The Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra will feature mezzo-soprano soloist Allison Sanders in a culturally diverse program during its Investar Bank Masterworks V concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 17, in the Baton Rouge River Center Theatre for the Performing Arts, 275 St. Louis St.

Sanders will join the orchestra, led by musical director and conductor Timothy Muffitt, in Brian Gaber’s “Ancestral Waters,” a piece never performed live, only recorded.

The all-American themed concert will open with Samuel Barber’s “First Essay for Orchestra,” a work with one theme explored from several different perspectives. The climax of the essay occurs with an acceleration of tempo and the most complex and fragmented manifestation of the theme.

The second piece of the evening will afford the BRSO the privilege of a world premiere. “Ancestral Waters” by American composer Brian Gaber is a work of two poems. The first is “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” by American Langston Hughes and the second is “The Old Sea Chain” by Ghanaian Joe Coleman de Graft.

Sanders will perform this culturally-diverse tapestry that weaves elements of Western concert music, jazz and traditional West African song.

The night will close with thematic coherence in Antonin Dvorak’s “Symphony No. 9 in E minor From the New World.”

Sanders, of Memphis, Tenn., is a recent graduate of The Curtis Institute of Music. While studying, she performed such operatic roles as Dido in Dido and Aeneas, Melibea in Il Viaggio a Reims, Lisak in The Cunning Little Vixen, Elettra in Idomeneo, Marguerite in Faust and Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra. She also has performed numerous roles with the Opera Company of Philadelphia, which include Giovanna in Rigoletto, Clotilde in Norma, Bianca in The Rape of Lucretia, and Flora in La Traviata. She also has performed numerous operas and concerts with Opera North of Philadelphia.

Recently, Sanders was seen as the title role in Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha with New York City Opera.

Meanwhile, ticket holders are invited to the concert hall an hour prior for a pre-concert discussion, Concert Conversations, with Muffitt. This feature allows patrons to gain insight into composers’ lives, historical background of pieces, and other pieces of musical knowledge. Tickets are $25-$55.

For tickets or more information, call (225) 383-0500, ext. 100 or visit

Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra