The Julia Perry Centenary Celebration and Festival: Closing Night Concert


The Julia Perry Centenary Celebration and Festival’s Closing Night Concert, presented by National Concerts, is conducted by Experiential Orchestra Music Director James Blachly with Experiential Orchestra (EXO), violinist Curtis Stewart and soprano Louise Toppin. The performance is anchored by Julia Perry’s Violin Concerto, performed by Curtis Stewart and Experiential Orchestra, following the March 1 release of their recording of the piece on their album American Counterpoints (Bright Shiny Things). Students from three New York City conservatories will join EXO members for the concerto.

The festival Closing Night Concert also includes Louise Toppin performing the world premiere orchestral arrangement of Julia Perry’s setting of the spiritual I’m a Poor Li’l Orphan in this World and EXO performing Perry’s beautiful Prelude for Strings. The concert closes with the two youth ensembles – Ruckel Middle School Chorus (Niceville, FL) and Sandra Day O’Connor HS Orchestra (San Antonio, TX) – joining EXO on stage to perform Perry’s Ye, Who Seek the Truth, introducing this important composer’s music to the next generation.

Presented by Experiential Orchestra and Videmus, the Julia Perry Centenary Celebration and Festival takes place from March 13-16 in New York City. Julia Perry was a successful and celebrated Black classical composer whose work fell into obscurity after her death in 1979; her music is now finally being revived and beginning to receive the attention it has so richly deserved. The festival celebrates Perry’s brilliance and legacy and illustrates the vibrance and importance of her music. The celebration takes place at venues across the city including Le Poisson Rouge, Mannes School of Music at The New School, the DiMenna Center for Classical Music, and Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center. Additional presenting partners include Mannes School of Music at The New School College of Performing Arts and National Concerts. WQXR is the official media partner.