The Cincinnati Song Initiative invites everyone to its free season finale video concert on Sunday, May 16 from 4-5 p.m. ET, celebrating new works from Black composers in its largest commissioning project to date.
The concert features one commissioned song from each of the 10 composers taking part in the inaugural National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) composer mentorship program.
The mentorship program pairs an established art song composer with an emerging and early-career composer. NATS designed the program to encourage the creation and performance of new works. For its first year, NATS reserved the program for composers from underrepresented groups, with an emphasis on Black composers.
CSI Founding Artistic Director Samuel Martin says this concert culminates a season of “adaption, flexibility, grace and exploration for how we can do things better in the communities we serve.”
The free video concert celebrates these budding composers and provides an international platform for their music to be heard.
“We could not be more honored to present these brand new songs as a showcase of all the hard work and growth that the inaugural NATS mentee composers have experienced,” Martin says. “They met the moment by creating meaningful new songs that will help push this genre forward, and now it’s our turn to meet the moment by amplifying this important work.”
NATS Executive Director Allen Henderson agrees. He says seeing this project come to fruition will be extremely rewarding.
“We are thrilled that Cincinnati Song Initiative has partnered with NATS to showcase new art songs from diverse voices,” Henderson says. “We have received such great feedback from both the composer mentors and mentees, and we are grateful for everyone who has helped propel this new initiative forward. Making music and singing are two essential ways we express ourselves, and I cannot think of a better way to mark these achievements than with a celebratory concert. I hope everyone will tune in and support all of the talented musicians involved.”
The American Academy of Arts and Letters award-winning composer Shawn Okpebholo will serve as host for the live stream video concert.
Let it Be New
Concert info page includes bios and photos of composers and performers
Free to stream. No tickets required, but donations to support the composers and artists gladly accepted at cincinnatisonginitiative.org/donate.
For more information about the Cincinnati Song Initiative, visit cincinnatisonginitiative.org.
NATS has plans to continue this program in the coming years. More information on this year’s program is available here. The application for the 2021-22 Mentoring Program will be forthcoming.
The 2020-2021 mentees (in alpha order)
Mason Bynes, Boston, MA
Jerrell Gray, Baton Rouge, LA
Jens Ibsen, Pacifica, CA
Quinn Mason, Dallas, TX
Lauren McCall, Lawrenceville, GA
James Morris, Westminster, CO
Dave Ragland, Nashville, TN
Del’Shawn Taylor, South Bend, IN
Maria Thompson Corley, Lancaster, PA
Khyle Wooten, Tallahassee, FL