Friday, May 31, 2013

50th Anniversary 'SYMPHONY of BROTHERHOOD' Concert will revisit 'URBAN CLASSICAL: The Music of Ed Bland' for theme music

Urban Classical: The Music of Ed Bland

John Malveaux of writes:

MLK Jr 50th Anniversary 'SYMPHONY of BROTHERHOOD' Concert will revisit URBAN CLASSICAL The Music of Ed Bland for theme music. Over thirty years, John Malveaux developed a pilot for a monthly classical music radio program dedicated to recordings of neglected composers of African descent. The pilot was titled "ACROSS THE LINE" and it was previewed/shopped to NPR stations via NPR uplink. The pilot included an interview with composer Ulysses Simpson Kay. The number of interested stations was insufficient to continue financing the project. 

Composer Ed Bland earlier granted me permission to use music from PIECE FOR CHAMBER ORCHESTRA on his URBAN CLASSICAL cd. I was only attracted to the first several opening bars that grabbed my attention and found the entire piece very confusing. Ed said "It contains the kind of focused energy one imagines exist at the synapse, the point at which the nervous impulse passes from one neuron to the next in the human nervous system."

The first several bars of Ed Bland's PIECE FOR CHAMBER ORCHESTRA found on the Cambria label will be the opening and closing theme for MLK Jr. 50th Anniversary 'SYMPHONY of BROTHERHOOD' Concert.  Please visit Ed's bio at look to bottom left for player of music....this is PIECE FOR CHAMBER ORCHESTRA

John Malveaux

Joseph Conyers, Assistant Principal Bass, Philadelphia Orchestra, is Director/Double Bass, & Adjunct Faculty, Temple University

Joseph Conyers, Director/Double Bass at

Joseph Conyers is Director/Double Bass at
"Joseph H. Conyers was appointed assistant principal bassist of the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2010.  He joined the Philadelphia Orchestra after a one-and-a-half year tenure with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, three-and-a half years as principal bassist of the Grand Rapids Symphony (MI), and four summers as a member of the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra (NM)."

The website indicates that Joseph Conyers began teaching bass at Temple University in the Fall semester, 2012.  The Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple University in Philadelphia now lists Joseph Conyers as Adjunct Faculty, Double Bass.  

After learning of the latest news of this very busy bassist, we thought it would be interesting to revisit some of the past blog posts on his career.  AfriClassical first featured bassist Joseph Conyers on March 25, 2008:

A post on January 12, 2010 read:

Sphinx Competition Presented by DTE Energy Foundation To Honor Top Musicians, Feb. 3-7, 2010  

"This year the Sphinx Organization welcomes to the Jury...Atlanta Symphony Bassist and Sphinx Competition alumnus Joseph Conyers."

We posted on June 8, 2010: Joseph Conyers “...will be the first African American member of the orchestra to be hired since 1974.”

Two months later, on August 15, 2010, AfriClasssical wrote:

'Forging New Ground: Joseph Conyers' From an interview conducted by Karan Morrow (Editor, Reverberations)

On January 8, 2011 we posted:

On August 20, 2012 we posted:

Bassist Joseph Conyers and Flutist Demarre McGill at Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival Sept. 9-23, 2012

Less than a month later, we wrote on September 1, 2012:

Bassist Joseph Conyers to Solo With Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Richmond Symphony & Main Line Symphony Orchestra

Comment by email:
Mr. Zick: I'm currently on tour with the Philadelphia Orchestra in China, and my internet connection in Hangzhou blocked me from your website! I could not view it until now here in Shanghai.  Thank you for your interest and post.  Take care,
Joseph Conyers

Assistant Principal Bass, The Philadelphia Orchestra
Executive Director, Project 440

Thursday, May 30, 2013

7th Annual Chicago Dancing Festival August 20-24, 2013 Includes Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

Chicago Dancing Festival Visiting Companies Include
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater


Free Annual Event Remains Nation’s Destination for Summer Dance

August 20 – 24, 2013

·        Festival Newcomers include Ensemble Español, Natya Dance Theatre and Philadanco
·        Visiting companies include Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Brian Brooks Moving Company, Camille A. Brown & Dancers and Lar Lubovitch Dance Company
·        Local companies include Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Giordano Dance Chicago, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and The Joffrey Ballet

CHICAGO (May 30, 2013) – The Chicago Dancing Festival is pleased to announce the programming schedule for its seventh season.  Co-produced by internationally renowned choreographer and native Chicagoan Lar Lubovitch and highly esteemed Chicago dancer Jay Franke, this “Free-to-All” Festival is set to take place August 20 – 24, featuring top ballet, modern, ethnic and rhythmic dance companies from Chicago and across the country. 

