Cincinnati Song Initiative Announces Season Finale Video Concert ‘Let it Be New’

By Chris Ruel

The Cincinnati Song Initiative, an organization dedicated to connecting diverse communities through the performance and innovation of classical art song, announced its upcoming season finale video concert, “Let it Be New.”

The finale celebrates new works from Black composers and caps off one of the largest commissioning projects undertaken by the organization to date.

The concert will stream for free on the Cincinnati Song Initiative’s website, Facebook, and YouTube channel on May 16, from 4-5 P.M. EDT, and will be hosted by American Academy of Arts and Letters award-winning composer Shawn Okpebholo.

“Let it Be New” will feature one commissioned song from each of the 10 composers taking part in the inaugural National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) mentorship program. The program pairs one established art song composer with an early-career or emerging composer. This first year, NATS reserved the program for underrepresented communities, with an emphasis on Black composers. The virtual celebratory concert will provide international exposure for the composers as it honors their accomplishments.

In the press release, CSI Founding Artistic Director Samuel Martin stated, “We could not be more honored to present these brand new songs as a showcase of all the hard work and growth that the inaugural NATS mentee composers have experienced. They met the moment by creating meaningful new songs that will help push this genre forward, and now it’s our turn to meet the moment by amplifying this important work.”