In a remarkable collaboration, the National Philharmonic and The Washington Chorus (TWC) are joining forces to present an evening of mesmerizing music. Highlighting their unique musical identities, this collaboration combines the exceptional talents and resources of each organization, setting the stage for a concert of unparalleled grandeur. Universal Longings | Anhelos Universales marks the first of two exciting collaborations between TWC and the National Philharmonic this season.
At its core, Universal Longings explores the profound yearnings that unite humanity. The concert will feature the East Coast premiere of Breaths of Universal Longing, a composition from Maryland-based composer, James Lee III. This contemporary work taps into the very essence of human longing and takes the listener on an emotional revelation of intricate melodies and innovative orchestrations.
James Lee III expressed the inspiration behind Breaths of Universal Longings as, “…a work that celebrates the power of the voice and singing. It is also about shared humanity and the universality of singing.”
Additionally, the program will introduce a masterpiece in the Spanish language titled, Cantata Criolla by Venezuelan composer, Antonio Estévez; a cultural gem that may be new to many in attendance. The composition, rich with history and emotion, offers a fresh perspective and an opportunity for the community to embrace the diversity of musical expressions.
TWC Artistic Director and conductor for the afternoon, Eugene Rogers, shared his thoughts on the choice of these pieces, “I chose both pieces as a way for us all to celebrate the human voice and to recognize our human desire and struggle to win the battle with ourselves.” He emphasized the importance of amplifying voices of color, aligning with TWC’s Mahogany Initiative, which seeks to center the voices and visions of creators of color across the entire spectrum of programming, and both organizations’ commitment to inclusivity in programming. The concert will feature guest artists Scott Piper (tenor) and Juan Tomás Martínez Yépez (baritone).
As these two institutions come together, combining their strengths and talents, they offer an unforgettable evening of music that resonates with the cultural and artistic spirit of Montgomery County. “Universal Longings” transcends the boundaries of classical and contemporary music, connecting the audience with their own universal desires, hopes, and dreams. This extraordinary collaboration and the introduction of new musical experiences make it an event that should not be missed.
Jim Kelly, President & CEO of National Philharmonic, shared his enthusiasm for the partnership, stating, “We’re thrilled to partner with The Washington Chorus for two programs this season. Audiences can expect to be mesmerized and moved by the combination of these outstanding D.C.-area ensembles. Not only will the performances be powerful, but the repertoire will also be meaningful to our communities and relevant to our times. I’m very much looking forward to these concerts!”
Join the National Philharmonic and The Washington Chorus on Sunday, November 5 at 3 PM, at The Strathmore Music Center for this momentous musical celebration.
Get tickets here: https://nationalphilharmonic.org/event/universal-longings/