Preeminent gospel artist Yolanda Adams, The New York Times' critic-at-large Wesley Morris, and singer Valerie June are confirmed as part of the LA Phil's Power to the People! festival. Adams will perform with the LA Phil, led by Music & Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel, as well as West Angeles Church of God in Christ Choir, at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Sunday, March 8, at 2pm. Morris, one of the most compelling cultural critics of our time, will speak at the California African American Museum, Tuesday, March 10, at 7pm. Singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist June will perform along with Terence Blanchard and Ben Harper in an evening dedicated to the exploration of Spike Lee's movie music at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Saturday, March 14, at 8pm.
Adams' performance offers a gospel-inflected program that pays homage to the role of the church as a place for young artists to find their voice, in organizing and supporting social justice movements and for offering resilience and hope through music. The former teacher is renowned for pioneering a blend of modern gospel music infused with soul and jazz. Her albums have earned her multiple awards from music's highest honors such as the Stellars, Grammys®, BMI, Soul Train Awards, NAACP Image, BET and more. In 2001, Adams was the first artist to receive an American Music Award for "Favorite Contemporary Inspirational Artist." The Gospel Music Association has continuously honored Yolanda through multiple Dove Awards, and on May 9, 2017, she was inducted into GMA's Hall of Fame for her outstanding achievements in the Christian music industry.
Morris' talk will focus on the ways in which black popular culture of the '90s - including fashion, music and sports - played into conversations about race and gender identity. The Pulitzer Prize-winner contributed the 1619 Project, an ongoing initiative by The New York Times to reframe the country's history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative. Morris can also be heard, along with co-host Jenna Wortham, working out our cultural moment on the podcast Still Processing.
June - whose sound encompasses a mixture of folk, blues, gospel, soul, country, Appalachian and bluegrass - rounds out an evening that showcases the collaboration between filmmaker Spike Lee and trumpeter and bandleader Terence Blanchard. June and Ben Harper lend their vocal talents to Blanchard's scores, which augment the humanitarian spirit and political heart of Lee's movies.
Adams and June join an impressive roster of artists in the Power to the People! festival, in performances which include Herbie Hancock, co-curator of the festival, with Gustavo Dudamel, and the LA Phil (March 5); Patti Smith and Her Band (March 6); Residente with Dudamel and the LA Phil (March 7); Conrad Tao (March 10); Terence Blanchard performing the music from Spike Lee films with Ben Harper (March 14); Cécile McLorin Salvant performing her song cycle Ogresse (March 15); and the West Coast debut of Ted Hearne's Place. Two Toyota Symphonies for Youth performances, for children aged 5 to 11, address the festival's themes and feature the Los Angeles Philharmonic (April 4 and 11).
In addition to Morris' discussion, Power to the People! also features talks, other participatory events, and performance art at Walt Disney Concert Hall and venues throughout Los Angeles. Imani Uzuri invites participants to sing songs of resistance (March 7 and 8); Terence Blanchard discusses his career and collaborations (March 12); A Noise Within and the LA Phil join together for an evening of political theater (March 13); Dr. Angela Davis delivers a talk on creativity's role in social change (March 18); and Seth Parker Woods and Spencer Topel perform Iced Bodies (March 21).
Power to the People! is presented in collaboration with the California African American Museum. Additional partners include American Cinematheque, A Noise Within and Power California, who will lead a voter registration drive at the festival's concerts.
This festival is generously supported by Margaret Morgan and Wesley Phoa, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Walt Disney Concert Hall
Sunday, March 8, 2020, 2PM
Gustavo Dudamel, conductor
Yolanda Adams, gospel soloist
West Angeles Church of God in Christ Chorus
Dr. Judith McAllister, director
California African American Museum
Exposition Park, Los Angeles, CA 90037
Tuesday, March 10, 2020, 7PM
Free and open to the public. RSVP will be available in February at www.caamuseum.org.
Walt Disney Concert Hall
Saturday, March 14, 2020, 8PM
The Movie Music of Spike Lee & Terence Blanchard
Terence Blanchard Quintet
Ben Harper, special guest
Valerie June, special guest
Los Angeles Philharmonic
A complete schedule and additional information about Power to the People! can be found at www.laphil.com/power.
Tickets for the Los Angeles Philharmonic's 2019/20 season at Walt Disney Concert Hall are currently available. To purchase, please visit laphil.com or the Walt Disney Concert Hall Box Office. For more information, please call 323 850 2000.