The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Presents Inaugural GospelFest


Gospel legend Karen Clark Sheard headlines the two-day celebration

(March 28, 2023) – Today, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) announces its first-ever GospelFest 2023 event. The two-day concert festival takes place at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall on Friday, April 28, and Saturday, April 29. The first concert features the Nadja Scott & Divine Anointing Choir and The Jonathan Pettus Chorale. Headlining the festival, Gospel music icon, Karen Clark Sheard, of the legendary Clark Sisters, joins the Orchestra under the baton of BSO Associate Conductor, Jonathan Rush on the second evening. Alongside them, the concert will feature HBCU choirs, the Morgan State University Concert Choir, and the Howard Gospel Choir.

Designed with both gospel-lovers and newcomers in mind, the world-class Orchestra is excited to showcase its versatility and present this quintessential, American music genre like never heard before. Concertgoers are in for a treat as they hear classic favorites as well as world-premiere selections and song arrangements specifically crafted for the BSO’s GospelFest. Guests can look forward to the following performances:

GospelFest 2023: Too Hot to Handel

Friday, April 28 at 8 pm, Meyerhoff

Jonathan Rush, conductor
Nadja Scott & Divine Anointing Choir
The Jonathan Pettus Chorale

ADOLPHUS HAILSTORK New Work (BSO Commission and World Premiere)

Selections from Too Hot to Handel

GospelFest 2023: Karen Clark Sheard

Saturday, April 29 at 8 pm, Meyerhoff

Jonathan Rush, conductor
Karen Clark Sheard, vocalist
Morgan State University Concert Choir,
Dr. Eric Conway, director
Howard Gospel Choir,
Reginald A. Golden, director

“Gospel music is a global language that provides the uplifting and inspiration that many of us could use now more than ever,” said BSO’s Associate Conductor and GospelFest creator, Jonathan Rush. “GospelFest is sure to be a great gathering that highlights the talent of beloved and emerging vocal performers and the remarkable versatility of our Orchestra musicians. We’re fortunate to witness Karen Clark Sheard’s artistry in person and we can’t wait to join both new and experienced Orchestra attendees together for this event.”

Concerts can be purchased individually or packaged together for a 20% off promotional price. For more information and tickets, visit GospelFest 2023 is a part of the BSO’s Kids Listen Free program. Children ages 7-17 may attend for free with the purchase of an adult ticket. Reservations should be made in advance, by phone, or in person.

This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit

About the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

For over a century, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) has been recognized as one of America’s leading orchestras and one of Maryland’s most significant cultural institutions. The orchestra is internationally renowned and locally admired for its innovation, performances, recordings, and educational outreach initiatives including OrchKids.

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performs annually for more than 275,000 people throughout the State of Maryland. Since 1982, the BSO has performed at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore, and since 2005, with the opening of The Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, MD, the BSO became the nation’s first orchestra performing its full season of classical and pops concerts in two metropolitan areas. In July 2022, the BSO once again made musical history with its announcement that Jonathon Heyward would succeed Music Director Laureate and OrchKids Founder Marin Alsop as the Orchestra’s next Music Director. Maestro Heyward begins his five-year contract in the 2023-24 season.