Black Pilgrims

In addition to a moderated panel discussion, the keynote address will feature the world premiere “Black Pilgrims” performance, a hip-hop and electronic mini-opera/oratorio depicting a sung and spoken fictional conversation between King and Malcolm X. Black Pilgrims is a creation of Stephen Rush, professor of dance/music technology, School of Music, Theatre & Dance, and performed by Scott Piper, the Norma L. Heyde Faculty Development professor of voice, SMTD; and Daniel Washington, professor of music (voice), SMTD. It will exhibit a quite-parallel vision of Civil Rights, from the voices of King and Malcolm X post-travel, after seeing two different perspectives on how different societies treated others. The event will also feature a performance by high school students from the Detroit School of the Arts.

Stephen Rush headshotStephen Rush

Professor of Performing Arts Technology

Stephen Rush has had premieres on five continents and has released many publications of his musical compositions. He has written six operas, over 50 works for dance, chamber and electronic works, concertos, and three symphonies, performed by the Detroit Symphony and the Warsaw National Symphony. He has authored two books, including Free Jazz, Harmolodics and Ornette Coleman. Rush has recordings on Nessa, Pi, Innova, ESP-Disk’, Equilibrium, Deep Listening, Centaur, MMC, RogueArts (Paris), Eroica, Summit, and CALA Records (with the New York Philharmonic Chamber Musicians).

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Rush is a professor of music at the University of Michigan, where he founded the Digital Music Ensemble (DME) which he has directed for 25 years. DME has worked with Pauline Oliveros, Elliott Sharp, Alvin Lucier, and Robert Ashley, and premiered works by John Cage, Philip Glass, and La Monte Young. He collaborates with virtually every ensemble at SMTD, having written scores for the University Symphony, University Choir, Trombone Ensemble, as well over 100 scores for dance.

Rush has also taken over 130 students to India every summer since 2005, where they study music, dance, and yoga for one month. There they study, one-on-one, with gurus who are deeply committed to the cultural traditions of India. Rush has over 30 CDs released and has performed or recorded with Roscoe Mitchell, Henry Grimes, Elliott Sharp, Steve Swell, Eugene Chadbourne, Peter Kowald, and Art Ensemble of Chicago. He also tours and records with his electronic psychedelic improvisation band, Crystal Mooncone.

Rush is deeply invested in “Installation Art”, with current works in collaboration with Michael Gould and Nobel Prize-winning physicist Henry Pollack, World Without Ice, as well as Jeweled Net of the Vast Invisible in collaboration with scientists at the Fermi Lab.

Scott PiperScott Piper

Associate Professor of Music; Norma L. Heyde Faculty Development Professor and Chair of Voice

Artist. Scholar. Educator. Arts Ambassador. Paul Robeson Scholar Award recipient, Los Cabos Children’s Foundation Artist Ambassador, and twice-winner of the Gerda Lissner Foundation Award, tenor Scott Piper continues to receive critical acclaim for his operatic, orchestral, and concert performances. He comes to the faculty of his graduate alma mater having been honored with the Paul Boylan Award for distinguished alumni in the performing arts and having recorded Verdi masterpieces for TDK with the Fondazione Toscanini di Parma with artists such as Placido Domingo, Renato Bruson, Stefania Bonfadelli, Massimiliano Stefanelli in new productions of Aida and La Traviata designed and mounted by film, opera, and theater director Franco Zeffirelli.

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Finishing his seventh year in higher education, Dr. Scott “Doc” Piper has translated his professional success and artistic sensibility into a profound dedication to helping the next generation of vocal artist reach their musical and artistic goals. As the Norma L. Heyde Associate Professor of Music in Voice, Piper maintains a selective studio of undergraduate and graduate voice students in classical voice, contemporary singing, and musical theatre. His private studio at the University of Michigan draws students who are equally committed to exploring their deepest holistic potential and building bridges through the arts to their global community. In addition to his blossoming studio, he is humbled to now serve as chair of the Department of Voice. Please email him directly for more information regarding his private studio or the Department of Voice.