Just as the Festival draws from top dance companies across the nation, this year’s program will once again be featured in top venues across Chicago’s downtown summer playground.  Audience members looking to plan their Festival week have a number of outstanding opportunities to choose from, including:

  • The Festival kicks off Tuesday, August 20, with a performance at the Harris Theater.  The Harris Theater is proud to be the Opening Night Presenting Sponsor of the 2013 Chicago Dancing Festival in celebration of The Harris at 10! anniversary season. 

  • Wednesday, August 21, dance enthusiasts looking to celebrate while helping keep the Festival free-to-all are invited to attend the Chicago Dancing Festival’s Gala Benefit at the Museum of Contemporary Art.  Reservations for this intimate performance and benefit are limited and can be reserved today.  The only paid ticket event during the festival, this program will be presented free to the public in two performances Friday, August 23. 

  • Thursday, August 22, the Festival travels to Chicago’s historic Auditorium Theatre.  “As a critical tenet of our mission, the Auditorium Theatre is committed to providing the finest the artistic world has to offer to the people of our great city, and we are honored to partner with the Chicago Dancing Festival, whose dedication to this sublime art form is simply unparalleled—and truly inspiring,” said Brett Batterson, Executive Director of the Auditorium Theatre.

  • Friday, August 23, sees the Museum of Contemporary Art host two performances of the program featured at the Festival’s Gala Benefit. 

  • Saturday, August 24, the Festival concludes with its signature Grand Finale on the stunning outdoor stage of the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.

Highlights this year include two Chicago Dancing Festival Commissions, the Chicago Premiere of Swedish choreographer Alexander Ekman’s Episode 31 performed by The Joffrey Ballet and the Premiere of Lane Alexander’s and Bril Barrett’s In the beginning… performed by Chicago Human Rhythm Project.  This year also sees more live music throughout the Festival, as the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company and festival newcomer Ensemble Español (contemporary Flamenco) both perform to live accompaniment.  Philadelphia-based company Philadanco and Chicago-based Natya Dance Theatre (contemporary Bharata Natyam) will also be seen for the first time in the 2013 Chicago Dancing Festival. 

“This year the Festival turns lucky number seven, and we’re indeed lucky that the city of Chicago, our amazing presenting venues and incredible sponsors, the dance artists of Chicago and from across the country, and most importantly, the fans, have all embraced the Festival and return each year to ensure its continued success,” said Franke.  “We’re grateful for this ongoing support and look forward to presenting a rich and varied program.” 


Tuesday, August 20, 7:30 pm – “The Harris at 10! Anniversary Special”
Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph Drive
·        Brian Brooks Moving Company, I’m Going to Explode by Brian Brooks
·        Chicago Human Rhythm Project, In the beginning^ by Lane Alexander and Bril Barrett (Premiere)
·        Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Little mortal jump by Alejandro Cerrudo
·        The Joffrey Ballet, Son of Chamber Symphony by Stanton Welch
·        Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, Crisis Variations+ by Lar Lubovitch

Wednesday, August 21, 6:30 pm – “Solitaire – A Game of Dance” (Gala Performance & Benefit)
Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Avenue
·        The Chicago Dancing Festival celebrates seven years with its annual Gala, an evening celebrating solo artists from the world of classical, contemporary, Bharata Natyam and Flamenco dance.  This fundraising benefit includes a performance and benefit with an opportunity to mingle with many of this year’s participating artists.  Tickets are $250 per person and can be purchased by emailing  Space is limited.

