Thursday, June 30, 2016

André Watts: The Complete Columbia Album Collection is a 12-CD Box Set From Sony Which Documents the Debut and Lifetime Achievements of a Piano Superstar

A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man

By Jed Distler

"André Watts' complete recordings for Columbia Masterworks could easily be titled after James Joyce's first novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. They essentially cover his formative years, from his celebrated debut with the New York Philharmonic at sixteen up through the youthful maturity of the thirty-four-year-old pianist's 1980 Tokyo concerts."

Jed Distler recalls that during his childhood piano studies his mother held André Watts up as an example of what Distler might hope to accomplish as well if he practiced faithfully.  He writes: "However, inspiration didn't quite take hold until I was brought to hear Watts in person for the first time during the spring of 1968.  I was eleven.  Up until then I had not heard a professional piano recital. By then I knew Watts from familiar television appearances and records, yet seeing him up close and in person was altogether different.  The pianist had a glow about him.  His natural poise, and quiet command grabbed my attention. Even his concert tails impressed me.  There were no ostentatious gestures or heroics, but I'd never heard a piano sound as full, even in softer selections.

"After the concert, the ushers led me backstage, and I shook Mr. Watts' hand.  With a long line of well-wishers ahead, Watts still took extra time to ask me questions about my studies, encourage me, and wish me luck. I asked if I could see how far he could stretch his hands.  Watts graciously spread out his long fingers against my stubby digits.  Needless to say, I was star struck."  

The first Columbia Records album in the Sony box et is entitled Columbia Records Presents The Exciting Debut of Andre Watts Playing Liszt: Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Flat With Leonard Bernstein New York Philharmonic  The liner notes for the album begin: "The guest soloist at a Thursday evening concert of the New York Philharmonic having been suddenly taken ill, it was announced that his place would be taken by Andre Watts.  Who, the Thursday night audience wondered, was Andre Watts?  Their curiosity changed to astonishment when a slender, handsome sixteen-year-old boy accompanied Leonard Bernstein onto the stage of Philharmonic Hall.  And their astonishment, in turn, became enraptured admiration as the young pianist launched into the Liszt E-flat Piano Concerto, one of the most difficult and brilliant in the repertory.  They gave him a six-minute standing ovation."


Maestro Bernstein had first heard the sixteen-year-old prodigy some months earlier, when he auditioned for a New York Philharmonic Young People's Concert. "I flipped" is Bernstein's succinct description of his reaction to this audition. Andre played the Liszt concerto at the Young People's Concert, which was broadcast over television and seen by many thousands.  @Then, when the scheduled pianist cancelled, Bernstein immediately called in Andre for the Philharmonic Hall engagement.  "Normally I would never do such a thing," the conductor said after the concert.  "After all, he's just a boy, a high school boy. But he will be one of those special giants.  The seeds of his gianthood are already here.  So it seemed a shame not to give him a chance.  He just walked right out like a Persian prince and played.  One day he'll undoubtedly be one of a very special dozen of the world's top pianists."

André Watts was born in Germany on June 20, 1944.  Sony Records has compiled this box set of 12 CDs in honor of his 70th birthday this month.  This reviewer was born two years earlier, and was in the first year of college when Watts performed on the New York Philharmonic Young People's Concert.  The Music Room of the Library was my favorite place to study during the hours I was on campus, but I commuted home to a rural village after classes.  In my early years of college, the only orchestral concerts to which I had access were the televised Young People's Concerts, which were great favorites of mine.

The first few discs of this set in particular bring back strong memories of my introduction to the world of orchestral classical music through the performances of the New York Philharmonic on television and those I explored in the Music Room of my college library.  The 12 CDs are of uniformly high quality.  It is amazing to be reminded of both the precocious achievements of André Watts when he won a national and global reputation, and the continued standard of excellence of his many decades of subsequent performances, as these recordings document.

