The three faces of Damien Sneed at Bard

Damien Sneed in three of his guises (photo by Lauren Desberg)

The Catskill Jazz Factory continues its fruitful ongoing partnership with Bard College’s Fisher Center with a three-part winter concert series titled “Classical, Jazz and Soul: A Musical Offering.” At the helm will be the prodigious and multifaceted musician Damien Sneed, a genre-hopping pianist, conductor, composer, producer, arranger and educator and the 2014 recipient of the prestigious Sphinx Medal of Excellence, presented to emerging Black and Latino leaders in classical music. Wynton Marsalis has called Sneed “a very natural performer who is capable of performing a startling range of music, from Baroque and classical pieces to romantic warhorses to contemporary gospel songs…an ambassador for classical and gospel music who brings positivity, optimism and thoroughness to every occasion.”

“Classical, Jazz and Soul” kicks off this Friday, February 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the Fisher Center’s intimate LUMA Theater with “Music & Words.” The program takes audiences on an exploration of the music of 1860 to the 1930s for strings, piano and voice, ranging from the spirituals, art songs and poems of Harry T. Burleigh and Laurence Hope to the melodic chords of Samuel Barber and the hit songs of George & Ira Gershwin. Leading this musical reflection on the relationship between composer and librettist, Sneed will be joined by Metropolitan Opera soprano Brandie Sutton, actor/writer Karen Chilton, baritone Justin Michael Austin and classical chamber musicians.

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Tickets for “Music & Words” cost $25 to $45 and can be ordered by calling the box office at (845) 758-7900 or online at http://fishercenter.bard.edu. The “Classical, Jazz and Soul” series continues with “The Golden Age of Song” on Saturday, March 17, with guest star Keyon Harrold, the multiple Grammy-winner who provided the trumpet sound for Don Cheadle as Miles Davis in the 2016 biopic Miles Ahead. “Sanctified Soul: 1960s to Today” rounds out the series on Saturday, April 21. Discounted series seats for all three shows are also available for $95.

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