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Inside the Music

A Work that Yearns: Reflections on the First Rehearsal of brea(d)th

brea(d)th is a piece that considers American promise and American history written by two people who have an extraordinary relationship with American possibility.”

Marc Bamuthi Joseph

Brea(d)th is a work that has been in process for years; it began during the summer of 2020 following George Floyd's murder, when the Minnesota Orchestra first approached composer Carlos Simon to commission a piece in the wake of the tragedy. Later, Simon recruited librettist Marc Bamuthi Joseph to join him as a collaborator, and the two have made multiple trips to Minneapolis to meet with the Orchestra as well as local artists and community members.

Ahead of the premiere of their new work, Simon and Joseph made their final pre-concert trip to Minneapolis last month to hear the Orchestra's first rehearsal of brea(d)th. Community members and friends of the Minnesota Orchestra joined to experience this first readthrough together. Listen to the reflections of Simon, Joseph and Minnesota Chorale member Shekela Wanyama about this new work and the experience of its becoming.

For me, as I look at the score, I almost feel that the choir is acting as a conscience, not judging right or wrong, but really grappling with, 'what does this all mean?' and 'what is the role of a community?'”

Shekela Wanyama

Telling this story musically, it gives us—hopefully—a sense of empathy for what's been happening in our world.”

Carlos Simon

Brea(d)th receives its world premiere performances May 18-20; don't miss it. 

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