Tag Archives: The Nubian Word for Flowers

International Contemporary Ensemble and Dr. Naomi André Host Afro-Diasporic Opera Forum, Online May 26–28, 2021

In partnership with FringeArts and Opera Omaha

Featuring IONE, George Lewis, Lisa E. Harris,
Courtney Bryan, Julia Bullock, Dr. Tyshawn Sorey, and More


New York, NY (May 18, 2021) — The International Contemporary Ensemble, in partnership with Opera Omaha and FringeArts, presents the Afro-Diasporic Opera Forum online from May 26-28, 2021 with an opening session on Tuesday, May 25, 2021 at 7pm ET. The Forum is a free, three-day series of online events produced by colleagues and collaborators of the International Contemporary Ensemble in order to celebrate, share, and reflect on three operas that have had a major impact on the organization and collaborators. They include: George Lewis’ Afterword (2015), Dr. Tyshawn Sorey’s Perle Noire: Meditations for Joséphine Baker (2016), Pauline Oliveros and IONE’s The Nubian Word for Flowers: A Phantom Opera (2017). The Forum will end with the screening of Lisa E. Harris’ recent digital opera, Cry of the Third Eye (2020). These works, which focus on stories of Black experiences, are critical in pushing the canon forward. Over the three days, conversations and presentations will contextualize these works, showing the many ways in which they intersect, and their connection to the past, present, and future of a reimagined/reinvented opera.

In order to cultivate awareness among presenters, producers, ensembles, and audiences, the Ensemble will bring these works into conversation with one another and with leading scholars in the field. Renowned musicologist Dr. Naomi André is the lead scholar and conversation partner for this three-day series featuring presenters and panelists such as Julia Bullock, IONE, George Lewis, Dr. Tyshawn Sorey, and many others (see below for full list).

“This Forum is an exciting articulation of where opera is going. Let’s understand it for what it’s doing now to bring the genre forward.” – Dr. Naomi André

Throughout this Forum, attendees, presenters, and panelists are guided by the following questions:
⦁ What impact do these works have for opera today?
⦁ What is the role of composer, librettist, and performer?
⦁ How do these operas give us new ways to reimagine and expand what the genre is and meant to be?

Specific topics will emerge from the artists and scholars present in each session. For many of the presenters/panelists, this is a first encounter – first time meeting each other and first time engaging with these operas. The Forum’s goal is to foster openness when engaging with opera and bring people together. To receive updates and news, please register here.

Program Information

Afro-Diasporic Opera Forum
Free, Online, Open to the Public
More Information: http://www.iceorg.org/aof
Register: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/afro-diasporic-opera-forum-tickets-149156153069
All times in Eastern Daylight Time

TUESDAY, MAY 25, 2021 – Prologue
7-8:00pm – Welcome
⦁ Informal gathering for all presenters and attendees

12:30-2pm – Scene I
⦁ Opening Address: Dr. Naomi André
⦁ Speakers: Dr. Matthew D. Morrison, Dr. Dr. Daniele G. Daude, Dr. Fredara Hadley

3-4pm – Scene II
⦁ Perle Noire: Meditations for Joséphine: a conversation with Dr. Tyshawn Sorey, Julia Bullock, and Dr. Naomi André
5-6pm – Scene III
⦁ Speakers: Lisa E. Harris, IONE, Helga Davis, Melanie Bacaling
7-9 pm – Scene IV
⦁ Screening: Afterword (2015) by George Lewis

11-12:15pm – Scene I
⦁ Speakers: Dr. Naomi André, George Lewis, IONE, Sharan Strange
3-4pm – Scene II
⦁ Speakers: Dr. Courtney Bryan, Dr. Matthew D. Morrison, Dr. Fredara Hadley
⦁ Moderator: George Lewis
7-9pm – Scene III
⦁ Screening: The Nubian Word for Flowers: A Phantom Opera (2017) by Pauline Oliveros & IONE

