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

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About This Performance

Singing Freedom utilizes Freedom on the Move—Cornell University’s database devoted to the experiences of enslaved people seeking freedom 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/banjo

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.