Joseph Parrish, bass-baritone
Damien Sneed, piano

JOSEPH PARRISH, bass-baritone
Washington Performing Arts Children of the Gospel Choir
Michele Fowlin, artistic director

With his rich, warm voice and impeccable technique, bass-baritone Joseph Parrish is an impressive and versatile talent, wowing the audience at the prestigious Susan Wadsworth Young Concert Artists International Auditions in 2022 (which he won). The Juilliard Vocal Arts Masters student enjoys a robust concert career, was an apprentice artist at the Santa Fe Opera, and has performed with Festival Napa Valley and New York’s City Lyric Opera, among others. Parrish was an inaugural cohort member of the Denyce Graves Foundation’s flagship Shared Voices program, an initiative designed to address diversity, equity, and inclusion through collaboration between Historically Black Colleges and Universities, top conservatories, and schools of music in the United States. His program will span German and Russian lieder, a world premiere by Alistair Coleman, and American spirituals featuring our very own Children of the Gospel Choir as a special guest.

This performance is co-presented by Washington Performing Arts and Young Concert Artists, in cooperation with the Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts.

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Program Details

Adam Guettel – “Migratory V”
Franz Schubert – “An die Musik”
Gustav Mahler – “Liebst du um Schönheit”
Alma Mahler – “Laue Sommernacht”
Gustav Mahler – “Lob des hohen Verstandes”
Sergei Rachmaninoff – “Morning” from Six Songs, op. 4, no. 2
Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky – “Amid the Din of the Ball” from Six Romances, op. 38, no. 2
Sergei Rachmaninoff – “In the Silence of the Secret Night” from Six Romances, op. 4, no. 3
Alistair Coleman, YCA Composer-In-Residence – Psalm (World Premiere)
Henry T. Burleigh – “Her Eyes, Twin Pools”
Harrison Leslie Adams – “For You There Is No Song”
Charles Brown – “A Song without Words”
Thomas Chisholm – “Great is Thy Faithfulness”
Bobby McFerrin – “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” featuring Children of the Gospel Choir
Traditional, Arr. by Michele Fowlin – “Let Us Break Bread Together” featuring Children of the Gospel Choir
Richard Smallwood – “Total Praise” featuring Children of the Gospel Choir

More about the Artist

Joseph Parrish, bass-baritone

Winner of the 2022 Young Concert Artists (YCA) Susan Wadsworth International Auditions, Joseph Parrish is a Baltimore native and holds degrees from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and The Juilliard School. Recent operatic credits include Spinelloccio in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi with Festival Napa Valley, Le Baron de Pictordu in the City Lyric Opera’s production of Viardot’s Cendrillon. In addition to opera, Parrish enjoys a robust concert career performing with orchestra and in recitals at such prestigious venues as The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, Alice Tully Hall, St. Boniface Church in Brooklyn, New York, and both Weill Recital Hall and Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall.

As a current artist diploma candidate in opera studies at The Juilliard School, Parrish is passionate about giving back to the various communities that have nurtured him. He has served as a Music Advancement Program chorus teaching fellow, Gluck Community Service Fellow, and Morse Teaching Artist. Parrish is also a member of the inaugural cohort of Shared Voices, an initiative designed to address diversity, equity, and inclusion through collaboration between Historically Black Colleges and Universities, top conservatories, and schools of music in the United States with the Denyce Graves Foundation.

Damien Sneed, piano

As a multi-genre recording artist and instrumentalist, Damien LeChateau Sneed is a pianist, vocalist, organist, composer, conductor, arranger, producer, and arts educator whose work spans multiple genres. He has worked with jazz, classical, pop, and R&B legends, including the late Aretha Franklin and Jessye Norman, Wynton Marsalis, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Denyce Graves, Lawrence Brownlee, Richard Smallwood, The Clark Sisters, and many others. Sneed is a 2014 Sphinx Medal of Excellence recipient. Sneed recently joined the esteemed faculties of both Howard University and The Juilliard School. As a composer, he has been commissioned by Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, where his reimagined adaption of Scott Joplin’s opera, TREEMONISHA, just premiered in June 2023. Sneed was recently signed to Apple Music Classical & Platoon Records (London), releasing his newest recording project, Kaleidoscope, in February 2024, featuring the solo piano music of African-American composers.

Alistair Coleman, composer

A rising young composer, Alistair Coleman was recently appointed as the 2023-2025 Composer-in-Residence for Young Concert Artists. His recent commissioning projects have included a concerto for violinist Soovin Kim, a concerto for Grammy-award-winning cellist Zuill Bailey, and a sonata for Joseph Alessi, Principal Trombonist of the New York Philharmonic. His string quartet, Moonshot, was premiered by the Abeo Quartet in collaboration with the Glenstone Museum and the Smithsonian Institution.

