Song of America: Beyond Liberty illuminates and questions the role of core American values such as freedom and brotherhood, and it engages how these values have shaped the course of American culture. By pairing music, poetry, rhetoric, and history, the beloved American baritone Thomas Hampson introduces us to his unique examination of Americana. This evening-length work explores the influential people, poetry, and events that helped create and define “the land of the free.” The program will straddle centuries, feature works by composers new and known, highlight the poetry and events that shaped our history, and has been created to feature Thomas Hampson and acclaimed pianist Lara Downes. Downes leads the Beyond Liberty Players, who will accompany the pair in arrangements commissioned for the show.
Beyond Liberty is the culmination of Hampson’s years long commitment to the question “Who is the American Schubert? Who is the American Brahms?”—Who are the composers who saw American culture and captured it in song and verse? Beyond Liberty tells our collective story through the eyes of poets and the ears of composers. The show and associated educational events will travel to all 50 US states, plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico over the next several seasons. The project is accompanied by the Beyond Liberty Players, a diverse ensemble of exceptional musicians.
Thomas Hampson, America’s foremost baritone, has received international honors and awards for his captivating artistry and cultural leadership. Lauded as a Metropolitan Opera Guild “Met Mastersinger” and inducted into both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and Gramophone’s “Hall of Fame,” Hampson is one of the most respected and innovative musicians of our time.
Lara Downes is among the foremost American pianists of her generation, an iconoclast dedicated to expanding the resonance and relevance of American music for diverse audiences. A trailblazer on and off-stage, Downes’ playing has been called “ravishing” by Fanfare Magazine, "luscious, moody and dreamy” by The New York Times, and "addicting - Downes plays with an open, honest heart" by The Huffington Post.
Thomas Hampson’s performance is generously underwritten by Paul Leach and Susan Winokur.