Soprano Karen Slack to Perform at Babson During Artist Residency

Karen Slack smiles while posing for a portrait

World-renowned soprano Karen Slack will perform next month on Babson’s campus during an artist residency, the College announced Thursday. 

The multiday residency March 19–22 will include workshops and talks and culminate with a free performance of the soprano’s critically acclaimed recital, Of Thee I Sing! Songs of Love and Justice. The residency program, titled “Who I Am Beyond My Voice: Karen Slack in Residence,” is co-sponsored by the Office of the President and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion


REGISTER NOW to attend the free performance of Karen Slack’s recital, Of Thee I Sing! Songs of Love and Justice, at 7 p.m. Friday, March 22 at the Carling-Sorenson Theater. 


“Karen is a world-renowned performer, collaborator, curator, and artistic advisor who embodies the entrepreneurial spirit well,” said Babson President Stephen Spinelli Jr. MBA’92, PhD, who first introduced Slack to the Babson community with a virtual event three years ago. “We are delighted that she will return to Babson for a multiday residency. Karen’s commitment to identifying new and creative ways to impact our world is special and is a testament to her inspiring warmth and humanity. Her residency will inspire us as we continue to explore the qualities needed to add value to society.” 

A Soprano Who Lifts Up Voices 

Karen Slack poses for a portrait
Soprano Karen Slack headlined a special event for the Babson community in February 2021 as part of the College’s Black History Month celebration.

A native of Philadelphia and product of the famed Curtis Institute of Music, Slack has performed in the world’s most famous opera houses and concert halls. Slack is a sought-after collaborator, curator, and artistic advisor known for her fiery charisma and ground-breaking approach to engagement. She is an artistic advisor for the Portland (Oregon) Opera, serves on the board of the American Composers Orchestra and Astral Artists, and holds a faculty position at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Alberta, Canada. 

Slack also debuted the role of Billie in the 2019 world premiere of Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones and made her film debut portraying the Opera Diva in Tyler Perry’s movie and soundtrack For Colored Girls

In February 2021, Slack headlined a special College event, presented by Spinelli and his wife, Carol, as part of the College’s celebration of Black History Month. Slack was introduced by their son, Steve Spinelli, the co-founder of ONEcomposer, which celebrates musicians whose contributions have been historically erased. He was instrumental in introducing Slack’s virtuoso voice to Babson, particularly because of her entrepreneurial spirit on and off the stage. 

“Karen’s commitment to identifying new and creative ways to impact our world is special and is a testament to her inspiring warmth and humanity. Her residency will inspire us as we continue to explore the qualities needed to add value to society.”
Babson President Stephen Spinelli Jr. MBA’92, PhD

Artist Residency Events 

Slack’s residency will include three signature events at the Carling-Sorenson Theater during the week: 

Master Class 
4–6 p.m. Tuesday, March 19  
Limited to current Babson students, this master class by Slack is an opportunity for student singers to receive individual vocal coaching in a small group class setting. Students will focus on developing their preparation and performance skills with guidance from Slack. Students will receive critiques and suggestions on a single prepared piece in turn, ending with a short question-and-answer session for the full group. Interested students should email babsonarts@babson.edu for a submission form.  

The Entrepreneurial Life of an Artist: Personal Brand and Building a Career 
5–6 p.m. Wednesday, March 20 
Slack is a tireless advocate of the arts and brings decades of experience to her role as the co-chair of OPERA America’s Women’s Opera Network, where she represents singers and BIPOC artists looking to transition into arts administration. Slack will share the evolution of her personal brand and building a significant career in this intimate talk with Associate Professor of Marketing Anjali Bal, one of Poets & Quants50 Best Undergraduate Business Professors of 2023. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required

Of Thee I Sing! Songs of Love and Justice
7 p.m. Friday, March 22 
Of Thee I Sing! Songs of Love and Justice is a critically acclaimed recital created by Slack in late summer 2020 during the height of the pandemic and just after the murder of George Floyd. The center of this moving program is the raw and powerful yet hopeful Langston Hughes poem, “Kids Who Die” (1938), and a commissioned setting of that riveting text by American composer Scott Gendel. Gendel’s stirring tour de force is presented alongside vocal masterworks by distinguished American composers from H.T. Burleigh to Clayton White, Undine Smith Moore, H. Leslie Adams, Ricky Ian Gordon, Adolphus Hailstork, and Jake Heggie. Curated by Slack with intention and care, this impactful program features songs exploring the themes of love and justice. Through these soaring melodies and beautiful texts, Slack offers a musical journey rooted in a shared understanding that without love there can never be liberty or justice for all. The performance is free and open to the public, walk-ins welcome, but registration encouraged

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