Petersburg Symphony gives first Virginia performance of Jasmine Barnes’s “Before Dawn”

Posted on: April 20, 2022

On April 24, the Petersburg Symphony Orchestra will perform the Virginia premiere of Jasmine Barnes’s recently composed Before Dawn on a program with Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 (“From the New World”). Music Director Naima Burrs will conduct the concert at Virginia State University’s Anderson-Turner Auditorium. Barnes is composer in residence for American Lyric Theater, has held recent composer residencies at Chautauqua Opera and All Classical Portland, and is head of compositional studies and jazz voice studies at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, Texas. Her works have been commissioned by Washington National Opera, CityMusic Cleveland, and Burleigh Music Festival, among others. In a press announcement about the concert, Naima Burrs noted that Barnes describes Before Dawn as taking a somewhat playful approach to the life of nocturnal animals. “I encourage the audience to listen for musical changes that reflect natural pauses and progressions in nature,” Burrs said. “This musical work will further expand our musical repertoire and journey toward musical expression. This composer has gifted PSO the score to add to our growing musical library—that’s a real contribution that will strengthen our collection.”