Friday, December 2, 2016 Unusual McGill/McHale Trio to play Music at Hillwood recital at Tilles Center [LIU Post campus, Brookville, NY, 3 PM Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016]

Newsday: The McGill/McHale Trio -- brothers Demarre, left, and Anthony McGill, center, and Michael McHale -- will play at Tilles Center's Hillwood Recital Hall. Photo Credit: Matthew Septimus

Steve Parks

November 30, 2016

WHAT The McGill/McHale Trio
You’re in for an “extraordinarily rare” experience at Sunday’s Music at Hillwood matinee recital.
The McGill/McHale Trio performs a program including works by Dvorak and Saint-Saens and two pieces arranged by pianist Michael McHale. While the performance may be extraordinary, it is the players — specifically two of them — that make the occasion so rare.

In 2014, clarinetist Anthony McGill became the first African-American named principal player of any instrument in the New York Philharmonic since its 1843 founding. His brother, Demarre, was the first African-American principal player for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, now acting principal flutist for the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. “We’re neighbors now,” says Demarre, who works at the Met Opera House while his kid brother by four years plays at Geffen Hall across Lincoln Center Plaza. “The trio,” he says, “is the first time we’ve worked regularly together professionally.”


While black musicians are vastly underrepresented in symphony orchestras, they’re even rarer in chamber ensembles, says Caroline Stoessinger, host and artistic director of Music at Hillwood. Even the Harlem String Quartet now has only one African-American player, violinist Melissa White. In September, an African-American, cellist Astrid Schween, joined the Juilliard String Quartet.
“If you can’t think of an African-American concert pianist besides Andre Watts,” says Stoessinger, “it’s because they don’t exist.
“Prejudice still exists on some level,” she says. “                    

Eric Conway: Morgan State University Choir sings at Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Mount Vernon Place in Baltimore

Eric Conway writes:

Hello everyone,

Every year since 2012, the Morgan State University Choir has been asked to sing for Baltimore’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Mount Vernon Place.  Last night, Mount Vernon Place appeared to be filled to capacity.  Mercifully, it was not has cold as in previous year’s ceremonies.   We were surprised when Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steven Smith showed up for a cameo appearance.  He was gracious enough to take a photo with the choir.  See photo attached, with a link from the event including our performance and fireworks!


Thursday, December 1, 2016

New York Times: The compulsion to engage the Charleston area’s complex history as a slave-trading center was, for the writer, a visceral thing

A bronze statue of Denmark Vesey, a free black Charlestonian who was executed in 1822 for organizing an aborted slave revolt, in Hampton Park, in Charleston. Credit Tony Cenicola/The New York Times  

The Old Slave Mart, known as the nation’s last existing slave auction hall. Credit Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