Comment by email:
I have to get this.  Sergio  [Sergio A. Mims] Sheku Kanneh-Mason: Schumann Cello Concerto with Angel Orchestra, 3 July 5 PM; Oxford Mathematician Marcus du Sautoy on Math & Music

Sheku Kanneh-Mason

The Kanneh-Masons

Sheku Kanneh-Mason: Robert Schumann Cello Concerto with Angel Orchestra

Sunday 3 July 2016, 5 PM

London, England, United Kingdom

The Angel Orchestra

About the Orchestra

Conductor: Peter Fender
Leader: Abigail Dance

The Angel Orchestra is a London amateur orchestra lead by a professional leader and principal cellist who meet once a week to rehearse together at St Silas Church, Risinghill Street in Angel, Islington.

Summer Concert 2016

Sunday, 3 July 2016, 5pm
  • Bach, Ricercar a 6 from A Musical Offering (arr. P Fender)
  • Brahms, Haydn Variations
  • Strauss, Serenade
  • Schumann, Cello concerto (Sheku Kanneh-Mason, cello - BBC Young Musician of the Year 2016)
Bach’s student Mizler once declared that Bach’s music was the processing of sounding mathematics. Find out why maths and music have always been so closely linked with a short talk by Oxford mathematician Marcus du Sautoy.

Tickets at the door: £10 / £5 concession

Tickets online via WeGotTickets

Comment by email:
Thanks.  I'm fine and hope you're well too.  Thanks for the info. 
I've always felt the connection with mathematics when listening to music.  The tones, the progressions, and the intervals between tones.   I remember music for three reasons.  First the melody.  But I remember specific performances based on 2 other aspects 

First, the quality of tones of chords and instruments.  There are performances I listen to, over and over, to hear the perfect tonal quality of the instruments. One I love is a trumpet choir - with their tones at perfect tonal intervals forming such a pure sound. 

The other form of intervals that I remember are the intervals between notes.  For example, whether played by an orchestra or a soloist, there is individuality in the length of notes, the intervals of phrases, and in the intervals between notes. 

I remember and can mimic countless solos or phrases from recordings of singers, jazz artists, and big bands because I remember how they: hit, miss or bend tones; the length of the notes and phrases; and the intervals between the notes or phrases.  Before Lester Young, all jazz sax soloists played every note on the beat.  Then, in the mid-30s, Lester Young would slow down his delivery so the notes came on, before, and often after the beat.  Billie Holiday was a singer who did so famously.  The way such a soloist stretches intervals of notes/silence is unique.  And those unique intervals (tonal and time wise) are what I remember.

Ever since I started playing the accordion (about 1956 or 57) I felt music had to be played expressively (which I later realized was based on the interval length of notes and silence).  There was "straight" on the beat playing (for marches, or some music).  But I've always needed to play show tune, songs, and standards "expressively" - with varying intervals for notes, phrases and silences to express the mood of that music.  I couldn't just play Maria (from Westside Story) straight.  It demands more.  Anyway . . .
Sorry to run on.  But it is an interesting topic.
Thanks again.
 [Mark F. Davidson]

John Malveaux: Program, San Pedro Community Fourth of July Observance, Monday, July 4, 2016, 10:30 a.m., Korean Bell of Friendship Pavilion

John Malveaux of 

See Program. 

John Malveaux


Mr. John Malveaux, President of MusicUNTOLD

Ms. Jumi Kim, Soprano
Ms. Mary Au, Pianist

Candle Light & Wings

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Sergio A. Mims: Enticott Music Management Welcomes 2016 BBC Young Musician of the Year SHEKU KANNEH-MASON To its Roster for General Management

Sheku Kanneh-Mason

Sergio A. Mims forwards this release:

Enticott Music Management

Reaffirming our commitment to the nurturing and development of exceptional young artists, Enticott Music Management is delighted to announce that cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason is joining our roster for General Management. Winner of the 2016 BBC Young Musician of the Year competition, Sheku’s ‘innate musical intelligence’ (Classical Source) was obvious throughout the rounds and the final with Dobrinka Tabakova (Jury Chair) commenting on his ‘electric‘ performance of Shostakovich’s first cello concerto and The Guardian noting that Sheku “is just what classical music needs.”

