Sanctuary Road

Jarson Kaplan Theatre
SAT APR 29 at 7:30 pm

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PAUL MORAVEC: Sanctuary Road

Sanctuary Road by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Paul Moravec is the second of his “American historical oratorios” drawing on the astonishing stories found in William Still’s book The Underground Railroad. Regarded as the Father of the Underground Railroad, Still‘s meticulous documentation of the heroic and courageous stories of African American slaves escaping to freedom is transformed into a “modern choral masterpiece, representing struggle and hope in the best of the oratorio tradition” (Black Grooves).

Each time I returned to Moravec’s new composition my admiration for his work grew, and the music stayed with me long after I stopped listening.

The Classical Review

The relevance of Sanctuary Road (2017) in our present century cannot be overstated, analogous to that of Tippett’s A Child of our Time to wartime Britain.


Moravec’s largely tonal score is deeply affecting and conveys the many voices represented in Still’s writings, notably in the prologue’s gently overlapping melodic lines where name after name ripples among soloists and chorus.

Classical Music

VAE’s performance of Sanctuary Road is supported by the William O. Purdy, Jr. Foundation Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation and the Cincinnati Arts Association.

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