New Lens

90.5 WUOL Classical Louisville is proud to continue a collaboration with 21c Museum Hotel to present the New Lens concert series. Exploring diverse and intriguing sounds and ideas in new music, art and society, this season of New Lens launches on April 3 with a program that reflects on and interrogates violence done towards Black people, from slavery through the sixties, to today.

The centerpiece of April’s program is Joel Thompson’s “Seven Last Words of the Unarmed,” a setting of the final words of seven, unarmed Black men killed by police and bystanders. The words of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Kenneth Chamberlain, Amadou Diallo, and John Crawford are sung by a choir of tenors and basses, with strings and piano.

Phillip Morgan will conduct, and will also sing “Two Black Churches” by Shawn Okpebholo, a reflection on the bombings of two Black churches separated by five decades: The 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama and the 2015 Mother Emanuel AME Church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina.

NouLou Chamber Players will play on Thompson’s work, and will present Rhiannon Giddens’ “At the Purchaser’s Option” arranged by Jacob Garchik, a song based on 19th-century advertisement for a 22-year-old female slave, and her 9-month-old baby for sale, but “at the purchaser’s option.”

Pictured: NouLou Chamber Players (top left), Joel Thompson (top right), Phillip Morgan (bottom left), Shawn Okpebholo (bottom right)

Pictured: NouLou Chamber Players (top left), Joel Thompson (top right), Phillip Morgan (bottom left), Shawn Okpebholo (bottom right)

New Lens is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. Pre-registration is encouraged by visiting Eventbrite.com. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early, grab a cocktail and view the current exhibitions at 21c Louisville or visit Proof on Main to enjoy some culinary artistry. Seating opens at 6:30 p.m. and the program will begin at 7 p.m. Concerts will be held in the museum’s atrium.

“Music is an art form that can speak truth to power, giving voice to the silenced and oppressed,” said Daniel Gilliam, LPM director of radio and WUOL program director. “Reflecting on the violence done toward Black people because of racism is a powerful start to New Lens 2022.”

Register here for April 3. The next New Lens concert will be July 17 with Bourbon Baroque playing Philip Glass. The August 14 and November 13 concert artists will be announced soon.

In the interest of maintaining safety for artists and attendees, masks will be required in the event space (Atrium) only.

COVID protocols are subject to change based on the safety level of Jefferson County as tracked by the CDC. We will communicate any changes through email provided with your registration.