We look forward to advising and guiding Sheku as he embarks on his musical career, ensuring that he also has the space and balance he will need to develop as a musician in the coming years. It is  a privilege to be involved from the outset.

Best wishes,

Kathryn Enticott

Classical WETA in Washington, D.C. streams live; its "Choral Showcase" will air R. Nathaniel Dett's "The Ordering of Moses" Sunday, July 3, 2016 at 9 PM EDT

 is profiled at AfriClassical.comwhich 
features a comprehensive Works List 
and a Bibliography by the late 
Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma 

The Ordering of Moses
R. Nathaniel Dett
May Festival Chorus
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
James Conlon, conductor
Bridge 9462

Classical WETA 90.9 FM

By David Ginder, Morning On Air Host

For Independence Day Weekend, Choral Showcase airs a piece by Robert Nathaniel Dett (1882-1943).  He was Canadian-born but spent most of his creative life in the United States, and he's a rare example of an American classical composer who directly found his inspiration in the music of Antonin Dvorak.

[The Cincinnati May Festival and the Cincinnati Symphony recorded The Ordering of Moses on a CD on the Bridge label in 2014.  It will be heard on WETA on Sunday, July 3, 2016 at 9 PM EDT.]

By Regina Baiocchi (@HaikuFest

LATIN VOYAGES: VIAJES LATINOS: Sphinx Virtuosi embark on 9th national tour! One of the nation's most dynamic professional self-conducted chamber orchestras

From the tantalizing Argentine tango to the nocturnal imagery of Mexico, a grand tribute to the great Piazzolla, with a final invitation to a Catalan dance. 

The SPHINX VIRTUOSI, led by the Catalyst Quartet, is one of the nation's most dynamic professional self-conducted chamber orchestras.

Sphinx Virtuosi Tour Dates & Places

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Albany State University student [Victoria Stephens] conducts medical research at UCLA

Victoria Stephens

Albany State University

Rising senior admitted to UCLA “Pathways to PhDs” program

ALBANY, Ga. – Albany State University forensic science student, Victoria Stephens, traveled to California June 19 to engage in evolutionary medicine research at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), one of the highest ranked research institutions in the world.
The UCLA “Evolutionary Medicine: Pathways to PhDs” program is being held from June 19 to August 13 on the university’s campus. Stephens, a rising senior, will explore how evolutionary and ecological principles affect medicine and medical applications. She will also examine how medical and clinical problems generate new research questions in evolution. Evolutionary medicine combines ecology, evolutionary biology, anthropology, psychology, zoology, systems biology and microbiology with medicine.
“My goal is to become a clinical or anatomical pathologist,” Stephens said. “Through the internship, I will gain more research skills and knowledge about medicine and people in general.”
ASU president Art Dunning said this will be a wonderful experience for Stephens and will prepare her to make a lasting impact in the medical field.
“As the Baby Boom generation ages and that population continues to increase, especially here in Southwest Georgia, our need for experienced professionals in the medical field will also increase,” Dunning said. “Stephens’ experience is a great example of the opportunities that are available for our students.”
Stephens, along with the other summer interns will work closely with professors from UCLA's Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department and the David Geffen School of Medicine. The program will cover transportation costs, lodging and food expenses. Stephens will also receive a $3,000 stipend.
The initiative recruits undergraduate juniors and seniors from historically black colleges and universities who are interested in exploring evolutionary medicine topics.
“I knew that the deadline had passed for this summer, but I contacted Dr. Pamela Yeh, the director of the UCLA program, and asked that an ASU student be considered for the next session.  I was delighted when she told me there was one slot still available for the summer,” said Florence Lyons, ASU associate professor of Speech and coordinator of the Speech and Theatre division. Lyons realized it would be a great opportunity for an ASU student. The partnership allows Lyons to recommend a student for the “Evolutionary Medicine: Pathways to PhDs” program each year.
As a result of Stephens’ participation, she has the opportunity to receive free tuition to pursue a master’s degree or doctoral degree at any of the 10 University of California (UC) institutions, provided she meets all of the requirements for acceptance into the graduate program.
 “This is a wonderful opportunity for Victoria, and I am grateful that UCLA’s Evolutionary Medicine Program will continue to partner with ASU in the future so that additional ASU students can benefit from the program,” Lyons said.

