Institute for Faith & Culture Welcomes Award-Winning Composer Shawn Okpebholo

Jan 22, 2020 | King University

BRISTOL, Tenn., Jan. 22, 2020 — King University’s Institute for Faith & Culture 2019 – 2020 speaker series continues Monday, Jan. 27, with nationally recognized composer Shawn Okpebholo, DMA.

Okpebholo’s award-winning works are highly diverse in style and genre, ranging from original compositions to re-imaginings of traditional hymns, and created for a variety of arrangements, from solo voice to full orchestra.

He will present “Reclaiming My Identity Through the Negro Spiritual” at 9:15 a.m. in the Memorial Chapel on King’s main campus in Bristol, and “Reclaiming the Theology of the Negro Spiritual” at 7 p.m. at Central Presbyterian Church, located at 301 Euclid Ave. in Bristol, Virginia. Both events are free-of-charge and open to the public.

“Doctor Okpebholo’s works have rightly been described as diverse and dynamic, bearing enormous creativity and grace,” said Martin Dotterweich, Ph.D., director of the Institute. “He is greatly skilled at tracing the roots of African American music, interpreting traditions in new and influential ways, and connecting communities around the globe. We are excited to share in his talent and exploration, and delighted to welcome him to the Institute.”

Okpebholo has performed in prestigious venues throughout the U.S., including Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, and the Washington National Cathedral. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Composition and Music Theory from Asbury College, with additional studies in film scoring at New York University. He earned a Master of Music degree and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree with an emphasis in composition and theory from the University of Cincinnati College – Conservatory of Music. He currently serves as assistant professor of music composition and theory at the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music in Wheaton, Illinois.

A significant part of Okpebholo’s music education can be credited to the free music lessons he received from the Salvation Army church where he spent his adolescent years. Inspired by that charity, he remains passionate about volunteering his musical talents to underserved communities.

For more information about the Institute, including the full schedule for the speaker series, visit


King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate in Virginia. King’s primary location in Virginia is Southwest Virginia Community College, 724 Community College Rd, Cedar Bluff, VA 24609.



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