Interlochen And NY Philharmonic Perform All-Black Program At Lincoln Center

February 14, 2023

Michigan’s Interlochen Center for the Arts is poised to announce the inaugural class of NY Phil Interlochen Scholars from Harlem to Hollis.

For 30 New York youth who have been chosen to attend Interlochen Arts Camp on full-tuition scholarships this summer.

Their names will be announced during Interlochen’s upcoming appearance at New York’s Lincoln Center on March 3, 2023. Titled MUKTI: A Movement of Liberation, the program opens with the school’s world premiere performance of a collaboratively created piece combining original music, song, poetry, spoken word, dance and film to celebrate international liberation movements throughout history. Also featuring music by living Black composers, as interpreted by the young musicians of the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra and members of the New York Philharmonic, the concert marks a high point of Interlochen’s ongoing partnership with the eminent professional orchestra. The program is led by Interlochen Orchestra director Dr. Leslie Dunner, who is a recipient of the Leonard Bernstein American Conductors Award and the NAACP’s James Weldon Johnson and Distinguished Achievement Awards.

World premiere of new multidisciplinary work celebrating liberation

The program’s opening half comprises the world premiere performance of मुक्तिMUKTI. Named for the Hindi word for liberation, one of the four themes of the Philharmonic’s 2022-23 season, this new multidisciplinary piece was collaboratively created by students from all seven of Interlochen’s artistic disciplines—music, theatre, dance, visual arts, creative writing, film and new media, and interdisciplinary arts—under the direction of theatre faculty member Gulshirin Dubash, Associate Director of Music for Contemporary Performance and Collaborative Projects Courtney Kaiser-Sandler and Theatre Design & Production Program Director Stephen John. Integrating original songs, poetry, spoken word, dance and film into the Interlochen Arts Academy’s performance, मुक्ति : MUKTI explores liberation movements throughout history from all over the world. The directors explain:

“With the task of creating a program that assessed liberation on a global scale, spanning centuries and cultures, we delved into movements through music, theatre, dance, visual art, creative writing, and film and wove a web of intricately created moments. Students generated work that responded to the growing world around them as they understood it, however, keeping in mind the history that came before them and the truths that may not be theirs, but are nonetheless deeply felt and valid.”

Interlochen Center for the Arts’ President Trey Devey notes,

“We will explore liberation of all kinds from a global perspective that represents our diverse student body. The performance culminates in the possibility of hope and new considerations— an ending aptly created by the next generation of creative changemakers.”

New York premieres and more from four living Black composers

After intermission, the student orchestra will perform side-by-side with members of the New York Philharmonic, many of whom are Interlochen alumni. Led by Interlochen’s Dr. Leslie B. Dunner, they will interpret works by four living Black composers. Unburied, Unmourned, Unmarked: Requiem for Rice, in which John Wineglass explores the history of enslaved people in America, will receive its New York premiere, as will Equality, a work set to Maya Angelou’s poetry by Interlochen alumnus Jonathan Bailey Holland. The program’s second half is completed by Mary D. Watkins’s Soul of Remembrance, a movement from her orchestral suite Five Movements in Color, and Valerie Coleman’s Umoja, named for the Swahili word for “unity,” which denotes the first day of Kwanzaa. The program is led by Interlochen Orchestra director Dr. Leslie Dunner, who is a recipient of the Leonard Bernstein American Conductors Award and the NAACP’s James Weldon Johnson and Distinguished Achievement Awards.

Announcement of inaugural class of NY Phil Interlochen Scholars

The names of the young New York artists chosen to attend Interlochen Arts Camp on full-tuition scholarships this summer will also be announced at the concert. Through the newly established NY Phil Interlochen Scholars program, these awardees have been chosen from 15 partner organizations in the New York community:

  • Afro Latin Jazz Alliance
  • Alvin Ailey/Fordham
  • Bloomingdale School of Music
  • Brooklyn Conservatory of Music
  • Epic Theatre Ensemble
  • Harlem School of the Arts
  • The Harmony Program
  • Juilliard Music Advancement Program
  • Kaufman Music Center
  • LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts
  • Martha Graham Dance Company
  • New York Youth Symphony
  • Parsons Scholars Program
  • Theatre Education for the City of New York
  • Upbeat NYC

Interlochen in NYC

March 1 at 7:30 pm
Jazz at Lincoln Center (Dizzy’s Club)
Josh Lawrence, Interlochen Director of Jazz Studies
Jazz students from the Harlem School of the Arts and the Afro-Latin Jazz Alliance
Jazz performance

March 2 at 7:30 pm; March 4 at 8 pm
New York, NY
Lincoln Center (David Geffen Hall)
New York Philharmonic
Leslie B. Dunner, conductor

“The March to Liberation”
Adolphus HAILSTORK: Done Made My Vow, A Ceremony
   Tazewell Thompson, director
   Rasean Davonté Johnson, video artist
   Ryan Speedo Green, bass-baritone
   Janinah Burnett, soprano
   Rodrick Dixon, tenor
   New York Philharmonic Chorus / Malcolm J. Merriweather, chorus director
STILL: Symphony No. 2, “Song of a New Race”
Courtney BRYAN: new work (world premiere of New York Philharmonic commission)

March 3 at 8 pm
Lincoln Center (David Geffen Hall)
Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra
New York Philharmonic musicians
Dr. Leslie B. Dunner, conductor
“MUKTI: A Movement of Liberation”

Interlochen Arts Academy students: मुक्ति: MUKTI (world premiere of interdisciplinary work)
John WINEGLASS: Unburied, Unmourned, Unmarked: Requiem for Rice (New York premiere)
Mary WATKINS: Soul of Remembrance
Jonathan Bailey HOLLAND: Equality (New York premiere)
Valerie COLEMAN: Umoja

Weeklong New York City tour

The performance takes place during the Interlochen Arts Academy’s weeklong tour to New York City. Over the course of the week, all 130-plus young students will have the chance to visit the school’s partner organizations, give performances around the city, and tour organizations pertaining to their own majors, participating in concerts at Dizzy’s Club, public middle schools, and other venues; taking classes at Martha Graham Dance Company; hosting workshops for viBe Theater; and more. In addition, Dr. Dunner will conduct two further liberation-themed programs at David Geffen Hall (March 2 & 4).

Interlochen Center for the Arts

The nonprofit Interlochen Center for the Arts is a recipient of the National Medal of Arts and the only organization in the world that brings together a 2,500-student summer camp program; a 500-student fine arts boarding high school; opportunities for hundreds of adults to engage in fulfilling artistic and creative programs; two 24-hour listener-supported public radio services (classical music and news); more than 600 arts presentations annually by students, faculty and world-renowned guest artists; and a global alumni base spanning eight decades, including leaders in the arts and all other endeavors. For more information, visit

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