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On November 19, 2020, All Classical Portland will broadcast the world premiere of two new works, commissioned by the station in June: a string quartet by composer Damien Geter, and a poem by writer and Creative Revolutionist™ S. Renee Mitchell. “These collaborations are a continuation of All Classical Portland’s commitment to building a more diverse and inclusive soundscape in America” said Suzanne Nance, President and CEO.

Damien Geter’s String Quartet No. 1 “Neo-Soul” will be performed by local musicians from the Portland area, and is scored for traditional string quartet–two violins, cello, and viola. In response to the station’s commission request, Geter shared that “giving traditionally underrepresented composers the platform to musically express aspects of their culture, proclaiming its joys and the sorrows, will shift our ideas about how we perceive American music in the future.”

In her newly commissioned poem, S. Renee Mitchell will share “empowering words – through a poetic form – that provide a reminder of the necessity of joy during a tumultuous time.” Drawing inspiration from the words “joy,” “legacy,” and “voice,” Mitchell’s newly commissioned poem will represent a first-of-its-kind partnership between classical music radio and a contemporary poet.

Read more: July 29, 2020 Press Release


damien geter at piano Photo credit: Leah Nash

Damien Geter, Composer

Composer Damien Geter infuses classical music with various styles from the black diaspora to create music that furthers the cause for social justice. Also, a professionally trained, classical singer, Damien’s 2019-2020 season includes appearances with the Metropolitan Opera, Seattle Opera, Eugene Opera, Resonance Ensemble, and Third Angle New Music. His most recent composition, The Talk: Instructions for Black Children When They Interact with the Police, was premiered with Resonance Ensemble in June 2019. Video below. 

Damien is thrilled about the upcoming production of An African American Requiem, commissioned by Resonance Ensemble and presented by the Oregon Symphony. The requiem in nineteen movements honors the victims of racially motivated violence against African Americans, incorporating traditional text and musical components with spirituals, texts from civil rights activists, and the words of African Americans who have personally suffered at the hands of law enforcement and in the name of racially motivated violence. Scheduled for January 2021, the world premiere performance of An African American Requiem will be simulcast by All Classical Portland and its partners at WQXR in New York City.

Damien was recently featured on All Classical Portland’s program The State of the Arts. Audio below. 

THE TALK: Instructions for Black Children When They Interact with the Police

S. Renee Mitchell

S. Renee Mitchell is well-known for her years as a columnist for The Oregonian, where she was nominated twice for the prestigious Pulitzer Prize and named the No.1 newspaper columnist in five western states by the Society of Professional Journalists regional chapter.

Today, she is best described as a Creative Revolutionist™, which includes being a keynote speaker, novelist,  educator, playwright, spoken word poet, lyricist, curriculum designer, and multi-media heARTivist. Her authentic effervescence will remind you of a unique combination of Oprah and poet Maya Angelou.

Renee is also the visionary behind I Am M.O.R.E. (Making Ourselves Resilient Everyday), a heART-focused youth development program. She is developing I Am M.O.R.E.’s theory of change, called Empowered Resilience™ , as a doctoral candidate at the University of Oregon (2021). Renee intends to create a national example of how to empower and build hope and resiliency in youth of color with profound love, culturally relevant social-emotional skill-building, and culturally centered youth participatory evaluation and youth voice-centered programming.

Renee was recently featured on All Classical Portland’s program The State of the Arts. Audio below. 

renee mitchell Photo credit: Elijah Hasan

I Am MORE - Women Singing Women

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Donor Engagement Coordinator & JOY Program Director


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