Kevin Deas, bass-baritone
Virginia Tech and Mixed Choruses
Angel Gil-Ordóñez, conductor
Written and produced by Joseph Horowitz
Visual track by Peter Bogdanoff
Dwight Bigler, choral director
Harry Burleigh (1866-1949) is a forgotten hero of American music. Antonin Dvořák’s assistant in New York City from 1892 to 1895, Burleigh was subsequently the composer and singer most responsible for turning spirituals into art songs. His "Deep River" (1915), a sensation in its day, took an obscure upbeat spiritual and turned it into the reverent song made famous by Burleigh, Marian Anderson, Paul Robeson, and countless others. This program delves deeper into Burleigh’s impact. Angel Gil-Ordóñez and Joseph Horowitz founded PostClassical Ensemble (PCE) in 2003 as an experimental orchestral laboratory committed to radically rethinking the concert experience and to refreshing both format and repertoire. They lift up works deserving greater advocacy, believing that music of consequence should be contextualized in new spaces for audiences, old and new, in search of deeper paths of engagement both intellectual and spiritual. As of fall 2017 PCE is the ensemble in residence at the Washington National Cathedral.