Dallas, Texas (December 2, 2022) — The Dallas Symphony Orchestra will welcome two-time Academy Award- nominee and six-time GRAMMY® Award-winning trumpeter/composer Terence Blanchard to the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center for two special performances. On February 8, 2023, the DSO will present the first orchestra performance of selections from Blanchard’s groundbreaking opera, Fire Shut Up in My Bones. These un-staged selections will be conducted by Assistant Conductor Maurice Cohn (Marena & Roger Gault Chair). On February 9, 2023, Blanchard will perform an evening of jazz along with his band the E-Collective and the GRAMMY® Award-winning Turtle Island String Quartet.
“I am thrilled to welcome Terence back to Dallas and present both his classical and jazz repertoire,” said Kim Noltemy, Ross Perot President & CEO of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. “He is making music history with his classical and opera writing, his trailblazing jazz work and his award-winning film scores. It is an honor to have him in Dallas and to share this important voice with our audiences.”
Fire Shut Up in My Bones premiered at The Metropolitan Opera in September 2021 and marked the first time the New York institution staged an opera by a Black composer in its 138-year history. The Washington Posthailed the work as “A watershed moment for American opera …A starting point for something new, a refresh of where opera can take us.” The Chicago Sun Times called it “a major, compelling work by one of the most important, new composing voices in opera.” The New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow’s widely acclaimed memoir of his traumatic youth in Louisiana is the source for this extremely moving story. Librettist Kasi Lemmons, director of such remarkable films as Harriet and Eve’s Bayou, adapted Blow’s text for the opera.
Soprano Karen Slack and bass-baritone Nicholas Newton will join the DSO to perform the selections. Karen Slack is a recipient of the 2022 Sphinx Medal of Excellence. She is known for her dynamic and passionate performances in both lead operatic roles and on the concert stage; as a sought-after collaborator, curator, and artistic advisor; and for her ground-breaking approach to engagement. Highlights of Slack’s 2022-2023 season include her debut with The Dallas Opera as Freia in Das Rheingold; the world premiere of Shawn Okpebholo’s Songs in Flight, developed by Sparks & Wiry Cries, alongside singer and multi-instrumentalist Rhiannon Giddens at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Kimmel Center; performances in Austin and Portland with the Miró Quartet a recital in Fort Worth with pianist Michelle Cann. She will be a featured soloist with the Nashville Symphony and Oklahoma City Philharmonic in two different world premieres by Hannibal Lokumbe; Beethoven’s Egmont at Carnegie Hall with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra; Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Fresno Philharmonic; and titled roles in productions at Portland Opera and Edmonton Opera. She also continues her roles as Artistic Advisor for Portland Opera and Co-Chair of the Women’s Opera Network with Opera America.
Nicholas Newton made his Dallas debut in The Dallas Opera’s Rigoletto in October 2022. Season highlights include a Detroit Opera debut in Xerxes, Salome at Houston Grand Opera, and an engagement with Lyric Opera of Chicago in Hansel und Gretel. Credits of the recent past include a Santa Fe Opera debut in Il barbiere di Siviglia, an engagement with the Metropolitan Opera in a revival of Rodelinda, and the Houston Grand Opera world premiere of Joel Thompson and Andrea Davis Pinkney’s The Snowy Day. Nicholas is passionate about new works and has worked with many living composers, including Terence Blanchard, Michael Capps, Adam Gorb, Nkeiru Okoye, Damien Sneed, Joel Thompson and Richard Thompson. In addition to working with composers in performance, he continues to work with them through the field of research as an affiliate with the Black Opera Research Network. He is also a co-founder of the Black Opera Database, a resource created to archive, celebrate and preserve the vocal compositional output of Black composers and works that chronicle the Black experience.
