Fresh from Grammy nomination, songs from Black artists set for Charleston’s Sottile

A team of widely acclaimed artists is reuniting on Charleston’s Sottile Theatre stage in a live performance of an album that has resonated throughout the classical music world and beyond.

Baritone Will Liverman, the heralded artist who this year delivered a barrier-breaking performance of a Black composer at the Metropolitan Opera, is again joining artistic forces with his frequent accompanist, Charleston-based pianist Paul Sánchez.

The two are set to perform the finale concert of the College of Charleston School of the Arts’ 31st annual International Piano Series on April 19. The program will feature the Charleston debut of the musicians’ highly praised album “Dreams of a New Day: Songs by Black Composers.”

Recently nominated for a Grammy Award, the Cedille Records album highlights Black composers across generations, from early 20th-century pioneers Henry Burleigh, Margaret Bonds and Thomas Kerr to Robert Owens, Leslie Adams and contemporary composers Damien Sneed and Shawn E. Okpebholo.

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“Dreams of a New Day” is the name of the classical album featuring Charleston’s poet laureate that was nominated for a Grammy. The artists will perform the season finale of the College of Charleston’s International Piano Series on April 19, 2022. Provided

“Grammy winner Will Liverman is one of the most sought-after baritones in the world. We are thrilled to welcome him to Charleston to perform with our own Grammy-nominated pianist, Paul Sánchez,” said Edward Hart, School of the Arts dean at College of Charleston.

Upon its release, “Dreams of a New Day” gained fast traction in the classical music world. It was named BBC Music Magazine’s “Album of the Month” and crescendoed up to No. 1 on Billboard’s “Traditional Classical Albums” chart. The album has also been featured in media outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, MPR and New York’s WQXR, among others.

Liverman’s performance in Charleston is flanked by engagements at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and one at Metropolitan Opera. In the fall, he starred in the Met’s reopening production of “Fire Shut Up In My Bones.”

The second opera from six-time Grammy Award–winning trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard, the production represented the first opera by a Black composer to be staged at the Met.

The lauded vocal artist has regularly joined forces to perform and record with Charleston-based Sánchez, a heralded pianist and composer who is an associate professor and the director of Piano Studies at the College of Charleston’s Department of Music. He is also the artistic director of the College’s International Piano Series.

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Will Liverman is the baritone vocalist behind Grammy-nominated classical album “Dreams of a New Day.” Jaclyn Simpson/Provided

For “Dreams of a New Day,” Liverman enlisted Charleston poet Marcus Amaker, who penned the text to the second movement of Okpebholo’s “Two Black Churches.” A song in two movements, it reflects on tragic events perpetrated by white supremacists: the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Ala. (1963) that killed four girls; and the Emanuel AME Church shooting in Charleston.

“This concert will be a perfect exclamation point to one of our most ambitious seasons ever, including a performance with Grammy-winning violinist Augustin Hadelich and our production of ‘The Magic Flute’ with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra,” Hart said.

The concert, which will include a talk with some of the album’s artists, will take place at 7:30 p.m. April 19 in the Sottile Theatre, 44 George St.

Tickets are $30 and can be purchased through the George Street Box Office online, at the door, by emailing gsbo@cofc.edu, or by calling 843.953.4726.  Admission is free for College of Charleston students and employees, as well as youth (18 and under); tickets must be secured ahead of the concert by emailing or visiting the box office. Patrons can find info and ticket links at go.cofc.edu/ips.

  

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