PCE’s American Roots Initiative explores little-known chapters in the history of African-American music.

The central participant is our Resident Artist, Kevin Deas – a supreme exponent of the spiritual in concert.

American Roots began with a “Dvorak and America” festival at the Clarice Smith Center in 2012 – at which our “Hiawatha Melodrama” received its world premiere performance. The subsequent PCE recording, on Naxos, was named one of the best CDs of the year by Minnesota Public Radio.

Subsequent American Roots concerts and festivals include our multi-media Harry Burleigh tribute “Deep River: The Art of the Spiritual” — which has generated a webcast, a film, and touring productions (most recently, at Virginia Tech University).

PCE American Roots programs with Kevin Deas have been presented at the Washington National Cathedral, the Phillips Collection, Georgetown University (“The Star of Ethiopia: Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Historic Visits to DC”), Howard University, the University of the District of Columbia, and by the DC Youth Orchestra.

American Roots has generated educational visits to Howard University, the Duke Ellington School of the Performing Arts, the AME Methodist Church, the DC Youth Orchestra, and Sandy Spring Friends School. It has welcomed the participation of choruses from DC public schools and churches.

PCE’s American Roots Films include:

“The Black Virtuoso Tradition”

“Deep River: The Art of the Spiritual”