Dr. Eric Conway: Washington Post Review of Serenade Festival Concert at the Music Center at Strathmore June 26, 2016

Morgan State University Choir
Delegation at Classical Movements Serenade!
June 26, 2016, Washington, D.C.

Dr. Eric Conway writes:


On this past Sunday, June 26th at 3PM,  a small contingent of the Morgan State University Choir participated in a concert at the Music Center at Strathmore, in North Bethesda, MD.  This concert featured the best choral groups in the Washington, DC based choral festival Serenade! presented by Classical Movements.  The concert featured groups from all over the world including Latvia, Netherlands, Japan, Italy, and of course the United States.  I always like for my Morgan choirs to hear other ensembles; to see presentations and sounds different than what we are used to hearing - thus expanding our aural palette.  Typically amateur groups are not reviewed, however, when performing at professional venues such as Strathmore and with such an international stage, a reporter from the Washington Post was there to take note of the performances.  Please see attached a link and PDF of the Post review as well as a PDF of the program for the afternoon.


Sergio A. Mims: Billy Childs Named President of Chamber Music America [Violinist and Composer Jessie Montgomery also joins CMA Board July 1]

Billy Childs

Jessie Montgomery

Sergio A. Mims forwards this release:

New York, NY, June 27, 2016—Chamber Music America (CMA) today announced the appointment of pianist and composer Billy Childs as president of its board of directors, effective July 1. Childs is the organization’s ninth board president, and the first jazz musician elected to the position. The CMA board of directors unanimously approved his first three-year term at its June 6th meeting.
Childs’ large and varied body of work defies easy categorization. Though principally a jazz artist, he holds a degree in classical composition and has composed extensively for classical chamber ensembles and orchestras. His widely acclaimed Jazz-Chamber Ensemble—for which he received a commissioning grant from CMA in 2006—influentially merged contemporary jazz idioms with the instrumentation and orchestration of a traditional chamber ensemble.
As a pianist, Childs has performed with Yo-Yo Ma, Renee Fleming, Chick Corea, the Kronos Quartet, Wynton Marsalis, Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland, and Ron Carter, among many others. His commissions include works for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Kronos Quartet, Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, American Brass Quintet, Ying Quartet, and Dorian Wind Quintet.
Over his career, Childs has received countless accolades, including four Grammy Awards (and a total of 13 nominations), a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, and an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award.
“We’re so pleased to welcome Billy to this important leadership role at CMA,” said CEO Margaret M. Lioi. “His vision for the chamber music field reflects the breadth of his own creative work as well as his experience and awareness of the challenges that face touring artists and ensembles. He epitomizes the vitality and innovation that characterize the art form, and his commitment to CMA and its work will help us to lead as well as to serve the field.”
Childs succeeds outgoing board president Andrew Appel, who began his term in 2010, and has served on CMA’s board in various capacities over the course of the last 16 years. Appel is a harpsichordist, fortepianist, and artistic director of The Four Nations Ensemble.

Also joining CMA’s Board of Directors on July 1 are: Aloysia Friedmann, violinist/violist and artistic director of the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival; violinist and composer Jessie Montgomery; pianist and composer Michele Rosewoman; Kathie Lynne Stewart, principal flutist of Apollo’s Fire; Ruth Waalkes, executive director of Virginia Tech’s Moss Arts Center; and John Zion, managing director of Melvin Kaplan, Inc.

