When Roosevelt University music alumnus Adrian Dunn returns to his alma mater during Black History Month, he will offer a new perspective on what it’s like to be Black in America and the performing arts.
Dunn, a Chicago entrepreneur and music innovator to watch, will share his story of redemption on Feb. 18 and direct a performance of spirituals and gospel songs on Feb. 25 from his new album, Redemption, which tells stories through spirituals, gospel songs and the spoken word about police killings of LaQuan McDonald, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Philando Castile and others.
“The reality is African Americans haven’t progressed enough since slavery ended,” said Dunn, a critically acclaimed multi-genre artist who will headline this month’s Chicago College of Performing Arts (CCPA) residency project.
“Redemption not only captures the Black experience in a powerful way,” remarked Dunn, who will be joined by The Adrian Dunn Singers in conveying the message that Black lives – and Black music – matter. “It also is intended to provide the kind of redemption that these young men deserve.”
An accomplished multi-genre singer, songwriter and producer, Dunn received a bachelor’s of music degree from Roosevelt in 2006 and a master’s of music degree in vocal performance in 2016.
A MacArthur grant recipient for his original work Hopera: A Hip Hop Opera, the Roosevelt alumnus has sung with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Grant Park Symphony Orchestra and the North Shore Choral Society, among others. Since graduation, he has worked with many gospel greats including Tremaine Hawkins, Myron Butler, Melonie Daniels and Troy Bright, and was named album producer of the year for AME Live featuring the AME International Mass Choir by the Rhythm of Gospel Awards.
“We're thrilled to host Adrian as our alumnus-in-residence this year. His ability to challenge people and perspectives on how to confront injustice through the arts inspires all of us to think about how we can be a part of the solution,” said Allegra Montanari, director of CCPA’s Center for Arts Leadership.
Dunn will tell his personal story of struggling as a Black man to succeed in a classical music environment long dominated by Whites during a session called “Redemption: How Music Saved My Life, Can Save Black Lives, and the Soul of America,” at 12:30 p.m. Feb. 18 in Roosevelt’s 10th floor Wabash Building, 425 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago.
“Performance of ‘Redemption’ with Adrian Dunn, The Adrian Dunn Singers and the Roosevelt University Orchestra” will be at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 25 in Roosevelt’s seventh floor Ganz Hall, 430 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.
As part of the residency, Dunn, a noted guest artist and lecturer at churches, colleges and universities around the country, has been appointed as an adjunct voice professor in CCPA’s Theatre Conservatory.
“Adrian is comfortable in a lot of different genres, which today’s musical theatre students need to have familiarity with,” said Nadine Gomes, a lecturer in voice and coordinator of the Theatre Conservatory’s voice faculty. “As an entrepreneur and music innovator, he also will be a role model for our students of color.”
To see and hear Dunn and The Adrian Dunn Singers visit the links below: