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Press for Cycles of My Being

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A New Song Cycle Contemplates Blackness
— NPR's All Things Considered

The experiences of black men in America today are making their way onto the classical concert stage, thanks to internationally acclaimed tenor Lawrence Brownlee. Brownlee enlisted the help of two other prominent African-American artists, composer Tyshawn Sorey and poet Terrance Hayes. [READ MORE]

An Opera Star’s Song Cycle Conjures a Black Man’s Life in America
— The New York Times

When Carnegie Hall came calling in 2016, asking the tenor Lawrence Brownlee to plan a recital, he knew he wanted to include a classic German song cycle. Schumann’s “Dichterliebe” was high on his list. But what to perform alongside it? [READ MORE]

Black voices matter: Lawrence Brownlee on driving change in opera
— The Guardian

Babbling brooks, young love, broken hearts: standard topics for classical song cycles from Schubert onward, and for most opera singers a key part of their concert hall careers. Not for the 45-year-old US tenor Lawrence Brownlee, one of the world’s leading bel canto stars. He has never yet sung any of these standard repertoire works. He wanted material he could relate to. US urban not European pastoral, a reek of the blues, a snarl of reality. Why not the story of a black man murdered in police custody? [READ MORE]

Lawrence Brownlee will premiere new song cycle for Opera Philadelphia before taking it to Carnegie Hall
— The Philadelphia Inquirer

Opera Philadelphia has announced its fourth world premiere in five months — this one written for star tenor Lawrence Brownlee for a series of performances that will eventually lead to Carnegie Hall. Cycles of My Being — a new song cycle representing a collaboration among three major music institutions and three much-awarded artists — will premiere Feb. 20 at the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater. [READ MORE]

Lawrence Brownlee's 'Cycles of My Being': 'Hold on to your seats'
— The Philadelphia Inquirer

The poet who wrote the words can be confrontational. The composer is known for cutting-edge jazz. The singer specializes in ornately written operas from another century. Suffice it to say that Cycles of My Being, a new song cycle by poet Terrance Hayes and composer Tyshawn Sorey — prompted by police brutality against African Americans — won’t be anything typical. Or demure. [READ MORE]

In world premiere, looking in the mirror with Opera Philadelphia's Lawrence Brownlee
— The Philadelphia Inquirer

A movement from a Brahms violin sonata opened the concert, and then an excerpt from the Barber cello sonata led into some spirituals. From there, a new song cycle explored how the world experiences the black man and vice versa. [READ MORE]

Lawrence Brownlee unveils work by Tyshawn Sorey
— San Francisco Chronicle

One of the things you can do as an artist with star power like the tenor Lawrence Brownlee is use that cachet to add to the repertoire. Brownlee is best known for his mastery of the bel canto operatic repertoire (Rossini in particular), but recently he felt the need to perform something that responded more directly to his experience as an African American man. [READ MORE]

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With new song cycle, Lawrence Brownlee explores a black man's life in America
— The Chicago Tribune

Lawrence Brownlee is celebrated for his portrayals of the princely heroes and love-smitten lords of bel canto. His career is flourishing in major concert halls and opera houses throughout the world, including at the Lyric Opera, where his sensational vocal prowess is currently on display in the taxing role of Arturo in Bellini’s “I Puritani.” Now he is taking on music of a much more personal and timely nature: a new song cycle about what it means from his perspective to be a black man living in present-day America. [READ MORE]

How two singers adapt the classical with the African American experience
— San Francisco Chronicle

Sorey, a recently minted MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, figures prominently in tenor Lawrence Brownlee’s S.F. Performances recital debut with pianist Myra Huang at Herbst Theatre on Saturday, March 31. [READ MORE]

Tenor Lawrence Brownlee unveils a new song cycle on themes of race and hope
— San Francisco Chronicle

As a renowned operatic tenor, a honey-toned specialist in the music of Rossini with a burgeoning reputation, Lawrence Brownlee enjoys an enviable life in many ways. But he’s also a black man in America, and says he’s under no illusions about how easily any protections he has could be stripped away. [READ MORE]

Lawrence Brownlee delivers committed reading of new song cycle about being black and male in America
— The Chicago Tribune

Rare are the classical singers who use their celebrity cachet to help generate new repertory. One shining example is Lawrence Brownlee, who regards the commissioning of music by living composers and sharing it with audiences around the world an essential part of who he is as a performing artist. [READ MORE]

For tenor Lawrence Brownlee, a journey from church to bel canto acclaim
— The Boston Globe

While a good deal of this outstanding singer’s career is present here, a more recent aspect of it compels mention: The song cycle “Cycles of My Being,” a joint project by composer Tyshawn Sorey, poet Terrance Hayes, and Brownlee that premiered last month. It arose from a commission for a Carnegie Hall concert, which Brownlee decided to use to create a piece that would give voice to what he called “the experience of being a black man” in today’s America. [READ MORE]

