Miami University Symphony Orchestra releases music video featuring children's choir from India

Project pays tribute to the music of Florence Price in International Education Week celebration

By Susan Meikle, university news and communications, and Ricardo Averbach, director of orchestral studies

A new music video released by the Miami University Symphony Orchestra in collaboration with a choir based in Chennai, India, celebrates International Education Week, Nov. 16-20.

 “Adoration” is also a tribute to symphonic composer Florence Price (1887-1953), the first African-American woman to have a composition performed by a major orchestra.

Ricardo Averbach, director of orchestral studies at Miami, wanted to “celebrate Price’s music in a universal way.” He joined forces with Srinivas Krishnan, founder and artistic director of the Chennai, India-based LEAP Boundary Breakers children’s choir for the music video project. (Krishnan, Miami MEn. ’88, was founder and artistic director of Miami’s Global Rhythms program from 1995-2015).

Price’s “Adoration” was originally written as an instrumental composition, Averbach said. He and Krishnan connected with pastor Derrick Harkins, National Director of Interfaith Outreach for the Democratic National Committee, to write lyrics for the music.

Each member of the Miami University Symphony Orchestra (MUSO) recorded their part individually. The vocal parts and most of the video footage included dozens of school children who are part of LEAP Boundary Breakers choir, Averbach said. The recordings and video were combined into the final music video.

“The culmination of efforts over three months between students at Miami and India is a poetic vision of Florence Price through her music, as the sounds cross continents, breaking boundaries of racism and segregation, to become a symbol of inspiration in the memories of children and college students,” Averbach said.

“Our goal is to promote the music of a remarkable composer, and we are planning to perform Florence Price’s Piano Concerto live as soon as the pandemic is under control.”