Sunday, November 29, 2015

John Malveaux: Liana Valente & Karen Walwyn interviewed on Howard U. PBS television program prior to performances for 150th Anniversary 13th Amendment

Liana Valente

Karen Walwyn

John Malveaux of  

Soprano Liana Valente and composer/pianist Karen Walwyn are interviewed on Howard University PBS television program - Rock Newman Show - prior to their performances during the 150th anniversary 13th amendment to US Constitution Abolition of Slavery Concert, November 21, 2015, DAR Constitution Hall, Washington DC. See On his debut album for Navona Records, pianist Clipper Erickson performs an invaluable service in presenting this encompassing portrait

 R. Nathaniel Dett: MY CUP RUNNETH OVER
Navona Records NV 6013 (2015)

On October 21, 2015 AfriClassical posted:

Pianist Clipper Erickson alerts us to this review of his recording published by a music blog in Ontario, where the composer was born:

Textura, an online music blog in Ontario, published this review last week:

On his debut album for Navona Records, pianist Clipper Erickson performs an invaluable service in presenting this encompassing portrait of Robert Nathaniel Dett's music. Not only does the double-CD collection present the American composer's piano works in their entirety (approximately 150 minutes in total), it accentuates in doing so the distinctive manner by which Dett (1882-1943) fused African American folk and European classical idioms in his compositions. Other composers have famously integrated folk materials into their works, too—think of Dvorák and Copland, for example—but Dett's music stands apart from theirs in its incorporation of African American spirituals.

By way of background, Dett grew up in Niagara Falls, graduated in 1908 from Oberlin College with a double degree in piano and composition, and complemented honorary doctorates in music from Howard University and Oberlin with a Master's degree from the Eastman School of Music. He also was a writer and poet of some merit, The Emancipation of Negro Music having won him a literary prize at Harvard in 1920. For his part, Erickson studied at The Juilliard School, Yale University, and Indiana University and in 2014 received his Doctorate at Temple University for research done on Dett's piano music. Drawing on that study, Erickson contributed detailed liner notes to the recording that in providing historical context and informed analysis bolster the listener's appreciation of the music.

Enhancing the recording's appeal is the fact that, the three closing pieces excepting, the collection is sequenced chronologically, which enables the listener to trace Dett's artistic evolution from his 1912 Magnolia suite to Eight Bible Vignettes, created during the last two years of his life. The material reflects a remarkable range of interests on Dett's part, with some of it reminiscent in style and character of Liszt and Rachmaninoff and some deeply grounded in spirituals, gospel, and folk. It's not uncommon for a piece to be both formal and conservatory-like as well as melodically direct and unadorned in its presentation (see “Barcarolle-Morning” from In The Bottoms as one example of many), and while a piece such as Enchantment might be nineteen minutes long, it's comprised of four song-length parts that makes them and Dett's lyrical music in general all the more accessible. With thirty-seven separate tracks appearing on the release, the listener is presented with an uncommonly rich assortment.

Richard C. Alston: On November 23rd, The Unity Missionary Investors & The Nubian Center presented me with The NubianUnion Legend Award

Richard C. Alston writes:

Hello Bill,
   On Monday evening, November 23rd, the Unity Missionary Investors in collaboration with The Nubian Center, 501(c)3 non-profit corporations of New York, New Jersey and North Carolina, presented me with The NubianUnion Legend Award. The award was presented to 4 individuals who exemplify unconditional sacrifice and service to the communities that they serve and stand as icons of stewardship to everyone. The program was held at The Alger House, Greenwich Village, New York. It was a great honor to receive this award!

Godwin Sadoh: University of Pittsburgh Graduate Dr. Oyebade Osunmu (Ph.D. 2010) Dies in Nigeria November 24, 2015

Oyebade Dosunmu, Ph.D.

On April 10, 2012 AfriClassical posted:

Dr. Oyebade Dosunmu Leads Fela Sowande Singers in 'An Evening of Sacred Music by Nigerian Composers'

Godwin Sadoh writes:

Have you heard that one of the three Nigerians who got their PhD from Akin Euba at the University of Pittsburgh, Oyebade Dosunmu (PhD 2010), died mysteriously on Tuesday, Nov. 24?

His colleagues at the Department of Music, University of Ibadan went to check on him at his residence when he didn't show up for work. They knocked on his apartment door several times with no response. They then decided to break in; and there they found his body lying lifeless on his bed. He lived alone, so there was nobody to explain what happened.

Unfortunately, he returned to Nigeria some few months ago and recently started teaching in the new Department of Music at the University of Ibadan. He did not last 6 months.

May his soul rest in peace!

Godwin Sadoh
Professor of Music/LEADS Scholar
National Universities Commission
Abuja, Nigeria.


Saturday, November 28, 2015

Moses Bernard Phillips: I had the honor of working with Maestro Freeman at the Sphinx Competition in 2005 as principal flute in the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra.

