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The Fisher Center and Catskill Jazz present "Music & Words"

First in a three-concert winter jazz series led by multifaceted musician Damien Sneed

Eleanor Davis
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY— The Fisher Center and Catskill Jazz Factory present, Music & Words, the first in a unique three-concert winter series Classical, Jazz, and Soul: A Musical Offering. The series is led by prodigious multi-genre pianist, conductor, composer, producer, arranger, and educator Damien Sneed, a 2014 recipient of the prestigious Sphinx Medal of Excellence, presented to emerging Black and Latino leaders in classical music. Music & Words will be performed on Friday, February 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the Fisher Center’s intimate LUMA Theater. Tickets are $25-45 and can be ordered online at or by calling the box office at 845-758-7900. Purchase great seats for all three shows in this special series for $95.'

Music & Words takes audiences on a journey from the spirituals, art songs and poems of Harry T. Burleigh and Laurence Hope, to the melodic chords of Samuel Barber, and the well-known hit songs of George & Ira Gershwin. Leading this musical reflection on the relationship between composer and librettist, Sneed will be joined by Metropolitan Opera soprano Brandie Sutton, and actor/writer Karen Chilton, baritone Justin Michael Austin, and classical chamber musicians for this debut exploration of the music of 1860 to the 1930s for strings, piano and voice.

“A very natural performer who is capable of performing a startling range of music from baroque and classical pieces to romantic warhorses to contemporary gospel songs. In addition to his stellar musical credentials, Mr. Sneed also possesses a sterling heart... He is an ambassador for classical and gospel music who brings positivity, optimism and thoroughness to every occasion. 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

Watch “Young, Gifted and Black: Conductor Damien Sneed” here:

The Golden Age of Song
Saturday, March 17
The post-war era of swing, bebop and rock n’ roll come alive in this revitalized retrospective featuring the works of Nat King Cole, Mel Torme and Chet Baker. Sneed pays tribute to this much-loved and timeless era of jazz with an ensemble joined by special guest multiple Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Keyon Harrold (Erykah Badu, Jay-Z, Lauryn Hill), an eclectic artist who has been featured on nearly 100 albums. Harrold recently starred as the trumpet sound of Miles Davis for the Grammy Award-winning soundtrack of the 2016 biopic Miles Ahead.           

Sanctified Soul: 1960s to Today
Saturday, April 21

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.         

For tickets and more information go to or call the box office at 845-758-7900.
To download high resolution photography go to:

About the Artist

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.

Based in the heart of the Catskills, the Catskill Jazz Factory is a “regional arts think-tank” and “formidable jazz incubator” (HV Almanac Weekly) founded in 2012 with an aim to support today’s best young jazz artists. Catskill Jazz Factory offers year-round school workshops, concerts, mountaintop residencies, lectures, and world-class performances in diverse spaces to a variety of regional audiences across the Hudson Valley, NYC and beyond by partnering with educational facilities, arts organizations, and a variety of non-profits and businesses. Venues range from mountaintop coffee and donut shops and local high schools to recent concert series collaborations with the New York Botanical Garden, the Bard SummerScape Spiegeltent, and the Uncharted Series at Greenwich House. The Catskill Jazz Factory is a program of 23Arts Initiative, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College

Named for the late Richard B. Fisher, former chair of Bard’s Board of Trustees, the Fisher Center has become an influential force in performing arts programming, earning critical acclaim for innovative productions of opera, orchestral, chamber, dance, and theater programs. The Center was designed by legendary architect Frank Gehry and distinguished acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota, and has received international praise for its breathtaking architecture and superb sound.

Each summer the Fisher Center presents the Bard SummerScape festival, seven weeks of performing arts programs reflecting the life and times of the featured composer of the esteemed Bard Music Festival, now celebrating its 29th year. Fall and spring seasons include original productions, special one-night-only concerts, and touring artists from around the globe.

The Fisher Center is home to the Bard College Theater & Performance and Dance Programs, providing students access to exceptional theater facilities and opportunities to work with professional directors and dramaturges on publicly attended productions throughout the year. The Bard College Conservatory of Music and Bard College Music Program stage regular orchestral and chamber concerts.

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This event was last updated on 02-01-2018