Please contribute to our Indiegogo Campaign to help us put on this historic production of R. Nathaniel Dett's monumental oratorio The Ordering of Moses as part of the Harlem-wide Celebration of the Centennial of the birth of the Harlem Renaissance. Click here or on the image below
The Odering of Moses Concert Announcement

Dett performance featured artists

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The Harlem Chamber Players and
The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine

present

The Ordering of Moses
Thursday, June 4, 2020 at 7:30 PM

THE CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF SAINT JOHN THE DIVINE
1047 Amsterdam Avenue at 112th Street
New York, NY 10025

Click here for directions

International symbol of access Fully accessible

Tickets
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Program
Damien Sneed Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing (World Premiere arrangement)
R. Nathaniel Dett The Ordering of Moses, Oratorio for Soloists, Choir, Organ and Orchestra

This concert is dedicated to the memory of the legendary soprano Jessye Norman.

Featuring
Damien Sneed, Conductor
Brandie Sutton, Soprano
Raehann Bryce-Davis, Alto
Justin Austin, Baritone
Terrance McKnight, Host
With choir comprised of members of Damien Sneed's choral group, Chorale Le Chateau, and orchestra comprising members of The Harlem Chamber Players

Chorale Le Chateau Orchestra comprised of members of The Harlem Chamber Players

 

About Robert Nathaniel Dett and The Ordering of Moses

Robert Nathaniel Dett Robert Nathaniel Dett Robert Nathaniel Dett

The Canadian-born black composer Robert Nathaniel Dett (1882 – 1943) spent much of his life in the United States and composed music around the time of the Harlem Renaissance. He was born in Niagara Falls, Ontario, and grew up on the New York side of the falls. He was educated at Oberlin and the Eastman School of Music in Rochester N.Y., where he served for two decades as the choir director at the Hampton Institute, the venerable black college in Virginia. He also taught at Lane College in Tennessee and at Lincoln University in Missouri.

Dett wrote the oratorio The Ordering of Moses in 1932. This large-scale classical work tells the Old Testament story of Moses leading the Israelites out of the bondage of Egypt and the rejoicing of the liberated people. The story is presented in a continuous dramatic free form that embraces a number of styles, with text including blank verse and rhyme, along with textual references that fuse scripture and folklore. 

The piece is rarely performed because of its large scope. The most recent performance of the work in New York City was 2014 at Carnegie Hall by The Cincinnati Symphony, who first premiered the work in 1937. The critic Dwight Bicknell said at the time that “it was the most important contribution to music yet made by a member of the Negro Race.” In an excerpt from his Carnegie Hall review of the concert in the New Yorker (May 19, 2014), Alex Ross stated:

“This neglected landmark of African-American composition had its world première with Cincinnati Symphony and the Cincinnati May Festival Chorus at the May Festival in 1937; NBC radio carried a broadcast, but cut it off about ten minutes before the end, alluding to 'previous commitments' At Carnegie, the conductor James Conlon suggested, in remarks from the stage, that NBC had received complaints from racist listeners. While that speculation is unconfirmed—African-American composers were not unknown on radio at the time, and NBC had featured Florence Price’s First Symphony four years earlier—Dett has certainly been the victim of an injustice. His oratorio, a setting of texts from Exodus with spirituals interwoven, is a startling, potent piece.”

 

Harlem Renaissance 100 logo

HARLEM RENAISSANCE 100: A Community Celebration, 2018 – 2020 is a community wide celebration marking the landmark 100th anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance. This celebratory community collaborative effort, spanning the next two years, is comprised of over 13 Harlem cultural institutions who will be spearheading the celebration and the launching of an extended series of programs, events and cultural activities.

 

Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine logo

The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine is the Cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. It is chartered as a house of prayer for all people and a unifying center of intellectual light and leadership. People from many faiths and communities worship together in services held more than 30 times a week; the soup kitchen serves roughly 25,000 meals annually; social service outreach has an increasingly varied roster of programs; the distinguished Cathedral School prepares young students to be future leaders; Advancing the Community of Tomorrow, the renowned preschool, afterschool and summer program, offers diverse educational and nurturing experiences; the outstanding Textile Conservation Lab preserves world treasures; concerts, exhibitions, performances and civic gatherings allow conversation, celebration, reflection and remembrance—such is the joyfully busy life of this beloved and venerated Cathedral.

 

The Harlem Chamber Players logo

The Harlem Chamber Players is an ethnically diverse collective of professional musicians dedicated to bringing high-caliber, affordable and accessible live classical music to people in the Harlem community and beyond. In addition, The Harlem Chamber Players seek to build an audience for classical music in general through community and educational outreach, as well as through collaborations with Harlem's other arts organizations, schools and cultural institutions. The Harlem Chamber Players not only bring live chamber music to underserved neighborhoods in the Harlem community, but also create opportunities for classically trained minority musicians.

 

The Harlem Chamber Players 2019 – 2020 Season is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council; in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; in part by a grant from Columbia Community Service; in part by West Harlem Development Corporation via the Tides Foundation; in part by a grant from the Lily Auchincloss Foundation; in part with funding from the Turrell Fund; in part with funding from the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation and administered by LMCC; in part by the Manhattan Community Award Program via Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer; in part by a grant from the New York Community Trust/Charles E. Culpeper Fund; in part by a grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation; in part by a grant from J.P. Morgan Securities Charitable Giving Fund; and through the generous donations of our supporters and donors.

UMEZ enhances the economic vitality of all communities in Upper Manhattan through job creation, corporate alliances, strategic investments, and small business assistance. LMCC empowers artists by providing them with networks, resources, and support, to create vibrant, sustainable communities in Manhattan and beyond. UMEZ enhances the economic vitality of all communities in Upper Manhattan through job creation, corporate alliances, strategic investments, and small business assistance. LMCC empowers artists by providing them with networks, resources, and support, to create vibrant, sustainable communities in Manhattan and beyond.

Thanks also to our partners—the Harlem Cultural Collaborative, the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, Goddard Riverside Community Center, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Harlem School of the Arts, Harlem One Stop, Broadway Presbyterian Church, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church of Manhattanville, The Forum and Columbia University, Opus 118 Harlem School of Music, Harlem Arts Alliance, Harlem Stage, Composers Now, Talea Ensemble, Harlem Opera Theater, the Harry T. Burleigh Society, Opera Noire, Three on 3, Opera Ebony, the Harlem Arts Alliance, Chorale Le Chateau, the Newark School of the Arts, Arts High School in Newark, Africlassical.com.blogspot.com, and the Institute of Music for Children in Elizabeth, NJ.

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