Classical Music

New York Philharmonic to Perform with Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra

This concert will celebrate international liberation movements throughout history, with a focus on the Black experience, on March 3, 2023, at Lincoln Center


Founded in 1928, Michigan’s Interlochen Center for the Arts hosts programs involving thousands of students across the U.S. every year. 

As part of an ongoing collaboration with the New York Philharmonic, young musicians of the organization’s Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra (IAAO) will perform alongside members of the NY Phil at the Lincoln Center on March 3, 2023, at 8 PM. The concert will be led by the IAAO conductor, Dr. Leslie B. Dunner.

Connecting with “Liberation” — one of the four themes of NY Phil’s current season — this concert will celebrate international liberation movements throughout history, with a focus on the Black experience. 

“I’m hopeful that those who are not of color will learn about some of the people who are their neighbors and their friends, and that those people who are of color will learn more about their heritage,” Dr. Dunner wrote in the press release.  “We’re talking about Black liberation, liberation in this country of people of color. That should represent the last half-century, and how we have moved from coming to this land as hostages to being empowered in this land as citizens.”

Titled मुक्ति (MUKTI), after the Hindi word for freedom or emancipation, the concert’s opening half will feature a world premiere performance of an interdisciplinary multimedia project of the same name, created by students from all seven of Interlochen’s artistic disciplines. The second half of the concert will include works by four living Black composers.

“The inspiration [behind the concert program] was to highlight the varied musical works of living Black composers,” Dr. Dunner told The Violin Channel. “The program features works of Jonathan Wineglass, a GRAMMY-winning Hollywood composer, Mary Watkins, a Pop composer and vocal activist during the Civil Rights and Feminist movements of the 1970s, Jonathan Bailey Holland, an Interlochen alumnus and graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and Harvard University, and Valerie Coleman, flutist and composer in residence with the Philadelphia Orchestra. 

The featured works include Wineglass’ Unburied, Unmourned, Unmarked: Requiem for Rice, Watkins’ Soul of Remembrance, Coleman’s Umoja (Unity), and Holland’s Equality — set to poetry by civil rights activist and memorist Maya Angelou.

“[These composers’] styles vary greatly and each makes musical commentary on the lives of Black folk, from times of slavery to our current life experiences,” Dr. Dunner explained.

To attend the concert, click here.


The upcoming performance comes during IAAO’s weeklong tour to New York City, where over 140 students will have the chance to visit the school’s partner organizations and tour organizations relating to their own majors within the arts industry.

The concert will also announce participants of the inaugural NY Phil Interlochen Scholarships, which will see 30 New York emerging artists attend the Interlochen Arts Camp on full-tuition scholarships next summer. The artists have been selected from 14 partner organizations in the city, including the Kaufman Music Center and the GRAMMY-winning New York Youth Symphony.

“Our students will be inspired by the professionals working side-by-side with them for this performance,” Dr. Dunner continued. “Knowing that EACH New York Philharmonic musician playing with them for this program is proof that their musical dreams, with hard work and dedication, can be realized.

“Our audiences, no matter what their background, experiences, or beliefs, will leave our presentation with a newfound understanding of what ‘liberation’ might mean for different cultures and peoples,” he added. 

“[They] will also hear the voices of young people today: voices of young people’s concerns, disappointments, frustrations, outrage, and ultimately, hope, that comes from sharing thoughts, ideas, beliefs, and ultimately, an understanding of tolerance: being respectful of others because ALL people deserve respect.”


An introduction to the concert can be viewed below.

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