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The Eastman Project
Summer 2022

‘The Deification Suite’ is a project born from vocal artist, lyricist, and composer, Joshua Banbury’s research on the ancient cultural traditions that inform his practice of singing today - and his subsequent reflections on what it means to be a black American classical singer in the Western world. Inspired by melodies of ancient and contemporary India, Israel, North Africa, and the Americas, the piece is a mosaic of original sung and spoken poetry, stories, and contemplations about the journey to manhood, self-deification, and enlightenment. ‘The Deification Suite’ is a collaboration with composer, conductor, and multi-instrumentalist, Kevin Sherwin and The American Romantics Orchestra. 

Joshua Banbury is a twenty-six-year-old vocalist, and librettist. Originally from Austin, Texas, he is now gaining international attention for his work in opera, folk music, and jazz. He is currently in residence at The American Lyric Theatre and at Soho House Austin.

Most recently, Joshua made his solo debut at Lincoln Center with The New York Philharmonic, presented by The National Black Theater and Anthony Roth Costanzo.

He has been engaged as a classical and jazz vocalist by institutions such as The National Young Arts Foundation, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Sawdust, Glimmerglass Opera, Google NYC, The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and The New School.
Joshua’s operas have been presented by The American Lyric Theater, The Kennedy Center, Fort Worth Opera, The National Symphony Orchestra, and The Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts. In addition, a ten-minute opera, entitled The Burning Bush, will debut at Washington National Opera in Spring 2022.

​Joshua is a proud graduate of The New School and the Austin School for Performing and Visual Arts and The New School.


This summer, Joshua will co-compose and record musical selections inspired by the sounds of the ancient world, accompanied by The American Baroque Orchestra, under the direction of Kevin Sherwin.

 

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Kevin Sherwin is a composer and musician with performances including his solo debuts as guitarist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and Regent Hall in London, England. He has written music for films that have screened at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, the OUTshine LGBTQ+ Film Festival, NYC Chain Film Festival, and others. He wrote the score for James Patrick Nelson’s short films “Without Touch” and "Waking Up," which are both streaming on Dekkoo/Amazon. 

As a conductor, he is co-founder and Principal Conductor of the American Romantics, an orchestral collective dedicated to re-imagining performance practices for new contexts and original composition projects. As well, he is the Associate Artistic Director of the American Baroque Orchestra, through which he conceived and directed the project “Hebrew Song and Splendor: Music of the Esnoga,” which featured premiere recordings of rare manuscripts from the 18th century Portuguese Synagogue of Amsterdam. Through both organizations, he has been an Artistic Ambassador for Carnegie Hall’s Link Up Program. As an extension of his work as a conductor and researcher, he has given presentations at the University of Oxford, the New School, Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, and the University of Louisville.

In musical theater, he was a featured lyricist and composer at the “The Passing Show,” produced by Ben West at the Pershing Square Signature Theater. Other concert highlights include performing at Joe’s Pub and with violist Mark Bailey at the University of Cambridge. Kevin has been a music researcher for Steve Miller in association with Jazz at Lincoln Center. His recent EP with vocalist Joshua Banbury is titled “Forgotten Folklore,” which shares the stories and music of America’s forgotten communities. 

Kevin received his BA from Yale, and previously studied guitar at the Juilliard School, and his primary teachers include Tali Roth, Christopher Ladd, and Mark Bailey. Kevin is also an alumni of the National YoungArts Foundation as an award winner in Music.