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Juneteenth: Celebration of Freedom

Fri Jun 23, 2023

Orchestra Hall

The Minnesota Orchestra presents a program in honor of Juneteenth, the holiday commemorating the emancipation of the last African Americans still enslaved in Texas in 1865. With conductor André Raphel at the podium, the concert includes Adolphus Hailstork’s jubilant Three Spirituals and William Grant Still's Afro-American Symphony, one of the most celebrated American symphonies ever written. Singer Jevetta Steele, performance poet Malcolm-Jamal Warner and Justice Alan C. Page all lend their voices to this evening of celebration and remembrance. 

The Friday night performance will be broadcast live on TPT-2 and YourClassical Minnesota Public Radio as well as streamed live on the Minnesota Orchestra website.

Not sure what to expect? Read on about the experience.

A Few Things to Know

  • Making his Minnesota Orchestra debut, conductor André Raphel served as music director of West Virginia’s Wheeling Symphony Orchestra from 2003 to 2018. He now serves as the ensemble’s conductor laureate.
  • William Grant Still’s Afro-American Symphony epitomizes the expansive creativity of the Harlem Renaissance, combining orchestral stylings with elements of the blues. The lack of work he experienced due to the Great Depression led him to compose his most well-known work: “In 1930 I rented a room in a quiet building not far from my home in New York and began to work, he said. 
  • Alongside a full orchestra, Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait includes a narrator who delivers excerpts from Abraham Lincoln’s letters and speeches. This performance will be narrated by Justice Alan C. Page, the former Minnesota Viking and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and the first African American judge to serve on the Minnesota Supreme Court.
  • Juneteenth commemorates when enslaved African Americans in Galveston, Texas, were the last to be freed in the former Confederacy on June 19, 1865, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by Abraham Lincoln. Though it’s often referred to as “America’s Second Independence Day,” Juneteenth wasn’t recognized as a federal holiday until June 2021. It became an official state holiday in Minnesota in February 2023.

Date & Time



    Three Spirituals


    Lincoln Portrait


    Symphony No. 1, Afro-American




    Spoken Word


Minnesota Orchestra

André Raphel


Justice Alan C. Page


Malcolm-Jamal Warner

actor and poet

Jevetta Steele


Accessibility Services

  • Armless & Bariatric Chairs
  • Assistive Listening Devices
  • Large-Print Programs
  • Noise-Cancelling Headphones
  • Service Animals
  • Wheelchair & Accessible Seating

Additional services are available upon request.

Sponsored By

Co-sponsored by Eric and Celita Levinson