Toledo Symphony performs Okoye’s “Harriet Tubman,” plus Ellington, Previn, Still

Posted on: February 27, 2020

“In Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed That Line to Freedom, Nkeiru Okoye brings a fresh perspective to a long-familiar figure,” writes Nicki Gorny in Saturday’s (2/22) Toledo Blade (Toledo, OH). “Leslie B. Dunner, the conductor under whose baton the work premiered in New York in 2014 … is bringing it to St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church on Sunday [on a] program that highlights classical musicians of color…. The Toledo Symphony, accompanied by [soprano] soloist Janinah Burnett and under the direction of Mr. Dunner, will also perform selections from Duke Ellington’s The River Suite, André Previn’s Honey and Rue, and William Grant Still’s Symphony No. 1, among other pieces. [The February 24 concert] is an annual celebration for Black History Month at St. Martin de Porres, a parish that holds deep roots for many African American Catholics in Toledo. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the concert…. Toledo Symphony Artistic Administrator Merwin Siu said, … ‘It’s been very important for the Toledo Symphony to work on increasing the representation of composers of under-represented heritage within our programming. That’s something that we’ve really pushed quite aggressively within our artistic leadership.’ ”