St. Louis Symphony Orchestra Partnering with Morningstar Music Publishers in new IN UNISON Chorus Music Series, Championing Music by Black Composers and Arrangers

April 5, 2024

The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (SLSO) announced a new visionary partnership with MorningStar Music Publishers that will make sheet music of pieces performed and commissioned by the SLSO’s IN UNISON Chorus available worldwide. The collaboration will significantly broaden the impact of the IN UNISON Chorus of SLSO, a resident chorus in its 30th year that performs and preserves music from the African diaspora. The Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis, the largest public funder of the arts in St. Louis, proudly supported the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (SLSO). 

The IN UNISON Choral Series—as the collection of published scores is called—highlights and elevates Black composers and arrangers, deepening the portfolio for and improving access to music for combined choral and orchestral forces by these composers. Publication begins this spring. 

Marie-Hélène Bernard, SLSO President and CEO, said, “We are delighted that this new partnership will make music by Black composers and arrangers available for performance by ensembles internationally, advancing the mission of the IN UNISON Chorus. For 30 years, the IN UNISON Chorus has been a pioneering ensemble, meaningfully expanding the choral-orchestral repertoire of music by Black voices. This vital SLSO ensemble is a nexus of the institution’s community engagement initiatives, and the talents of its members demonstrate the vitality of the music they perform. MorningStar Music Publishers, with its strong network globally, is an essential partner in sharing this important body of music.” 

The series’ initial offerings include: 

“Lord, I Am Grateful,” by Emorja G. Roberson, Assistant Professor of Music and African American Studies at Oxford College of Emory University, first performed by the IN UNISON Chorus and the SLSO at the 2023 Lift Every Voice concert; and

“It’s Working” by Isaac Cates—a Missouri-based composer, pianist, vocalist, and teacher—an SLSO-commissioned piece for the IN UNISON Chorus that received its world premiere in February 2019 by the SLSO, IN UNISON Chorus, and soprano soloist Jennifer Kelley.  

Since its founding in 1994, the IN UNISON Chorus has performed several times each season with the SLSO, including the annual IN UNISON Christmas and Lift Every Voice: Celebrating Black History Month concerts, as well as a free community concert. Led by McBeth since 2011, the chorus continues to expand its range and impact while remaining focused on Black composers.


Photo credit: St. Louis Symphony Orchestra website