One World Symphony gets "Defiant" Sung Jin Hong, creator of One World Symphony. Photo by Jaka Vinsek.

One World Symphony gets "Defiant"

Jenna Simeonov

On January 22 New York City’s “hippest orchestra,” the One World Symphony, presents a fascinating - and important - concert programme, titled Defiant.

Conductor, composer, and founder of One World Symphony, Sung Jin Hong has brought into one evening the old and the new, exposing what truly is timeless about a society which names and challenges unhealthy leadership. The programme includes Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, Margaret Allison Bonds’ The Negro Speaks of Rivers (1942) featuring soprano Sonya Headlam, and two world premieres composed by Sung Jin Hong himself. His symphonic adaptation of Charlie Chaplin’s famed speech from 1940’s The Great Dictator certainly resonates with our lives in 2017; also debuting is his Shaken Me To My Core, a musical setting of Michelle Obama’s 2016 address condemning the harassment and abuse of women.

Sonya Headlam, soprano, performing in Margaret Allison Bonds’ The Negro Speaks of Rivers and Sung Jin Hong’s Shaken Me To My Core, with the One World Symphony. Photo: Iconography By Eric & Christopher.

Defiance is truly the theme of this programme. Beethoven defied his deafness, Chaplin and Obama the violence and hatred of their times, and composers like Margaret Allison Bonds and Valerie Capers (the first blind composer to graduate from Juilliard) produced their work defiantly amid the racism, ableism, and sexism that pervaded their lives.

The One World Symphony in performance. Photo by Jaka Vinsek.

In fact, One World Symphony is offering two free tickets to audience members who can identify the 40 defiant faces in their concert poster (also found below); as a bonus, audiences can also earn a pair of free tickets to an upcoming One World concert, if they can explain why each of the people in the poster is defiant.

Defiant happens January 22, 8pm, at Church of the Holy Apostles, 296 Ninth Avenue, New York. For full details about the programme, and to purchase tickets, follow our box office links below. For more, read Adrienne Metzinger’s interview with Lynn Frederick Hawley, Executive Director of the Sexual Assault & Violence Intervention Program.

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