From the beginning of his career, Piper has been committed to seeking out ways to serve our global village through song. Whether through arts education outreach presentations in Costa Rica, as a member of Singers without Borders performing in the Philippines and China, or through his tenure of service as the Los Cabos Children’s Foundation Artist Ambassador, Piper has never strayed from embracing ways to be of assistance to and learn from various cultures.

His interest in impacting the vocal arts at the international level continues through his education projects in Italy and Taiwan. In Piobbico, Italy, Piper’s leadership and stewardship of the voice program at the Brancaleoni International Music Festival (Italy) resulted in attracting over 110 vocal participants over the past 3 years. In Taiwan, under the auspices of the prestigious Tunghai University Music Department in Taichung, he has performed in opera and recital, conducted performances of The Merry Widow, led classes in pedagogy, holistic wellness in the vocal arts, and presented master classes at the National Taiwan Normal University, Fu Jen Catholic University, National Sun Yat-sen University, National Kaohsiung Normal University, and the Taipei National University of the Arts.

At the national level, Piper continues to be a sought after clinician and is recognized as a specialist in the area of effective learning practices for the applied voice studio. He has presented masterclasses at Truman State University, Western Washington University, California State University – Fresno, University of South Dakota, Wright State University, Hollins College, Virginia Tech University as well as the Duke Ellington School of Performing Arts, Great Falls High School, C. M. Russell High School, Huron High School, Bozeman High School, Mahtomedi Senior High, Warrensburg High School and Kirksville Senior High, among others. As a proud member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, he serves the national organization through his participation in the Advancement and Mentoring Initiatives committees.

While his doctoral studies focused on the evolution of the early song cycle, Piper is also an ardent proponent of contemporary art song. Thanks to the support of U-M Vice Provost Lester P. Monts, Piper was able to commission two new song cycles setting the evocative poetry of Missouri Poet Laureate, Jim Thomas. Currently, Piper has been thrilled to lend his voice to the compositions of his colleague at the University of Michigan, pianist and composer Logan Skelton.

Piper’s vocal, musical and dramatic sensitivity extends beyond his performances in leading roles. In 2013, he was asked to prepare, direct and conduct the first-ever recording from the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. Entitled Mater Eucharistiae, that CD debuted at #1 of the Billboard chart for classical albums.

In conjunction with his exemplary teaching and commitment to service, Piper maintains an active international performance profile. Recent successes include performances include appearances with Minnesota Opera, Opera Köln (Germany), Austin Lyric Opera, Israeli Opera, Dayton Opera, and Nashville Opera. He has sung under the baton of Placido Domingo, Leone Magiera, Steven Mercurio, Anton Coppola, Kenneth Kiesler, Steven White, Massimiliano Stefanelli, Mark Shanahan, Donato Renzetti, Joseph Mechavich, and Vjekoslav Sutej. Upcoming performances will include his debut as Pablo Neruda in Daniel Catan’s Il Postino.

Piper graduated from his undergraduate alma mater, Truman State University, in 1993 having studied with Dr. Thomas Hueber. His early career is highlighted with prizes from the National Society of Arts and Letters, the William C. Byrd Foundation, the Ken Boxley Foundation, the Gerda Lissner Foundation, the Licia Albanese-Puccini Competition, the George London Foundation, the University of Michigan Friends of Opera, and received the Jim and Janice Botsford Study Grant. During his graduate studies under the tutelage of George Shirley and Shirley Verrett, Piper began his professional career with Michigan Opera Theatre. As a young professional artist, he was quickly recognized for the exceptional beauty of his voice and his expressive acting. Critical acclaim quickly followed with special mention being routinely made regarding his mastery of language and vocal colors. In addition to George Shirley and Shirley Verrett, Scott’s mentors, teachers, and coaches include Frank Aiello, Carlo Bergonzi, Paolo Gavanelli, Thomas Hueber, Steven Mercurio, Claudia Pinza, Bill Schuman, Ira Siff, and Stephen White.

