Lawrence Brownlee: Rising

July 4, 2023, 9:00 am

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Tenor Lawrence Brownlee releases his newest album, Rising, on Warner Classics. For the project, Brownlee has commissioned six of today’s leading African American composers – Damien Sneed, Brandon Spencer, Jasmine Barnes, Joel Thompson, and Shawn E. Okpebholo – to set poetry from the Harlem Renaissance to song, including poems by Alice Dunbar Nelson, Claude McKay, Langston Hughes, James Weldon Johnson, and more. The songs revolve around themes of joy, empowerment, faith, love, and strength in the face of challenge. Brownlee has also collaborated closely with Dr. Louise Toppin, soprano and vocal professor at the University of Michigan, to revive select works from famed composers Margaret Bonds and Robert Owen; in addition to including works from composer Jeremiah Evans. The project features accompaniment from pianist and collaborator Kevin J. Miller.