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Shall We Gather at the River

Tuesday 21 May, 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

For more than 400 years, the Black American spiritual tradition has moved over, across, and through the waters—waters of life force, passage, cleansing, resistance, and renewal—depicted in such songs and verses as “Wade in the Water,” “Deep River,” “Crossing Jordan,” and “By the Waters of Babylon.”

The power of water and its spiritual dimensions equally resonates in the beautiful, sacred texts of Bach’s cantatas. Infused with poetry, Bach’s music sounds and speaks to every drop of water, in drought and in full flood, moving and alive.

These two musical sources flow together in an act of awakening, mobilization, and restorative beauty in the face of climate change. The Oxford Bach Soloists under the music direction of Tom Hammond-Davies and The Choir of Trinity Wall Street are joined by countertenor Reginald Mobley, tenor Nick Pritchard, and sheng player Wu Tong to perform a selection of Bach cantatas intermingled with spirituals in a staging by the celebrated director Peter Sellars. This musical call to action illuminates the undeniable truth that water is life, and that music is a universal language that can unite and inspire.

This program is co-commisioned with Park Avenue Armory as part of the COAL + ICE exhibition and series of programs at Asia Society, Feb. 13-Aug. 11, 2024, designed to provoke thought and action on climate change.

Soprano Molly Quinn
Countertenor Reginald Mobley
Tenor Nick Pritchard
Bass-baritone Jonathan Woody
Sheng Wu Tong
Oxford Bach Soloists
The Choir of Trinity Wall Street
Conductor Tom Hammond-Davies
Direction Peter Sellars
Choreographer Reggie (Regg Roc) Gray and members of the flexn community
Lighting Designer Seth Reiser
Sound Design Mark Grey


Tuesday 21 May
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm


Asia Society
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Park Avenue Armory
643 Park Avenue
New York, 10065 United States
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