The world premiere of Visions of America, composed by Roger Kellaway for a performance accompanied by a series of photographs by Joseph Sohm, took place at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center on January 25. The premiere—which marked Peter Nero’s 30th anniversary leading the Philly Pops and came five days after the inauguration of President Obama—was designed as a post-inaugural celebration of “the sights and songs of democracy” and coincided with the publication of Sohm’s tabletop book Visions of America. The work incorporates three movements and thirteen “Mosaics” (visualized songs) by Kellaway, a jazz pianist who has been friends with Nero for 50 years; lyricists Alan and Marilyn Bergman wrote lyrics for two of Kellaway’s songs on the program, performed by vocalist Patti Austin. The concert, and four others to follow through February 1, was preceded by a video introduction by Edmund G. Rendell, governor of Pennsylvania.
Photos from Joseph Sohm’s book Visions of America, courtesy of The Philly Pops.