Thursday, August 22, 7:30 pm – “Dancing in Chicago”
Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Congress Parkway
·        Ensemble Español*, Bolero by Dame Libby Komaiko
·        Giordano Dance Chicago, Two Become Three by Alexander Ekman (2012 CDF Commission)
·        Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, piece to be announced
·        The Joffrey Ballet, Episode 31^ by Alexander Ekman (Chicago Premiere)
·        Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, Transparent Things+ by Lar Lubovitch

Friday, August 23, 6 pm and 8 pm – “Solitaire – A Game of Dance” (The Art of the Solo)
Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Avenue
·        Samuel Lee Roberts of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, In/Side by Robert Battle
·        Brian Brooks of Brian Brooks Moving Company, I’m Going to Explode by Brian Brooks
·        Camille A. Brown of Camille A. Brown & Dancers, Mr. Tol E. Rance by Camille A. Brown
·        Julia Hinojosa of Ensemble Español*+, Ensueños de mi Caribe by Julia Hinojosa
·        Johnny McMillan, David Schultz and Jonathan Fredrickson of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Pacopepepluto by Alejandro Cerrudo
·        Victoria Jaiani of The Joffrey Ballet, The Dying Swan from Swan Lake by Mikhail Fokine
·        Krithika Rajagopalan of Natya Dance Theatre, Sthithihi by Krithika Rajagopalan

Saturday, August 24, 7:30 pm – “Celebration of Dance”
Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph Street
·        Samuel Lee Roberts of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, In/Side by Robert Battle
·        Chicago Human Rhythm Project, In the beginning…^ by Lane Alexander and Bril Barrett
·        Ensemble Español*, Bolero by Dame Libby Komaiko
·        The Joffrey Ballet, Interplay by Jerome Robbins
·        Philadanco*, Wake Up by Rennie Harris

All programs are subject to change.

*CDF Debut
^CDF Commission
+Presented with live music

Ticket Information
All performance showcases are free, but tickets for indoor events must be reserved in advance.  Tickets will be released as follows:

Ticket Release: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at 12 Noon
Tickets for the “The Harris at 10! Anniversary Special” performance on Tuesday, August 20 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance will be available in person at the Harris Theater Box Office, 205 E. Randolph Drive or by calling (312) 334-7777.  Limit of two (2) tickets per order.

Ticket Release: Wednesday, July 17 at 12 Noon
Tickets for the “Dancing in Chicago” performance on Thursday, August 22 at the Auditorium Theatre will be available in person at the Auditorium Theatre Box Office, 50 E. Congress Parkway, online at or by calling (800) 982-ARTS.  Not available at Ticketmaster Outlets.  Limit of two (2) tickets per order.

Ticket Release: Thursday, July 18 at 12 Noon
Tickets for the “Solitaire – A Game of Dance” performances on Friday, August 23 at the Museum of Contemporary Art will be available in person at the MCA Stage Box Office, 220 E. Chicago Avenue or by calling (312) 397-4010.  Limit of two (2) tickets per order.

Any tickets unclaimed at 15 minutes prior to curtain time will be released to those in a Stand-by line.  Stand-by lines begin one hour before the performance, in person only.  All tickets will be held at Will-Call.  All seating for all venues is general admission. 

No tickets are needed for the outdoor “Celebration of Dance” Grand Finale performance at the Pritzker Pavilion. 

About the Chicago Dancing Festival
Established in 2007, the Chicago Dancing Festival was founded to elevate awareness of dance in Chicago, to increase accessibility to the art form and to provide inspiration for local artists.  Its mission is to present a wide variety of excellent dance, enrich the lives of the people of Chicago and provide increased accessibility to the art form, thereby helping create a new audience.  Its vision is to raise the national and international profile of dance in the city, furthering Chicago as the “dance capital of the world” (as Mayor Rahm Emanuel put it at the 2012 Chicago Dancing Festival). 

Lar Lubovitch (Founder, Artistic Director) is one of America's most versatile and highly acclaimed choreographers and founded the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company 45 years ago.  In the years since, he has choreographed more than 100 dances for his New York-based company, which has performed in nearly all 50 American states as well as in more than 30 foreign countries.  Born in Chicago, Mr. Lubovitch was educated at the University of Iowa and the Juilliard School in New York.

Jay Franke (Founder, Artistic Director) began his formal training at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, Texas.  In 1993, he was selected as a Finalist for the Presidential Scholar in the Arts and accepted into the Juilliard School.  Upon receiving his BFA in Dance from the Juilliard School, Mr. Franke went to work with the Twyla Tharp Dance Company, “THARP!”  Mr. Franke has since danced with The 58 Group, Lyric Opera Ballet Chicago, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and was a leading dancer in the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company from 2005 to 2010.