FRIDAY, MAY 28, 2021 – ACT III
11-12:00pm – Scene I
⦁ George Lewis: The Work of Anthony Davis
3-4pm – Scene II
⦁ Dr. Derrell Acon with introduction by Dr. Naomi André
5-6:30pm – Scene III
⦁ Speakers: Dr. Naomi André, Dr. Derrell Acon, Melanie Bacaling, Lisa E. Harris
⦁ Closing remarks
7-9pm – Scene IV
⦁ Screening: Cry of the Third Eye (2020) by Lisa E. Harris

Artists, Presenters, Panelists

Dr. Naomi André
Professor, Department of Afroamerican and African Studies
Department of Women’s and Gender Studies
The Residential College
University of Michigan,
Author: Black Opera: History, Power, Engagement (University of Illinois Press)
George Lewis, composer and scholar, Afterword (2015)
Dr. Tyshawn Sorey, composer, scholar, and instrumentalist, Perle Noire: Meditations for Joséphine (2016)
Julia Bullock, classical singer, Perle Noire: Meditations for Joséphine (2016)
IONE, author, performer, director, The Nubian Word for Flowers: A Phantom Opera (2017), Author: Pride of Family (Publisher: Harlem Moon Classics – Penguin Random House)
Dr. Courtney Bryan, composer and instrumentalist, Awakening (2022)
Helga Davis, vocalist & performance artist
Dr. Matthew D. Morrison, musicologist & dramaturg
Sharan Strange, librettist
Melanie Bacaling, co-curator & associate producing director, Opera Omaha’s Amplifying the Black Experience series
Dr. Fredara Hadley, ethnomusicologist, recent research focus: Shirley Graham Du Bois’ Tom Tom
Dr. Dr. Daniele G. Daude, scholar & dramaturg
Lisa E. Harris, vocalist, composer, interdisciplinary artist
Dr. Derrell Acon, activist, performer, & arts leader

The Afro-Diasporic Opera Forum is produced and hosted by the International Contemporary Ensemble with financial and organizational support from Opera Omaha, FringeArts, and Arlene and Larry Dunn.

About the International Contemporary Ensemble

The International Contemporary Ensemble is an artist collective that is transforming the way music is created and experienced. As performer, curator, and educator, the Ensemble explores how new music intersects with communities across the world. The Ensemble’s 36 members are featured as soloists, chamber musicians, commissioners, and collaborators with the foremost musical artists of our time. Works by emerging composers have anchored the Ensemble’s programming since its founding in 2001, and the group’s recordings and digital platforms highlight the many voices that weave music’s present.

A recipient of the American Music Center’s Trailblazer Award and the Chamber Music America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, the International Contemporary Ensemble was also named the 2014 Musical America Ensemble of the Year. The group currently serves as artists-in-residence at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts’ Mostly Mozart Festival, and previously led a five-year residency at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. The International Contemporary Ensemble was featured at the Ojai Music Festival from 2015 to 2017, and at recent festivals abroad such as gmem-CNCM-marseille and Vértice at Cultura UNAM, Mexico City. Other performance stages have included the Park Avenue Armory, The Stone, ice floes at Greenland’s Diskotek Sessions, and boats on the Amazon River.

OpenICE, made possible with lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, offers free concerts and interactive, educational programming wherever the Ensemble performs. As the Ensemble in Residence of the Nokia Bell Labs Experiments in Art and Technology, the International Contemporary Ensemble advances music technology and digital communications as an empowering tool for artists from all backgrounds. Curricular activities include a residency and coursework at the New School College of Performing Arts, along with a summer intensive program, called Ensemble Evolution, where topics of equity, diversity, and inclusion build new bridges and pathways for the future of creative sound practices. Yamaha Artist Services New York is the exclusive piano provider for the Ensemble. Read more at http://www.iceorg.org and watch over 350 videos of live performances and documentaries at http://www.digitice.org.