Thomas Hampson brings his “Song of America: Beyond Liberty” project to the Tucson Desert Song Festival and the Seattle Symphony this month, celebrating and exploring the influential people, poetry, and events that helped create and define “the land of the free.” Hampson will be accompanied by pianist Lara Downes and a diverse ensemble of exceptional musicians, the Beyond Liberty Players.

Beyond Liberty is the culmination of Hampson’s years-long commitment to the question “Who are the composers who saw American culture and captured it in song and verse?” Of the work, Hampson says: “The tough thing about this show is what not to sing. I know more American songs and of more American songs than I can possibly sing before I die. And I am passionate that people, whether they are musicians or not, celebrate our culture through the arts and through the stories and through the poetry and through the music.”

Performances will take place on January 28 at Centennial Hall, part of the 8th Tuscon Desert Song Festival, and on January 31 at Seattle Symphony’s Benaroya Hall. This centuries-spanning program, featuring works by composers such as Ives, Rorem, Higdon, and Bernstein, and poets such as Lincoln, Dickinson, Whitman, and Hughes, is created by Thomas Hampson, Royce Vavrek (writer), and Francesca Zambello (director). The concert and associated educational events will travel to all 50 U.S. states, plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, over the next several seasons. To learn more about “Song of America: Beyond Liberty,” click here.

Photo credit: Jimmy Donelan

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In song, you have one of the most amazing diaries of any generation’s culture at a given time.

Thomas Hampson