This Is America

Sunday, December 5, 2021, 4 PM
First Unitarian Church, Providence

Curated by violinist Johnny Gandelsman, “This is America” is a new commissioning and recording project featuring over 20 works for solo violin written by American and US-based composers.

The invited composers – including icons like Rhiannon Giddens and Conrad Tao – were asked to reflect on the events of the past year and to consider the impact the period has had on their lives and on their communities.

A long-time FirstWorks collaborator, Johnny Gandelsman is a co-founder of Brooklyn Rider and a member of the Silk Road Ensemble. The New Yorker has called him “revelatory” in concert, placing him in the company of “radically transformative” performers like Maurizio Pollini, Peter Serkin and Christian Zacharias.

For this special FirstWorks program, Gandelsman will perform selections from “This is America,” and Providence’s Community MusicWorks will join him for a performance of Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto.”

The concert will open with the premiere of “Woodland Impressions,” a program developed with EmmaLee Holmes-Hicks through FirstWorks’ inaugural commission initiative. Experience the new suite for erhu (two-stringed Chinese fiddle), violin and marimba composed by erhu virtuoso Jing Wang, performing with violinist EmmaLee Holmes-Hicks and percussionist Piero Guimaraes. “Woodland Impressions” is inspired by FirstWorks themes of Raise Your Voice (celebrating diversity) and Earth First (addressing environmental justice).

As we live through a time of disruption and disconnection, with COVID-19, the recent US election, deep polarization, entrenched systemic racism and police brutality, it is clear that the years 2020 and 2021 will be seared in our collective memories for a long time. Musicians and artists have raised their voices to express through their art their response to this turbulent time and bring us to together through shared experience.

New England Foundation for the Arts, National Endowment for the ArtsFunded in part by the New England States Touring program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program and the six New England state arts agencies.

FirstWorks is supported by the New England Foundation for the Arts through the New England Arts Resilience Fund, part of the United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund, an initiative of the U.S. Regional Arts Organizations and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with major funding from the federal CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Tickets: $30 advance
$35 day of show/at the door*
Health & Safety Info
All audience members must wear a mask within the venue and vaccination against COVID-19 is recommended for all eligible patrons.
To ensure social distancing, venue seating will be limited to no more than 50% capacity.
View First Unitarian Church health & safety guidelines
*For day-of tickets purchased at the door, only cashless payments will be available.