Thursday, April 11, 2024 @ 7:00pm – 9:00pm (EDT)
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$30-$100 ($15-$100 wheelchair/companion)

Experience the sweeping drama of Dvořák's "New World" Symphony, inspired by African American and indigenous music the composer encountered during his time in America. It has remained one of the most popular symphonies of all time, even heard in space during Neil Armstrong's Apollo 11 lunar spaceflight—a national goal set by President John F. Kennedy.

2023 Grammy–winning conductor Xian Zhang opens the concert with Ballade for Orchestra by African British-American Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Billy Childs' Saxophone Concerto, co-commissioned by the NSO for Steven Banks.

Runs Apr. 11-13. Please note, the Saturday, April 13 performance is currently sold out.

About Steven Banks, saxophone

Winner of the prestigious 2022 Avery Fisher Career Grant, Steven Banks (b. 1993) is an ambassador for the classical saxophone, establishing himself as both a compelling and charismatic soloist, dedicated to showcasing the vast capabilities of the instrument, as well as an advocate for expanding its repertoire. Steven is also the first saxophonist to capture First Prize at the Young Concert Artists Susan Wadsworth International Auditions (2019). He was also recently chosen to join WQXR’s 2022 Artist Propulsion Lab, a program designed to advance the careers of artists and support the future of classical music.

Steven has recently appeared as soloist with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, Aspen Festival Orchestra, Oregon Mozart Players, Colorado Music Festival, Colorado Symphony, Utah Symphony, the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra and on subscription with the Cleveland Orchestra, performing with such conductors as John Adams, Peter Oundjian, Earl Lee, Xian Zhang, Nicholas McGegan, and Rafael Payere. Upcoming orchestral engagements include the Kansas City Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, Detroit Symphony, New World Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, and the Minnesota Orchestra.

Steven is an advocate for diversity and inclusion in music education, performance, and newly commissioned works in the classical realm. He presented at the TEDxNorthwesternU 2017 conference presenting his dynamic approach to overcoming institutionalized prejudices against women and people of color, and he has written and given lectures on the history of black classical composers. He also collaborated with flutist Anthony Trionfo and violinist Randall Goosby to create the Learning to Listen roundtable, a discussion on the nuances of the Black experience in classical music and beyond. In partnership with the Sphinx Organization, they also created the Illuminate! series, which opened three essential conversations on the subject of music education, artist activism, and the LGBTQIA+ community in classical music.

Steven has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Saxophone Performance with a minor in Jazz Studies from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and Master of Music degree from the Northwestern University Bienen School of Music.