On February 9, 2023, Blanchard will be joined by his band, the E-Collective and the Turtle Island String Quartet. Blanchard has been called “a brass-wielding force of nature” by the Los Angeles Times, and he formed his revolutionary jazz band E-Collective in 2015. The group is creatively proficient at layering grooves fueled by funk, rock, R&B and the blues. On their latest album, the double- GRAMMY® -nominated Absence, the groups pay tribute to saxophonist Wayne Shorter. The 2015 album Breathless takes its title from the last words uttered by Eric Garner – “I can’t breathe.” The group presented the world premiere of a multi-disciplinary version of Breathless at the DSO’s 2018 SOLUNA Festival. Caravan: A Revolution on the Road made its debut at Dallas’s Majestic Theatre. Blanchard’s projects continue to explore issues of racial injustices and the collective conscience. He responds, “You get to a certain age when you ask, ‘Who’s going to stand up and speak out for us?’ Then you look around and realize that the James Baldwins, Muhammad Alis and Dr. Kings are no longer here…and begin to understand that it falls on you.” Through these expressions and explorations of social injustices, he continues to musically and technically innovate.
About Terence Blanchard
Trumpeter, bandleader, composer, and educator Terence Blanchard has served as the DSO’s Fred A. Erb Jazz Creative Director Chair since 2012. Blanchard has performed and recorded with many of jazz’s superstars and currently leads the celebrated E-Collective. He is also well-known for his decades-long collaboration with filmmaker Spike Lee, scoring more than 15 of Lee’s movies since the early 1990s. 2018’s BlacKkKlansman earned Blanchard his first Academy Award nomination, with a second Academy Award nomination in 2021 for Da 5 Bloods. In and out of the film world, Blanchard has received 14 Grammy nominations and six wins, as well as nominations for Emmy, Golden Globe, Sierra, and Soul Train Music awards.
A New Orleans native, Blanchard was childhood friends with Wynton Marsalis and studied jazz at Rutgers University. He was invited to play with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra in 1982 and later joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. He debuted his first solo recording in 1991 and has released more than a dozen acclaimed albums since; he has appeared as a collaborator or sideman on a dozen more. Blanchard’s latest album with the E-Collective, Absence, features music written and inspired by jazz legend Wayne Shorter and was released by Blue Note Records in August 2021.
Blanchard has held artistic leadership positions at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, Monterey Jazz Festival, Berklee College of Music, and Henry Mancini Institute at the University of Miami.
Read Terence Blanchard’s full bio at his website.
About the Dallas Symphony Orchestra
The Dallas Symphony Orchestra, under the leadership of Music Director Fabio Luisi, presents world-class orchestral music at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, one of the world’s top-rated concert halls. As the largest performing arts organization in the Southwest, the DSO is committed to inspiring the broadest possible audience with distinctive classical programs, inventive pops concerts and innovative multi-media presentations. In fulfilling its commitment to the community, the orchestra reaches more than 243,000 adults and children annually through performances, educational programs and community outreach initiatives. During the pandemic, the Dallas Symphony was one of a few major U.S. orchestras to present socially distanced concerts with live audiences throughout the 2020/21 Season. Furthermore, the orchestra has offered more than 200 outdoor chamber concerts in neighborhoods throughout the Metroplex since the summer. The DSO continued online music lessons to more than 300 students as part of its Young Strings and Young Musicians programs.
The Dallas Symphony has used digital and broadcast media to share music beyond its geographic boundaries and has become a leader among American orchestras in digital distribution. In 2021, the DSO presented a three-concert broadcast series with Bloomberg Media, reaching over 5.4 million viewers globally. In October 2021, PBS stations across the country began airing One Symphony, Two Orchestras, a program that documented the historic concert of Mahler’s First Symphony with the DSO and the musicians of The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in May 2021. That program was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award in May 2022. The DSO also captures and streams concert performances for distribution online through its Next Stage Digital Concert Series, Presented by PNC Bank. Programs are available on the DSO’s website at watch.dallassymphony.org.
The DSO has a tradition dating back to 1900 and is a cornerstone of the unique, 118-acre Arts District in Downtown Dallas that is home to multiple performing arts venues, museums and parks – the largest district of its kind in the nation. The DSO is supported, in part, by funds from the Office of Arts & Culture, City of Dallas.
Source: Dallas Symphony Orchestra