Charlotte Blake Alston

Charlotte Blake Alston breathes life into traditional and contemporary stories from African and African American oral and cultural traditions. Her solo performances are often enhanced with traditional instruments such as djembe, mbira, shekere or the 21-stringed kora.  Her repertoire is wide and programs are adapted to any grade level or age group.

She is a nationally acclaimed storyteller, narrator, instrumentalist, librettist and singer who performs in venues throughout North America and abroad. The host of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s preschool concert series Sound All Around, she has appeared as host and narrator on the orchestra’s school and family concerts since 1991.

Alston has made multiple appearances in such venues as the Smithsonian Institution, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the National Storytelling Festival and the National Festival of Black Storytelling. Her international appearances include performances or festival appearances in Accra, Ghana; Cape Town, South Africa; Beijing, China; Basel, Switzerland, and the Cape Clear Island Storytelling Festival in Ireland.

She has been a narrator for choirs and orchestras around the country, including the Detroit Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Boston Symphony. In 2021, she made her opera debut as a narrator in the Philadelphia Opera’s production of Tosca. She has received many honors and awards including a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Artist of the Year Award, the National Storytelling Network’s Circle of Excellence Award and the Zora Neale Hurston Award, the highest award given by the National Association of Black Storytellers. 

Please note: Biographies are based on information provided to the CSO by the artists or their representatives. More current information may be available on websites of the artists or their management.