CSO Announces Classical Roots: International Women's Day

At 8 pm on Friday, March 8, the Classical Roots Community Mass Choir and guest vocalist Lisa Fischer will join the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) at Music Hall in a one-night performance of Classical Roots: International Women's Day.

Classical Roots is the CSO's annual celebration of the African American musical experience, and this year, the concert recognizes the many contributions of women composers, arrangers, and musicians - both past and present - in honor of International Women's Day (celebrated each year on March 8). These artistic legacies will be brought to life by the CSO and the powerful voices of the 150-member-strong Classical Roots choir, an ensemble led by William Henry Caldwell and made up of singers from 50 churches from the Greater Cincinnati region.

"Classical Roots is an initiative that is truly owned by the community, and that's not just hyperbole," says CSO Director of Education and Community Engagement Ahmad Mayes. "We work with - and are inspired by - so many contributors across all Cincinnati neighborhoods."

One such contributor is Sonia Morales-Matos, a teacher and composer, originally from Puerto Rico, but who now makes her home in Cincinnati. Her new work, Fiesta No. 1 for String Ensemble, will premiere at Classical Roots and be performed by the Nouveau Chamber Players, the CSO-sponsored group of high school students training to be classical musicians.

Additionally, Grammy-winning vocalist Lisa Fischer will perform at Classical Roots. Best known as a backup singer for The Rolling Stones and Tina Turner - and also for her starring role in the Oscar-winning documentary 20 Feet from Stardom (2013) - Ms. Fischer will bring her unique and versatile vocal skills to the concert. She will also perform with the Cincinnati Pops as guest soloist on Saturday, March 9, and Sunday, March 10, at Music Hall.

"Besides the fact that I get to meet all the amazing members of the choir and the orchestra, I get to perform this thoughtfully selected music that honors great women artists," says Ms. Fischer. "It's an honor to sing among this community here in Cincinnati and bring these melodies to life."

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