Opera News: Macbeth in Attica: A Glimmerglass performance captivates a captive audience [Eric Owens, Melody Moore & Soloman Howard Sing]

Illustration by Nigel Buchanan

Soloman Howard

   Melody Moore and Eric Owens

Opera News

June 2016

Spotlight by Alan Prendergast

COMPLETED IN 1931 AND INFAMOUS for the 1971 riot that claimed forty-three lives, the Attica Correctional Facility in New York State's Wyoming County houses some of the most violent and disruptive prisoners in the New York corrections system; many of the inmates are serving life sentences.  It's not a place where voices are often raised in song.

Francesca Zambello, artistic and general director of the nearby Glimmerglass Festival, is passionate about bringing opera to nontraditional audiences - even if the effort sometimes takes her well out of her comfort zone.  But in decades of opera and theater work, she had never undertaken anything quite as challenging as last summer's journey, with several Glimmerglass cast members, to Attica, to perform selections from Verdi's Macbeth for inmates.  A documentary about the prison got her thinking about extending the nonprofit's community outreach to new realms.  "It's not that far from us," she says, "I wondered what it would be like if we brought opera to the biggest maximum-security prison in the state."

Initially skeptical, prison officials soon warmed to the idea, which was green-lighted by Governor Andrew Cuomo's office.  Approval came with several daunting restrictions, based on security concerns.  No costumes.  No props.  No microphones.  No cell phones, jewelry or underwire bras.  Security would also dictate the time allowed for the performance and the size of the audience - less than ten percent of Attica's 2,200 inmates, selected from those whose good behavior had earned them the right to attend.

The clear choice among the 2015 Glimmerglass offerings was Macbeth, with its passionate music, compelling story and dark themes of betrayal and violence begetting violence.  Given the limitations imposed by the venue, Zambello decided to bring only an electric piano, three singers - bass-baritone Eric Owens, soprano Melody Moore and bass Soloman Howard - and a bare-bones support crew.

For Howard, who was raised in poverty and occasional homelessness in the heart of Washington, D.c., the prospect of performing in a prison in which more than half the population is African-American had a particular resonance.  "I grew up around gangs," he says.  "!I've had friends who went to prison.  Some I've lost contact with, because they were facing hard time.  They go in, and they're forgotten about.  This was a time to say, 'We're here for you.'"

The audience filed in slowly, cellblock by cellblock, under heavy guard.

Zambello (feeling "more nervous than I have ever felt") welcolmed the inmates and offered a brief introduction.  "When I talked about Macbeth and Lady Macbeth making this very bad decision that would haunt them in ways they didn't expect, there was an ominous air," she says.  "I could tell this really rang home for them."

HOWARD AND OWENS TOOK THE STAGE for the first selection, the duet of Banquo and Macbeth, responding to the witches' prophecy that Macbeth will be king.  From the opening notes, Zambello knew things were going better than she could have hoped; the spectacle of two powerful African-American men singing thunderously in Italian was greeted with hushed astonishment.  "These guys opened their mouths, and you could literally see jaws dropping," Zambello says.

The crowd clapped and cheered at the conclusion of the duet.  Moore's first aria, "Vieni! t'affretta!" - with only electric piano, played by Kevin Miller, for accompaniment - drew even more enthusiasm.  "That's potentially the hardest audience to please," Howard says, "but it was one of the best audiences we've ever performed for."

The charged atmosphere persisted t the end.  When it was over, more than half of the audience leapt to their feet for a standing ovation - and then immediately sat back down.  "They're not allowed to stand up and move without being told to do so," Zambello notes.  "It really makes you realize what the loss of freedom feels like."