Since his professional debut in opera at the tender age of 24, Piper has spent the majority of his professional operatic career specializing in operas of Verdi and Puccini. In Italy alone, he has appeared in Rome, Modena, Ravenna, Catanzaro, as well as the Teatro di Verdi di Busseto. Other international appearances include performances with the Israeli Opera, the New People’s Theater of Moscow, the Anna Livia International Opera Festival of Ireland, the International Music Festival of Macau, Angers-Nantes Opera, the Saint Barth’s Music Festival, Vancouver Opera, Opera Nicaragua, and Compañia Lírica Nacional de Costa Rica. In the United States, he has sung with the New York City Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Minnesota Opera, Dayton Opera, Madison Opera, Opera Pacific, Michigan Opera Theater, Cincinnati Opera, Vancouver Opera, Pensacola Opera, Opera Roanoke, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Sarasota Opera, Virginia Opera, Opera Tampa, and Florida Grand Opera, among many others. For a full listing of his professional dossier, please contact his professional management team at ADA Artist Management.

Daniel Washington headshotDaniel Washington

Professor of Voice

Daniel A. Washington is a bass-baritone and tenured Professor of Music (Voice) at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, & Dance, and an Honorary Professor (Humanities) at the University of Cape Town, South African College of Music. An award winning artist, teacher, mentor, scholar, and administrator, Washington is an expert on African American classical music and spirituals, Porgy and Bess, and diversity in the arts. He graduated with a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, where he received the Chramer Scholarship for Excellence in Opera. Washington received a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from Furman University in Greenville, SC. He was an apprentice at the Oglebay-Goldovsky Opera Institute and a member of the International Opera Studio of the Zürich Opera House, as well as a guest vocal instructor at the Luzern Conservatory of Music in Switzerland.

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An active performer, Washington’s career has taken him to the world’s major opera houses and concert stages. Highlights of Washington’s operatic career include his Royal Opera Covent Garden debut in Strauss’ Die Frau ohne Schatten, conducted by Bernard Haitink, as Jochanaan in Salome at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo, Sicily, and as Porgy at Theater des Westens (Berlin) in the highly acclaimed production directed by Götz Friedrich. He also created the role of Steven Biko in the world premiere of the opera Biko for the Royal Opera’s Garden Venture Project and performed the title role in King, The Musical at the Piccadilly Theatre in London. He has also appeared at the Zürich Opera, Hamburg State Opera, and Opéra Comique in Paris. Concert versions of Porgy and Bess include the Berlin Philharmonic under Sir Simon Rattle, Montreal Symphony under Charles Dutoit, Detroit Symphony, Oregon Symphony, London Symphony, and the Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich. Washington sang in the world premiere of the song cycle Angel of Dreamers by Eric Ewazen with the Michigan Chamber Players and the Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings, and portrayed Balthazar in Gian Carlo Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors, directed by the composer. He has appeared in concert with the Ann Arbor Symphony, Bournemouth Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, the Milwaukee Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Bayerische Rundfunk, Rotterdam Philharmonic, and Czech Philharmonic. As a recitalist he has appeared in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, as well as the Spoleto Festival USA, the Moja Festival and the Colour of Music Festival (Charleston, SC).

Professor Washington is an elected member of Pi Kappa Lamba National Honor Society and the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. He has received awards for artistry, including the First Prize in the International Voice Competition of Toulouse, First Prize in the International Competition of Lyric Singing in Verviers, and the Bad Hersfeld Opera Prize. His recordings include the critically acclaimed Nobody is Somebody, a CD of songs by black composers from the early 20th century, a recording of Spirituals, “Songs my Mother Taught Me,” the Baritone Solo in Appalachia by Frederick Delius, conducted by Charles Mackerras, Pizarro in Beethoven’s Fidelio, Tom in Gershwin’s Blue Monday Blues, the Bass Soloist in Stabat Mater by Rossini, the title role of Chaka, an opera in two chants by Akin Euba, and Tarquinio in Respighi’s Lucretia. He is currently completing a recording that includes works by African American composers of the 21st century. Washington recently launched the annual Lucy Washington Annual Vocal Competition in his hometown of Summerville, South Carolina.

