Minnesota Orchestra Presents Concert Initiative ‘More to Hear: The Listening Project’

By Afton Wooten

The Minnesota Orchestra will debut its concert initiative entitled “More to Hear: The Listening Project” on Oct. 7.

“The Listening Project” began in 2021 with the purpose to record and recognize works by historically underrepresented composers. The inagural instalation was the first-ever professional recordings of five works by five Black composers. 

This year the “Listen Project” combines a live concert and recording project. The Minnesota Orchestra will present works by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Eleanor Alberga, Hale Smith, Adolphus Hailstork, Margret Bonds, and Florence Price.

Bass-baritone Christopher Humbert Jr. will perform in both Alberga’s “The Soul’s Expression” and Bonds’ “Spirituals” under the baton of guest conductor Kensho Watanabe. Ticket holders will receive digital downloads of the program selections.

Co-leaders of the “Listening Project” Sam Bergman, acting assistant principal viola and Susie Park, first Associate Concertmaster said in an official press release, “The hope on our end is, first off, for the featured composers who are living to be able to use these recordings however they wish, at no cost, to advance their own work and careers, and for the heirs of those deceased to be able to promote the music of their relations. But we’re also very much hoping that other orchestras will use these recordings as references in deciding how these works can fit into their own concert programs. Often, works that are unrecorded aren’t programmed just because no one’s sure how they’ll sound.”