When Howard said that music had helped to take him out of "the hood" in D.C., the men applauded.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Jarrod Lee, Bass-Baritone, July 14, 16, 18, Alcindoro and Benoît, La Bohème, Aspen Music Festival and School

Jarrod Lee

Jarrod Lee, Bass-Baritone

July 14, 16, 18

Alcindoro and Benoît

La bohème

Aspen Music Festival and School

Comment by email:
Thank you William.  I'm honored to be featured in your blog.  I will add you to my list of contacts regarding updates.  Have a great week.  [Jarrod Lee]

American Pianist Jeremy Jordan is performing at the Ottawa Jazz Festival (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) June 29-30, 2016

Jeremy Jordan is performing at the Ottawa Jazz Festival (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) June 29-30, 2016. 
Please visit the following link for more details.

Mark D. Jordan

John Malveaux: Jupiter Hammon (October 17, 1711 – before 1806) was a Black poet who became the first African-American published writer in America in 1760

Jupiter Hammon

John Malveaux of 

Jupiter Hammon (October 17, 1711 – before 1806) was a Black poet who became the first African-American published writer in America when a poem appeared in print in 1760. He was a slave his entire life, and the date of his death is unknown. He was living in 1790 at the age of 79, and died by 1806. Hammon was a devout Christian, and is considered one of the founders of African American literature.
His first published poem was written on Christmas Day, 1760. "An Evening Thought. Salvation by Christ with Penitential Cries: Composed by Jupiter Hammon, a Negro belonging to Mr. Lloyd of Queen's Village, on Long Island, the 25th of December, 1760"
An Evening Thought: Salvation by Christ, with Penetential Cries
Salvation comes by Jesus Christ alone,
The only Son of God;
Redemption now to every one,
That love his holy Word.
Dear Jesus we would fly to Thee,
And leave off every Sin,
Thy Tender Mercy well agree;
Salvation from our King.
Salvation comes now from the Lord,
Our victorious King;
His holy Name be well ador’d,
Salvation surely bring.
Dear Jesus give they Spirit now,
Thy Grace to every Nation,
That han’t the Lord to whom we bow,
The Author of Salvation.
Dear Jesus unto Thee we cry,
Give us the Preparation;
Turn not away thy tender Eye;
We seek thy true Salvation.
Salvation comes from God we know,
The true and only One;
It’s well agreed and certain true,
He gave his only Son.
Lord hear our penetential Cry:
Salvation from above;
It is the Lord that doth supply,
With his Redeeming Love.
Dear Jesus by thy precious Blood,
The World Redemption have:
Salvation now comes from the Lord,
He being thy captive slave.
Dear Jesus let the Nations cry,
And all the People say,
Salvation comes from Christ on high,
Haste on Tribunal Day.
We cry as Sinners to the Lord,
Salvation to obtain;
It is firmly fixt his holy Word,
Ye shall not cry in vain.
Dear Jesus unto Thee we cry,
And make our Lamentation:
O let our Prayers ascend on high;
We felt thy Salvation.
Lord turn our dark benighted Souls;
Give us a true Motion,
And let the Hearts of all the World,
Make Christ their Salvation.
Ten Thousand Angels cry to Thee,
Yea lourder than the Ocean.
Thou art the Lord, we plainly see;
Thou art the true Salvation.
Now is the Day, excepted Time;
The Day of Salvation;
Increase your Faith, do no repine:
Awake ye every Nation.

Classical Composer, Pianist & Professor George Walker Was Born in Washington, D.C. on June 27, 1922; A Precocious Student, He has become a Prolific Recording Artist

The late Dominique-René de Lerma, whose final teaching position was at Lawrence University Conservatory in Appleton, Wisconsin, was a major source of research for this website's page on George Walker.  Prof. De Lerma tells us that when George Walker was 14 years old, he gave his first public performance on the piano at Howard University, 

Prof. De Lerma relates Walker's studies at Oberlin College were made possible by a scholarship, which allowed him to enroll at age 15 in 1937.   George Walker received his Bachelor of Music Degree at age 18, "leading his Conservatory class in honors, 1941."          

