PORTLAND — Out of the ashes, music rises. The future of classical music is here, and it’s in Portland, Maine.

In a moment when arts organizations across the globe are struggling, Emily Isaacson, 2018 Maine Artist of the Year, is using the pandemic to radically rethink live performance, classical music, and community arts. The result, Classical Uprising, is a performing arts organization that operates as a service agency.

“The pandemic has put a spotlight on the loneliness of modern existence,” says Isaacson. “We’ve lost the richness of community life and the meaningful social support that comes with it. The best art taps into our shared human experiences and shared emotions, so as we envision and build a post-COVID society, let’s employ music to restore our communities and live performances to feel alive again.”

Over the next five months, Classical Uprising brings four programs into the community and into homes to create connection, cultivate hope, and inspire.

Amazing Grace uses music to explore Black history in America through the present day. Featuring international music sensation Reginald Mobley and GRAMMY-nominated singer-composer Jonathan Woody, the program facilitates dialogue around difficult conversations and asks how we can drive purposeful change through art. A collaboration with the Sanford Performing Arts Center and the Handel and Haydn Society. Premiering at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 6, then available for free streaming | Companion webpage connecting to anti-racism resources and Maine-based advocacy organizations

Thanks in Variations is Portland’s first integrated sound garden. The outdoor, interactive installation is based on a 15th-century melody but re-envisioned for a 21st-century audience to encourage mindfulness meditation, reflection on the chaotic experiences of 2020 and 2021, and ultimately the cultivation of gratitude. Visitors are invited to bring their children to dance along and/or reserve a firepit for maximum social distancing. April 2021 | Thompson’s Point South Garden

I Dream a World debuts the Classical Uprising Youth Choirs and its vision of employing music education to develop the next generation of thoughtful citizens and empathetic leaders. Directed by Maria Belva, over 60 young singers share their hope for a more equitable and just future by performing the music of underrepresented composers to uplift their neighbors in song. May 26 | 6pm | Outdoors

Portland Bach Experience returns with 10 days of innovative programs you won’t find elsewhere, including BachBends Yoga, Bach & Beer, and We’ll Handel the Children. Join GRAMMY-winning artists to celebrate the power of music and community. June 11 to 20 | Various locations throughout the Portland area

Classical Uprising offers a bold rethinking of the classical music experience through immersive  events, performances, and educational programs. Formed in 2020 as a merger between Oratorio Chorale and Portland Bach Experience, Classical Uprising is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to community development, creative expression, inclusivity, lifelong learning, and artistic excellence. Classical Uprising programs include Oratorio Chorale, Portland Bach Experience, and the Classical Uprising Youth Choirs. The organization now serves over 120 adult amateur singers, 70 young musicians, 60 professional artists, and more than 3,500 audience members.

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