Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra Honors James Baldwin in “To Awaken the Sleeper”

Published 7:30 am Sunday, April 3, 2022

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NEW ORLEANS — “So be it. We cannot awaken [the] sleeper, and God knows we have tried.” Those powerful words embody the spirit of the LPO’s dynamic piece “To Awaken the Sleeper” premiering Thursday, April 21, during their Shostakovich 9 Orpheum Session at the Orpheum Theater.
“To Awaken The Sleeper” is an orchestral piece created by composer Joel Thompson. Thompson crafted the piece as a response to the social and political unrest in 2020. In the musical production, Thompson fuses his compositions with the eloquent and inspiring words of James Baldwin.
“To Awaken the Sleeper”is an insightful and provocative marriage of text and music. Composer Joel Thompson has curated a powerful cross-section of James Baldwin’s words and illuminated them with a whirlwind of musical settings, from the chaotic and cataclysmic to the passionate and intimate,” said LPO guest conductor Nicholas Hersh. “Narrator and orchestra unite to create a sweeping whole truly more than the sum of its parts—a performance that is sure to leave the listener changed.”
The musical and spoken word ensemble features DC PauL, a New Orleans native and prominent figure in local entertainment, media and the arts. This performance marks the entertainer’s second guest artist appearance with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. “It’s an honor to collaborate with the LPO again, this time using the words of the incomparable James Baldwin. I have always been moved by his words and am excited to bring them to life with Joel Thompson’s piece and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra,” said DC Paul.
To Awaken the Sleeper” premiers Thursday, April 21, at The Orpheum Theater and encores on Saturday, April 23, at St. Paul’s School in Covington. To purchase tickets, visit https://bit.ly/Shostakovich9
The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra’s mission is to transform people and communities through music.