The Portland Art Museum is happy to host Black Art Song, a Resonance Ensemble program that centers Black music and artistry. Resonance Ensemble’s resident Artistic Advisor Damien Geter curates a recital of art song by Black composers, surrounded by – and in conversation with – the artworks of the Black Artists of Oregon exhibit, the first of its kind to consider the work of Black artists collectively in Oregon. An evening of voice and piano, Geter is joined by Resonance guest artists, with songs by composers Margaret Bonds, Geter, and more. Space is limited; get your tickets at Resonance Ensemble.
Featured artists and performers
Damien Geter (Baritone Vocalist and Host) is a diverse artist whose credits include performances ranging from the operatic stage to the television screen. As a composer, Geter infuses classical music with various styles from the black diaspora to create music that furthers the cause for social justice. Recent commissions include Resonance Ensemble, The Washington Chorus, Washington National Opera, Opera Theater Oregon, the University of Michigan, and All Classical Portland. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in the Grammy award-winning production of Porgy and Bess as the Undertaker, and most recently, performed the Immigration Officer in Seattle Opera’s filmed production of Jonathan Dove’s Flight, (April 2021.) Geter currently serves as the Artistic Advisor both for the social justice-focused award-winning vocal ensemble Resonance Ensemble and Portland Opera. The book he co-authored, Music in Context: An Examination of Western European Music Through a Sociopolitical Lens is available on Amazon, or directly from the publisher, Kendall Hunt.
Kenneth Overton (Baritone Vocalist) is lauded for blending his opulent baritone with magnetic, varied portrayals that seemingly “emanate from deep within body and soul.” Overton’s symphonious baritone voice has sent him around the globe, making him one of the most sought-after opera singers of his generation. Overton is a 2020 GRAMMY AWARD WINNER for Best Choral Performance in the title role of Richard Danielpour’s The Passion of Yeshua with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by JoAnn Falletta. Overton is quickly becoming a champion of new works, returning to San Francisco Opera in “the most eagerly anticipated new opera of the season”; the World Premiere of John Adams’ Girls of the Golden West. Pride and tradition portray the motif of Overton’s debut solo album Been In De Storm So Long: Songs My Fathers Taught Me, his homage to the spiritual tradition that has been formative in his artistic life. Pianist Kevin Miller and Overton’s collaboration embody the historic Spirituals from our past and contemporary art songs by African American Composers, giving them a new life of their own. He hails from Philadelphia.
Joe Williams (Sound Liberator), M. M. is a sound liberator and arts leader from Tacoma, WA. He serves on the Tacoma Arts Commission and the national DEI committee for Music Teachers National Association. He is an advisory board member of New Music Initiative for Black Voices as well as Ebony Music, Inc. He recently served as Sound Salon’s guest artistic director to create a portrait concert of Brian Raphael Nabors. His curatorial work has been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts. He is currently teaching piano and American Music History at Interlochen Arts Camp. Previous appointments include staff instrumental collaborative pianist at Oberlin Conservatory, coach at Portland Opera, and behavior therapist at Center for Autism and Related Disorders. Williams is currently researching Florence Price’s complete keyboard catalogue having been awarded the 2022 Paul Charosh Independent Scholar Fellowship from the Society for American Music.