28 July, 2023Print
GRAMMY-nominated composer, curator, and activist Carlos Simon announces new album ‘Together’ out September 8 via Decca Classics
“Near the Cross” sung by J’Nai Bridges out Today
Pre-save ‘Together’ Here: CarlosSimon.lnk.to/TogetherPR
Listen to “Near the Cross”: CarlosSimon.lnk.to/NearTheCrossPR
Friday, July 28, 2023 – GRAMMY-nominated composer Carlos Simon will release his new album ‘Together’ on September 8 globally via Decca Classics. The 10-track project collates and celebrates the multifaceted layers of Simon’s personality, upbringing, and musical understanding, with a creative process that strikes the balance of original compositions, improvisations, and carefully crafted arrangements. In addition to performing on a number of tracks, Simon has enlisted violinist and fellow Decca recording artist Randall Goosby, 2 x GRAMMY Award-winning mezzo J’Nai Bridges (“the ‘Beyoncé of opera” - BET), acclaimed GRAMMY Award-winning baritone Will Liverman and GRAMMY-nominated rising star cellist Seth Parker Woods. The album also features contributions from the Carlos Simon Collective, a group that Simon founded and conducted. Made up of Chicago’s best freelance artists, the collective is headed up by fellow GRAMMY-nominated, acclaimed composer, violinist, educator and friend Jessie Montgomery.
Arriving today is the brand new single “Near the Cross” featuring J’Nai Bridges. A hymn originally written by Fanny Crosby in 1869, “Near The Cross” is Simon’s favorite piece on the album. Growing up, Simon spent many Sundays performing the song on piano at the church in Atlanta where his father was a pastor.
Simon on the album: “‘Together’ is a record that is truly representative of my musical life right now, one of collaboration, improvisation and pure music-making. Many know me as a composer, and during this recording process, it became so clear to me how special it was to be a performer, a conductor and a vessel of my compositions and arrangements alongside my peers. Some of the tracks are interpretations of my favorite works – particularly ‘Near the Cross’ – and other tracks are simply my takes on favorites from my closest family and friends. Working on this album with the team in Chicago, as well as in New York, has been the truest labor and demonstration of togetherness – something I hope motivates and encourages.”
‘Together’ is the follow-up to Simon’s critically-acclaimed debut ‘Requiem for the Enslaved’. When Carlos joined Georgetown’s Department of Performing Arts as an assistant professor in 2020, he learned about the history of the GU272. One of the largest sales of human beings in U.S. history, the Maryland Province of the Jesuits, who ran Georgetown at the time, sold 272 men, women, and children in 1838. Determined to honor the lives of the enslaved (and their 8,000+ Descendants) through music that evoked the spirit of those in captivity, Carlos composed ‘Requiem for the Enslaved’. The work debuted at the Library of Congress on Nov. 5, 2021, and received a “Best Contemporary Classical Composition” nomination at the 2023 GRAMMY Awards.
Simon’s passion for social justice shines through in his compositions. His work tackles complex themes that include migration, belonging and community – especially illuminating the transatlantic slave trade, the Jim and Jane Crow era, and the injustice people of African ancestry face today. His music possesses both classical textures and structures in a contemporary aesthetic alongside strong jazz, hip-hop and heavy gospel influences. Earlier this summer, the Minnesota Orchestra premiered what The New York Times called “arguably the most important commission of Simon’s career so far”: ‘brea(d)th,’ Simon's work that commemorates the murder of George Floyd and honors the ongoing struggle for racial justice in Minnesota and beyond.
About Carlos Simon:
GRAMMY-nominated Carlos Simon is a multi-genre composer and performer who is a passionate advocate for diversity in music. Carlos, whose father wanted him to be a minister, describes music making as a pulpit where he can deliver messages and minister to those listening. As winner of the Sphinx Medal of Excellence 2021 and Composer-in-Residence at the Kennedy Center, he sees himself as a conduit, a vessel used by God to deliver music to the people. Listed in the Kennedy Center’s Next 50’, his recent commissions have been granted by the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Kennedy Center, Minnesota Orchestra, Los Angeles Opera, Philadelphia Orchestra, PBS and the Washington National Opera as well as his work being set to ballets by Washington National Ballet and American Ballet Theater.
About J’Nai Bridges:
American mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges, known for her “plush-voiced mezzo-soprano” (The New York Times), and “calmly commanding stage presence” (The New Yorker) has been heralded as “a rising star” (Los Angeles Times), gracing the world’s top opera and concert stages. The 2022-23 season spotlighted Ms. Bridges in one of her signature roles as Carmen with debut engagements at the Arena di Verona, Canadian Opera Company, and a return to Dutch National Opera, and Lyric Opera of Chicago. As a native of Tacoma, WA, Bridges eagerly made her Seattle Opera debut in a concert performance of Samson et Delilah as Delilah in January 2023. Additional concert engagements included Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony with the Detroit Symphony in November, and a world premiere by Carlos Simon in April 2023 with the National Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Bridges’ recital engagements for the season began with the performance of a world premiere by Jimmy Lopez at 92NY in December, and continued throughout 2023 at Washington University, Thomasville Center for the Arts, The Cliburn, Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, San Francisco Performances, and the Mondavi Center in Davis, California.
