Baritone Will Liverman & Pianist Jonathan King to Release 'SHOW ME THE WAY' on Cedille Records

The album will feature guest performances by J'nai Bridges, Nicole Cabell, Renée Fleming, Lady Jess, Tahirah Whittington, and Terry Liverman.

By: Feb. 11, 2024
Baritone Will Liverman & Pianist Jonathan King to Release 'SHOW ME THE WAY' on Cedille Records
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On March 8, 2024, Grammy-winning baritone Will Liverman and pianist Jonathan King release Show Me The Way on Cedille Records. In building this program as a celebration of American song, Will highlights the women in classical music who have deeply inspired him while paying homage to colleagues who have inspired his work. Featuring 20th-century classical composers who were pioneers in the field, such as Amy Beach and Florence Price, as well as present-day composers like Sarah Kirkland Snider and Kamala Sankaram, who are current industry movers and shakers, the album also features guest performances by women who have helped shape Will's artistry as a performer, composer, and curator including mezzo-soprano J'Nai Bridges, soprano Nicole Cabell, and soprano Renée Fleming.

The album also features a special guest performance by Will's mother, Terry Liverman, who sings her own arrangement on the album's final track, If I Can Help Somebody by Alma Bazel Androzzo. The track, available as a single, is out now – listen here. A second single, Everything That Ever Was, featuring Renée Fleming will be released on February 23.

"My mom is someone who, if she has something to say, will find a way to say it,” Will said in his personal statement for the album. “In the 80s and 90s she wrote, sang, and produced her own music. She used to record her songs on cassette tapes, and some of my earliest musical memories were listening to those tapes of my mom singing. That experience probably sparked my love of recording, as well as the idea for this project.”

The album gets its name from the title track You Showed Me The Way by Ella Fitzgerald, Chick Webb, Teddy McRae, and Bud Green (arr. Jonathan King). Born from a budding relationship between Ella Fitzgerald and Chick Webb in the 1930s as they shared the stage at the Savoy in NYC, You Showed Me The Way is an original tune co-written in 1937 by Fitzgerald and the Chick Webb Orchestra that speaks of overcoming distress through the help and love of others, offering hope and lightness in a time otherwise known for its despair.

Show Me The Way also includes several world premiere recordings including A Sable Jubilee, with newly commissioned text by Tesia Kwarteng and composition by Jasmine Barnes offering a poetic triptych of pride and celebration of Black Joy. Additional world premiere recordings include Rene Orth's A Prayer, Kamala Sankaram's Spell to Turn the World Around, Libby Larsen's Machine Head: Ted Burke Poems, and Sarah Kirkland Snider's Everything That Ever Was.

"In addition to preserving important pieces of the past for future generations through this recording, we're also hoping to continue supporting contemporary legacies through commissions and recording new works,” Will said. “People may resonate differently with each song, but the common thread is that we're searching for one another in a world that can oftentimes feel vast and expansive, and that, at the end of the day, we're all connected.” 

About Will Liverman

Called “a voice for this historic moment” (Washington Post), GRAMMY Award-winning baritone Will Liverman is the recipient of the 2022 Beverly Sills Artist Award by The Metropolitan Opera and the co-creator of The Factotum – called “mic-drop fabulous good” (Opera News) – which premiered at the Lyric Opera Chicago in 2023. Described as “nothing short of extraordinary” (Opera News) with a “beaming, high baritone that easily asserts” (LA Times), Liverman has been hailed by critics for his versatility in dramatic and comedic roles, as well as on concert stages in North America and internationally, and for his dedication and vision as a composer, artist, and advisor helping to evolve and push the performing arts industry forward.

This season Liverman returns to the Metropolitan Opera in the title role of X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X. He was previously seen at the Met opening its 21-22 season in a celebrated “breakout performance” (New York Times) as Charles in Terence Blanchard's Fire Shut Up In My Bones, which won the 2023 GRAMMY Award for Best Opera Recording.

Liverman's 2023-24 season further includes productions with Opera Philadelphia for the world premiere of Rene Orth's 10 Days in a Madhouse and the Met Opera for Roméo et Juliette. In concert, he joins the Lexington Philharmonic for the orchestrated world premiere of Shawn E. Okpebholo's Two Black Churches, Houston Symphony's Carmina Burana, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra for Brahms' A German Requiem, and The Washington Chorus's Elijah Reimagined, Grand Rapids Choir of Men and Boys, and Nu Deco Ensemble, plus Dayton Opera, Caramoor, and Cincinnati Song Initiative for vocal recitals. He serves as Artistic Advisor for Renée Fleming's SongStudio at Carnegie Hall.

Last season, the Lyric Opera of Chicago presented the world premiere of Liverman's new opera, The Factotum, which he starred in and composed with DJ King Rico. Inspired by Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Liverman and Rico place the story in a present-day Black barbershop on Chicago's South Side, and celebrate the strength of community and power of the human spirit. Blending together diverse musical styles, including hip-hop, R&B, funk, gospel, and traditional barbershop quartet to create a soul opera, The Factotum “offers a chameleonic pastiche of soul, funk, and classical elements that is incredibly effective” (Opera News). Houston Grand, Portland, and Washington National Operas are all slated to put on The Factotum in future seasons.

