The American Spiritual Ensemble's concert format generally involves 16-20 ensemble members from around the world, an accompanist and an African drummer. More than 90% of the ensemble members are accomplished soloists who have sung in theatres and opera houses world-wide and has included leading Broadway performers, Tony Award winners and nominees and at least 10 performers with doctoral degrees in music. Since it's inception in 1995 the vocalists have thrilled audiences around the world with their dynamic repertoire ranging from spirituals to classical to jazz and Broadway numbers highlighting the Black experience. Composed of some of the finest singers in the U.S., the mission of the American Spiritual Ensemble is to keep the American Negro spiritual alive.
Founder & Music Director, Dr. Everett McCorvey, is a native of Montgomery, Alabama. He holds the OperaLex Endowed Chair in Opera Studies and is a Professor of Voice at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. He is also the Artistic Director of the National Chorale and Orchestra in New York City.
The American Spiritual Ensemble was founded in 1995 in order to maintain and honor the music pioneered by enslaved African people. ASE is a critically-acclaimed ensemble that is dedicated to performing provocative, dynamic concerts around the world celebrating the American negro spiritual. 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. Additionally, ASE frequently visits educational institutions in order to teach students about the history and traditions of enslaved people in America and their spirituals. ASE also presents master classes, television performances, radio performance, and interviews on the music of the American negro slave.