The Tony-winning actress comes to Sarasota to speak at a program tied to premiere of ‘Listen to the Earth’ cantata

Tony and Emmy-winning actress Jane Alexander, a former chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, will be the featured speaker for Choral Artists of Sarasota’s “Listen to the Earth” ecological initiative next April.

The event, designed to mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, surrounds the world premiere performance of James Grant’s cantata “Listen to the Earth” at the Sarasota Opera House on April 19.

Alexander will speak on April 18 when the organization plans several programs, including a panel discussion led by Terry Root, a senior fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University who shared a Nobel Prize with former Vice President Al Gore for “An Inconvenient Truth.” Other panelists, including community leaders, will be named later. Choral Artists also plans to work with other area organizations on ecological programs.

“Choral Artists created this initiative to build and strengthen community engagement,” said Joseph Holt, artistic director of the vocal ensemble. “We intend to raise environmental awareness through the power of music, speech, film and action.”

The chorus initiative was selected by the Smithsonian Institution’s Conservation Commons as an artistic component of its Earth Optimism Summit that will be held in April.

“Listen to the Earth,” a symphonic choral cantata, was created by Grant, an award-winning composer and part-time Sarasota resident, and will be presented in a multi-media format featuring photos and video of what Apollo 11 astronauts saw of Earth from space. The piece was commissioned by Choral Artists and the families of Richard and Daniel Moe. (Daniel Moe was a conductor of the group that was once known as Gloria Musicae.)

Alexander won a Tony Award for her 1968 Broadway debut in “The Great White Hope,” and then earned the first of four Academy Award nominations for the 1970 film version. She earned her Emmy Awards for “Playing for Time” and “Warm Springs” and was nominated for playing Eleanor Roosevelt in “Eleanor and Franklin.”

She was appointed chair of the National Endowment for the Arts by President Bill Clinton in 1993 and served until 1997.

For more information: 941-387-6046; choralartistssarasota.org