The American Spiritual Ensemble is a critically-acclaimed professional group composed of some of the finest singers in the classical music world. The vocalists have thrilled audiences around the world with their dynamic renditions of classic spirituals and Broadway numbers. Tenor Dr. Everett McCorvey founded the group in 1995, and many of its members have performed in such venues as the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Houston Grand Opera, San Francisco Opera, Boston Opera and the Atlanta Civic Opera.
The American Spiritual Ensemble (ASE) began as a dream of preserving the music of the American negro slaves. ASE’s mission is to keep the American negro spiritual alive. It has now been over 400 years since the first enslaved African person set foot on American soil. Today, it is our privilege to be able to perform these songs, tell their stories, and share our love for the beautiful creations with the world. Performing these spirituals serves as a tribute to the many lives lost or destroyed during slavery in the United States; a horrible time for human kind. These songs, a combination of African, American, and European traditions, create a new type of melody in which a sense of identification was created within the enslaved community. These songs now stand as a testament of the strength found through faith during times of hardship as well as a unifying force among all peoples. These songs are beloved all around the world.
Everett McCorvey, Director
Everett McCorvey is a native of Montgomery, Alabama. He received his degrees from the University of Alabama, including a Doctorate of Musical Arts. He has performed in many cities around the world and theaters across the country, including the Metropolitan Opera, the Kennedy Center, Aspen Music Festival, Radio City Music Hall, Birmingham Opera Theater, Teatro Comunale in Florence, Italy, Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, England, as well as performances throughout Spain, the Czech and Slovak Republics, Austria, Japan, China, Brazil, Ireland, Poland, Portugal and Hungary, Mexico, Peru and France. His career has spanned all areas of the performing arts business from performer to musical director, stage director, voice teacher, producer, impresario, orchestra conductor, union representative, administrator and mentor.
McCorvey recently conducted Handel’s MESSIAH at the newly renovated David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center. He also conducted the World Premiere of Composer Stella Sung and Pulitzer Prize Librettist Mark Campbels’s Opera, THE SECRET RIVER with Opera Orlando in December of 2021, and MARIA DE BUENOS AIRES with Kentucky Opera in November of 2022. McCorvey served as the Music Director and Conductor of the World Premier of BOUNCE, The Basketball Opera, conceived and directed by Gretha Holby with the lead composer Glen Roven and author and librettist Charles R. Smith, Jr.
Dr. McCorvey is the founder and Music Director of the American Spiritual Ensemble, www.americanspiritualensemble.com a group of 24 professional singers performing spirituals and other compositions of African-American composers dedicated to keeping the American Negro Spiritual alive. In its 27-year history, the group has presented over 600 concerts including 20 tours of the United States and 17 tours of Spain. Presently the American Spiritual Ensemble is the only professional ensemble of its kind dedicated solely to the American Negro Spiritual.
Dr. McCorvey is of the belief that every citizen in the country should find ways to give back to his or her community, city or country. He has been very active in his volunteer activities working to keep the arts as a part of the civic conversation and currently serves on many local, regional and national boards. In his home state of Kentucky, he is Chairman of the Kentucky Arts Council Board www.artscouncil.ky.gov and nationally he is on the Sullivan Foundation Board of Trustees, www.sullivanfoundation.org, an organization dedicated to supporting young professional singers with career grants and study awards for continuing development. He holds an Endowed Chair in Opera Studies/Director of Opera and Professor of Voice at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. www.ukoperatheatre.org.