Since its launch in 2015, New York City–based ensemble The Dream Unfinished, a self-described “activist orchestra,” has merged richly narrative symphonic and chamber programming with a commitment to composer diversity and a thoughtful, thought-provoking alliance with expert speakers, community organizers, and the city’s community of justice-minded musicians. Read my 2015 interview with the orchestra’s founder here.
The orchestra’s mission? “To use classical music to engage audiences in dialogues surrounding social justice.” Past events have positioned works by Tania Leon and Vijay Iyer alongside a conversation about immigrant rights; a side-by-side orchestra of professional and student musicians responding to the school-to-prison pipeline; and a coalition of musicians and activists honoring the Black Lives Matter movement and the memories of Eric Garner and Sandra Bland.
On July 11th, The Dream Unfinished will take on yet another urgent conversation: climate justice – the framework that understands climate change not only as an environmental issue, but also as a social, political, economic, and ethical one. Titled “Deep River,” the concert will explore the realities of climate change, its effects on marginalized and frontline communities, and the power of grassroots activism through a smartly curated program of musical repertoire and guest appearances.
Works by Laura Kaminsky, Roberto Sierra, Harry Burleigh, Trevor Weston, Jeff Scott, and Zenobia Powell Perry will underscore the perspectives of speakers and activists including Commissioner Mitchell Silver of the NYC Parks Department, Leslie Velasquez of El Puente, Olivia Wohlgemuth of Earth Uprising, and Karla Pinzon of The Climate Reality Project. The orchestra will be joined by baritone Damian Norfleet, concertmaster Kelly Hall-Tompkins, and conductor Vimbayi Kaziboni, with WQXR’s Terrance McKnight serving as the evening’s host.
The event takes place on Thursday, July 11th at 7:30 p.m. at the New York Society for Ethical Culture. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased online.