Paul Freeman (1936-2015)

Moses Bernard Phillips writes in the Guest Book of
on November 28, 2015:

I had the honor of working with Maestro Freeman at the
Sphinx Competition in 2005 as principal flute in the
Sphinx Symphony Orchestra.  I had previously heard of
his legendary reputation and came away from the
experience with a tremendous amount of respect.  He
will be missed!

From:  Medgar Evers College/CUNY

Friday, November 27, 2015

Before "The Complete Piano Works of R. Nathaniel Dett," Clipper Erickson Recorded Works of John Work, R. Nathaniel Dett, Fats Waller and James P. Johnson

An American Journey
Clipper Erickson
Direct-to-Tape (1998)
 1. American Ballads (Roy Harris)
  2. Prairie Idylls (Rubin Goldmark)
  3. Sonata for Piano (Quincy Porter)
  4. Scuppernong (Three Pieces for Country Folk) (John Work)
  5. In the Bottoms (R. Nathaniel Dett)
  6. Rhapsody in Blue (George Gershwin, arr. by the composerfor piano)
  7. Homage to The Lord's Prayer (arrangement by Donald Dumpson)

American Eclectic: An American Journey, Volume 2
Clipper Erickson
Direct-to-Tape (2005)
       1. Ballad, Op. 6 (1894) (Amy Cheney-Beach)
  2. The Fountain of the Acqua Paola Op. 7, No. 3 (Charles Griffes)
  3. Clouds Op. 7, No. 4 (Charles Griffes)
  4. Numb Fumblin’ (Thomas "Fats" Waller)
  5. Carolina Shout (James P. Johnson)
  6. -9. Four Piano Blues (Aaron Copland)
  7. Toccata (Roy Harris)
  8. A Little Suite for Christmas, A.D. 1979 (George Crumb)
  9. -16. Suite for Piano (Daniel Barta)

R. Nathaniel Dett (1882-1943) and James P. Johnson (1894-1955) are featured at

Comment by email: 
Thanks!  I had recorded In the Bottoms earlier - I think the new one has a better instrument and acoustics.  Textura, an online music blog in Ontario, published this review last week:

There is also one coming out in Gramophone next month.  Very happy to know that Dett's piano music is getting some of the attention it deserves!  Now I just need to get it back into print.  All best,  Clipper  [Clipper Erickson] Why Is This University Jumping on the Chamber Music Bandwagon?

Aaron P. Dworkin (b. 1970),
is featured at

Inside Philanthropy

Friday, November 27, 2015

It may not be on par with, say, Beatlemania, but we've been intrigued by the steady stream of impressive gifts to chamber music organizations across the last twelve months.


Now comes word that the University of Michigan is creating a new competition, the M-Prize, along with $100,000 for the winner, all in an effort to focus attention on what the New York Times calls the "rapidly evolving field" of chamber music.
So why, exactly, is the field rapidly evolving? Two answers come to mind.
The first is the fact that chamber orchestras can provide musicians with a viable and sustainable career path. Aaron P. Dworkin, the dean of the university's School of Music, Theater, and Dance, came up with the idea for the prize, and noted that "the vast possibilities inherent in chamber music empower it with the unique ability to serve as a catalyst for interdisciplinary exploration and, ultimately, transformational artistic experiences."
That sounds slightly vague, so to see what Dwokin means, we'll turn to the second reason for chamber music's ascendancy—its ability to reach new audiences. If a symphony orchestra is the stuffy grandfather of the classical music world, chamber orchestras represent the cool uncle. (Please note, we're just being hyperbolic solely for effect here.)


This brings us back to Mr. Dworkin. If his name rings a bell, it's no coincidence. He used to run the Detroit-based Sphinx Organization, whose primary mission is to increase diversity in the classical music world. (Check out our take on Sphinx's partnership with IMG Artists to pair minority classical musicians with some of the planet's most famous musicians.)
The open-minded, collaborative ethos running through groups like the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the Sphinx Organization lies at the heart of the M-Prize, which will be open to ensembles with three to eight members. The prize will include a junior division for musicians under 18 and includes a category that recognizes "open" ensembles, which can feature percussion, singers, turntables, laptops (!) and styles including jazz, bluegrass, and other genres that incorporate improvisation.
The grand prize winner will be selected from three senior-division finalists, who will perform at a gala concert at the university on May 20th that will be broadcast on Detroit Public Television and made available to other public television stations around the country.
All in all, the news out of Ann Arbor suggests that despite other stories to the contrary, certain classical music genres seem to be thriving in the state.

Up From The Roots, A Concert Commemorating 150th Anniversary of 13th Amendment, Randye Jones, Damani Phillips, YGB, Fri. Dec. 4, 7:30 PM Grinnell College

Randye Jones

Dr. Damani Phillips

Randye Jones writes:

Greetings, Bill.  

Please share the notice below on your blog.  Pictures attached.  Thanks, Randye

Iowa area musicians will gather in Herrick Chapel to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the 13th Amendment with “Up from the Roots.” The program focuses on the African American influence on music from the end of the American Civil War to the Civil Rights’ Movement of the mid-20th Century.

The program will feature soprano Randye Jones and saxophonist Damani Phillips along with Grinnell College’s Young, Gifted and Black Gospel Choir. 