The Chicago Dancing Festival is grateful for its 2013 supporters including: InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile, Official Hotel Partner; Chicago Sun-Times, Print Media Sponsor; Museum of Contemporary Art; Harris Theater for Music and Dance; City of Chicago, Millennium Park; The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University; The Robert and Jamie Taylor Foundation; David Herro and Jay Franke; Illinois Arts Council; National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works; The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; The Chicago Community Trust; Arts Work Fund for Organizational Development; The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince; and the Irving Harris Foundation.

For more information on the Chicago Dancing Festival, its history and 2013 offerings, check out the newly redesigned

André Watts and Detroit Symphony Orchestra Perform on Free Live Webcast Friday, May 31 at 10:45 AM EDT

Also on DSO To Go Mobile APP for iOS or Android

Detroit Symphony Orchestra
André Watts, Pianist
The Program
Pianist extraordinaire André Watts closes the season with MacDowell's second piano concerto, and Leonard Slatkin conducts a Detroit-inspired world premiere by Missy Mazzoli and Tchaikovsky's triumphant fourth symphony.
Leonard Slatkin conductor
André Watts piano

BACH   Suite No.3 in D major, BWV 1068: Air on the G String
MISSY MAZZOLI  River Rouge Transfiguration
  (world premiere and Lebenbom Award winner*)
MACDOWELL  Piano Concerto No. 2
TCHAIKOVSKY  Symphony No. 4

* Missy Mazzoli is the winner of the Elaine Lebenbom Memorial Award for Female Composers, granted annually to a living woman composer, of any age or nationality, in the spirit of recognizing and supporting the creation of new orchestral works by women. The award is inspired by the late Elaine Lebenbom, a composer, teacher, poet, artist, lecturer, and resident of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

ASALH: '2013 National Underground Railroad Conference, June 19-22 in Little Rock, Arkansas'

Sylvia Y. Cyrus:

Don't forget to register for the 2013 National UGRR Conference, June 19-22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Inc. (ASALH) is proud to partner with the National Park Service Network to Freedom to convene the conference.

The theme for this year's conference is The War for Freedom: The Underground Railroad during the Civil War. The conference will commemorate the Sesquicentennial of the Emancipation Proclamation, as well as the 15th Anniversary of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. The four-day conference will include renowned speakers, panel discussions, an exhibit hall, and tours of state and local museums and historic sites in Little Rock, Pine Bluff, and Helena.

This year's keynotes are:
  • James Downs, PhD, Associate Professor of History at Connecticut College
  • Thavolia Glymph, PhD, Associate Professor of African and African American History at Duke University
  • Matthew Pinsker, PhD, Pohanka Chair of Civil War History at Dickinson College
The conference will be hosted at the Doubletree-Downtown located at 424 W. Markham St., Little Rock, Arkansas 72201. To view more about the conference or to register go to
Also, don't forget to make your hotel reservations by May 31st to get this great conference rate. Please call the hotel directly at 501-372-4371 or central reservations at 800-222-TREE. To receive the conference rate of $86, please use group rate code: "URC."

We look forward to seeing you there!


Sylvia Y. Cyrus
Executive Director 

Nigerian Composer, Organist and Professor Fela Sowande Was Born May 29, 1905; Recent Comments Have Brought Interesting Facts to Light

Fela Sowande in 1946 Theatre Organ World (From Alan Ashton)

Singer Adelaide Hall and Fela Sowande on cover of ASV LP Record Label
(From Alan Ashton)

The Nigerian composer, organist and Professor Fela Sowande (1905-1987), is featured at and is regularly featured on AfriClassical Blog, from which we have selected some recent examples which highlight the essential role of contributions we receive from website visitors and blog readers:

Undoubtedly the most newsworthy post on Fela Sowande in the past 12 months is this one on November 26, 2012:  Fela Sowande Plays 3 Popular Tunes on Hammond Organ in .mp3 Files at

The final Sowande post of 2012 was Marcus Hartmann's review of a performance in Germany of Fela Sowande's landmark work, African Suite, and appeared on December 30: Review of Upper Swabian Chamber Orchestra in Germany: 'highlight of the concert was the African Suite for string orchestra and harp'

For Fela Sowande, the present calendar year at AfriClassical Blog began with a post on January 11, 2013:  Byron Hanson: Fela Sowande's Work 'Six Nigerian Miniatures' Was Commissioned by Thor Johnson and Premiered at Peninsula Music Festival August 14, 1960

On March 8, 2013 we posted a fascinating invitation by Michael S. Wright of the U.K:  Examples invited on "temperament and musical intervals" outside Western Classical Music

As we celebrate Fela Sowande's birthday, we reflect with gratitude on those whose well-documented comments have added to the available body of public information on the life and work of a Nigerian musician, composer and scholar whose biographer Bode Omojola has given him the title Father of Modern Nigerian Art Music.  

