The First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia to Host March 9 Concert with Leslie Burrs, Opera North Inc., and Internationally Acclaimed Jazz and Opera Artists.

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Concerts@First presents “Jazz Goes to the Opera”, an evening of soul-stirring, dynamic music by internationally acclaimed jazz and opera artists on Saturday, March 9 at The First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia.

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On Saturday, March 9, 2013 at 8:00 p.m. Concerts@First presents “Jazz Goes to the Opera” with Leslie Burrs, Opera North Inc., and the Voices of Gwynedd (Gwynedd Mercy College) in an evening of soul-stirring, dynamic music by internationally acclaimed jazz and opera artists.

For the past 30 years, Opera North Inc., Pennsylvania’s only African-American opera company, has continued to fulfill its vision by presenting opera productions, recitals, concerts, and Black History programs that feature celebrated and rising African-American composers and performing artists, as well as providing an impressive array of education and outreach programs. These community outreach programs actively engage audiences across a wide range of ages while further contributing to their cultural awareness, educational development and quality of life experience.

Opera North’s Executive and Artistic Director, Leslie Savoy Burrs has been acclaimed as an award-winning performer, composer and educator. Mr. Burrs has captivated audiences across the United States and Europe with his exciting, distinctive sound – an inspired combination of classical virtuosity and dazzling improvisation. Mr. Burrs has many commissions to his credit, two of which resulted in a new American opera entitled “Vanqui” for Opera/Columbus with a grant from the Lila Wallace Readers Digest Foundation and The Geron Fantasy for Orchestra for the Charleston Symphony with a grant award from Meet the Composer. In 2009 he was commissioned by NewCourtland Elder Services to write the opera “Transitions: Sung Stories.” He has appeared as guest soloist and composer with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore, Atlanta, Louisville, New Jersey and Richmond Symphonies Orchestras. He is the recipient of the 2004 and 2007 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship Grant. In 2002, Mr. Burrs was the first composer ever to receive the National Opera Association’s coveted Legacy Award for his American opera, “Vanqui”. Portions of “Transitions: Sung Stories” and “Vanqui” will be heard in this concert.

"Jazz Goes to the Opera" is part of the Concerts@First 2012-2013 season, held at The First Presbyterian Church, 21st & Walnut Streets, two blocks west of Rittenhouse Square. The concert is free and open to the public, with a suggested donation of $10.

About The First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia: The First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia was founded in 1698. Since then we have been a home to a diverse group of Christians from the greater Philadelphia region. We are active members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Presbytery of Philadelphia and the Covenant Network.

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Andrew Senn
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