Lawrence Brownlee at Zankel Hall
— The New Yorker

“Cycles of My Being,” an eagerly anticipated new set of songs, written by Tyshawn Sorey for this expressive tenor, explores “the realities of life as a black man in America.” [READ MORE]

Lawrence Brownlee Is Transcendent in Cycles of My Being
— San Francisco Classical Voice

The American tenor Lawrence Brownlee made his San Francisco recital debut on Saturday night with a most amibitious program: Schumann’s Dichterliebe, a classic of the lieder repertory, and a new song cycle by MacArthur Fellow Tyshawn Sorey that was composed for Brownlee. This performance was the West Coast premiere of Sorey’s Cycles of My Being. [READ MORE]

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Opera Star Lawrence Brownlee To Perform Modern & Classic Song Cycles At Gilmore Fest
— WMUK 102.1

Cycles Of My Being was created by Brownlee, Sorey and Hayes, all African-American men, as they examined their existences as members of a society which often displays hatred and fear toward them. [READ MORE]

Tenor Lawrence Brownlee brings Black Lives Matter-inspired work to SF
— The Mercury News

Tenor Lawrence Brownlee has earned a reputation as one of the top bel canto singers of his generation. In recent years, though, he’s wanted to expand his horizons to include projects that were more dramatic and more topical. [READ MORE]

A Black Opera Singer Broadens the Repertory for Art Songs
— KQED Arts

Tenor Lawrence Brownlee was the International Opera Awards "Male Singer of the Year" in 2017. The honor was a tribute to his reputation as an actor and singer at opera houses around the world, but also to his commitment to broadening the classical repertory. He's commissioned a new song cycle (which premiered at in February in Philadelphia) about being a black man in the age of Black Lives Matter, with music by the African American composer Tyshawn Sorey and lyrics by the poet Terence Hayes -- both black men. [READ MORE]

The Sound of Being 
— Opera News

The music of multi-instrumentalist/composer Tyshawn Sorey might seem designed to subvert expectations at every turn were it not so clearly the most personal of sustained expressions. [READ MORE]

An Operatic Take on Black Lives Matter

Internationally acclaimed bel canto tenor Lawrence Brownlee discusses his Black Lives Matter-inspired song cycle called Cycles of My Being. Brownlee collaborated with two other black artists, composer Tyshawn Sorey and poet Terrance Hayes to create the piece. [READ MORE]

Singing the Truth of Black Men in America
— BYU Radio Top of Mind

Protests continue in Sacramento over the fatal police shooting of Stephon Clark. Officers were responding to a complaint of someone breaking into vehicles when they encountered Clark – a 22-year-old black man – in his grandmother’s back yard. An independent autopsy requested by Clark’s family found the he was shot eight times, with most of the bullets hitting him in the back. This is the environment into which acclaimed operatic tenor Lawrence Brownlee begins a national tour of a songs about what it means to be a black man in America. [READ MORE]

Lawrence Brownlee preview: a journey
— Oregon ArtsWatch

Despite being one of the world’s leading operatic tenors, as an African American man, Lawrence Brownlee is not immune to racism. “I feel it every day,” he told Oregon ArtsWatch. “I see signs all of the time.” [READ MORE]

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Lawrence Brownlee at Opera Philadelphia: World Premiere of Cycles of My Being
— Berkshire Fine Arts

Listening to tenor Lawrence Brownlee sing the classic bel canto repertoire for which he is justly well-known, you sometimes sense that the artist is hidden. Turns out that Brownlee has been chomping at the bit to tell us about himself as an American black man. [READ MORE]

Tenor Lawrence Brownlee Addresses the Black Male Experience In ‘Cycles of My Being’ at Zankel Hall
— Zealnyc

My hat is off to Brownlee for spearheading the project that he is presently performing around the U.S. Cycles of My Being, commissioned by Opera Philadelphia, Carnegie Hall, and Lyric Unlimited, is a powerful new song cycle written expressly for Mr. Brownlee by composer Tyshawn Sorey and librettist Terrance Hayes. Scored for piano, violin, cello, and clarinet, the composer conducted this moving, earnest performance. [READ MORE]

Brownlee piece tackles racial issues
— The Vindicator

Opera singer and Youngstown native Lawrence Brownlee will premiere “Cycles of My Being,” a song cycle that looks at what it means to be a black man in America, tonight. The new work was commissioned by Brownlee and Opera Philadelphia, which will present the performance at 7:30 p.m. at Perelman Theater. “Cycles” was written by jazz composer and pianist Tyshawn Sorey, with lyrics by poet Terrance Hayes. [READ MORE]