Prof De Lerma notes Walker went on to study piano and chamber music at the Curtis Institute: "He graduated from the Curtis Institute with Artist Diplomas in piano and composition in 1945,  becoming the first black graduate of this renowned music school."

The website's full page on George Walker is found at:


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Angel Joy Blue performs in "Summer Night's Concert" with Radio Filharmonisch Orkest, Karel Mark Chichon, Conductor, July 2, 2016, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Angel Joy Blue
(Credit - Sonya Garza)

 July 2, 2016
Summer Night's Concert
Radio Filharmonisch Orkest, Groot Omroepkoor
Conductor: Karel Mark Chichon

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Comment by email:

I first noted Angel in her junior year of high school and was fortunate to meet her father who was her early coach and continuing influence/inspiration although deceased. Angel's United States trajectory for stardom has been nurtured by capturing international performances. [John Malveaux]


On June 24, 2016 Pianist Rebeca Omordia received HonBC Honorary Membership Award from Birmingham Conservatoire of Birmingham City University

24 June 2016

Rebeca receives HonBC Honorary Membership Award from Birmingham Conservatoire.

HonBC is awarded to past students who have worked in the music profession for a number of years and have made significant contributions to various branches of the music industry.

Comment by email:
Thank you very much! [Rebeca Omordia]

Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra creates a safe, fun community that gives students a place to take risks, explore new things, & find & pursue their passion

High School isn't easy.

We've all been there.
Whether high school was the time of your life or a time you're glad is over, it was undoubtedly a time of big changes and a fair amount of uncertainty.

To help during this crazy time, Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra creates a safe, fun community that gives students a place to take risks, explore new things, and learn skills that will help them both find and pursue their passion. 

And because of generous donors just like you, not a single student is turned away for financial reasons.
Through our Bridge Scholarship Program, aspiring and current members receive free private lessons to help them reach their top skill. Tuition Scholarships make sure students from all backgrounds are able to succeed.

And succeed they have. From Duke to UC Berkeley, our seniors attend top colleges and universities around the country. 

Your support makes this - and so much more through myriad education and artistic programs of the Symphony family - possible.
There is one week left - show your support by June 30 and receive a priority invitation to our Season Preview with Michael Morgan, as well as the fantastic feeling of knowing that you are changing lives with music.
Donate Today!

Malcolm J. Merriweather & Michael Conley Lead West Village Chorale on Greece Tour Including works of Dr. André J. Thomas & David Hurd June 30 - July 14, 2016

Malcolm J. Merriweather
Dr. André J. Thomas
David Hurd
June 30 - July 14

A musical journey will be led by West Village Chorale Artistic Director Malcolm J. Merriweather and the Chorale’s former Artistic Director Michael Conley, and is being coordinated by ACFEA, the tour professionals who arranged our fantastic 2014 concert tour of Croatia.
The itinerary includes stops in Athens, Mycenae, Nauplion, Epidauros, and the Islands of Syros and Tinos. Click here to see our itinerary.
The tour program will feature Antonio Vivaldi’s iconic Gloria, along with selected a cappella and accompanied nationalistic music promoting religious, social, and political harmony around the world. The program highlights the compositions of four outstanding living American composers: André J. Thomas, Gregg Smith, Gwyneth Walker, and David Hurd.

Angela M. Wellman: It is with enthusiasm and heartfelt gratitude that I write this email about Oakland Public Conservatory of Music: And Still We Rise!

It is with enthusiasm and heartfelt gratitude that I write this email. August 1, 2014 we arrived at our downtown location to find a 30-day notice to vacate our home in downtown Oakland. Moving out after nearly ten years was dizzying and hard, but we got through it with grace and dignity! The following months were all about stepping back, learning from the past and setting a course for the future. This email shares with you the fruits of that introspection: successes, new community partnerships and new music education opportunities in store for Oakland. I sincerely hope you enjoy learning about what we've been up to, feel encouraged and motivated to make that move to get in the groove with your Public Conservatory of Music!

