An Imani Winds world premiere for John Hope Franklin's centenary | Duke Campus: Baldwin Auditorium | Clubs & Concerts | Indy Week
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An Imani Winds world premiere for John Hope Franklin's centenary 

When: Thu., Oct. 29, 8 p.m. 2015
Phone: 919-660-3357
Email: tickets@duke.edu
Price: $10-$42
dukeperformances.duke.edu/calendar/imani-winds-fisk-jubilee-singers-john-hope-franklin-100

IMANI WINDS & FISK JUBILEE SINGERS: JOHN HOPE FRANKLIN @ 100

THURSDAY, OCT. 29

BALDWIN AUDITORIUM, DURHAM—During a university-wide year of centenary honors for the late historian and activist John Hope Franklin, Duke Performances provides the musical highlight. The groundbreaking quintet Imani Winds will deliver the premiere of a commission by American composer Frederic Rzewski on a stage shared with the Fisk Jubilee Singers, the legendary a cappella chorus launched at Fisk University, Franklin's alma mater, in 1871.

Best known for authoring the 1947 landmark From Slavery to Freedom, Franklin also served on Thurgood Marshall's NAACP Legal Defense Fund team in the 1950s, helping build the case for Brown v. Board of Education. Franklin won the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, in 1995. In his induction speech, President Clinton called Franklin "the son of the South" and "a moral compass for America, always pointing us in the direction of truth." Franklin taught locally at St. Augustine's College and the North Carolina College for Negroes (now North Carolina Central) before capping his career on Duke's faculty from 1983 until his death in 2009.

Honoring Franklin's lifelong devotion to human rights and racial equality, Rzewski based his "Sometimes" on the spiritual "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child," specifically a Paul Robeson recording he remembers hearing as a child. The work opens with a member of Imani Winds reading an inspirational passage from Franklin's "Mirror to America" over solo bassoon: "This calls for a revolution in the hearts and souls of every American. This is what the first American Revolution did not have. This is what the new American Revolution must have."

"Rzewski has both a prodigious compositional acumen and a profound social consciousness," says Duke Performances' Aaron Greenwald. "One of the challenges of maintaining a wind quintet is the lack of compositions written specifically for that configuration. This allows a new piece of the wind quintet, on the occasion of a monumental anniversary, written by a master composer and orchestrator."

And that's only part of the program: The Fisk Jubilee Singers open the night with several spirituals before Imani Winds take the stage. Together, they close the night with a medley of shared spirituals. 8 p.m., $10–$42, 1336 Campus Dr., Durham, 919-684-4444, www.dukeperformances.duke.edu.Chris Vitiello

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