The New York Times

By Ron Stodghill

Nov. 15, 2016

In the spring of 1862, cloaked in the predawn darkness of Charleston Harbor, 23-year-old Robert Smalls stood aboard the C.S.S. Planter, a Confederate transfer and gunboat, and plotted his escape.
In his day, Smalls was a rarity, a black enslaved harbor pilot. He was also clever: That morning, with his three commanding white officers carousing ashore, Smalls began executing his plan. With eight fellow slave crewmen in tow, Smalls, wearing a captain’s uniform, cranked up the vessel’s engines, and in the moonlit waters, headed toward the promise of freedom.
Guiding the ship past Confederate forts and issuing checkpoint signals, Smalls steamed up the Cooper River, stopping at a wharf to pick up his wife, child and his crew’s families. In dawn’s light, the Planter, flying a white sheet as a surrender flag, made it to his cherished destination: a Union Navy fleet whose officers eyed him, dumbfounded, as Smalls saluted them. “I am delivering this war material including these cannons and I think Uncle Abraham Lincoln can put them to good use,” he said. Freedom, for Smalls and his crew, had arrived.
On a recent sunny afternoon, more than a century and a half later, Michael B. Moore was standing on Gadsden’s Wharf reflecting on his great-great-grandfather’s remarkable journey — and other triumphs and tragedies born on that spot.
It took some imagining: The wharf, now a city park populated by soccer-playing children, dog-walking young professionals and commercial cruise ships, has morphed numerous times since its heyday as the busiest port for the nation’s slave trade capital. Between 1783 and 1808, some 100,000 slaves, arriving from across West Africa, were transported through Gadsden’s Wharf and other South Carolina ports, and sold to the 13 colonies. “This place personalizes for me what my ancestors lived through,” said Mr. Moore, chief executive of Charleston’s International African American Museum, scheduled to open in 2019. “I just can’t imagine what they felt here on this space. This is where they took their first steps on this land.”
Mr. Moore walked inland a couple hundred yards, where incoming slaves, after being quarantined off the coast at Sullivan’s Island, were warehoused — sometimes for months at a time. In what’s been called facetiously “the Ellis Island for African Americans,” thousands of slaves waiting to be auctioned off as domestics and laborers throughout the South died in those warehouses.
In a few months, construction crews will break ground to build the museum on the wharf. “Right there,” Mr. Moore said, pointing directly ahead, “in what’s now a parking lot, is where 700 black people froze to death. I can only wonder what we’ll find when we start digging up this place.”
Charleston, almost paradoxically, is an easy place for tourists to love. Visitors delight in the city’s cobblestone streets, its Gothic-style churches, Greek Revival storefronts, its array of trendy restaurants and hotels. As Travel & Leisure magazine, which earlier this year ranked Charleston first of its 15 world’s best cities, gushed: “Charleston is much more than the sum of its picture-ready cobblestone streets, clopping horse carriages and classical architecture. Much of the port city’s allure lies in constant reinvention and little surprises (like free-range guinea hens clucking up and down Legare Street, sous-chefs flying by on skateboards heading into work, or Citadel cadets honking their bagpipes on sidewalks in summertime).”
Yet for all its appeal, Charleston also evokes a brutal chapter of American life, a city built on and sustained by slave labor for nearly two centuries. Beneath the stately facade of this prosperous city is a savage narrative of Jim Crow and Ku Klux Klan violence, right through the civil rights movement.
One doesn’t have to reach that far back to understand what makes Charleston a haunting place to explore (an estimated 40 to 60 percent of African-Americans can trace their roots here). Only in 2015 did the Confederate flag come down from the state capitol in Columbia, prompted by a young neo-Nazi, Dylann S. Roof, who brandished a handgun and massacred nine people during a Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, one of the nation’s oldest black churches and hallowed ground of the civil rights movement. That one of the casualties, Cynthia Hurd, was the sister of a close colleague only hardened my sense that the so-called Holy City, nicknamed as such after its abundance of churches, was holding fast to its legacy of racial hatred.
Even as this article went to press, Charleston was bracing itself for two racially loaded trials; on Broad Street, at the United States District Court, 22-year-old Mr. Roof faces 33 federal charges — including hate crimes and religious rights violations — in the massacre at Emanuel A.M.E. A block away, at the Charleston County Judicial Center, the former North Charleston police officer Michael T. Slager faces charges in the murder of 50-year-old Walter L. Scott, an unarmed black man gunned down as he fled a traffic stop.
And yet, amid a national climate of rising racial tension, the compulsion to engage this history was for me visceral, akin to the urge to revisit a crime scene. I can only suspect that a similar urge to peel back the layers of pain and survival of blacks in America, at least partly, is driving some of the rise in attendance at the nation’s black history sites, including the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, where advance timed tickets are reportedly no longer available through March 2017. I hoped that, on some level, engaging the painful history of human atrocity and heroism in Charleston might illuminate the racial chasms dividing Americans.

Sphinx Monthly Headlines: Sphinx20: Help Raise $20K in 20 days! 2017 Semi-finalists; 20th Annual Sphinx Competition; SphinxConnect Fellowships; Xavier Foley

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Leo Brouwer's Black Decameron on Afro-Cuban program of 11th Chicago Latino Music Festival Thursday, December 1, 2016, Studebaker Theater

Afro-Cuban composer, conductor and guitarist
Leo Brouwer (b. 1939) is featured at

11th Chicago Latino Music Festival

Dance & Music presented by the Ruth Page Center for the Arts and the Chicago Latino Music Festival

Víctor Alexander- choreographer
Frank Chaves – choreographer
Ruth Page Center for the Arts Company
Hedwig Dances
Latino Music Festival Ensemble
Kaia String Quartet

Cuban choreographers Victor Alexander and Frank Chaves cooperate in this show featuring fascinating Afro-cuban folk rhythms played on the batá drums, one new piece by Chicago Latino composer Elbio Barilari, as well as a brand new take including choreography, narration and orchestration, of the famous “Black Decameron” by iconic Cuban composer Leo Brouwer.