Cedille Records released Liverman's Dreams of a New Day: Songs by Black Composers with pianist Paul Sanchez in February 2021. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Traditional Classical chart and was nominated for a GRAMMY Award for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album. His 2020 album, Whither Must I Wander, with pianist Jonathan King, released on Odradek Records, was named one of the Chicago Tribune's “best classical recordings of 2020.”

Liverman is an alumnus of the Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and was a Glimmerglass Festival Young Artist. He holds degrees from The Juilliard School (M.M.) and Wheaton College in Illinois (B.M.).

About Jonathan King

Celebrated as a “fresh presence” and “fully alive” (Washington Post), Jonathan King is currently Music Director at Opera Memphis. He has recently served as Associate Conductor with The Washington Chorus and has coached with Peabody Opera Theatre at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. King has also served as assistant conductor, chorus master, and junior lecturer with Maryland Opera Studio at the University of Maryland and has prepared choirs to work with eminent conductors including Leonard Slatkin, Marin Alsop, and Gianandrea Noseda. 

"A deft and sensitive accompanist” (Chicago Tribune), King has served as répétiteur with the National Symphony Orchestra, Nashville Opera, Opera Baltimore, Intermountain Opera Bozeman, Opera Saratoga, Lyric Opera of Chicago's Unlimited Series, and the Oregon Bach Festival, where he also served as assistant conductor to John Nelson during the 2018 and 2019 seasons. As a collaborative pianist, King has worked with celebrated singers including J'Nai Bridges, Michael Spyres, John Holiday, and Will Liverman. As a duo, King and Liverman have recorded with Deutsche Grammophon, Odradek Records, and Cedille Records. Together they maintain an active recital schedule and have appeared on major world stages including Wigmore Hall, the Aspen Summer Music Festival, and the Kennedy Center's Opera House. Their album, Whither Must I Wander (Odradek, 2020), was named one of ten “Best Classical Recordings of 2020” by the Chicago Tribune, and received a Critic's Choice Award from Opera News.

About Cedille Records

Founded by James Ginsburg in 1989, Cedille Records has supported Chicago's classical music community for over 30 years. A nonprofit record label, Cedille's mission is to produce and disseminate audiophile recordings presenting the finest classical music performers and composers in and from Chicago. The recordings further the careers and legacies of these Chicago artists as Cedille invests heavily in marketing and promotion, not only of the recordings but of the artists represented on them. Unlike other record labels, Cedille never removes albums from its catalog. Each recording is a permanent documentation of the artist's work, available both as a physical album and on online platforms.

As a label devoted to classical musicians from a specific metropolitan region, Cedille's model is unique, and its recordings promote Chicago as a musical city by bringing the area's most significant classical music artists to a worldwide listening public. This can be seen in the recognition Cedille's recordings consistently receive: in addition to near-universal critical praise and other awards, Cedille albums have won eight Grammy Awards and received 30 nominations, including six Awards for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance since 2008.

Show Me The Way Tracklist

Disc 1

Ella Fitzgerald, Chick Webb, TEDDY MCRAE, AND Bud Green (arr. Jonathan King)
         1. You Showed Me The Way (4:22)
A Sable Jubilee* (15:14)
         2. Inspiration (6:45)
         3. Luxury (4:42)
         4. Elevation (3:46)
Florence Price
         5. I Grew a Rose (4:23)
         6. A Prayer* (3:56)
         J'Nai Bridges, mezzo-soprano
Margaret Bonds
Four Songs (11:47)
         7. Even in the Moment (3:04)
         8. Feast (1:26)
         9. I Know My Mind (4:11)
         10. What Lips My Lips Have Kissed (3:03)

Disc 2

         1. “Ah, love is a jasmine vine,” from Cabildo, op. 149 (7:13)
         Nicole Cabell, soprano
         Lady Jess, violin
         Tahirah Whittington, cello
         2. Spell to Turn the World Around* (6:53)
Florence Price
         3. Songs to the Dark Virgin (2:19)
Machine Head: Ted Burke Poems* (19:34)
         4. Rexall (5:01)
         5. My Father Intercepts My Trio to Another Planet (8:33)
         6. Machine Head (5:54)
         7. Everything That Ever Was* (7:03)
         Renée Fleming, soprano
ALMA BAZEL ANDROZZO (arr. Terry and Will Liverman)
         8. If I Can Help Somebody (4:13)
         Terry Liverman, vocals
         Will Liverman, piano

Total Time: 87:38
*World Premiere Recording

Will Liverman, baritone
Jonathan King, piano

Producer: James Ginsburg
Engineers: Bill Maylone, Dan Nichols (Sankaram, Snider)
Steinway Piano - Technician: Richard Beebe
Cover Photos and Layout: Jaclyn Simpson
Cover Photo (Lady Jess): Naliya Sabis
Graphic Design: Bark Design

July 17–19, 2023 in the Sasha and Eugene Jarvis Opera Hall at DePaul University, Chicago, IL
August 15, 2023 in Lisner Auditorium at George Washington University, Washington DC (Sankaram, Snider)

Show Me the Way is made possible by the generous support of an Anonymous donor, the Robert and Isabelle Bass Foundation, Inc., and the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Fund for Vocal Recordings at Cedille Records.