About Randall Goosby:
Signed exclusively to Decca Classics in 2020 at the age of 24, American violinist Randall Goosby is acclaimed for the sensitivity and intensity of his musicianship alongside his determination to make music more inclusive and accessible, as well as bringing the music of under-represented composers to light. Highlights of Randall Goosby’s 2023/24 season include debut performances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra/Andris Nelsons, National Symphony/Thomas Wilkins, Pittsburgh Symphony/Manfred Honeck, Seattle Symphony and St Louis Symphony both under Christian Reif, with European debuts including a European tour with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra under Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Danish National Radio Symphony/Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Oslo Philharmonic/Ryan Bancroft and Lahti Symphony/Dalia Stasevska.
During 2023/24 Goosby will be Artist in Residence at London’s Southbank Centre which will include a return to the London Philharmonic Orchestra, performing Mozart Violin Concerto No. 3 under the direction of Gemma New and feature both recital and chamber concerts. Other upcoming recital appearances include Chamber Music Cincinnati, Emory University in Georgia, Elbphilharmonie Recital Hall in Hamburg, Perth Concert Hall in Scotland and La Società dei Concerti in Milan.
Randall Goosby was First Prize Winner in the 2018 Young Concert Artists International Auditions. In 2019, he was named the inaugural Robey Artist by Young Classical Artists Trust in partnership with Music Masters in London; and in 2020 he became an Ambassador for Music Masters, a role that sees him mentoring and inspiring students in schools around the United Kingdom.
A former student of Itzhak Perlman and Catherine Cho, he received his Bachelor’s, Master’s and Artist Diploma degrees from the Juilliard School. He is an alumni of the Perlman Music Program and studied previously with Philippe Quint. He plays the Antonio Stradivarius, Cremona, “ex-Strauss,” 1708 on generous loan from Samsung Foundation of Culture.
About Will Liverman:
Called “a voice for this historic moment” (Washington Post), GRAMMY Award-winning baritone Will Liverman is the recipient of the 2022 Beverly Sills Artist Award and the co-creator of the critically acclaimed The Factotum which premiered at the Lyric Opera Chicago in 2023. This season Liverman returns to the Metropolitan Opera in the title role of X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X. He was previously seen at the Met opening its 21-22 season in a celebrated “breakout performance” (New York Times) as Charles in Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up In My Bones, which won the 2023 GRAMMY Award for Best Opera Recording. Liverman’s 2023-24 season further includes productions with Opera Philadelphia for the world premiere of Rene Orth’s 10 Days in a Madhouse and the Met Opera for Roméo et Juliette. In concert, he joins the Lexington Philharmonic for the orchestrated world premiere of Shawn E. Okpebholo’s Two Black Churches, Houston Symphony’s Carmina Burana, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra for Brahms’ A German Requiem, and The Washington Chorus’ Elijah Reimagined, plus Dayton Opera, Caramoor, and Cincinnati Song Initiative for vocal recitals. He serves as Artistic Advisor for Renée Fleming’s SongStudio at Carnegie Hall.
Cedille Records released Liverman’s Dreams of a New Day: Songs by Black Composers with pianist Paul Sanchez in February 2021. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Traditional Classical chart and was nominated for a GRAMMY Award for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album. Liverman is an alumnus of the Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and was a Glimmerglass Festival Young Artist. He holds degrees from The Juilliard School (M.M.) and Wheaton College in Illinois (B.M.). www.willliverman.com.
About Seth Parker Woods:
Hailed by The Guardian as “a cellist of power and grace,” Grammy Award-nominated cellist Seth Parker Woodshas established his reputation as a versatile artist and innovator. The New York Times describes him as “an artist rooted in classical music, but whose cello is a vehicle that takes him, and his concertgoers, on wide-ranging journeys.” He is a recipient of the 2022 Chamber Music America Michael Jaffee Visionary Award. His most recent solo album Difficult Grace was released to critical acclaim in 2023; Difficult Grace contains original works by Ted Hearne, Natalie Joachim, Fredrick Gifford, Monty Adkins, and others and is based on his multimedia genre-crossing solo show of the same name, which has been performed in major venues throughout North America. Seth has served as Artist in Residence with the Seattle Symphony and has premiered concertos by Rebecca Saunders and Tyshawn Sorey. A sought-after recitalist, chamber musician, and collaborator, Seth is a member of wildUp and counts artists such as Hilary Hahn, Claire Chase, Conor Hanick, and the American Modern Opera Company among his frequent collaborators. Seth is an assistant professor at USC Thornton School of Music and a Pirastro Artist. Learn more at www.sethparkerwoods.com.
- Prayer "Gather Up" with J’Nai Bridges
- Love Is Stronger Than Pride
- Amazing Grace with Randall Goosby
- Near the Cross with J’Nai Bridges
- Memory of Summer
- Settle (part III from Warmth from Other Suns)
- Angels in Heaven with Will Liverman
- Traveling Song
- Between Worlds with Seth Parker Woods
CARLOS SIMON ON THE WEB: