FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MSO/MMA Celebrate Margaret Walker
March 5 Pre-concert event leads into Truth & Flame Concert
Jackson, Mississippi, February 11, 2022—On Saturday, March 5, 2022, the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra and Mississippi Museum of Art welcome you to an hour-long conversation between Dr. Maryemma Graham (Distinguished Professor in the Department of English at the University of Kansas) and Dr. Ebony Lumumba (Department Chair of English, Languages, and Communication at Jackson State University) on the life and work of poet and writer Margaret Walker. The pre-concert event will be held at the Museum from 5:00 to 7:15 pm and followed by the symphony’s premiere performance of Three Songs on Poems by Margaret Walker, in the adjacent Thalia Mara Hall at 7:30 pm.
This will be the first of two partnerships between the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra (MSO) and the Mississippi Museum of Art (MMA). Margaret Walker’s poem “This Is My Century: Black Synthesis of Time” stands at the center of MMA’s permanent collection and was part of the inspiration for the evening’s concert. The second partnership will be on April 9, the opening day of MMA’s A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration exhibit, which MSO will top off with a concert featuring the Piano Concerto in One Movement by Florence Price, a Great Migration composer.
March 5 Pre-concert Event
The pre-concert event hosted by MMA will offer a guided tour of New Symphony of Time at 5:00 pm and a cash bar will also be available. The program will begin at 5:45 followed by additional time to view the exhibition and enjoy light hors d’oeuvres before the concert.
The conversation between Dr. Graham and Dr. Lumumba will be held within the galleries and generally focus on the lyricism of Margaret Walker’s poetry and the extraordinary relevance of her work today. The imminent release of Dr. Graham’s monumental biography on Margaret Walker, entitled The House Where My Soul Lives, will guarantee a lively discussion. Dr. Lumumba will also be reading the three poems by Margaret Walker which will be sung at the evening’s concert by guest soprano Aundi Marie Moore.
Dr. Graham is the author of ten published books, including The Cambridge History of African American Literature, The Cambridge Companion to the African American Novel, and Fields Watered with Blood: Critical Essays on Margaret Walker. She is the founder of Project on the History of Black Writing, and her public humanities initiatives and international projects have included The Langston Hughes National Poetry Project, the Language Matters teaching initiative for the Toni Morrison Society, the Haiti Research Initiative, and the “Don’t Deny My Voice” summer institute on African American poetry. Graham has been a John Hope Franklin Fellow at the National Humanities Center, an American Council of Learned Societies Fellow, a Ford and Mellon Fellow and has received more than 15 grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Dr. Lumumba’s current position as Department Head at Jackson State was preceded by seven years on the faculty at Tougaloo College. Originally from Jackson, she is a graduate of Spelman College, Georgia State University, and the University of Mississippi.
The pre-concert event is free and registration is recommended. Space is limited to 100 people and masks are required. Register here.
March 5 Truth & Flame Concert
MSO will be performing Three Songs on Poems by Margaret Walker as part of its Bravo IV Truth & Flame concert, which will also include music by Claude Debussy and Johannes Brahms. The concert will be held at Thalia Mara Hall, 7:30 pm. The guest soloist for the Margaret Walker songs will be soprano Aundi Marie Moore. Composer Crafton Beck set Ms. Walker’s three poems, “Southern Song,” “Ex-Slave,” and “My Truth and My Flame,” to music in 2020, and this will be the premiere performance of the three songs.
American soprano Aundi Marie Moore has established herself as an exceptional talent in the U.S. and abroad through performances with the Metropolitan Opera, the National Symphony Orchestra, the New World Symphony, and many more. Noted for her versatility, Moore is no stranger to the musical theatre stage, concert engagements or acclaim. Prizes and awards include those from the National Opera Association, the Rocca della Macie International Voice Competition, the Leontyne Price Vocal Competition, and The American Prize in Voice.
The ticketed concert is $29 and up; students and children (ages 4-18) $5.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Mississippi Museum of Art
5:00 pm – Guided gallery tour and cash bar
5:45 – 6:45 pm – Program with speakers
6:45 – 7:15 pm – Hors d’oeuvres available
Mississippi Symphony Orchestra / Thalia Mara Hall
6:30 pm – Box office opens
7:30 – 10:00 pm – Truth & Flame concert
Rachael Roberts, Director of Marketing & Box Office
This project is supported in part by funding from the Mississippi Arts Commission, a state agency, and in part, from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.