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Staff Picks Category: Classical music

Stay On It by Julius Eastman []


Composer Julius Eastman’s (1940 – 1990) music explores his identities as a gay man and Black American. Stay On It was composed in 1973 and combines minimalism with pop music. This new performance, which features musicains and dancers collaborating remotely, is dedicated to essential workers of color in the United States.

I found out about this performance through one of the many organizations involved in its production: The Dream Unfinished. The Dream Unfinished is an activist orchestra based out of New York which uses classical music as a platform to engage audiences in dialogues surrounding social and racial justice.

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A Passion for the Planet by Geoffrey Hudson []



This live performance of Geoffrey Hudson A Passion for the Planet was recorded in Northampton, at Smith College’s Sweeney hall, and performed by the Illuminati Vocal Arts Ensemble with the Hampshire Young People’s Chorus and a 12-piece orchestra. A Passion for the Planet is an oratorio on the subject of climate change with words drawn from a number of sources. The work is moving and important, and the performance is exceptional. We can’t hear live music right now, but I am grateful to be able to experience this now, in my own home. And I take comfort in the words of Geoffrey Hudson, the composer, which seem applicable to so many of the crises we face:

Singing and listening to music won’t make the climate crisis go away. But perhaps, by forming an emotional connection with the topic, it can help us confront the stark realities. And when we see those realities—and truly take them in—maybe then, together, nourished by hope, we can work together to find a way forward.” – Geoffrey Hudson

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