“An ambassador for classical and gospel music… His talent stretches across traditional divisions. In the realest sense, he uses his artistry to make our world a better place.” —Wynton Marsalis on Damien Sneed
A spirited take on traditional sacred music, gospel and the Motown Sound, Sanctified Soul traces the lineage of those who changed the sound of gospel like the Clark Sisters, the Hawkins Family and Richard Smallwood, all the way to contemporaries like Donald Lawrence and Kirk Franklin. As part of this lineage, Sneed also explores the music of soulful virtuosos Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder. Sneed’s featured ensemble will include one of gospel’s staple instruments, the Hammond B3 organ, joined by a collection of today’s top young names in the NYC music scene alongside Sneed’s virtuosic vocal ensemble, The Levites.
Co-presented by the Fisher Center at Bard College.
Sanctified Soul: 1960s to Today is the third performance of Classical, Jazz & Soul: A Musical Offering; a three concert series tracing the American vocal tradition from 1860 to today, led by prodigious multi-genre pianist, conductor, composer, producer, arranger, and educator Damien Sneed.
Special guests subject to change.
Damien Sneed is a multi-genre recording artist and a 2014 recipient of the prestigious Sphinx Medal of Excellence honor, which is presented annually to emerging Black and Latino leaders in classical music, Sneed has also garnered attention in a wide range of other musical genres, including jazz, gospel, pop, R&B, opera and musical theatre. He has already been featured in the New York Times multiple times for his work in various genres. A pianist, organist, vocalist, conductor, composer, producer, arranger, and arts educator, Sneed has worked with legends such as Aretha Franklin, Wynton Marsalis, Jessye Norman, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, and Ashford & Simpson, Wycliffe Gordon, and Eric Reed. He has served as music director for GRAMMY® Award-winning gospel artists, including Kim Burrell, The Clark Sisters, Richard Smallwood, Donnie McClurkin, Hezekiah Walker, Marvin Sapp, Karen Clark Sheard, Dorinda Clark-Cole and Kierra Sheard. He also served as musical director for season four of Sunday Best, Black Entertainment Television’s (BET) hit award-winning gospel singing competition show. In May 2015, he was tapped by Tony Award winner, George Faison as the musical director and conductor for the CityParks Foundation’s Central Park’s Summer Stage production of The Wiz: A Celebration in Dance & Music. The production included Phylicia Rashad, André De Shields, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Lillias White and Ebony Jo-Ann.