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Chamber Music

2021     Musings On The Words of Pauli Murray for piano trio (piano, violin & cello)

             Commissioned by the March on Washington Film Festival

             World Premiere: October 4, 2021

2021     Tuskegee Airmen Rhapsody for piano, trumpet & violin

             Commissioned by Tuskegee Airmen MATAMA Chapter

             World Premiere: March 2021


2021     Moment for string quartet

             Commissioned by Apollo String Quartet

             World Premiere: February 2021


             “the work gives homage to the importance of arts and literature. It encapsulates                  the work of creatives. Institutions like the Harris County Public Library work to                    ensure the stories, message, and voices of those creatives are preserved moment                  by moment for the generations to come.”

Choral Music

2009    God Bless America

            Composed for Fantasia Barrino's NBC 4th of July Television Special



2018     The Tongue & The Lash 

             Commissioned by Opera Theater of Saint Louis 

             World Premiere: June 2021

             Libretto by Karen Chilton

             Featuring Markel Reed, baritone and Jonathan Johnson, tenor

             In 1965, the world witnessed a historic debate between cultural giants James                      Baldwin and William F. Buckley, Jr. at which they argued the motion: Is the                            American dream at the expense of the American Negro? Now, composer Damien                  Sneed and librettist Karen Chilton explore that enduring question in a new opera                that imagines a post-debate conversation between Baldwin and Buckley.

2020     Marian's Song (a chamber opera)

             Commissioned by Houston Grand Opera

             World Premiere: March 4 - 5, 2020

             Libretto by Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton

             Featuring Zoie Reams, mezzo-soprano and Nicholas Newton, baritone

             Marian’s Song is a chamber opera by composer Damien Sneed and librettist                      Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton, based on the life of celebrated contralto Marian                              Anderson (1897–1993), who broke racial bound- aries throughout her                                  career. Marian’s Song shares Anderson’s incred- ible life through a fusion of                      spoken-word poetry and opera. 

          Marian’s Song takes place both in the present day and in the past, during                         Anderson’s lifetime. When current-day Howard University student Nevaeh, who                   admires the singer thanks to stories shared by her grandmother, learns the                         church where Anderson sang as a child is slated for demolition, she travels to                       Philadelphia to try to save it. Nevaeh’s journey is woven together with Anderson’s                 life story—her disappointments, her triumphs, and along the way, the works she                   sang so transcendently, including spirituals and classical pieces.

2017     Empower

             Commissioned by Lyric Opera of Chicago 

             World Premiere: May 31, 2018

             Libretto by Ike Holter

             Featuring Angela Brown, soprano and Will Liverman, baritone

             In this world premiere, a group of South Side youth band together to change their                neighborhood and fight against the negative media representation by a reporter                  obsessed with corruption. From redefining their own narrative to sharing what                    Chicago means to them, the stories and sounds of Chicago's youth are featured in                this groundbreaking new work written by Ike Holter with music by Damien Sneed.

             This opera is the culmination of EmpowerYouth!: Igniting Creativity through the                  Arts, a groundbreaking partnership between Lyric and the Chicago Urban League                that immerses high school students in the creation and performance of an original              opera. Students performed their opera alongside opera stars Angela Brown and                    Will Liverman and a 10-piece orchestra, bringing this dynamic new work to Lyric.                audiences in a fully-staged and costumed opera performance.

Orchestral Music

2021     Tuskegee Airmen Symphony 

             Commissioned by the Tuskegee Airmen Major Anderson Technical Aviation                          Maintenance Academy (MATAMA)

             World Premiere: March 2022

Solo Instrumental

2020     Sequestered Thoughts for solo piano

             Commissioned by the Library of Congress

             Sneed was inspired to compose this piece after spending many days alone in                        solitude during the COVID-19 pandemic of Spring 2020. It opens with a virtuosic                  fluttering in the right hand juxtaposed against a strong and determined left-hand                motif speaking to the many meandering thoughts that come to one when they find              themselves devoid of human interaction and fellowship. Then a motif comes out of              the left hand representing the inquisitive longing for things to shift to a new                        normal while the right hand plays octaves mirroring the monotony of days                          running together and weeks running into months. Then with the feeling of inward              searching of the soul, a chromatic scale cascades downward into a strong-willed                    determination to survive in resilient hope for the future upward into keys                            effervescently peering upward in expectation. The Library of Congress developed                The Boccaccio Project to provide some artistic responses to the COVID-19                              pandemic. Ten composers were commissioned to write brief solo works, with the                  remotely recorded pieces premiered online in June 2020.

2020     Elegy for solo clarinet

             Commissioned by Anthony McGill, Principal Clarinetist of the New York                                Philharmonic

Vocal Music

2021     The Earth Sings

            (A Song Cycle based on the poetry of James Weldon Johnson)

             Commissioned by ASCAP for the Kingsford Commission

             World Premiere: November 2021

2020    This Little Light Of Mine (soprano, mezzo-soprano, 2 tenors, baritone &               bass-baritone)

            Commissioned by Lawrence Brownlee for Houston Grand Opera's 2020 Giving.                     Voice Recital

2018     I Dream A World for Justin Michael Austin (baritone)

             Composed for Justin Michael Austin's Carnegie Hall Debut Recital as First                            Place Winner of the National Association of Negro Musicians (NANM) Vocal                          Competition

2018     Oh, Freedom (solo voice)

2016     Oh, Freedom (3 baritones)


2013     Spiritual Sketches for Lawrence Brownlee (tenor)

             Commissioned by Anthony McGill, Principal Clarinetist of the New York                                Philharmonic

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