Apr 18, 2022SAN FRANCISCO, CA—San Francisco Symphony Collaborative Partner and classical singer Julia Bullock brings her original and ever-developing program History’s Persistent Voice to Davies Symphony Hall on Tuesday, May 17 for a performance with members of the San Francisco Symphony that highlights the words, work, and experiences of Black American artists. In this mixed media concert, voices of generations of people who were enslaved through the 1860s are heard alongside those who lived through years of convict leasing, sharecropping, Jim Crow, and mass incarceration in the United States.
The San Francisco Symphony’s special presentation of History’s Persistent Voice is curated and performed by Julia Bullock and features former San Francisco Symphony Resident Conductor Christian Reif and members of the San Francisco Symphony. California-based visual artist Hana S. Kim designed immersive video installations that appear across multiple screens throughout the performance. The 75-minute program will be presented without intermission and includes all-new commissioned music by an esteemed roster of American women of color, including Tania León, Allison Loggins-Hull, Jessie Montgomery, Carolyn Yarnell, and Pamela Z, interspersed with readings between the compositions.
History’s Persistent Voice was conceived by Bullock in 2018 as part of her season-long residency at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
“Several years ago, the composer Jessie Montgomery and I started going through this anthology that was released just after the Civil War,” said Bullock. “These educators and musicologists went all across the United States to newly freed communities of people who had been enslaved, and transcribed 136 lyrics and melodies, along with notes on performance practice, and stories about when these pieces were performed, under what context they were performed—some of them at times of rebellion, others were during spiritual church services, others reflecting on hard times, laboring in the fields. After going through all of these songs, which yes, acknowledge the violence and the trauma and the oppression that was very much a reality at that time, what was deeply inspiring for me to read and also to vocalize is this clear affirmation of life.”
“With all of those themes of inspiration and aspiration and seeking one’s own liberation through creative endeavors, I wanted to find composers that I felt could represent this incredible diversity of voices and of experience—and they include Jessie Montgomery, Tania León, Allison Loggins-Hull, Carolyn Yarnell, and Pamela Z—an incredible group of Black identifying women who are tremendous, thoughtful musicians.”
The San Francisco performance on May 17 marks the second iteration of the ongoing project and features three world premieres—Carolyn Yarnell’s I Come Up the Hard Way and ain’t my home and Pamela Z’s Quilt, which was commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony. The program also includes Tania León’s Green Pastures, Allison Loggins-Hull’s Mama’s Little Precious Thing, and Jessie Montgomery’s Five Freedom Songs, all works that Bullock premiered as part of the inaugural performance in 2018.
Watch a video preview of the program.
Calendar editors, please note:
Tickets for concerts at Davies Symphony can be purchased via sfsymphony.org or by calling the San Francisco Symphony Box Office at 415-864-6000. Tickets prices for History’s Persistent Voice, curated by Julia Bullock range from $17.50 to $165.
Davies Symphony Hall is located at 201 Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco.
Health & Safety Information
Davies Symphony Hall is currently operating at full audience capacity. A face covering is required for entry into Davies Symphony Hall and must be worn at all times. Due to the transmissibility of the Omicron variant, the SF Symphony strongly recommends that patrons wear a non-vented respirator, such as an N95, KN95, or KF94 face mask. The San Francisco Symphony requires proof of up-to-date vaccination against COVID-19 for everyone entering Davies Symphony Hall ages 12 and up who’s eligible—including patrons, performers, volunteers, and staff. “Up-to-date vaccination” is defined as two weeks after completion of the two-dose regimen of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, one dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or other WHO authorized COVID-19 vaccine, and one week after receiving a booster shot, for those eligible. Patrons under age 12 must show proof of up-to-date vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test (PCR test taken within 2 days of event entry or antigen [rapid] test taken within 1 day of event entry.
For those patrons under age 12 who wish to show verification of a negative COVID-19 test result, the following are acceptable as proof: a printed document (from the test provider or laboratory); or an email, text message, web page, or application (app) screen displayed on a phone or mobile device from the test provider or laboratory. The information should include person’s name, type of test performed, negative test result, and date the test was administered. Self-administered antigen testing is not acceptable at this time, but patrons may bring an unopened at-home rapid test with them to Davies Symphony Hall to take with a verified EMT present. Details about health and safety protocols at Davies Symphony Hall can be found here.
[To view or download the full PDF version of this press release, click on DOWNLOAD PDF]
Hana S. Kim