April 29, 2021
The first Black woman poet laureate and Pulitzer prize-winning poet and author, Rita Dove will be reading passages from her book, “Sonata Mulattica” in collaboration with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s to celebrate the life of the 19th-century Black violinist George Bridgetower, who performed with Beethoven before becoming completely erased from history after the two had an unfortunate falling out.
The Orchestra of St. Luke’s will perform classical pieces from Bridgetower’s era while Dove, whose book is a fictional biography of the Black musician and historical figure, will meld her passion for Bridgetower’s story with film and music as a part of a concert series entitled OSLive Wednesday Night Series ‘Sights and Sounds’ which will take place virtually on May 5.
Dove took time out of her busy schedule to speak to the Amsterdam News about this intriguing and unique collaboration. This is part 2 of her conversation about her work and interest in the life of George Bridgetower.
AmNews: How did your collaboration with the St. Luke’s Orchestra and the ‘Sights and Sounds’ series become a reality?
Rita Dove: Last fall, I got an email from the artistic director explaining what they had been doing during the pandemic. They had been planning a few concerts that were wedded to spoken word, something a little different. As a former musician, I was sympathetic to the plight of musicians [during the pandemic], and how to make the experience of a concert feel immediate while over the internet.
I liked their idea of doing a biographical concert for George Bridgetower in relation to Beethoven’s “Kreutzer Sonata” and dispersing the poems with other music of that era.
For more information about this upcoming concert visit: