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Hailed for her “luscious, moody, and dreamy” playing by the New York Times, pianist Lara Downes is equally celebrated as a musical innovator and cultural investigator—as heard most recently and widely on her NPR interview series, Amplify with Lara Downes. In this performance, focusing on eminent Black composers past and present, she presents a kaleidoscopic evening of music and poetry inspired by myriad stories of migration and transformation, joined in special-guest appearances by Pulitzer-winning poet Rita Dove and by the vibrant and innovative Thalea Quartet, Graduate String Quartet in residence at the University of Maryland School of Music.

Program includes works by DUKE ELLINGTON, QUINN MASON, FLORENCE PRICE, CARLOS SIMON, NINA SIMONE, ALVIN SINGLETON, and WILLIAM GRANT STILL

COVID SAFETY NOTES FOR THIS EVENT:

From event sponsor Susan S. Angell:

"Whether a player or a listener we participate in the universe of music."

I recently ran across a paragraph by country singer Willie Nelson that struck me. He said “We are all the same. There is no difference anywhere in the world. People are people. They laugh, cry, feel, and love, and music seems to be the common denominator that brings us all together. Music cuts through all boundaries and goes right to the soul.”

Thank you for saying it so well, Willie. What we hear grew from what came before. It is often written by famous composers but frequently not. It is often played spontaneously in homes or on the street. Some pieces we can hear hundreds of times and never tire of. They always speak to us. New sounds and words take us to worlds unexplored in our imaginations. Whether a player or listener we participate in the universe of music.

Wednesday evening was beautiful thanks to artists Lara Downes, Rita Dove and the Thalea Quartet.

Enjoy and peace to all.

Susan S. Angell

This performance is made possible through the generous support of Susan S. Angell and Lynn Rhinehart.

Performances at Sixth & I are made possible in part through the generous support of the Galena-Yorktown Foundation.

Thank you to the following lead supporters of Washington Performing Arts’s mission-driven work in 2021/22: Jacqueline Badger Mars and Mars, Incorporated; Dr. Gary Mather and Ms. Christina Co Mather; the National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs Program and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts; D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities; Tom Gallagher; The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation; and the Dallas Morse Coors Foundation for the Performing Arts.

Additional sponsorships are available for this performance and others in the 2021/22 season. Contact Elizabeth Racheva, Chief Advancement Officer, at Sponsorship@WashingtonPerformingArts.org or (202) 533-1862 to learn more.

Mars

DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities