Q&A with Will Liverman, baritone

For the Manley and Doriseve Thaler Vocal Concert Series

Called “a voice for this historic moment” (Washington Post), GRAMMY Award winning baritone Will Liverman is the recipient of the 2022 Beverly Sills Artist Award by The Metropolitan Opera and the co-creator of The Factotum – called “mic-drop fabulous good” (Opera News) – which premiered at the Lyric Opera Chicago in 2023. Described as “nothing short of extraordinary” (Opera News) with a “beaming, high baritone that easily asserts” (LA Times), Liverman has been hailed by critics for his versatility in dramatic and comedic roles, as well as on concert stages in North America and internationally, and his dedication and vision as a composer, artist, and advisor helping to evolve and push the performing arts industry forward. This season sees Liverman’s return to the Metropolitan Opera in the title role of X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X, Anthony Davis’ groundbreaking and influential work, and the third opera by a Black composer in the company’s history, to be conducted by Kazem Abdullah in its newly revised score. Liverman was previously seen on the Met stage opening its 2021-22 season in a widely celebrated, “breakout performance” (New York Times) as Charles in Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up In My Bones, which won the 2023 GRAMMY Award for Best Opera Recording. He later reprised the role at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in a “rich leading performance” (Chicago Tribune) described as a “beautifully vocalized [...] gripping portrayal” (Opera News). Following Summer 2023 engagements at Tanglewood, SummerStage, Brooklyn Art Song Society, and The Princeton Festival, Liverman’s 2023-24 season further includes productions with Opera Philadelphia for the world premiere of Rene Orth’s 10 Days in a Madhouse as Dr. Josiah Blackwell and the Met Opera for Roméo et Juliette as Mercutio. In concert, he joins the Lexington Philharmonic for the orchestrated world premiere of Shawn E. Okpebholo’s Two Black Churches, Houston Symphony for Carmina Burana, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra for Brahms’ A German Requiem, and The Washington Chorus for Elijah Reimagined, plus Dayton Opera, Caramoor, and Cincinnati Song Initiative for vocal recitals. He also serves as Artistic Advisor for Renée Fleming’s SongStudio at Carnegie Hall. Last season, the Lyric Opera of Chicago presented the world premiere of Liverman’s new opera, The Factotum, which he starred in and composed with DJ King Rico. Inspired by Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Liverman and Rico place the story in a present-day Black barbershop on Chicago’s South Side, and celebrate the strength of community and power of the human spirit. Blending together diverse musical styles, including hip-hop, R&B, funk, gospel, and traditional barbershop quartet to create a soul opera, The Factotum “offers a chameleonic pastiche of soul, funk, and classical elements that is incredibly effective” (Opera News). Regarding the highly successful production, “Will Liverman is the real deal” according to the Chicago Tribune, “masterfully [anchoring] this production and [providing] some of its finest vocal moments” (Chicago Sun Times). Houston Grand Opera, Portland Opera, and Washington National Opera are all slated to put on The Factotum in future seasons. Cedille Records released Liverman’s Dreams of a New Day: Songs by Black Composers with pianist Paul Sanchez in February 2021, a collection of works by Damien Sneed, Henry Burleigh, H. Leslie Adams, Robert Owens, Margaret Bonds, and Thomas Kerr, plus a world premiere recording by Shawn E. Okpebholo and Liverman’s arrangement of Richard Fariña’s Birmingham Sunday. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Traditional Classical chart, and The New Yorker praised its “clarity, sensitivity, and barely contained heartbreak,” while NPR declared “velvet-voiced baritone Will Liverman is out to make the classical music canon more inclusive.” Dreams of a New Day was nominated for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album at the 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards. His 2020 album, Whither Must I Wander, with pianist Jonathan King, released on Odradek Records, was named one of the Chicago Tribune’s “best classical recordings of 2020” and BBC Music Magazine praised Liverman’s “firm, oaky baritone with a sharp interpretive attitude… admirable poise and clarity of intention.” Accolades include receiving a 2022 Sphinx MPower Artist Grant, the 2020 Marian Anderson Vocal Award, a 2019 Richard Tucker Career Grant, and a 2019 Sphinx Medal of Excellence. In 2017, Liverman received a 3Arts Award, a George London Award, and was recognized as a classical division Luminarts Fellow by the Luminarts Cultural Foundation. In 2015, he won the Stella Maris International Vocal Competition, the Gerda Lissner Charitable Fund Award, and a top prize from Opera Index. Will Liverman concluded his tenure at the prestigious Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2015 and was previously a Young Artist at the Glimmerglass Festival. He holds his Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School and a Bachelor of Music degree from Wheaton College in Illinois. Please visit www.willliverman.com for more information. Will Liverman appears courtesy of The Metropolitan Opera.

Thursday, March 21 at 6:00pm to 7:30pm

Hockett Family Recital Hall

Individuals who would like to request accessibility accommodations should contact ekibelsbeck@ithaca.edu. We ask that requests be made as soon as possible to ensure they can be met.

Event Type

Concert/Recital

Interests

Music

Schools

School of Music, Theatre, and Dance

Website

https://www.ithaca.edu/academics/scho...

Group
Ithaca College School of Music
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