contextualizes and responds to selected primary source materials from Freedom on the Move.

Sparks & Wiry Cries


This event is presented in collaboration with Sparks & Wiry Cries.


The Artist(s)

Karen Slack
Karen Slack, soprano
A recipient of the 2022 Sphinx Medal of Excellence, celebrated American soprano Karen Slack has garnered international renown for her artistic versatility, charisma and entrepreneurial endeavors. She has received critical acclaim for her dynamic and passionate performances in both lead operatic roles and on the concert stage, and as a sought-after collaborator who is known as a leader and advocate,… Read More
Reginald Mobley
Reginald Mobley, countertenor
Noted for his “shimmering voice” (BachTrack), American countertenor Reginald Mobley is highly sought after for the baroque, classical, and modern repertoire. Reginald leads a very prolific career in the United States, where he resides. In March 2020, he became the first ever programming consultant for the Handel & Haydn Society following several years of leading H+H in his community engaging Every Voice concerts.… Read More
Will Liverman, baritone
Called “a voice for this historic moment” (Washington Post), GRAMMY-nominated baritone Will Liverman is the recipient of the 2022 Beverly Sills Artist Award by The Metropolitan Opera. He opened the Met’s 2021-22 season in a celebrated “breakout performance” (New York Times) as Charles in Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones.Read More
Howard Watkins
Howard Watkins, piano
American pianist Howard Watkins is a frequent associate of some of the world’s leading musicians on the concert stage; he’s also an assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera. His appearances throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia, Russia, and Israel have included collaborations with Joyce DiDonato, Diana Damrau, Kathleen Battle, Grace Bumbry, Mariusz Kwiecień, Anna Netrebko, and Matthew Polenzani as well as violinists Xiang Gao and Sarah Chang at such venues as the Metropolitan Museum of Art,… Read More
Rhiannon Giddens
Rhiannon Giddens, vocals/guitar
The acclaimed musician Rhiannon Giddens uses her art to excavate the past and reveal bold truths about our present. A MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient, Giddens co-founded the Grammy Award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops, and she has been nominated for six additional Grammys for her work as a soloist and collaborator. She was most recently nominated for her collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi,… Read More


Karen Slack | Vissi d'arte
Reginald Mobley | Someone to Watch Over Me
Rhiannon Giddens | NPR Tiny Desk Concert
Will Liverman | Onegin's Aria
Pre-Concert Lecture

With Jerrell Jackson at 1:45 pm