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Nkeiru Okoye’s When the Caged Bird Sings

February 10, 2024 | 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm | Hill Auditorium 

University Musical Society (UMS)

This collaboration between UMS and the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance features a new commission and world première by American composer Nkeiru Okoye. When the Caged Bird Sings fuses elements of oratorio, theater, and opera in a multi-movement musical ceremony of sorts, which Okoye describes as “a gathering” that invokes the ritual of the concert experience as a ritual of community.

Drawing inspiration from the Black church, it celebrates the spirit of rising above expectations and transforming adversity into triumph. Partly in tribute to the activist and poet laureate Maya Angelou, the work celebrates the transformative ability of Black women, commemorating those who have paved a path for future generations in many fields of human endeavor. Presented in collaboration with the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance. 

Commissioned by the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance as part of its Michigan Orchestra Repertoire for Equity initiative.


Nkeiru Okoye, music and libretto

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