National Symphony and Washington National Opera to launch “Cartography Project” initiative with eight world premieres

Posted on: March 14, 2022

From left: Composers Carlos Simon, Derek Douglas Carter, and Nathaniel Heyder during filming of the Kennedy Center’s “Cartography Project” documentary. Photo: Jati Lindsay

“For Marc Bamuthi Joseph, the Kennedy Center’s vice president and artistic director of social impact, maps … pack a poetic punch,” writes Michael Andor Brodeur in Saturday’s (3/12) Washington Post. “Most crucial to ‘The Cartography Project,’ Joseph’s flagship commissioning initiative for the Kennedy Center, they help us chart the course forward. ‘The Cartography Project,’ a multiyear initiative, will generate new works from dozens of composers and artists of color, each representing American communities grieving in the aftermath of institutional and interpersonal race-based violence…. On March 15 and 16 … members of the National Symphony Orchestra and the Washington National Opera will premiere the first eight chamber and vocal works commissioned for ‘Cartography.’ … This first batch features three NSO commissions: Aurora, Colo., composer Jessica Mays’s ‘Anthem for GO’; Cleveland composer Nathaniel Heyder’s ‘Ahead of Time’; and Louisville-based Derek Douglas Carter’s ‘Breonna’s Lullaby.’ It also features five commissions from the WNO [by composers B.E. Boykin, Liz Gre, Jens Ibsen, Jasmine Barnes] and Joseph’s ‘The Road Ahead,’ … with Kennedy Center composer-in-residence Carlos Simon. ‘The thing that bonds, the connective tissue here,’ Joseph says, ‘is excellence.’ … As of now, ‘The Cartography Project’ has no projected conclusion, remaining open and active indefinitely.”