Shenandoah Conservatory is delighted to announce that Marc Bamuthi Joseph, a spoken-word poet, dancer, playwright and actor who frequently directs stand-alone hip-hop theater and current vice president and artistic director of social impact at the Kennedy Center, will serve as its honored guest and speaker for this year’s Conservatory Convocation.
Convocation takes place at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 30, in Ohrstrom-Bryant Theatre. Each year, Conservatory Convocation welcomes incoming and returning conservatory students with a dynamic lineup of music, theatre and dance performances showcasing the conservatory’s extraordinary student artists. The event also features a keynote address by a noted arts leader.
Bamuthi is a 2017 TED Global Fellow, an inaugural recipient of the Guggenheim Social Practice initiative and an honoree of the United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship. He is also the winner of the 2011 Herb Alpert Award in Theatre and an inaugural recipient of the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. In the spring of 2022, he was elected into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
In pursuit of affirmations of Black life in the public realm, Bamuthi co-founded the Life is Living Festival for Youth Speaks, and created the installation “Black Joy in the Hour of Chaos” for Creative Time. Joseph’s opera libretto, “We Shall Not Be Moved,” was named one of 2017’s “Best Classical Music Performances” by The New York Times. His newest opera, “Watch Night,” will premiere at New York’s Perelman Center under the direction of Bill T. Jones in the fall of 2023. His piece “The Just and the Blind” investigates fatherhood in the age of mass incarceration, and premiered at a sold-out performance at Carnegie Hall in March 2019. Bamuthi is currently at work on commissions for Yale University, the Albany Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera, The Minnesota Orchestra, The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, and the Washington National Opera as well as a new collaboration with NYC Ballet Artistic Director Wendy Whelan set to premiere at Lincoln Center.
An emergent screen talent, he is among the featured performers in HBO’s screen adaptation of “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehesi Coates. Formerly the chief of program and pedagogy at YBCA in San Francisco, Bamuthi currently serves as the vice president and artistic director of social impact at The Kennedy Center. A proud alumnus of Morehouse College, Bamuthi received an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the California College of Arts in 2022.
Conservatory Convocation is for current Shenandoah Conservatory students, faculty and staff; it is not open to the general public.