Sharon J. Willis

Events

  • Concert - Isabelle Demers - St. Mark’s Cathedral - Flentrop Organ
    1245 10th Ave E
    July 5 @ 8:45 pm
    Isabelle Demers performs Works by Demessieux, Alkan, Laurin, and the world premiere performance of Sharon Willis’s “Ascension Suite” for solo organ. “Ascension Suite” begins with a tribute to three Civil Rights figures: Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, Dr. C. T. Vivian, and Congressman John Lewis, who all died in the year 2020. These three “sons” became agitators for American justice and equality. Another movement takes the form of an elegy lifting up the lives of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, whose tragic deaths in 2020 sparked an outpouring of protests throughout the country. The poignant music for this elegy is based on the traditional African American Spiritual, “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child.”
  • Concert - Isabelle Demers - St. Mark’s Cathedral - Flentrop Organ
    1245 10th Ave E
    July 6 @ 8:45 pm
    Isabelle Demers performs Works by Demessieux, Alkan, Laurin, and the world premiere performance of Sharon Willis’s “Ascension Suite” for solo organ. “Ascension Suite” begins with a tribute to three Civil Rights figures: Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, Dr. C. T. Vivian, and Congressman John Lewis, who all died in the year 2020. These three “sons” became agitators for American justice and equality. Another movement takes the form of an elegy lifting up the lives of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, whose tragic deaths in 2020 sparked an outpouring of protests throughout the country. The poignant music for this elegy is based on the traditional African American Spiritual, “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child.”

About

Dr. Sharon J. Willis is the former Department Chair of Music at Morris Brown College and Clark Atlanta University; she holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree (University of Georgia); Master’s in Church Music (Scarritt Graduate School in Nashville); a Master’s in Music (Georgia State University), and a Bachelor of Arts degree (Clark College). Willis is also the Founding Director of Americolor Opera Alliance.  She has written 16 operatic works to date that feature Afro-Centric, Social, Health, and American subjects. Sharon J. Willis is the only woman composer in the United States to have founded an opera company and been its principal composer.

Willis has received commissions from the DeKalb Choral Guild; The Georgia Music Teachers Association, and many concert organists and instrumentalists.  Memberships include the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) since 2006; Phi Kappa Lambda Music Honor Society, University of Georgia Chapter, 1988; National Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society, the Clark Atlanta University Chapter, 2013, and the International Association of Women, Inc., 2017.  Recent awards include The Artistic Genius Award presented by the Pearls Literary Club, September 2020; The Atlanta Music Legends Award in honor of Legendary Contributions to the World of Music, December 2019; Kuumba Tribute for Excellence in the Arts, Delta Sigma Theta, Inc., May 2019; The Samuel H. Johnson Education Award (Music), April 2017, and The National League of American Pen Women, Atlanta Branch, Composer of the Year, March 2016. This is the composer’s second commissioned work for the American Guild of Organists (2022), the first one in 2006 (Chicago).