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Redefining American Sound

Composer Damien Geter Visits Trinity IB Music Students
Damien Geter is on a quest to “redefine the American sound,” as he recently described his artistic goals to students in IB Music class in a January visit to Trinity. 

Composer in Residence for the Richmond Symphony, Geter infuses classical music with various styles from the Black diaspora. His growing body of work includes chamber, vocal, orchestral and full operatic works. He has been commissioned by Virginia Opera to create a new opera called “Loving vs. Virginia,” a musical telling of the famous Supreme Court decision in 1967 striking down a Virginia state law that violated the 14th amendment to allow interracial marriage in the Commonwealth. 

Geter spoke to students about his creative process, answered questions regarding the future of classical music and offered professional advice to our Titans. “Opera is in a renaissance era now, the classics are the foundations to new art,” he said. “I’m excited about the future of orchestra as more representation is brought to the artform.” 

Using creative influences from Luther Vandross, The Commodores and Anita Baker, he visualizes a new opera on stage using staging cues to help him write sections of music. His professional advice for musicians, “Be nice to everyone you meet,” he said. “You never know how your influence will affect others and don’t be afraid to network to get your art seen and heard.”

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