Who: Thapelo Masita
What: MetLiveArts digital world premiere
Where: Facebook and YouTube
When: Sunday, June 21, free, 7:30
Why: In celebration of World Music Day, the Met will livestream the world premiere of a performance by South African cello virtuoso Thapelo Masita recorded June 15 at the Met Cloisters, in the Unicorn Tapestries Room. “In times of turmoil, we all choose to focus on that which is most essential in our lives. Our species has survived this way for thousands of years. Only once all danger has subsided do we try to heal,” Masita explains on the Met website. “For me, the challenges the world faces today demand that we rethink this process. I believe that it is during this time, while we are in the fiery furnace, that we must transform our thinking so that we might come out better than we were before. The alternative is far too dangerous.” The thirty-minute concert features songs chosen very specifically for these difficult times, amid the coronavirus crisis and national protests decrying police brutality against people of color. Masita adds, “The music you will hear is a meditation on this very idea. A conversation between J. S. Bach, Negro spirituals, South African hymns, and Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, this program is a metaphor for the kind of transformation we so deeply need. If all this music can work together to create a sound-world full of love, joy, peace, and belonging, then so can we. After all, we wrote it.” Masita will perform “There Is a Balm in Gilead,” Bach’s Solo Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007 (Prelude, Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Minuet I/II, Gigue), “Ha Le Mpotsa Tshepo Yaka” (“When Asked Wherein My Hope Lies”), “Amazing Grace,” and the Perpetual Motion section of Perkinson’s Black/Folk Song Suite for Solo Cello (“Lamentations”).