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Terence Blanchard: Fire Shut Up in My Bones—Excerpts in Concert

Featuring E-Collective, Turtle Island Quartet, and Andrew F. Scott with guest singers
Nicholas Newton and Adrienne Danrich

Within a body of work described as “one of the broadest and most imposing of any living jazz musician” (New York Times), Terence Blanchard’s Grammy-winning masterpiece Fire Shut Up in My Bones offers a hybrid classical/jazz/R&B/gospel-inflected score to tell the story of a young man’s journey to overcome and transcend a life of trauma and hardship. The work is based on New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow’s widely acclaimed memoir, and this concert presentation offers excerpts from the opera performed by the composer, his E-Collective ensemble, the Turtle Island String Quartet, and two guest singers against a backdrop of video projections by Andrew F. Scott. Blanchard has been a consistent artistic force for making powerful musical statements, and Fire Shut Up in My Bones reflects the Black experience in this country today as few other operas have done. 


A 2024 NEA Jazz Master and a member of the 2024 class of awardees for the esteemed American Academy of Arts and Letters, Terence Blanchard has been a consistent artistic force for making powerful musical statements concerning painful American tragedies. Blanchard stands tall as one of jazz’s most esteemed trumpeters as well as a prolific composer for film television, opera, Broadway, orchestras and for his E-Collective ensemble. An eight-time Grammy winner and twice Oscar-nominated film composer, Blanchard has composed the scores for over 60 film projects (including extensive work with Spike Lee) and some 20 solo albums. New York’s Lincoln Center recently completed its year-long celebration of Terence Blanchard, who also moves into his second year as executive artistic director for SFJAZZ. 


Fire Shut Up in My Bones is Blanchard’s second opera. Opera Theatre of Saint Louis premiered the work in 2019, but the season-opening performance at the Metropolitan Opera in September 2021—the first work in the renowned institution’s 138 years written by an African American composer—received unparalleled success reaching thousands of people for its eight performances and The MET: LIVE in HD broadcasts in theaters all over the world. “There’s nothing like it,” Blanchard says. “It’s the greatest form of musical theatre that I’ve ever experienced. And to open the Met’s season is very special. I wish my father could see it.” Fire was reprised at The MET last season as well as produced by Lyric Opera of Chicago.  


This performance addresses adult themes and contains adult language. 

Patron Sponsors

  • Cecile & Ira Lebenson

Event Details

Colwell Playhouse
Th Feb 27, 2025 - 7:30pm CT