John McLaughlin Williams: 'the complete parts to [Coleridge-Taylor's] Fantasiestücke can be downloaded legally without cost at IMSLP.'

John McLaughlin Williams

John McLaughlin Williams comments on the blog post:

Bill, please note that the complete parts to C-T's Fantasiestücke can be downloaded legally without cost at IMSLP. There may be fans of your blog who would want to acquire the music for study or performance.  [John McLaughlin Williams]

AfriClassical notes, for those who may be unfamiliar with the organization, that IMSLP gives this description of itself at its website:

IMSLP stands for International Music Score Library Project. The logo is a capital letter A, taken from the very first press-printed book of polyphonic music, the Harmonice Musices Odhecaton, published in 1501. Its printer, Ottaviano Petrucci, is this library's namesake. 

Chamber Music at the Scarab Club, in Downtown Detroit, Performs 3 Movements of Coleridge-Taylor's 'Fantasiestücke for String Quartet' at 7 PM Sunday, June 2

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Chamber Music
Fantasiestucke for String Quartet, Op. 5 (20:55)

Five Negro Melodies for Piano Trio (18:10)

Nonet in F Minor (26:40)
Coleridge Ensemble
AFKA SK 543 (1998)

WRCJ 90.9 FM in Detroit has been announcing that music of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912), the Afro-British composer and conductor whose death Centennial was celebrated in 2012, will be performed in Downtown Detroit on June 2, 2013 as part of 

The performers are: Maurice Draughn, harp; Brian Bowman, bass clarinet
Velda Kelly, violin; Andrew Wu, violin; Scott Stefanko, violin; and Nadine Deleury, cellist.  Nadine Deleury noted that the work is dedicated to Sir Charles Villiers Stanford, and informed us that three of the five movements of the Fantasiestucke for String Quartet, Op. 5 will be performed: Humoresque; Minuet & Trio; Dance.

Fantasiestucke for String Quartet, Op. 5 has been recorded by The Coleridge Ensemble on the CD pictured above, AFKA SK 543 (1998).  The late William Ethaniel Thomas is the cellist and author of the scholarly liner notes.  One of the violinists is John McLaughlin Williams, the GRAMMY-winning conductor who is also a multi-instrumentalist and who makes his home in Southeast Michigan.  Maestro Williams has devoted years of research to the works of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Philippa Duke Schuyler and other composers and musicians of African descent.

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) is profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works List and a Bibliography by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma,  Here is his entry on the Coleridge-Taylor work from which the Scarab Club concert pieces have been selected:

Fantasiestücke, string quartet, op. 5 (1895). London: Augener, 1921. (#10555; Augener's edition, 7207). 1. Prelude in E minor; Allegro ma non troppo; 2. Serenade in G; Andante molto; 3. Humoresque in A minor; presto; 4. Minuet and trio; Allegro moderato, in G; 5. Dance in G; Vivace. Dedication: Sir Charles Stanford. Library: Library of Congress (parts).

Bill, please note that the complete parts to C-T's Fantasiestücke can be downloaded legally without cost at IMSLP. There may be fans of your blog who would want to acquire the music for study or performance.  [John McLaughlin Williams]

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

World Pianist Invitational Saturday, June 15, 2013, 7:30 PM to 10:30 PM, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Terrace Theater

We hope you can join us for the long-awaited final round competition of the World Pianist Invitational.

Or if you know of any aspiring classical pianists in the Mid-Atlantic region who would like to attend, please spread the word.

Tickets are just $35 – an incredible value for a performance of this level at one of the world’s most prestigious concert venues.

Please see the graphic above for ticket information.

