New Classical Featured Artist – 06/05/23 – 06/18/23
In this week’s playlist, we feature the works of Anthony Davis! He is an internationally recognized composer of operatic, symphonic, choral, and chamber works, and a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his opera The Central Park Five. He is also known for his virtuoso performances both as a solo pianist and as the leader of the ensemble Episteme, a unique ensemble of musicians who are disciplined interpreters as well as provocative improvisers. In April 1993, Davis made his Broadway debut, composing the music for Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, directed by George C. Wolfe. His music is also heard in Kushner’s companion piece, Perestroika, which opened on Broadway in November 1993.
As a composer, Davis is best known for his operas. Opera News has called Anthony Davis “A National Treasure” for his pioneering work in opera. X, The Life and Times of Malcolm X, which played to sold-out houses at its premiere at the New York City Opera in 1986, was the first of a new American genre: opera on a contemporary political subject. A new production of a revised version was launched in May 2022 at Detroit Opera and directed by Robert O’Hara to great acclaim. This production is co-produced with Opera Omaha, Seattle Opera and The Metropolitan Opera for performances in 2022 and 2023.
Born in Paterson, New Jersey, on 20 February 1951, Davis studied at Wesleyan and Yale universities. He was Yale’s first Lustman Fellow, teaching composition and Afro-American studies. In 1987 Davis was appointed Senior Fellow with the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University, and in 1990 he returned to Yale University as Visiting Professor of Music. He became Professor of Music in Afro-American Studies at Harvard University in the fall of 1992, and assumed a full-time professorship at the University of California at San Diego in January 1998. Connect with Classical Music Indy Streaming’s New Classical channel for works by Davis and much more!
Image credit: Erik Jepsen