"We are taking a different approach to the impact African Americans have had on the history and culture of the United States," Jones said. "We want to look at the role they played in shaping the musical development of this country by touching briefly on the roots, the Negro Spiritual, and some of its many branches, namely Gospel music, Blues, Jazz, Rhythm and Blues, and even how African Americans influence the world of Western Classical music. 

Jones holds her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from Bennett College in her hometown of Greensboro, North Carolina, and her Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the Florida State University, Tallahassee. She is currently a doctoral student in Vocal Literature at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Jones has gained recognition for her research of and published writings on African American vocalists and composers and as a performer and lecturer through her projects, The Art of the Negro Spiritual, Afrocentric Voices in “Classical” Music, and the recently published The Spirituals Database. She regularly presents lecture-recitals and concerts or has served as a panelist at events such as the Research, Education, Activism and Performance (REAP) National Conference on Spirituals, African American Art Song Alliance Conference, the National Association of Negro Musicians conference, and the Phenomenon of Singing International Symposium VIII in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Jones currently serves as the media room supervisor for the libraries at Grinnell College.

Philips is a native of Pontiac, Michigan, where he began playing at the age of 10. Formerly on the music faculty at Grinnell College, he currently serves as Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies and African-American Studies at the University of Iowa. He has earned Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from DePaul University (Chicago) and The University of Kentucky in classical saxophone, and a second Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies from Wayne State University (Detroit). Phillips completed the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Jazz Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. An active performer, pedagogue and composer, Phillips has taught and performed throughout the United States, England and Japan and is actively sought as a guest artist, clinician and adjudicator. As a performer, Phillips has performed with artists/groups such as Lewis Nash, Christian McBride, Terrence Blanchard, Wycliffe Gordon, Dianne Reeves, Marcus Belgrave, Terrell Stafford, Maceo Parker, Pat Bianchi, Ira Sullivan, The Temptations, Red Holloway, Greg Gisbert, the Lexington (KY) Philharmonic, the Pontiac-Oakland Symphony, the touring Dave Matthews cover band “Crush” and many others. As a recording artist, Phillips released his debut CD "Yaktown Nights" in 2004, “The String Theory” in November of 2010 and “The Reckoning” in December of 2013. His most recent recording project "Duality,"a double album featuring a unique synergy between straight-ahead jazz and hip hop music, was released in August of 2015.

In addition to Young, Gifted and Black, Jones and Phillips will be joined by pianists Marlys Grimm and Ha Na Song, vocalist Gary Jackson, Sam Salamone, Hammond B3 organ, and Tim Crumley, drums.

"Up from the Roots" is co-sponsored by the Grinnell College Office of Intercultural Affairs, Grinnell College Libraries, and the Grinnell College Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The program is free and open to the public.
-=*=-=*=-=*=-=*=-=*=-=*=-=*=-=*=-=*=-   |   | Randye Jones
  |)  | Soprano and Researcher
 /|   | The Art of the Negro Spiritual
( | ) |
  |   |
      | Phone: 641-821-0188

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Brandon Keith Brown @MaestroBKB #thankful to join the Paris/London based firm @CLBManagement's roster. Here's to new beginnings!

Brandon Keith Brown

Brandon Keith Brown @MaestroBKB Tweeted:

to join the Paris/London based firm 's roster. Here's to new beginnings! 

Brandon Keith Brown grew up in Chicago, where he studied violin and composition from the age of nine. He soon developed a wider interest in all instruments, and the range of sounds associated with each of them; as a result he took the path of conducting. Brandon went on to study in Baltimore, where he graduated from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. His early mentors included the likes of Lorin Maazel, David Zinman and Gustav Meier.

Winner of the prestigious 2012 Sir Georg Solti International Conductors' Competition in Frankfurt, the young maestro received invitations to conduct the Badische Staatskapelle and the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester in Berlin (who have re-invited him this season). He was also invited to lead the Neue Philharmonie Westfalen in a successful tour of seven concerts throughout Germany, "playing with a freedom that we had not heard for years, the Neue Philharmonie Westfalen was reborn under the baton of Brandon Keith Brown "(Recklinghäuser Zeitung - February 2014). In 2013, he was observed by Kurt Masur who invited him to Leipzig under the Mendelssohn Scholarship, where he studied alongside the German master, conducting the Leipziger Symphonieorchester in concert.

In the US, he has received invitations from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony Orchestra and this season will direct a program devoted to Mozart with the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra.
In recent seasons, Brandon has been invited by the Castleton Festival in Virginia, under the direction of Lorin Maazel and the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen, alongside David Zinman.

Fascinated by the opera repertoire which he studied alongside Lorin Maazel, Brandon Keith Brown has been working as assistant conductor in productions by Mozart, Puccini and Britten.

October 2015

Comment by email:
Onwards and upwards! Congratulations!! Sergio [Sergio A. Mims]

John Malveaux: Peace & Goodwill from President Lincoln & MusicUNTOLD

President Abraham Lincoln

John Malveaux of 


Comment by email:
My Thanks - Warm family days to you as well.  Kehembe V. Eichelberger