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On April 10 th at 3:00pm, the Durham Symphony will partner with the Hayti Heritage Center and the Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice to honor the life of writer, priest, lawyer, and activist Pauli Murray in words, images, and music.
Our program will also include world premieres by 4 NC Composers. Rajan Somasundaram’s Yathum Oore was inspired by an ancient Tamil scale “Salarabani pann” to match the antiquity of the original poem written circa 600BC-200AD. Arvind Subramaniam’s The Beauty of the Morning honors his grandparents with its East Indian themes. Based on American spirituals, Maestro William Henry Curry’s Dark Testament pays tribute to 3 African American icons: Mahalia Jackson, Pauli Murray, and Harriet Tubman. The central movement (now expanded) is based on Murray’s autobiographical poem “Dark Testament” and memoir Song in a Weary Throat. Robert Rankin’s No Name in The Street takes its title from James Baldwin’s memoir of racism and turbulence. But Rankin says it is “in essence, about the history of Hayti,” the thriving Black community split asunder in 1958 by the Durham Freeway and “urban renewal” decisions. “More broadly,” he writes, “the work is about the erasure of history and communities and the importance of keeping the past alive, even when forces greater than us attempt to eliminate them.”
Guest poet Dasan Ahanu will deliver selections from the poetry and speeches of Pauli Murray. And composer/singer Rajan Somasundaram will sing (in his musical setting) the words of the ancient Tamil poem Yathum Oore, one of the earliest works on equality.
“If we do not see the past clearly,” Maestro Curry says, “we cannot see the present or the future with any kind of optimism about progressive change... And we should celebrate the visionary souls who lived and struggled to mark the path towards full equality.”
Tickets: Children under 12, free; $10 for Students with ID; $25 for adults. To purchase tickets, visit the Durham Symphony web site at www.durhamsymphony.org.
Founded in 1976 as one of the first community orchestras in the Triangle, the Durham Symphony is now an auditioned professional group, typically offering 6-8 concerts per year as well as smaller educational programs. Maestro William Henry Curry (for 20 years Resident Conductor of the North Carolina Symphony) became Music Director in 2009. We perform a wide range of symphonic music in community spaces and often feature American works, new compositions, and works by women and composers - as well as presenting a diverse array of guest artists. We are committed to demonstrating that the joy of orchestral music belongs to everyone as a natural part of robust community life.