Harlem Chamber Players With Conductor Tali Makell Perform Mozart and Beethoven Wind Serenades at Bernie Wohl Auditorium on Wednesday, June 5 at 7 PM

with Conductor Tali Makell

Mozart and Beethoven Wind Serenades
Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 7 PM
Goddard Riverside Community Center
Bernie Wohl Auditorium
647 Columbus Avenue at 91st Street
New York, NY 10025
Click here to view and print a flyer.

Tali Makell, Conductor; Gerard Reuter, Oboe; Jim Ferraiuolo, Oboe; Carl Jackson, Clarinet;

Liz Player, Clarinet; Eric Davis, French horn; Deryck Clarke, French horn;
Amy Fraser, Bassoon; David Miller, Bassoon; Anthony Morris, Double Bass  

Mozart Serenade in C Minor, K. 388

Excerpts from Mozart's Così fan tutte arranged for wind octet
Beethoven Wind Octet in E-flat Major, Op. 103  

  1. This concert is FREE and open to the public. Reservation required. Visit our website or call 212-866-1492 for more information.

Benefactor will match all contributions to 'Amen: The Life and Music of Jester Hairston' in final days of campaign

Hansonia Caldwell:

Thank you for your support,There are just a few more days left to support Amen: The Life and Music of Jester Hairston.   We are pleased to announce that we now have a benefactor who has pledged to match all contributions dollar for dollar.  Your generosity and support will get you our one-of-a-kind perks as our token of gratitude plus the warm feeling of knowing you have helped students everywhere learn about music. We are so grateful for the donations we have received during this campaign by credit card at and by check at  Thank-you to all who have "pledged", "shared" and "liked" the project. 
Jester Hairston was a man of many talents, and is probably best-known for his arrangement of the Spiritual "Amen" which is featured in Sidney Poitier's Academy Award-winning film, Lilies of the Field. (It is actually Jester Hairston's voice you hear in the film.)  Many of us know Hairston from his work conducting the Spiritual in churches all over the country.   But Hairston was also active in the early decades of Hollywood, teaming up with film composer Dimitri Tiomkin as a choral arranger and later as an actor on television.  
All donations will go to securing the rights of film clips, television segments, songs, photographs and other rich visuals we need to properly illustrate Hairston's life. 

Hansonia Caldwell and Lillian Benson

Monday, May 27, 2013 Editor's Choice: 'Sphinx Founder Aaron Dworkin's Personal Story'

Afa Sadykhly Dworkin and Aaron P. Dworkin

In sorting through my mail last evening, I came across the Sphinx spring newsletter, with a lovely photo of Sphinx founder Aaron Dworkin and his wife Afa Sadykhly Dworkin. I noticed with interest that Sphinx has honored Stanford Thompson, among others, with a Medal of Excellence. Stan was a graduate of the first class of Abreu Fellows from NEC, and is currently the Director of the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra’s El Sistema-inspired program, Tune Up Philly. I also read a short description of the inaugural SphinxCon, a conference on diversity in the performing arts, held in February in Detroit.
Reading all their news reminded me of an article we published in 2009 – a shortened version of a speech that Aaron gave at the Chautauqua Foundation where he described his own upbringing and the path that brought him to found Sphinx 16 years ago.  This quote from his speech sums it up and hopefully will intrigue you enough to read the entire article:
People sometimes ask me why I care so much about diversity and why I have dedicated my life to pursuits that further that end. I have the easiest response to that question: ‘I am a black, white, Jewish, Irish Catholic, Jehovah’s Witness who plays the violin. I am the definition of diversity. I don’t have a choice but to do what I do.’

Please take a look at Aaron’s incredible story, and join me in congratulating him and Afa on the wonderful success Sphinx is experiencing.

Longfellow Chorus: 'Coleridge-Taylor Returns to Norfolk June 19'

[Dr. Lester Green leads a performance of
the original "Keep me from sinkin' down
in the film

Longfellow Chorus
Normally this time of year I'm beginning to
plan for next year's Longfellow Choral
Festival. However, all future performances
have been put on hold in order to recoup
funds after seven years of ambitious and 
highly original programming.

