In early May, evening host and Resident Artist Lara Downes presented a sold-out SKY Concert with author and cultural commentator John McWhorter. The throughline for the concert was the music and legacy of Scott Joplin, as they discussed his opera Treemonisha, and some of the contradictions that shape our American life. The performance and conversation took place in the Bowes Center for the Performing Arts concert space that overlooks San Francisco’s City Hall and Davies Symphony Hall.
John McWhorter teaches Linguistics, Western Civilization, and Music History at Columbia University, has written New York Times best-selling books on the topics of linguistics and race. Lara Downes recently recorded an album called Reflections: Scott Joplin Reconsidered. Together they trace the lineage of Black music in America using Joplin’s works as a guide.