The Beauty of the Protest (2016)
The Beauty of the Protest was inspired by the work of photographer Devin Allen. In striking black & white images on Instagram, Allen told the story of the 2015 Baltimore Uprising as only a local artist could, offering a necessary counterbalance to the often one-dimensional narrative presented by the national media. My title comes from Allen’s words in a New York Times interview: "I wanted people to see the beauty of the protest."
"As a prelude to Rise, cellist Lavena Johanson performed The Beauty of the Protest, a new work titled after a comment by photographer Devin Allen, whose chronicle of the Baltimore unrest drew widespread attention and admiration. In an interview, Allen spoke of his desire for 'people to see the beauty of the protest.' Adashi provides a way for people to hear it. The score, which calls on the cellist to do some singing while playing, suggests a solemn incantation, launched by an opening theme with a rise-and-fall motion, and fueled by reiterative harmonic patterns. The textually spare vocal part adds a haunting touch. Johanson performed the piece admirably." -Tim Smith, Baltimore Sun