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Past Events > 2021

51. Harry T Burleigh

16 October 2021, 13:30 - 16:00

Digital Concert Hall Click to access - watch on demand and view texts & translations

Enjoy the whole festival live online for £165 with a Digital Festival Pass. All events will be available on demand after broadcast until 30th November, so you can catch up at a time which suits you.

Harry T Burleigh was one of the most influential figures in the history of American song: an African American composer and singer whose works were performed far and wide and helped shape the sound of American music. Burleigh was hugely well-known as a singer (he travelled extensively in Europe and the UK, singing for King Edward VII and visiting Oxford) and he wrote songs that were widely admired and performed, but it was with the publication of his arrangement of the spiritual ‘Deep River’ that he achieved real celebrity status.

American scholar Jean E Snyder, Harry T Burleigh’s biographer, introduces this fascinating figure, firstly giving an overview of his life and the significance of his art songs. She then examines the immense fame that came with the publication of 'Deep River' and subsequent arrangements of spirituals, and the degree to which these arrangements overshadowed his original song compositions. Jean Snyder is joined by the eminent soprano Louise Toppin and pianist Ann Sears, both of whom are also experts in Harry Burleigh’s music.


This event is an in-person and livestreamed event. Livestreamed performances will be available to watch live in our Digital Concert Hall at the advertised performance time and will be available to watch again and on demand until the end of November.

Want to watch this concert in person and at home? 'Hybrid' tickets, valid both in person and for the Digital Concert Hall, are also available for an additional £3 to the in-person price.

All our seating is unreserved. This means you are guaranteed a seat in your chosen area, but not a specific seat. In order to allow for social distancing, you will be seated as an individual or as a group, based on the number of tickets you booked for this concert.

For groups of more than 10, please phone or email the box office to book your tickets.

The performance duration is approximately 2 hours with one 30 minute break.


(Online bookings only)

Book five or more concerts at the same time: 5% discount

Book ten or more concerts at the same time: 10% discount

Book fifteen or more concerts at the same time: 15% discount

For even further discounts click here for more information on our Festival Passes.

Tickets for both in-person and the Digital Concert Hall will be issued as eTickets by default. Printed tickets are available on request, for an additional fee.


Due to COVID-19 we have to do things a little differently this year. In order to keep everyone safe, our seating and concert conditions are subject to change in line with changing government guidance.

For more information about our COVID-19 safety measures, please click here.

If you are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 on the day of the concert, please do not attend, but get in touch with our box office to arrange a refund.

Artist Portrait

Jean E. Snyder

Jean E. Snyder


Jean E. Snyder is an ethnomusicologist who has taught in Kenya and Zambia, and at several colleges and universities in Pennsylvania.
Artist Portrait

Louise Toppin

Louise Toppin


Louise Toppin, finalist in the Munich International Competition and winner of the Metropolitan Opera regional auditions, has received critical acclaim for her operatic, orchestral, and oratorio performances in the United States, Czech Republic, Scotland, Japan, China, Uruguay, Sweden, the Caribbean, Bermuda, New Zealand, England, and Spain. She has appeared in recital on concert series including Carnegie Hall (Weill Recital Hall), Lincoln Center, Merkin Hall, Licieu Theatre in Barcelona, Spain and the International Albeniz Festival in Campro... Read Full Biography
Artist Portrait

Ann Sears

Ann Sears


Ann Sears is Professor of Music and Director of Performance at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, where she teaches piano and courses in American music. Currently she is director of the Evelyn Danzig Haas ’39 Visiting Arts Program and holder of the Mary Heuser Endowed Chair in the Arts. She holds degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music, Arizona State University, and The Catholic University of America, where her doctoral dissertation was about American art song in turn-of-the-century Boston. She has presented paper... Read Full Biography
Artist Portrait

Alan Williams

Alan Williams


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This event is part of a series:

Nature's Songbook

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