During the 2022-2023 season Coleman’s composition activity included works for pianist Amy Yang, pianist Zhu Wang and cellist Tate Zawadiuk, soprano Hyunah Yu (commissioned by the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival), and violinist Nathan Cole and pianist Alessio Bax (commissioned by Chamber Music Festival of Lexington). Bass-baritone Joseph Parrish will premiere Alistair’s newest piece, commissioned by Young Concert Artists, at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater.

Coleman holds a Bachelor of Music from the Curtis Institute of Music and an Undergraduate Diploma from The Juilliard School. He is pursuing a Master of Music at Curtis where his teachers include Richard Danielpour, Nick DiBerardino, Jonathan Bailey Holland, Amy Beth Kirsten, and Steven Mackey. His mentors include Jennifer Higdon and David Serkin Ludwig.

Michele Fowlin, artistic director

Children of the Gospel Choir Artistic Director, Michele Fowlin has cultivated her love and passion for music from a young age. She was accepted into the Juilliard School’s pre-college program as a piano student at the age of 9, and has won a variety of piano competitions, awards, and participated in festivals around the world.

Fowlin attended Howard University, earning her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Vocal Performance/Pedagogy with a piano minor. While at Howard, she studied with renowned opera singers Regina McConnell, Carmen Balthrop, and Charlotte Holloman, and maestro Dr. James Weldon Norris. Fowlin eventually became the Assistant to the Conductor for the University Choirs, traveling and performing with the choir internationally including performances in Russia, England, Spain, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. She has performed for Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, former President Obama, former Vice Presidents Biden and Gore, former Secretary of Defense William Cohen, Ambassador Sasae of Japan, and as part of former First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let Girls Learn” Campaign.

Fowlin is currently retired after 28 years in public education and serves as the Associate Director of Contemporary Worship for Washington National Cathedral.

Anthony “Tony” Walker, piano

Walker has performed around the world, sharing stages with world-renowned artists such as Stevie Wonder, Patti Austin, Kelly Price, Chaka Khan, Cynthia Erivo, Richard Smallwood, Donnie McClurkin, and Renée Fleming. He was a featured artist with the National Symphony Orchestra, the San Diego Symphony Pops, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and has performed at The White House, (at the request of First Lady Michelle Obama), and at the 2013 Inauguration of President Barack Obama.

 Walker serves Music Director at Hope Christian Church and Washington Performing Arts Gospel choirs, and is an Adjunct Professor of Piano and Music at Eastern University.

Children of the Gospel Choir (COTG)

Formed in 1993, Washington Performing Arts Children of the Gospel Choir (COTG) is one of Washington Performing Arts’s resident ensembles. COTG has become a destination choir for local students who look to develop excellence in artistry and technique as a performance ensemble. Chosen through a competitive audition process, choir members from D.C., Maryland, and Virginia commit to participating in a year of choral training, intensive workshops, and a variety of performances on Washington Performing Arts’s main stage and through community events. The COTG program provides opportunities for youth in grades four through 12 and promotes an environment of self-confidence, teamwork, and respect.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Michele Fowlin, the Children of the Gospel Choir has been featured at the White House (with Sara Bareilles at the Canadian State Dinner honoring Prime Minister Justin Trudeau); the Inaugural Prayer Services for President Barack Obama and the National Memorial Service for Nelson Mandela, both at The Washington National Cathedral; with Matthew Whitaker in concert; the Washington Performing Arts Gala with Broadway star Matthew Morrison; the historic Howard Theatre; the U.S. Department of State; and on NBC’s Today.

Young Concert Artists (YCA)

YCA’s artists are the leaders of the future – stars who combine world-class talent with creative vision to bring new reach and relevance to the art form. For more than 60 years YCA has invested in extraordinary young musicians, providing them with the support, clarity, and confidence to tell their stories, as well as with the tools, opportunities, and infrastructure to take their careers to the highest level.


With a legacy of artistic excellence recognized around the world, YCA alumni include such luminaries as Emanuel Ax, Julia Bullock, Jeremy Denk, Ray Chen, Anne-Marie McDermott, Fazıl Say, Andrew Norman, Dawn Upshaw, Mason Bates, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Kevin Puts, Pinchas Zukerman, and many more.

YCA continues to build upon our singular legacy by empowering the brilliant young artists of today to acquire the transformational experience and skill they need to lead the future of classical music. Learn more at

Follow Young Concert Artists on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Tiktok: @YoungConcertArtists

Our Partners

This performance is made possible through the generous support of the Dallas Morse Coors Foundation for the Performing Arts.

Washington Performing Arts’s classical music performances this season are made possible in part through the generous support of Betsy and Robert Feinberg.

Performances by the Washington Performing Arts Children of the Gospel Choir are made possible through the generous support of Jacqueline Badger Mars and Mars, Incorporated, together with the Edith Glick Shoolman Children’s Foundation.

Special thanks to the following lead supporters of Washington Performing Arts’s mission-driven work: Jacqueline Badger Mars and Mars, Incorporated; D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities; and the National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs Program and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts; and The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation

This performance is an external rental presented in coordination with the Kennedy Center Campus Rentals Office and is not produced by the Kennedy Center.

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