American bass baritone, Paul Robeson was a concert artist and stage and film actor who became famous both for his cultural accomplishments and for his political activism. Educated at Rutgers College and Columbia University, he was a star athlete in his youth. His political activities began with his involvement with unemployed workers and anti-imperialist students who he met in Britain and continued with support for the Republican cause in the Spanish Civil War and his opposition to fascism.
Carlos Simon, Composer
Carlos Simon is a native of Atlanta, Georgia whose music ranges from concert music for large and small ensembles to film scores with influences of jazz, gospel, and neo-romanticism. Simon was named as one of the recipients for the 2021 Sphinx Medal of Excellence.
Dan Harder, Librettist
Dan Harder writes a lot about a lot of different things. In July of 2019, Dan received a commission to write the libretto for a new opera about Paul Robeson to premiere with Michael Morgan and the Oakland Symphony in 2023.
Here I Stand Synopsis
Here I Stand Sing Sample
Carlos Simon bio:
Carlos Simon is a native of Atlanta, Georgia whose music ranges from concert music for large and small ensembles to film scores with influences of jazz, gospel, and neo-romanticism.
Simon was named as one of the recipients for the 2021 Sphinx Medal of Excellence. The Sphinx Medal of Excellence is the highest honor bestowed by the Sphinx Organization, recognizing extraordinary classical Black and Latinx musicians. Along with a $50,000 career grant, Sphinx annually awards the Medals of Excellence to three artists who, early in their career, demonstrate artistic excellence, outstanding work ethic, a spirit of determination, and an ongoing commitment to leadership and their communities. Simon’s latest album, MY ANCESTOR’S GIFT, was released on the Navona Records label in April 2018. Described as an “overall driving force” (Review Graveyard) and featured on Apple Music’s “Albums to Watch”, MY ANCESTOR’S GIFT incorporates spoken word and historic recordings to craft a multifaceted program of musical works that are inspired as much by the past as they are the present.
As a part of the Sundance Institute, Simon was named as a Sundance/Time Warner Composer Fellow in 2018, which was held at the historic Skywalker Ranch. His string quartet, Elegy, honoring the lives of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner was recently performed at the Kennedy Center for the Mason Bates JFK Jukebox Series. With support from the US Embassy in Tokyo and US/Japan Foundation, Simon traveled with the Asia/America New Music Institute (AANMI) on a two-week tour of Japan in 2018 performing concerts in some of the most sacred temples and concert spaces in Japan including Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Japan. Other recent accolades include being a Composer Fellow at the Cabrillo Festival for Contemporary Music, winning the Underwood Emerging Composer Commission from the American Composers Orchestra in 2016, the prestigious Marvin Hamlisch Film Scoring Award in 2015, and the Presser Award from the Theodore Presser Foundation in 2015. He has also served as a contributing arranger for Rachel Barton Pine Foundation's Music by Black Composers series for violin.
Recent commissions have come from the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angles Opera, Philadelphia Orchestra, Washington National Opera, Reno Philharmonic, the American Composers Orchestra, Arizona State University Symphony Orchestra, Irving Klein String Competition, Morehouse College celebrating its 150th founding anniversary, the University of Michigan Symphony Band celebrating the university’s 200th anniversary, Albany Symphony’s Dogs of Desire (American Music Festival) as well as serving as the young composer-in-residence with the the Detroit Chamber String and Winds in 2016. Simon’s music has been performed by Tony Arnold, the Third Angle New Music Ensemble, Hub New Music Ensemble, the Asian/American New Music Institute, the Flint Symphony, the Color of Music Festival, University of North Texas Symphony Band, University of Miami Symphony Band, Georgia State University Wind Ensemble and many other professional performance organizations. His piece, Let America Be America Again (text by Langston Hughes) is scheduled to be featured in an upcoming PBS documentary chronicling the inaugural Gabriela Lena Frank Academy of Music. He has served as a member of the music faculty at Spelman College and Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia and now serves as Assistant Professor at Georgetown University.
Acting as music director and keyboardist for GRAMMY Award winner Jennifer Holliday, Simon has performed with the Boston Pops Symphony, Jackson Symphony, and St. Louis Symphony. He has toured internationally with soul GRAMMY-nominated artist, Angie Stone, and performed throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia.
Simon earned his doctorate degree at the University of Michigan, where he studied with Michael Daugherty and Evan Chambers. He has also received degrees from Georgia State University and Morehouse College. Additionally, he studied in Baden, Austria at the Hollywood Music Workshop with Conrad Pope and at New York University’s Film Scoring Summer Workshop.
Carlos Simon, Jr. is a member of many music organizations including ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), where he was honored as one of the "Composers to Watch" in 2015 and will take part in the ASCAP Film Music Workshop in Los Angeles, California in 2019. He is also an honorary member of Phi Mu Alpha Music Sinfonia Fraternity and a member of the National Association of Negro Musicians, Society of Composers International, and Pi Kappa Lambda Music Honor Society. His compositions have been published by the Gregorian Institute of America (GIA) Publications and Hal Leonard Publications.
Dan Harder Bio:
Dan Harder writes a lot about a lot of different things. His theatrical work has been performed at The Marsh, Actors’ Theater, The Exit, The Jewish Community Theater, The Farm, Footworks, Bannam Place Theater, Mechanics Library Theatre (San Francisco), Greensleaves Theater (Fringe Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland), La MAMA ETC and Abingdon Theater Co. (NYC), Paramount Theater (Oakland, CA), Gallery Players (McMinnville, OR), The Western Stage (Salinas, CA), Murphys Creek Theater (Murphys, CA), Company One (Hartford, Conn.), Throckmorton Theater, (Mill Valley, CA), Marin Civic Auditorium and other venues.
He won a San Francisco Bay Area Playwrights Award and his play, A Killer Story, was awarded a number of grants including a James T. Irvine Grant and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. He has published over sixty individual poems in scores of publications and three books of poetry: Rave (with poets Kevin Kissell and Trish Steinhardt, Back Alley Press, Santa Cruz, 1983), Generous Misgivings (Studio 301, San Francisco, 1985), and Askew: Found and Lost in the Almost South of France (Pince-Nez Press, 2020), two photo-essay books: San Francisco Points of View and France (Graphic Arts Center Publishing, 1996/1992), and two children’s books: A Child’s California (Westwinds Press, 2000) and Colliding With Chris (Hyperion/Disney, 1998), which received the Children’s Choice Award from the International Reading Association.
Dan conceived of the poetic form and wrote the libretto for the soaPOPera Zipperz with composer Nathaniel Stookey. It premiered at the Paramount Theater in Oakland (2008) and was released as a CD and MP3 under the Warner/Ghostlight label in 2017. In July of 2019, Dan received a commission to write the libretto for a new opera about Paul Robeson to premiere with Michael Morgan and the Oakland Symphony in 2023. And in 2020, West Margin Press published his first novel, Rancho de Amor. Over two-dozen of his articles and features have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, other newspapers, magazines, and academic journals. His commentaries have been heard on National Public Radio as well as other radio programs. Over 50 published reviews of his various works are available.
Dan’s past includes working as a cowboy, a truck driver, and a librarian in California; a translator, director of a sailing school, a ski instructor, a high school English teacher, and a waiter in France; a grunt pulling green-chain in an Oregon lumber-mill; a teacher of English and philosophy at the French American School and a co-owner of a successful restaurant in San Francisco. He was – and occasionally still is – a drummer and a sculptor. A native of Los Angeles and graduate of U. C. Berkeley, Dan currently lives with his wife, Ora Schulman, with whom he co-owns a catering business.