Do you remember May of the year 2020? It was a time that I know you and I will never forget, but it’s also a time that generations to come will always remember as well, thanks, in part, to this piece of music. Hi there – my name’s Garrett McQueen, and on this edition of Noteworthy, I’d like to shine a light on the composer of this work – a man named Carlos Simon.

Carlos Simon is a rising star in the world of composition, with performances and premieres offered by orchestras coast to coast. In 2021 he was awarded the Sphinx Medal of Excellence, and he’s since been a repeated name in concert halls, conservatories, and news media.

Not long after receiving the Sphinx Medal of Excellence, Carlos was commissioned by the Minnesota Orchestra to write a symphonic response to the murder of George Floyd. He teamed up with librettist Marc Bamuthi Joseph, and together, they created a work for orchestra, chorus, and spoken word titled, Brea(d)th.

While Brea(d)th is only one of Carlos Simon’s many works, it’s impact on audiences has been historic, creating community among first-time concert goers and seasoned vets, alike. This, coupled with his dedication to serving the next generation of composers, solidifies his place as one of America’s most noteworthy composers.

Noteworthy is a production of WDAV classical public radio.