Lyric Unlimited Presents LAWRENCE BROWNLEE in CYCLES OF MY BEING – Poet’s heart on sleeve
— Picture this Post

Cycles of My Being --homage to Black Lives Matter Movement
Keepers of narrative prose know to step aside for the greater clarity of poetry. Add the crisp tenor voice of Lawrence Brownlee, equally comfortable with high and low notes, and that poetry precision becomes laser sharp. [READ MORE]

Lawrence Brownlee on CYCLES OF MY BEING, in NY Premiere at Carnegie's Zankel Hall
— BroadwayWorld

When tenor Lawrence Brownlee--he of the sweet, cultured tones and ringing high Cs-Ds, and higher--was first asked to put a recital together by Carnegie Hall, he was pretty certain of the centerpiece: Robert Schumann's "Dichterliebe (A Poet's Love)," the elegant 19th century song cycle about rapture, disillusionment and regret. But in coming up with a companion piece to fill out the program, he turned to something very different--a work, in fact, that hadn't been written yet and would reflect his life as a black man in America, as well as his art. [READ MORE]

A Poet's Love and the CYCLES of Lawrence Brownlee at Carnegie's Zankel Hall
— BroadwayWorld

On the surface, the two major works on Lawrence Brownlee's recital at Carnegie's Zankel Hall last night might seem not to have much in common. [READ MORE]

Lawrence Brownlee Previews Cycles of My Being at The Greene Space
— I Care if You Listen

On Wednesday, March 28th at the Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, those who had gathered for the evening’s event learned quickly that in addition to singing, opera star Lawrence Brownlee is a skilled and charming conversationalist. [READ MORE]

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Interview with tenor Lawrence Brownlee on being a black man in America: Cycles of My Being
— Gramilano

A new song cycle exploring the realities of life as a black man in America will receive its world premiere performance with Opera Philadelphia tonight, then in Chicago at the DuSable Museum of African American History on 22 February, and the Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall on 24 April. [READ MORE]

Opera Philadelphia presents Tyshawn Sorey and Terrance Hayes’s ‘Cycles of My Being’: Reframing the musical narrative
— Broad Street Review

Lawrence Brownlee, star of Cycles of My Being — a song cycle co-commissioned by Opera Philadelphia (where Brownlee serves as an artistic advisor), Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Carnegie Hall — refuses to rest on his laurels. [READ MORE]

Lawrence Brownlee Bares All With New York Premiere of “Cycles of My Being”
— OperaWire

Being one of the leading tenors in the operatic world, Lawrence Brownlee is no stranger to interpreting works of art and lending them his own brand of beauty and meaning. On April 24, Brownlee took to Carnegie Hall to deliver a performance nearer and dearer to his heart, and one that places a firm finger on the pulse of tensions within the country. [READ MORE]

Lawrence Brownlee At Carnegie: Schumann and Tyshawn Sorey Revealed
— Berkshire Fine Arts

Lawrence Brownlee is a world class bel canto singer. He is also a daring artist who is moving out of his comfort zone to tell new truths in song. [READ MORE]

Lawrence Brownlee in a fierce Liederabend at Zankel Hall
— Superconductor

The American tenor Lawrence Brownlee has emerged in the past decade as one of the leading lights of the bel canto revival that has swept operatic stages in this young century. He is possessed of a memorable stage presence, formidable technique, a plangent, sweet tone and a powerful, nimble insrument. On Tuesday night, a packed Zankel Hall got to see a different side of Mr. Brownlee, as he led an exploration of the art of the song at the Carnegie Hall venue. [READ MORE]

Double happiness: Cosi fan tutte and Cycles of My Being
— Hyde Park Herald

Two recent performances given by Lyric Opera could not be more different. Mozart’s “Così fan tutte” is an amusing look at love with an approach many people now find not only outdated but insulting to women. “Cycles of My Being” is an unflinching meditation, where explorations of hate and hope mix to create an accurate picture of the struggle — here and now — of being a black man in America. Both were immensely successful. [READ MORE]

Tyshawn Sorey and Terrance Hayes Make a Poignant Statement with 'Cycles of My Being'

“America – I hear you hiss and stare / Do you love the air in me, as I love the air in you?” With those words, evoking an impassioned patriotism curdled by deep-rooted injustice, Lawrence Brownlee opened the world premiere of Cycles of My Being at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia on Tuesday night. [READ MORE]

Lawrence Brownlee & Myra Huang
— Opera News

No one can accuse Lawrence Brownlee of playing it safe. A tenor known for bel canto exploits at the Metropolitan Opera and across the world, he came to Zankel Hall on April 24 in a program of works by Robert Schumann and Tyshawn Sorey. Those names alone suggest a sharp turn in repertoire and possibly in career. [READ MORE]