Inspired by the friendship between composers Florence Price and Margaret Bonds, whose mutual support helped them break down barriers to have their music heard in the classical music world of the early 20th century, “Rock My Soul” shines a light on the power of creative community at Walt Disney Concert Hall 111 S. Grand Avenue.
The phrase “Rock My Soul” has a long lineage and legacy: It is the leading lyric of a traditional Black American spiritual about expanding one’s being in every dimension and direction imaginable. The song title was later utilized by philosopher and educator bell hooks, who communicated about the importance of understanding the pursuit of love, a sense of community, and commitment to continuous exploration.
According to Julia Bullock’s curatorial statement, the sentiment of “Rock My Soul” isn’t an ethereal, intangible endeavor — it’s a call to express yourself, engage with everything within and around you-and find enjoyment while doing it.
The festival “Rock My Soul” with the LA Phil offers a diverse range of music with messages about historical recognition, liberation and fierce self empowerment. It highlights artists who speak to the need for accountability as a human collective.
Curated by Mercedes Cooper, Senior VP of Programming for Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY, “Rock My Soul” humanities programs include a performance by and conversation with Grammy Award-winning musician and “Queen Sugar” composer Meshell Ndegeocello, the participatory event Movie Soundtrack Yoga led by R&B Yoga founder Lauren Spearman, and a live performance by J’Nai Bridges followed by the film “Carmen Jones.”
“We are proud to amplify the vast and very special artistry of Black women in collaboration with the LA Phil,” said Cooper. “This series seeks to rediscover and reflect on the abundant contributions made by Black women, past and present, across musical genres in relation to storytelling. Our hope is that this exploration through music, movement and motion pictures conjures new imaginations for our future voices.”
Chaka Khan leads off the festival Sunday, Oct. 30, at 7:30 p.m. in Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S Grand Ave. Ten-time Grammy Award winner Chaka Khan is a live performer, songwriter, collaborator and the voice of hits “Sweet Thing,” “You Got the Love,” “I Feel For You,” “Tell Me Something Good” and the triumphant “I’m Every Woman.”
Movie Soundtrack Yoga will be held Saturday, Nov. 5, at 10 a.m. at The Ford (on stage) Laying a foundation for creativity and collaboration through wellness, yogis at all levels are invited to join an open-air class led by Lauren Spearman, founder of R&B Yoga. The morning’s playlist will feature songs by Black women from film and television soundtracks.
Rock My Soul: Symphonies for Youth are set for Saturday, Nov. 5, at 11 a.m. and Saturday, Nov. 19, at 11 a.m. at Walt Disney Concert Hall. The LA Phil believes in the power of music to spark imaginations and shape young lives. The Symphonies for Youth (SFY) concerts invite children ages 5 to 11 to soak up the sounds of a world-class orchestra while experiencing the thrill of live performance.
Come early for the popular self-guided art activities and fun for all ages throughout the space.
“An Evening with Meshell Ndegeocello,” featuring the music of “Queen Sugar” will be held Wednesday, Nov. 16, at 8 p.m. BP Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall. Join Ndegeocello, the award-winning singer-songwriter, bassist and composer behind Ava DuVernay’s television series “Queen Sugar” for an intimate evening of music and conversation.
“Carmen Jones” will be screened with live performance by J’Nai Bridges Tuesday, Nov. 22, at 7 p.m. Set to the music of Georges Bizet’s opera “Carmen” with updated lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, “Carmen Jones” began its life on stage and was famously translated to film in 1954 with an all-Black cast led by the iconic Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte.
For additional information about “Rock My Soul,” visit: laphil.com/rockmysoul. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at the LA Phil’s website: laphil.com. Programs, artists, prices and dates subject to change. Ticket limits may apply.
Prior to attending, audiences are encouraged to view the LA Phil’s updated safety guidelines posted on the website: laphil.com/safety.