Love you madly,
Angela M. Wellman
Founding Director 

p.s. In the next newsletter we'll show you pix of our new West Oakland home.

New York Times: Jack Daniel’s Embraces a Hidden Ingredient: Help From a Slave [Nearis Green]

In a photo in Jack Daniel’s old office, Daniel, with mustache and white hat, is shown at his distillery in Tennessee in the late 1800s. The man to his right could be a son of Nearis Green, a slave who helped teach Daniel how to make whiskey.

Claude Eady, far left, a retired distillery employee who is a descendant of Nearis Green, with Nelson Eddy, Jack Daniel’s in-house historian, at the distillery in Lynchburg, Tenn. Credit Nathan Morgan for The New York Times

The New York Times

LYNCHBURG, Tenn. — Every year, about 275,000 people tour the Jack Daniel’s distillery here, and as they stroll through its brick buildings nestled in a tree-shaded hollow, they hear a story like this: Sometime in the 1850s, when Daniel was a boy, he went to work for a preacher, grocer and distiller named Dan Call. The preacher was a busy man, and when he saw promise in young Jack, he taught him how to run his whiskey still — and the rest is history.
This year is the 150th anniversary of Jack Daniel’s, and the distillery, home to one of the world’s best-selling whiskeys, is using the occasion to tell a different, more complicated tale. Daniel, the company now says, didn’t learn distilling from Dan Call, but from a man named Nearis Green — one of Call’s slaves.
This version of the story was never a secret, but it is one that the distillery has only recently begun to embrace, tentatively, in some of its tours, and in a social media and marketing campaign this summer.
“It’s taken something like the anniversary for us to start to talk about ourselves,” said Nelson Eddy, Jack Daniel’s in-house historian.
Frontier history is a gauzy and unreliable pursuit, and Nearis Green’s story — built on oral history and the thinnest of archival trails — may never be definitively proved. Still, the decision to tell it resonates far beyond this small city.
For years, the prevailing history of American whiskey has been framed as a lily-white affair, centered on German and Scots-Irish settlers who distilled their surplus grains into whiskey and sent it to far-off markets, eventually creating a $2.9 billion industry and a product equally beloved by Kentucky colonels and Brooklyn hipsters.
Left out of that account were men like Nearis Green. Slavery and whiskey, far from being two separate strands of Southern history, were inextricably entwined. Enslaved men not only made up the bulk of the distilling labor force, but they often played crucial skilled roles in the whiskey-making process. In the same way that white cookbook authors often appropriated recipes from their black cooks, white distillery owners took credit for the whiskey.
In deciding to talk about Green, Jack Daniel’s may be hoping to get ahead of a collision between the growing popularity of American whiskey among younger drinkers and a heightened awareness of the hidden racial politics behind America’s culinary heritage.
Some also see the move as a savvy marketing tactic. “When you look at the history of Jack Daniel’s, it’s gotten glossier over the years,” said Peter Krass, the author of “Blood and Whiskey: The Life and Times of Jack Daniel.” “In the 1980s, they aimed at yuppies. I could see them taking it to the next level, to millennials, who dig social justice issues.”
Jack Daniel’s says it simply wants to set the record straight. The Green story has been known to historians and locals for decades, even as the distillery officially ignored it.
According to a 1967 biography, “Jack Daniel’s Legacy,” by Ben A. Green (no relation to Nearis), Call told his slave to teach Daniel everything he knew. “Uncle Nearest is the best whiskey maker that I know of,” the book quotes Call as saying.
Slavery ended with ratification of the 13th Amendment in 1865, and Daniel opened his distillery a year later, employing two of Green’s sons. In a photo of Daniel and his workers taken in the late 19th century, a black man, possibly one of Green’s sons, sits at his immediate right — a sharp contrast to contemporaneous photos from other distilleries, where black employees were made to stand in the back rows.