Contemporary music by living composers and
grand opera evoke a wide range of human emotion

April 24  2021


Apsáalooke hip-hop artist and fancy dancer Supaman brings Native American spiritual traditions to his performances.

Inspirational Sounds


In his late period, Giuseppe Verdi envisioned operas that were grandiose spectacles with music that was sung passionately. Gloria all’Egitto (Glory to Egypt) is the triumphant victory march in Verdi’s Aïda, one of his most opulent operas.

One of the most performed living composers in the world, Estonian Arvo Pärt is often identified with the school of mystic or holy minimalism. Fratres (Brothers) has been described as a “mesmerizing set of variations on a six-bar theme combining frantic activity and sublime stillness that encapsulates Pärt’s observation that ‘the instant and eternity are struggling within us.’”


A spiritual encounter led Christian Parrish Takes the Gun, aka Supaman, to to bend the influence hip hop culture was having on him toward more meaningful and inspirational topics. Now, Supaman has dedicated his life to spreading a message of hope, pride, and resilience as his shows take him around the country and the world. Growing up in Crow Agency, Montana, he began dancing at powwows and writing poetry in elementary school, and later, writing rap. Fusing compassion with spiritual concepts in his music, Supaman is known for performing while wearing traditional fancy dance regalia. In Prayer Loop Song, he uses various instruments, including drum and ute, while beatboxing, rapping and remixing Native tracks. YouTube videos for this track and Why have received millions of online views.

The winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Music for her violin concerto and three Grammy Awards for Best Contemporary Classical Composition, Jennifer Higdon’s works have been recorded on more than four dozen CDs. Her most popular work, blue cathedral, a one-movement tone poem dealing with the death of her younger brother from cancer, has been performed by more than 400 orchestras. One critic stated, “The music seems to emit and reflect light as it moves from stillness to exuberance and back again, tapering off ethereally.” Another called it “an otherworldly atmosphere of floating sound."

Aaron Copland is one of America’s most beloved composers, known for Pulitzer-winning Appalachian Spring and Fanfare for the Common Man. The stunning, vast landscapes of America and his concern for the plight of Depression-era sharecroppers inspired his opera The Tender Land. One of its best-known songs, The Promise of Living, is a glorious choral tribute to the pioneer spirit and the hopes and dreams of ordinary Americans.