A highly sought-after clinician, lecturer and mentor, Washington’s students often win prestigious and highly competitive vocal competitions and participate in fellowships and young artist programs such as Adler, Merola, Chicago Lyric Opera Ryan Center, Belvedere, Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and America’s Got Talent. His students can be heard with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Michigan Opera Theater, Carnegie Hall, Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, and festivals across the world. They also excel as teachers and leaders in the performing arts and the academy. He provides clinical instruction, adjudicates, and teaches master classes across the globe including annual summer residencies in South Africa at the University of Cape Town and the Young Musicians Choral Orchestra in Berkeley, California. Washington currently serves as a board member, regional director, and collegiate director for the National Association of Negro Musicians (NANM) and as president of the Detroit Musicians Association, a branch of NANM.


Voices of Distinction

from the Detroit School of Arts

“We Win” – (R)evolution through Overcoming
In closing, the 2023 MLK Symposium will feature Vincent Bohanan’s song “We Win,” performed by the Voices of Distinction from Detroit School of Arts, and conducted by Julian Goods, a graduate of the University of Michigan. The performance focuses on Victory. The message from the Voices of Distinction is” As we continue the fight for equality, freedom, and a better world we must remember that we are overcomers and that no matter how hard things get we will win the fight that Dr. King worked so hard for.

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The Detroit School of Arts Voices of Distinction is composed of students of Vision Ensemble, Concert Choir, Vocal Jazz, and the Lady Achievers. The students represent some of the top students of the Vocal Program at the Detroit School of Arts. The Vocal Department, currently under the leadership of Mr. Julian Goods and Mrs. Ashley Paul, has recently received superior ratings at MSVMA District and State Level Choral and Solo & Ensemble Festivals. In 2021, Vision Ensemble received a perfect score at State Solo & Ensemble and was selected to represent their region at the MSVMA All-State Showcase. Over the years, the Vocal Department has had the honor of performing in the Michigan Youth Arts Festival in Kalamazoo Michigan. They have collaborated three times with the University of Michigan Men’s Glee Club – in 2012, 2019, and 2022 under the leadership of both Dr. Eugene Rogers and Prof. Mark Stover.

The members of DSA Voices of Distinction have performed with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Ms. Kathleen Battle, and for Sir. Sidney Poitier. They have traveled the country visiting colleges and auditioning for scholarships, performing for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Monument Foundation Fundraiser, singing at Carnegie Hall twice, and performing internationally at the Iholmbe Choral Festival in South Africa. This year the group will travel to Washington D.C. to perform at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts with Dr. Eugene Rogers to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” Speech. The Voices of Distinction, under the direction of Mr. Goods, continue to carry out the 30-year legacy of the Detroit School of Arts Vocal Department to bring to audiences a variety of genres of music in a most educational, entertaining and professional manner.

julian goods headshotJulian J. Goods, born in Pittsburgh, PA and raised in Chicago, IL, currently serves as Co-Director of Choirs at Detroit School of Arts. He is a two-time graduate of the University of Michigan, receiving a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education and a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting. While at the University of Michigan, Mr. Goods studied under Dr. Eugene Rogers, Prof. Daniel Washington, and Dr. James Kibbie and focused on making classrooms and teaching more diverse both in population and the Music being taught. In 2018, he traveled to South Africa where he learned about the South African choral music tradition, found ways to incorporate South African Music in the classroom, and served as a guest clinician for many choirs in the cities of Pretoria and Soweto.

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Along with his duties at Detroit School of Arts, Mr. Goods serves as organist at the historic Hartford Memorial Baptist Church in Detroit, MI. As an organist, Mr. Goods has appeared in recital at the University of Michigan Organ Conference, The National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc. Central Region Conference, and other major work concerts, including Handel’s Messiah, under the direction of Dr. Eugene Rogers. Mr. Goods has served as music director for several productions, including Basement Arts (Michigan) production of Crowns and Musket’s production of The Wiz. Beyond his skills at the piano and organ, Mr. Goods has performed as a vocalist in many venues and various productions, including the University Musical Society’s Porgy and Bess: Opera in Concert in 2018.