But that does not mean nothing's 
happening. I'm very busy finishing —
the editing process will probably never
be quite complete — and promoting
the film "Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and 
His Music in America, 1900–1912." This 
is an example of the mission of The
 Longfellow Chorus being fulfilled at its
very best and in a long-lasting and evident

I'll show "Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and
His Music in America" in the Battell Recital
Hall of the Norfolk Chamber Music 
Festival, Norfolk, Connecticut, at
7:30 PM, Wednesday, June 19, as part
of the free-admission Music in Context
series. This occurs a little over one year
after we recreated an aspect of the 
premiere of Coleridge-Taylor's Violin 
Concerto in G in the Music Shed on the 
 centennial of the first performance 
by Maud Powell—Lydia Forbes's 
presentation of Maud's SC-T encore,
"Keep me from sinkin' down," for
 violin and orchestra.

I've created a Norfolk Promo for this
event—a 10-minute condensed
version of the Norfolk scenes in the
two-hour film. What's new in
this promo is that I've added to
the soundtrack bits of our
performance of the Concerto from
March 16 with violinist Tai Murray,
and a luxurious clarinet and oboe
moment from our performance
of SC-T's "Bamboula
 Rhapsodic Dance." (Bamboula
was performed originally in Norfolk
in 1910, the composer conducting.)
The result is an audible
delicate Art Nouveau flavor to the
Norfolk scenes in the film.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Oakland Public Conservatory of Music Symphony Orchestra Announces its 4th Season Under Dr. Sandra I. Noriega

Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church - Barnett Hall - 3534 Lakeshore Avenue, Oakland, CA 94610    
Rehearsals are held on Tuesday evenings, 7:00 - 9:30 PM. beginning on June 4th.
Rehearsals are held at OPC,1616 Franklin St., Downtown Oakland.    
Local musicians are welcomed to join the orchestra.  Please be aware there is a $50 registration fee for participation to help cover the costs of operating expenses, sheet music, and security.        
Feel free to share this information with your circle of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances.
For advanced high-school students, participation in the orchestra can be used for community service credit on college applications. Students should meet with the conductor to determine if their skill level is advanced enough to ensure a successful performance. 

To hear recordings of the concert repertoire and download available sheet music, please go to: 

Tuscaloosa Tango
Winner of the 2010 Alabama Orchestra Association Composition Competition, by local Bay Area composer, Daniel Leo Simpson. Simpson is described as an American Composer with a flair for creating "contagious" and engaging music, and specializes in unusual, interesting and dynamic works of every genre. From concerti and symphonies to commercials and film music, he is distinguishing himself as unique in his field.
Tuscaloosa Tango is written in the form of a DOUBLE fugue - very interesting! 

Capriccio Espagñol
by Russian composer, Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov, who initially planned this piece as a fantasy for violin and orchestra but eventually decided on a purely orchestral scoring. Korsakov possessed an exceptional knowledge of the characteristics and capabilities of different instruments, and Capriccio Espagñol strongly supports his reputation as a master orchestrator. Rimsky-Korsakov notes this aspect of the work in his autobiography: "According to my plan, the Capriccio was to glitter with dazzling orchestral color, and clearly I was not mistaken."

Lenox Avenue
William Grant Still

by William Grant Still was originally performed as a CBS radio broadcast in 1936, and  presents a splendid panorama of life in 1930's Harlem. It was composed as a set  of musical vignettes depicting scenes and episodes one might run into on the central street of New York's Harlem, Lenox Avenue. Critics described the work as colorful, graphic, insinuating, a thrilling experience, and exceptionally praiseworthy.     
An October 31, 1937 review in the Los Angeles Times by Isabel Morse Jones states, "Life moves fast on the Lenox Avenue of William Grant Still. There is more real Negro character in it than in all  of Porgy and Bess... as it pictures a street in Harlem that is almost human in its personal characteristics."                                                   
Incantation and Dance
for Oboe and Piano by William Grant Still. A professional oboist himself, enthralled with the beauty of the human voice, his music permeates with fluid lyricism. In this work, the melody appears as a reflective piano solo, and the oboe proves the perfect instrument to nurture and develop its introspective qualities.  
Though the tempo picks up in the Dance, the mood remains as somber as it is beautiful. 

Old California
by William Grant Still is a symphonic tone poem, that holds thematic charm by mingling Indian, Spanish and religious motifs, depicting their influence on the historical development of California as a meeting place of racial cultures. Critic Richard Saunders of the Hollywood Citizen-News, 1941, calls it "a work of strong melodic appeal, magnificently orchestrated, worth a permanent place in orchestral repertory." A prolonged ovation was accorded William Grant Still after a fine, initial presentation of this work.
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