Sunday, June 23, 2024

Dashon Burton Can Help You Do Something Different During Black History Month | WatchListen

Dashon Burton Photo Credit: LACO

*February is Black History Month; the time when the history of Black excellence is recognized and celebrated. The 2024 Black History Month theme is “African Americans and the Arts.” EURweb wants to get a head start on the celebration and introduce you to Dashon Burton, a man with a rich pulsating bass-baritone voice that begs to be heard.

There is a twist. Mr. Burton is in a minority; more so than just being Black. He is a Black man who sings classical (orchestral) music and will be performing music by Bach with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) on February 3 at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, CA, and on February 4 at the Huntington, Rothenburg Hall in San Marino, CA.

Not only does he have an amazing voice, but Mr. Burton’s resume is also impressive. He has a bachelor’s degree in music from Oberlin College and Conservatory, a master’s in music from Yale’s Institute of Sacred Music, and is an assistant professor of voice at Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music.

Not to bury the lead, so to speak, but he is also a two-time Grammy Award winner; one as a member of the vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, and the most recent Grammy was received in 2021 for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album.

Mr. Burton took time from his insane schedule for a phone interview, where we discussed among other things the importance of Blacks being exposed to and patronizing classical music, and his hope that Blacks will come out and experience Bach+Burton at the Wallis or Huntington.

I asked Mr. Burton for the audience’s reaction to a Black man in dreads with a bass-baritone voice singing classical music. He shared that it hasn’t always been favorable, saying “There has been elation, joy, heartache, and sorrow.” He explained that blacks “had to fight our way into the industry” and felt there was more to do. Mr. Burton classified Blacks in the classical arena as, “amazing people, doing amazing work.” Instead of feeling pressure being a Black man in the classical music arena, Mr. Burton feels, “there is a responsibility to push the message that we belong here, on stage, performing and composing.” I also asked why more Blacks should patronize classical concerts. He shared that we owe it to ourselves to experience classical music because there was a time when Blacks were not allowed to perform that type of music. He believes the hard part is getting people in the door but believes the musical piece/performance will keep you there. It is the story of a man who finally sees what he has been waiting for his whole life.

Dashon Burton is a humble man who is appreciative of the help and support of his family and friends who he says were patient and supportive as he learned his music and navigated his way. He has come a long way from the days when music by Al Green and Anita Baker permeated his household, to performing the biggest classical pieces with some of the best orchestras in the world. Although he considers himself a late bloomer, having decided to become a classical music performer after college, I would say he has more than caught up.
Dashon asks that you, “Open your heart to something you may not know about.”

Come and support the classics as part of Black History Month and experience something new. I hope to see you there.

Dashon Burton / Photo: Credit Tatiana Daubek
Dashon Burton / Photo: Credit Tatiana Daubek

What You Need to Know:
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra Presents Baroque: Bach + Burton
Margaret Batjer, Concertmaster/Director of Chamber Music
Dashon Burton, bass-baritone

Saturday, February 3, 2024, 7:30 pm
Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 9390 N. Santa Monica Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Sunday, February 4, 2024, 7:30 pm
The Huntington, Rothenberg Hall, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA 91108

J.S. BACH Concerto for Flute, Violin and Harpsichord
J.S. BACH Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C major
J.S. BACH Ich Habe Genug
J.S. BACH Concerto for Three Violins

$19-$69, The Wallis
$58, The Huntington
213 221 3920
Email: [email protected]

Artists, program, ticket prices, date, and venue are subject to change.

marilyn smith
Marilyn Smith

Marilyn Smith is a Los Angeles-based writer/reviewer. Contact her via [email protected]

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