Admission: $30 General / $25 Student,Senior or ILCC Member
Studebaker Theater, Fine Arts Building
410 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60605

Concert Program

Traditional Cuban music - “Ritmos Cubanos”
Elbio Barilari - “Canyengue”
Elbio Barilari - “Cuban Canvas” (World Premiere)
Leo Brouwer -  “Gassire’s Lute: The Black Decameron”, orchestrated by Marcus Dunleavy

Delaware Online: Violinist Nina Anderson to play National Anthem 6:30 PM, Dec. 13, National Violin Day, at Delaware 87ers Basketball Game, for Tova Sickle Cell Center

Nina Anderson

Aaron P. Dworkin
Founder, Sphinx Organization, and
Dean, University of Michigan 
School of Music, Theatre & Dance

Delaware Online

November 21, 2016

Delaware Voice Nina Anderson

I grew up in a working class musical family with parents who appreciated the arts. They instilled in me an appreciation for classical music and other music genres, that was pivotal in my upbringing. I started out playing the piano and was introduced to the violin at Warner Elementary in Wilmington. At the time, Warner had robust arts and music programs. Back then, taking up an instrument and active participation in the music and arts program were a required element as part of a student’s overall academic success.
Unfortunately, there were very few African-American students who took up playing the violin, and as I continued on, it was a rarity to hear a young violinist soloing a violin concerto. Throughout the years of training, I yearned for a cultural connection in the music community and mentorship with a classically trained African-American violin teacher and role model.
Although classical music may be of European in origin, its Afro-European and African-American lineage is diverse. During the 18th century, Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges was an Afro-French composer, violinist, and conductor. He became one of the earliest French composers of a string quartet and symphony. African-American born talented violinist and composer, Aaron Dworkin, a MacArthur Fellow, holds an annual competition for Black and Latino string players which aims to increase the number of minority professional symphony players. 


Dec. 13, is National Violin Day, and the holiday honors the bowed-string instrument which is also known as the fiddle. The violin is part of the string family which includes the viola, cello, and bass. It is the highest pitched instrument of the family.
On that day, I will have the opportunity to play at a Delaware 87ers basketball game on center stage to raise Sickle Cell awareness, and call attention to the importance of music education. Please join me, as I will play the National Anthem on the violin to support the TOVA Sickle Cell Specialty Center at the Bob Carpenter Center at 6:30 p.m. during the pregame ceremony.
Dr. Nina Anderson is a founding member of the Umoja Strings, executive director of TOVA Community Health Sickle Cell Specialty Center, and is an affiliated assistant professor at the University of Delaware.

Comment by email:
Thanks so much for your message Bill and this is wonderful! Hope all is well… Aaron  [Aaron P. Dworkin]

ASALH: Become A Featured Author at the 91st Annual Black History Luncheon February 25, 2017

Sylvia Y. Cyrus writes:

Have you published this year? All authors are encouraged to register early for the Featured Authors' Event where you can promote your work!
ASALH's 91st Annual Black History Luncheon presents an exciting opportunity for you to gain visibility and promote your book, as well as share in the largest black history event of its kind. The Annual Luncheon will attract 1,000 guests, both locally and nationally. Please reply as soon as possible, as spaces fill up fast. 

The Authors' Event is FREE and Open to the public. Encourage your friends to attend.

