DEEP RIVER: The Art of the Spiritual

Wednesday, February 28, at 7:30 pm

The Washington National Cathedral

“Stentorian” – Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times

Kevin Deas in Rehearsal at Washington National Cathedral

Filmed and Produced by Behrouz Jamali, Dimension Media 2017


Kevin Deas, bass-baritone

The Cathedral Choir

Choristers from the Metropolitan AME Church, Woodrow Wilson High School, Eastern High School, and Howard County high schools

Angel Gil-Ordóñez, conductor

Written and produced by Joseph Horowitz

Visual track by Peter Bogdanoff


Harry Burleigh (1866-1949) is a forgotten hero of American music. Antonin Dvorak’s assistant in New York City from 1892 to 1895, Burleigh was subsequently the composer/singer most responsible for turning spirituals into art songs. His “Deep River” (1915), a sensation in its day, took an obscure upbeat spiritual and turned it into the reverent song made famous by Burleigh, Marian Anderson, Paul Robeson, and countless others.