Trusted Shops badge

Philharmonia Orchestra London: Songs from a New World

About the Event

Immerse yourself in the stunning architecture of London's breathtaking Southbank Centre for the ultimate concert set to awake your understanding of classical music.

Delve into the rich tapestry of the Harlem Renaissance's music with the captivating American soprano, Julia Bullock. Our series, 'Let Freedom Ring,' culminates with Dvořák’s widely acclaimed ‘New World’ symphony. This symphony, deeply inspired by the spirituals and folk tunes Dvořák encountered during his tenure in New York in the 1890s, is arguably the most cherished symphony crafted on American soil.

Yet, when one thinks of the most celebrated symphony penned by an American, the spotlight shifts to William Grant Still. As a monumental Black composer and a pivotal presence during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 30s, Still's First Symphony stands out as a crowd‐pleaser in the U.S. It remains underrepresented in British orchestra repertoires. Its movements—'Longings’, 'Sorrows’, 'Humor’, and 'Aspirations’— weave in melodies from Blues, ragtime, and jazz, climaxing in a resounding hymn of optimism.

Highlighting this season, Julia Bullock, celebrated for her raw, genuine performances and dominating stage aura, emerges as one of our Featured Artists. Beyond her artistic prowess, Bullock is a persuasive voice championing equity and inclusivity within the arts realm.

She will enchant us with two renditions by Margaret Bonds of poems penned by Langston Hughes – both maestros in their respective fields during the Harlem Renaissance. Bonds chanced upon Hughes' poetry during her academic pursuits, and it served as a beacon of inspiration, propelling her to persevere in a landscape marred by stark racism. This shared reverence for art solidified their bond, making them lifelong allies. Interspersed with Bonds' compositions are three timeless Gershwin pieces, not forgetting the heartrending lullaby from Porgy and Bess, ‘Summertime’. Mark your calendars for our November 9 concert to experience it in all its glory.

Gift card