Cycles of My Being

Cycles of My Being

Upcoming Dates

Cycles of My Being

Cycles of My Being


An extraordinary evening of vocal music

Starring Lawrence Brownlee, Tenor
Composed by Tyshawn Sorey
Lyrics by Terrance Hayes
Myra Huang, Piano

Thursday, February 22 at 7pm
DuSable Museum of African American History


Lyric Unlimited is excited to present an intimate evening of vocal music with Cycles of My Being, a new song cycle exploring the realities of life as a black man in America. 

Composed by Tyshawn Sorey with lyrics by Terrance Hayes, the Chicago-premiere event will star celebrated tenor Lawrence Brownlee in a solo recital with pianist Myra Huang. The event will be performed during Black History Month on Thursday, February 22 at 7pm at the DuSable Museum of African American History.

This new song cycle is the creation of a dynamic trio linked through classical music and jazz: composer Tyshawn Sorey, a “prodigious multi-instrumentalist and composer” who “transcends the borders of jazz, classical, and experimental music” (The New Yorker); lyricist Terrance Hayes, “a vital voice that explores race and art and the roving power of language” (NPR); and Lawrence Brownlee, one of “the world's leading bel canto tenors” (The Associated Press) and a favorite star on the Lyric Opera of Chicago stage.

Cycles of My Being is a co-commission with Opera Philadelphia, and Carnegie Hall.

View Program

The DuSable Museum of African American History

Cycles of my Being
is made possible by support from Eric and Deb Hirschfield
Lyric Unlimited was launched with major catalyst funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and receives major support from the Caerus Foundation, Inc.

Photo: Shervin Lainez

Lawrence Brownlee
Lawrence Brownlee Winner of 2017’s “Male Singer of the Year” award from both the International Opera Awards and Bachtrack, the American tenor has previously triumphed as Arturo in Bellini’s I Puritani at the Metropolitan Opera, the Zurich Opera House, Seattle Opera, and Tivolis Koncertsalen (Cophenhagen). Brownlee’s artistry has also earned acclaim at the leading houses of London, Vienna, Paris, Berlin, Madrid, and Brussels, as well as the Salzburg Festival. This season, Brownlee joins Opera Philadelphia as artistic advisor and will be heard as Idreno/Semiramide (Covent Garden), the title role/Le Comte Ory (Zurich), and Ernesto/Don Pasquale (Paris). Other successes include appearances in Seattle (Don Giovanni), the Met (La donna del lago, Cinderella, The Barber of Seville), Munich (Così fan tutte, Semiramide, Il turco in Italia), Pittsburgh Opera (La fille du régiment), and Opera Philadelphia (world premiere of Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD, reprised at New York’s Apollo Theater and Chicago’s Harris Theater). He was the first to sing Rinaldo/Armida at the Met, a much-acclaimed portrayal seen worldwide in HD (available on DVD). Brownlee has performed with many major orchestras including those of Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Cleveland, New York, Berlin, Rome, and Munich. He has recorded Barber, Carmina Burana, Rossini’s Stabat Mater, and four solo albums, including Grammy-nominated Virtuoso Rossini Arias, and his recent release Allegro Io Son.

Terrance Hayes
Terrance Hayes Author, poet, New York Times Magazine poetry editor, and University of Pittsburgh professor Terrance Hayes “puts invincibly restless wordplay at the service of strong emotions” (The New York Times). His work has been recognized with honors including the 2010 National Book Award (for Lighthead), a Whiting Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and a MacArthur Fellowship. His most recent poetry collection, How to Be Drawn, was a finalist for both the 2015 National Book Award and the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award, besides receiving the 2016 NAACP Image Award for Poetry.

Tyshawn Sorey
Tyshawn Sorey Perhaps best known as an improvisational jazz percussionist, Tyshawn Sorey is a lauded composer and multi-instrumentalist who “is able to compose and dissect his own music at the highest level, and also to detail the historical context of his work” (The New York Times). A 2017 recipient of a MacArthur “genius grant” Fellowship, his work defies categorization, straddling genres and combining African diasporic, avant-garde, and western classical music through improvisation. The New Yorker called his 2016 release The Inner Spectrum of Variables “a creation that defeats all preconceptions.”

Myra Huang
Myra Huang Acclaimed by Opera News as being “among the top accompanists of her generation,” pianist Myra Huang regularly performs in recitals and chamber music concerts around the world. In addition to many chamber music concerts and recitals at the Palau De Les Arts in Valencia, Spain, she recently performed recitals at Carnegie Halls Weill Hall, the University of Chicago, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York with tenor Nicholas Phan, and at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall with soprano Susanna Phillips. She also performs regularly in association with the Marilyn Horne Foundation at Carnegie Hall and throughout the US. Huang has served on the music staffs of the Washington National Opera and New York City Opera. She works annually with Placido Domingo for his competition Operalia in different countries around the world. Among the conductors she has worked with are James Conlon, Marco Armiliato, Riccardo Frizza, Richard Hickox, Christopher Hogwood, Daniel Oren, Robert Spano, Patrick Summers, and Xian Zhang. From 2006 until 2008, she was a member of the music staff at the Palau De Les Arts in Valencia, Spain where she worked closely with the artistic director, Lorin Maazel as well as Zubin Mehta. In 2010, Myra was invited by the Metropolitan Opera to accompany the singers in the Metropolitan Opera National Council competition on stage at the Met. A graduate of the prestigious Houston Grand Opera Studio, Huang received her Bachelor degree in piano performance from The Juilliard School under the tutelage of Martin Canin, and her Master of Music degree in collaborative piano from The Manhattan School under Warren Jones. 

Featured Media

Lawrence Brownlee on CYCLES OF MY BEING

Lawrence Brownlee on CYCLES OF MY BEING