The Lisa Smith Wengler Center For The Arts Presents WE SHALL OVERCOME
Multi-genre musical experience We Shall Overcome comes to Pepperdine University at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 8, 2020 at the Lisa Smith Wengler Center for the Arts.
Tickets, starting at $27.50 for adults and $10 for full-time Pepperdine students, are available now by calling (310) 506-4522 or visiting arts.pepperdine.edu. More information about Damien Sneed is available at damiensneed.com.
Inspired by the words and action of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., We Shall Overcome showcases repertoire from across the African American music traditions that electrified generations of civil rights activists and defenders with interwoven spoken word from Dr. King's recorded speeches. We Shall Overcome is a joyous celebration reflecting on the triumphant and victorious moments of black history.
The production ties together a living lineage of music and culture that includes traditional gospel, modern gospel, classical, jazz, Broadway and spirituals. From Aretha Franklin, to Wynton Marsalis; Duke Ellington to Stevie Wonder; Nina Simone to Donny Hathaway; and traditional spirituals and music from The Wiz, producer and musical director Damien Sneed's unique understanding of each genre allows him to fluidly cover diverse musical ground in a single performance.
As a multi-instrumentalist and producer, Sneed has worked with jazz, classical, pop, and R&B legends including Jessye Norman, Stevie Wonder, Ashford & Simpson, Lawrence Brownlee, and many others. He has conducted and collaborated major original works for Wynton Marsalis, and has toured extensively with Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, and the Clark Sisters.
Joining Sneed on tour will be an ensemble of multi-genre vocalists and instrumentalists, including Chenee Campbell (vocalist), Anitra McKinney (vocalist), Alicia Peters-Jordan (vocalist), Linny Smith (vocalist), Markita Knight (vocalist), John Matthew Clark (bass), Marquéz Cassidy (organ), and Joel Tate (drums). The group will also be joined by the Selah Gospel Choir.
On Friday, January 10, 2020, Sneed released the deluxe edition of the 2019 CD, Damien Sneed: We Shall Overcome on his label, LeChateau Earl Records, which was established in 2009 to reflect his varied musical interests. In September 2019, he released his latest offering, Jazz in Manhattan. Previous recordings include The Three Sides of Damien Sneed: Classical, Jazz and Sanctified Soul (July 2018), Broken to Minister: The Deluxe Edition (March 2015), Spiritual Sketches (June 2013), and Introspections LIVE (January 2010).
Sneed was also a part of the Metropolitan Opera Celebration of Jessye Norman on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019 where he accompanied three of Metropolitan Opera's rising stars, including Latonia Moore, Leah Hawkins, and J'Nai Bridges, who currently stars as Queen Nefertiti in Phillip Glass' new opera Akhnaten. During that same week, Sneed conducted Wynton Marsalis' critically-acclaimed Abyssinian Mass with the famed Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Sneed's choir, Chorale Le Chateau, for a three-night engagement during the 10th Anniversary of the White Light Festival, held at Jazz at Lincoln Center.
The composer and pianist recently premiered his new opera, We Shall Overcome-Our Journey: 400 Years from Africa to Jamestown, at Carnegie Hall's Isaac Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage for the Sphinx Organization Performance and Gala, sponsored by JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Robert F. Smith. Sneed also wrote the libretto, which showcases musical styles from the African American diaspora from African rhythms to spirituals to gospel to jazz, all interwoven in the classical genre. He was joined by fellow Sphinx Medal of Excellence recipients and Metropolitan Opera's Will Liverman (baritone) and J'Nai Bridges (mezzo-soprano), along with Chorale Le Chateau, and the Sphinx Virtuosi Orchestra, who brought to life his ground-breaking opera during the evening's finale performance.
Sneed was also commissioned to compose a new chamber opera titled Marian's Song about the life of Marian Anderson for Houston Grand Opera, which will have its world premiere on March 5, 2020, at the Cullen Theater at the Wortham Center. In addition to Marian's Song, he was commissioned to compose a symphony in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen with its world premiere in summer 2020 in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area.
Sneed is featured in Aaron Dworkin's new book, The Entrepreneurial Artist: Lessons from Highly Successful Creatives, which was released on December 4, 2019. The book also features Emmy Award-winning actor Jeff Daniels, Tony Award-winning choreographer Bill T. Jones, and Pulitzer Prize winners Wynton Marsalis and Lin-Manuel Miranda, among others. The Entrepreneurial Artist explores lessons of love, sacrifice, loss, despair, perseverance, and triumph.
Sneed recently joined the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music, where he teaches graduate-level courses in conducting, African American Music History, a singer/songwriter ensemble, a gospel music ensemble, and private lessons in piano, voice, and composition. A graduate of John S. Davidson Fine Arts School in his hometown of Augusta, GA., Sneed studied at some of the finest conservatories and universities, including Howard University, where he earned a Bachelor of Music - Piano Performance; the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University; New York University, where he earned a Master of Music in Music Technology: Scoring for Film and Multimedia; and the Manhattan School of Music. Sneed will also graduate with his doctorate in Orchestral Conducting from USC in 2020. Sneed was a member of the faculty at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and Nyack College. His other professional affiliations have included the Juilliard School as a staff accompanist, Jazz at Lincoln Center as an artistic consultant, and the City University of New York (CUNY) as a professor of music. In 2015, he established the Damien Sneed Performing Arts Institute, a division of the Damien Sneed Foundation. He is the founder and artistic director of the international vocal ensemble Chorale Le Chateau.