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The Princeton Festival Celebrates Juneteenth with Will Liverman and Free Community Events

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originally published: 06/09/2023

The Princeton Festival Celebrates Juneteenth with Will Liverman and Free Community Events

Will Liverman, photo by Daniel Welch

(PRINCETON, NJ) -- On Monday, June 19 at Morven Museum & Garden, the Princeton Festival caps a day of events celebrating Juneteenth with a special performance by GRAMMY Award-winning, Metropolitan Opera star Will Liverman. The baritone performs art songs set to texts by Laurence Hope, Langston Hughes, and Louise C. Wallace, with music by Black composers, including Damien Sneed, Margaret Bonds, and Florence Price, with pianist Kevin Miller. The event begins at 7:00pm.

Leading up to the vocal recital are a community Juneteenth flag-raising ceremony and the opening of the “Beyond Freedom” art installation at Morven’s Stockton Education Center featuring a talk by Arts Against Racism founder Rhinold Lamar Ponder. The Juneteenth Celebration is presented in partnership with the Municipality of Princeton.

Will Liverman had his “breakout performance” as Charles in Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones, during the Met’s 2021-22 season. With this role, he won the 2023 GRAMMY Award for Best Opera Recording. The Met announced that Liverman is to star in Anthony Davis’ X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X in the fall of 2023. This production is the second opera by a Black composer in the company’s history. Liverman is accompanied by American pianist and collaborator Kevin J. Miller. Most recently, Miller worked with international tenor Joseph Calleja and Nadine Sierra in a recital at the Supreme Court of the United States. He was also featured on NPR’s TIny Desk Concert Series while accompanying Joseph Calleja.

Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) Executive Director Marc Uys and administrative head of the Princeton Festival says of the organization’s collaboration with the Municipality of Princeton, “It’s a great partnership as we are looking to foster a sense of community pride coupled with arts relevancy.”

At noon, the Municipality of Princeton invites the community to join officials during a brief flag-raising ceremony commemorating Juneteenth, outdoors at 1 Monument Hall.

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The “Beyond Freedom” exhibit opens at 2:00pm with Arts Against Racism founder Rhinold Lamar Ponder’s talk entitled, “Reclaiming Humanity Through Art.” The talk is a discussion of the role of the arts and creatives in the perpetual efforts to restate and reclaim the humanity of those impacted by the legacy of slavery and its aftermath. The free exhibit will be open to the public until 6:00pm Monday, and again on Wednesday, June 21 from 5:00pm-7:00pm and Saturday, June 24 from 4:00pm-6:30pm.

The Princeton Festival Celebrates Juneteenth with Will Liverman and Free Community Events

Rhinold Lamar Ponder

Tickets for the Will Liverman performance at Morven Museum and Garden are $20 for general admission, youths 5-17 receive a 50% discount with an adult purchase. Visit the Princeton Symphony Orchestra webpage at or call (609) 497-0020.

The Princeton Festival is the Princeton Symphony Orchestra’s flagship summer program showcasing the performing arts. Founded in 2004, the Princeton Festival quickly established a reputation for artistic excellence and innovative programming. Every year in June, thousands of people from the mid-Atlantic region and beyond come to the Festival to enjoy the quality and variety of its programs. Offerings include opera, musical theater, dance, orchestra and chamber music, and a constantly evolving selection of other genres, including jazz, world music, choral concerts, and country music. The Festival has long-standing partnerships with public libraries and local churches, and promotes life-long learning in the arts through free educational lectures presented to a wide and diverse community. 

Health and Safety: The Princeton Symphony Orchestra is closely monitoring and adhering to the New Jersey Department of Health’s COVID-19 Requirements. Princeton Festival attendees will receive information regarding safety procedures, entry, seating directions, etc. in advance of their selected live performance(s).

Accessibility: The Princeton Symphony Orchestra is committed to ensuring all programming is accessible for everyone, working with venues such as Morven Museum & Garden and Trinity Church to provide needed services. Contact ADA Coordinator Kitanya Khateri for questions about available services at or 609-905-0973. Note: some services require at least two weeks’ notice to arrange.

Programs, artists, dates, and times are subject to change.

The Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) is a cultural centerpiece of the Princeton community and one of New Jersey’s finest music organizations, a position established through performances of beloved masterworks, innovative music by living composers, and an extensive network of educational programs offered to area students free of charge. Led by Edward T. Cone Music Director Rossen Milanov, the PSO presents orchestral, pops, and chamber music programs of the highest artistic quality, supported by lectures and related events that supplement the concert experience. Its flagship summer program the Princeton Festival brings an array of performing arts and artists to Princeton during multiple weeks in June. Through PSO BRAVO!, the orchestra produces wide-reaching and impactful education programs in partnership with local schools and arts organizations that culminate in students attending a live orchestral performance. The PSO receives considerable support from the Princeton community and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, regularly garnering NJSCA’s highest honor. Recognition of engaging residencies and concerts has come from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the PSO’s commitment to new music has been acknowledged with an ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming and a Copland Fund Award. The only independent, professional orchestra to make its home in Princeton, the PSO performs at historic Richardson Auditorium on the campus of Princeton University.



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