Art + Sol: Standing witness to 55 years of history

Susan Graham and the Music from Copland House Ensemble performing A Standing Witness

Perhaps the most compelling item on the Art + Sol menu is A Standing Witness. This major new work from 2021 by composer Richard Danielpour and librettist Rita Dove will be performed by mezzo-soprano Susan Graham and the six-member Music from Copland House Ensemble. (Copland House is the Cortlandt Manor, New York, home where composer Aaron Copland lived and worked for the last 30 years of his life, from 1960 to 1990. It’s now home to a nonprofit that supports contemporary composers with residencies, post-residency performances, and commissions.)

The 75-minute piece surveys five decades of major events in American history, starting with the cataclysmic year of 1968 and continuing through the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement. Opera News described A Standing Witness as “songs America needs to hear” and Vermont Public Radio said it “has the potential to become one of the most influential compositions of this century.”