Saturday, February 25, 2017
 Washington Renaissance Hotel
999 Ninth Street, NW * Washington, D.C.  20001 * 202-824-9200  

Featured Authors' Event: 10 a.m.-12:00 p.m. 
91st-Annual Luncheon  12:15 p.m. Sharp
The event is free and open to the public. 
January 13, 2017
You are encouraged to register early. Spaces fill quickly. 
Click here to register as an author
Completed Applications Require ALL of the Following:
  1. Completed Request Form (with additional pages if necessary)
  2. The non-refundable processing fee of $50.00.
  3. An autographed copy of the book(s) intended for sale at the Book Signing Event.
  4. Only applications for published books will be considered.
  5. All steps must be completed in order for your application to be processed.       
Note: Authors are not required to be ASALH members but are encouraged to join.
Self published authors, please contact Karen May at or 202.238.5910 prior to registering. 

Composers Concordance: Chamber People: Co-Presented with Hudson Heights Community Music Program, Thursday, December 15, 7 PM, 729 W. 181st Street, NYC

Valerie Coleman-Page, Director
The Hudson Heights Community Music Program

December 15th @ 7pm

Fort Washington Collegiate Church  
729 West 181st Street, NYC  

On December 15th, Composers Concordance will co-present, with the Hudson Heights Community Music Program, a program entitled 'Chamber People,' at Fort Washington Collegiate Church in NYC. The concert will feature compositions by Valerie Coleman-Page, Mark Kostabi, Gene Pritsker, Dan Cooper, Tasos Papastamou, and Jay Kauffman. Performers will include John Kneiling - cello; Valerie Coleman-Page - flute; Jai Jeffryes, Nicole Brancato, and Mark Kostabi - piano; Sean Satin, Gene Pritsker, Jay Kauffman - guitar; and Elena Shalenkova and Tasos Papastamou - violin.

Comment by email:
Thank you so much Bill!  g  [Gene Pritsker]

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tadias: Ethiopia: Composer & Pianist Girma Yifrashewa's Phenomenal Show in Harlem [Sunday, November 27, 2016]

Girma Yifrashewa
(The Irish Times)

Girma Yifrashewa has a website at: 
and  is featured at


Monday, November 28th

New York  Last night in New York the Thanksgiving weekend program at Ginny's Supper Club in Harlem featured a special Ethiopia-inspired dinner menu prepared by Chef Marcus Samuelsson followed by a live performance by classical Ethiopian pianist Girma Yifrashewa.

Girma's amazing concert on Sunday evening included his original compositions that evoke "Ethiopian melody making," as he told the audience, "decorated" with sounds of the classical music tradition in combination with Ambassel, Bati, Anchihoye and Tizita based on Ethiopian music's unique tone scale system.

AACI: Tickets are now on sale for our AACI concerts on Saturday and Sunday, January 28 and 29, 2017 at 3 p.m. Our theme is "Let the Knowing Speak"

Tickets are now on sale (click here) for our AACI concerts on Saturday and Sunday, January 28 and 29, 2017 at 3 p.m.!

Because our concerts generally sell out, we encourage you to purchase tickets early at Brown Paper Tickets. Be sure to select your preferred date from the drop-down menu.

The timely theme for the concerts is “Let the Knowing Speak,” where we will present music born of African American history told in the powerful language of spirituals, blues, jazz, instrumental music, and song.
Performing on the 2017 concerts are soprano Yolanda Rhodes, pianists/vocalists LaDoris Cordell and Deanne Tucker, Picasso Ensemble: violinist Susan C. Brown, cellist Victoria Ehrlich, pianist Jodi Gandolfi, flutist Stephanie McNab, clarinetist Carol Somersille, bassoonist Rufus Olivier III, trumpeter John Worley, trombonist John Monroe, percussionist Jim Kassis, the modern dancers of Eastside Prep, and special guest artists pianist Valerie Capers, bassist John Robinson, tenor Othello Jefferson, and saxophonist Oscar Pangilinan.
We look forward to seeing you in January!

AACI Co-Founders LaDoris Cordell, Jodi Gandolfi, and Deanne Tucker, along with all the musicians of AACI.

For more information on the African American Composer Initiative, please visit:
This program is supported in part by a grant from the Musical Grant Program of the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the service of chamber music in California and a matching grant from the Carpenter Fund.
AACI is a fiscally sponsored affiliate of San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the service of chamber music in California.
Copyright © 2016 African American Composer Initiative, All rights reserved.

Comment by email:

Many thanks, Bill! --- ld  [LaDoris Cordell]