The Block

The Block

March 8, 2024

The Block was recorded live in concert at the Kennedy Center with the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. The six-minute work is based on the art of Romare Bearden, inspired by six paintings that represent African-American culture in one block in Harlem.

About the Album

"The Block” is a short orchestral study based on the late visual art of Romare Bearden. Most of Bearden’s work reflects African American culture in urban cities as well as the rural American south. Although Bearden was born in Charlotte, NC, he spent his most of his life in Harlem, New York. With its vibrant artistic community, this piece aims to highlight the rich energy and joyous sceneries that Harlem expressed as it was the hotbed for African American culture.

“The Block” is comprised of six paintings that highlight different buildings (church, barbershop, nightclub, etc.) in Harlem on one block. Bearden’s paintings incorporate various mediums including watercolors, graphite, and metallic papers. In the same way, this musical piece explores various musical textures which highlight the vibrant scenery and energy that a block on Harlem or any urban city exhibits.

National Symphony Orchestra
Gianandrea Noseda

This work is the first movement of the orchestral suite Profiles. More information including a perusal score can be found here.

Carlos Simon