JFK: The Last Speech – World Premiere

Doors: 6:00 PM

Concert: 6:30 PM


Peter Oundjian, conductor

Janice Chandler-Eteme, soprano 

Eric Owens, narrator

Adolphus Hailstork, composer


“Our national strength matters,” said President John F. Kennedy, “but the spirit which informs and controls our strength matters just as much.” This line and others appear in the libretto of the world premiere symphony JFK: The Last Speech, inspired by the celebration of poet Robert Frost which would become President Kennedy’s final speech. Composer Adolphus Hailstork says of JFK: The Last Speech, “My writing will reflect the autumn season, the solemnity of the moment, and the unique oratorical gifts of Kennedy the president, and the profound literary gifts of Frost the poet.” This landmark program begins with two additional world premiere performances; be the first to experience new music by rising star Jordan Holloway and Pulitzer Prize-nominated CU Boulder Professor of Composition Carter Pann, each commissioned by the Festival.

JFK: The Last Speech is a project of members of the Amherst Class of 1964 through their non-profit Reunion ’64, Inc. They had the privilege of witnessing President Kennedy deliver his last major speech, October 26, 1963. The symphony joins two earlier projects, a book and documentary of the same title.


Jordan Holloway, world premiere commission

Carter Pann, Dreams I Will Never Tell You (world premiere commission)

Adolphus Hailstork, JFK: The Last Speech (world premiere)


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