Markus Williams, Artistic Director, Board Chair
Possessing artistry with exceptional finesse, Markus Williams has garnered a reputation of artistic excellence as a vocalist, composer and conductor. A scholarship student at Pacific Lutheran University he achieved the highest honor by winning the prestigious Young Artist Competition resulting in a performance and Northwest premiere of William Grant Stills “Songs of Separation” for voice and orchestra. He is celebrated for his intuitive musicality with performances on national public radio, The Jacksonville Symphony, The Orlando Opera, The Central Florida Bach Festival and many others. Most recently he was heard in the recital “Will There Really Be a Morning” performing works by composers and poets that celebrate the diversity in our humanity.
A commissioned and published composer his compositions are in performance by some of the nation’s leading musicians. His latest work “The Moment I Fly” received its’ world premiere by the famed opera singer Denyce Graves with Mr. Williams conducting. Two of his works can be heard on the Tacoma Academy Choirs latest recording “When I Lay My Burdens Down”. He is a former Artist in Resident for the Negro Spiritual Scholarship Foundation where he created his arrangement of “I Don’t Feel No-Ways Tired”. He was the youngest artist commissioned by the foundation. Musically he has studied with Mira Frohnmeyer, Sir David Wilcox, André Thomas, John Aler and Bobby Mcferrin. He is a graduate of Pacific Lutheran University and The Florida State University School of Music respectively.
Mr. Williams is deeply committed to the intersection of the arts and social justice. He is the creator and founding Artistic Director of The Human Symphony Foundation, home of the prestigious Living Legends Awards for Service to Humanity and The critically acclaimed Living Legends Singers. He has lent his voice to Amnesty International, traveled with John Lewis and other members of congress on a civil rights pilgrimage and he has shared a panel with the Reverend Al Sharpton and Fr. Michael Lapsley. Through his passion for the arts and social justice, Mr. Williams continues to inspire and challenge us as human beings.
Peggy Filossaint, a strong supporter of the arts and human issues. Peggy has been with the foundation since its inception serving in a variety of capacities. Peggy brings her talents not only as a pianist but also in the area of finance to the Human Symphony Foundation. Through her role as CEO/President of Charis Accounting Services, Inc. she advocates for small businesses, specializing in the enhancement of communities through the use of their resources. In addition to being a board member of the non-profit, Finding Your Destiny, a Domestic Violence Shelter & Suicidal Prevention Organization, she is also the Director of Music for Middletown Valley Seventh-Day Adventist Church.
Juan Williams is an Emmy award winning journalist. His work invites us to critically think about the issues that continue to challenge us. He is widely published and has worked with many noted organizations including The Washington Post, National Public Radio, Fox News, The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, The Wall Street Journal , Time Magazine and has served as White House Correspondent. He is the author of “Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965” a companion to the documentary series; “Thurgood Marshall American Revolutionary”, “This Far by Faith”, “Enough” and most recently “Muzzled”. He has been a supporter of The Human Symphony foundation since its early inception.
Marcus Zumwalt comes from the world of education. A father of seven himself, he has worked with other people’s children for years in locations as diverse as the Mississippi Delta, Newark, NJ, Detroit and Washington, DC. Marcus has been a teacher in some of the poorest regions of this country and has seen the desolation, but also the hope, determination and power that exist in these areas. He has had the great privilege to remain in the lives of several of his elementary students as they graduated high school, attended college and created their own personal success in the world. Working with students from preschool to college, Marcus has seen first-hand the power that one life can have on another. He believes firmly in the mission of the Human Symphony Foundation to illuminate the best in each individual and to seek social justice for all who live in this deeply unjust world.