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Potsdam Prepared: Fall 2021 Updates

Community Performance Series to Present ‘Genius Grant’ Recipient & Grammy Winner Rhiannon Giddens on Nov. 6 

October 29, 2021

Community Performance Series Welcomes MacArthur Fellowship Winner Rhiannon Giddens along with Francesco Turrisi on Nov. 6 at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music

Rhiannon Giddens will perform with Francesco Turrisi for the Community Performance Series on Saturday, Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m., in the Helen M. Hosmer Concert Hall at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music. For tickets, go to

The Community Performance Series is thrilled to welcome the acclaimed musician Rhiannon Giddens along with Francesco Turrisi on Saturday, Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m. in the Helen M. Hosmer Concert Hall at SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music, as the third Maresca Visiting Artists. 

“It is with great pleasure that we welcome audiences back to campus. It has been far too long since we’ve shared in the experience of live performance, and what a way to return! Please join us and enjoy, but also please do your part to ensure the safety of yourselves, our community and our guest artists,” said CPS Executive Director Jason L. Dominie. 

For audience safety, Community Performance Series concert attendees must show proof of vaccination and wear a mask at all times while on campus. These safety guidelines were developed in collaboration with CPS, the College and each artist’s management team. 

About the artists: 
The acclaimed musician Rhiannon Giddens uses her art to excavate the past and reveal bold truths about our present. A MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship recipient, she co-founded the Grammy Award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops, and has been nominated for six additional Grammys for her work as a soloist and collaborator. Rhiannon was most recently nominated for her collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi, “there is no Other” (2019). Her latest album, “They’re Calling Me Home,” is a 12-track album, recorded with Turrisi in Ireland during the recent lockdown; it speaks of the longing for the comfort of home as well as the metaphorical “call home” of death, which speaks to the perils of the COVID-19 crisis. 

Rhiannon’s lifelong mission is to lift people whose contributions to American musical history have previously been erased, and to work toward a more accurate understanding of the country’s musical origins. Pitchfork has said of her work, “few artists are so fearless and so ravenous in their exploration,” and Smithsonian Magazine calls her “an electrifying artist who brings alive the memories of forgotten predecessors, white and black.” 

Among her many diverse career highlights, Rhiannon has performed for the Obamas at the White House, served as a Carnegie Hall Perspectives curator, and received an inaugural Legacy of Americana Award from Nashville’s National Museum of African American History, in partnership with the Americana Music Association. Her critical acclaim includes in-depth profiles by CBS Sunday Morning, the New York Times, the New Yorker, and NPR’s “Fresh Air,” among many others. 

Rhiannon is featured in Ken Burns’ “Country Music” documentary series, which aired on PBS in 2019, where she speaks about the African American origins of country music. She is also a member of the band Our Native Daughters with three other black female banjo players, Leyla McCalla, Allison Russell, and Amythyst Kiah, and co-produced their debut album, “Songs of Our Native Daughters” (2019), which tells stories of historic black womanhood and survival. 

Named the artistic director of Silkroad in 2020, Rhiannon is developing a number of new programs for the organization, including one inspired by the history of the American transcontinental railroad, and the cultures and music of its builders. She recently wrote the music for an original ballet, “Lucy Negro Redux,” for Nashville Ballet (premiered in 2019), and the libretto and music for an original opera, “Omar,” based on the autobiography of the enslaved man Omar Ibn Said, for the Spoleto USA Festival (premieres in 2022). 

As an actor, Rhiannon had a featured role on the television series “Nashville.” To learn more, visit

Grammy nominee and multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi has been defined as a “musical alchemist” and a “musical polyglot” by the press. 

He left his native Italy in 1997 to study jazz piano and early music at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, where he obtained both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Since 2004, he has been working successfully as a freelance musician. Francesco has released five critically acclaimed albums; his latest piano solo album, “Northern Migrations,” was described as “delicate, wistful and wholly engrossing” by the Irish Times.  

Since 2018, he has collaborated with the American Grammy Award-winning singer and multi-instrumentalist Rhiannon Giddens, on this duo project, which seamlessly combines music from the Mediterranean with music from the African diaspora in the Americas.  

Francesco currently performs on piano, accordion, harpsichord, organ, various lutes, cello banjo, frame and goblet drums. 

To purchase tickets, call the CPS Box Office at (315) 267-2277 from Monday to Friday between 12:30 and 4:30 p.m., visit, or visit Brick & Mortar Music in downtown Potsdam. 

About Community Performance Series: 
The Community Performance Series is a college-community partnership presenting distinctive and renowned performing artists and arts education opportunities in Northern New York. This rich mixture of programming links communities, classrooms and audiences of all ages and preserves access to the performing arts for future generations. For more information, visit

About SUNY Potsdam:  
Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges—and the oldest institution within SUNY. Now in its third century, SUNY Potsdam is distinguished by a legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence. The College currently enrolls approximately 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its challenging liberal arts and sciences core, distinction in teacher training and culture of creativity. To learn more, visit

For Media Inquiries

Jason L. Dominie (315) 267-3763

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