Joel Balzun

baritone and composer

Black Dog Commission

List of Commissions

2021-2022: Tom Cipullo and poet TBA

In March of 2018, I presented a recital called “The Beautiful Black Dog.” The title borrows its name from a metaphor created by Samuel Johnson and made famous by Winston Churchill which describes the medical condition of Depression as “the black dog.” This recital was one of my first performances following a prolonged hiatus due to me needing to take care of my own mental health. Having been diagnosed with Depression in 2012, I have quickly learned what the stigmas are surrounding this condition, and the very real physical and emotional impacts it forces upon oneself. The recital allowed me to foster a discussion between me and the audience about this topic.

The Black Dog Commission is a new project which I am launching. Not only is this project going to contribute toward the commissioning of new repertoire from the great song composers of our time, but it will foster the growth of repertoire which will hopefully have some kind of social impact. All of these commissions will use poems by artists who have been afflicted by Depression in their own lives. I hope that by creating this project, the song recital can be used as a vessel to #endthestigma.

If you are interested in participating in this project in any capacity, please do not hesitate to reach out via my Contact page.

In love and in song,