Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Clarinetist Marcus Eley to Perform at Prestigious Beethovenfest Bonn in September; One Evening Will Be Devoted to Music of African-American Composers

But Not Forgotten: Music by African-American Composers for Clarinet & Piano; Marcus Eley, clarinet; Lucerne DeSa, piano; Sono Luminus DSL-92156

Clarinetist Marcus Eley sends this release:

March 4, 2015 --- Los Angeles, CA

Clarinetist Marcus Eley has accepted an invitation to perform a recital at the Beethovenfest Bonn in Germany in late September. His program will feature the music of African-American composers for clarinet and piano. Collaborating on this recital with him will be his pianist, Lucerne DeSa.
“Ms. DeSa and I have had the unique privilege of performing and recording the repertoire of African-American composers for many years. The invitation to perform at the prestigious Beethovenfest Bonn is a distinct honor.”
“This 2015 festival will have three evenings called “Chamber Music of the World”. I am pleased to program a recital featuring African-American composers on one of the evenings. Also, I like the idea,” Dr. Tilman Schloemp, Head of Artistic Management. “The Beethoven Festival Bonn, in the name and in honour of Ludwig van Beethoven, has been very successfully established on a high artistic level since its reintroduction in 1999. There is no other Beethoven Festival in the world, apart from that in Bonn that has the same standard of authenticity.”
Marcus Eley is a graduate of the Indiana University School of Music in clarinet. He has performed as a soloist with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra (Germany), the Louisville Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Edmonton (Canada) Wind Sinfonia and the National Army Military Band of the People’s Republic of China (Beijing). Eley has served as Dean of Students at the New England Conservatory, Assistant (Adjunct) Professor of Music (Clarinet) at California State University Los Angeles and Marketing Projects Specialist/Artist Relations for Rico International.
In 2012, record company, Sono Luminus released Eley and DeSa’s second CD (DSL-92156), But Not Forgotten: Music by African-American Composers for Clarinet and Piano. Lawrence Vittes, CD reviewer for Gramophone magazine said, “(Eley) applies his pure, limpid tone eloquently in music of a varied range of styles.” Steve Arloff, MusicWeb International cites, “… a disc of pure unalloyed joy.” The Listener (Germany), Rainer Aschemeier exclaims, “Wow!’ What a beautiful, varied CD! This CD has succeeded in its well chosen repertoire, as well as interpretation and sound.” “Marcus Eley knows when and how to make the clarinet charm, dance, sing and cry. – Jean Yves Dupperon, Classical Music Sentinel.
In 2015, the Beethovenfest Bonn takes place from September 4th until October 4th hosting up to 2200 artists presented in 120 concerts and events.


Comments by email:

1) BRAVO!  Now what will you play?  Dominique-René de Lerma

2) Congratulations for being invited to the festival and sharing music by composers of African descent.  [John Malveaux] Chelsea Tipton: New face of the NHSO [New Haven Symphony Orchestra] pops; Conducts "Big Band Meets the Symphony" March 8 in Shelton

Chelsea Tipton II,, the new principal pops conductor for the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, will be on the podium Sunday, March 8, in Shelton for "Big Band Meets the Symphony."        
(Contributed photo)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015
More and more, what defines a great conductor in America is technical ability coupled with a wizardry to instill within musicians a sense of joy and a desire to perform at the highest level possible.
Sounds fairly straightforward: Talent should be the bottom line. But at one time, American orchestra administrators and board members would seem to favor white European males, who were thought to be better trained than their American counterparts.
As the world has changed, so have music circles, making room (albeit slowly) for men and women of all nationalities, sexual orientation and racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds.
And, of course, that's the way it should be, says Chelsea Tipton II, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra's new principal pops conductor, who is black.
Tipton, starting his first season with the NHSO, said in a recent chat from New Orleans (where he had a three-night guest-conducting gig with the Louisiana Philharmonic) that it is his experience that wherever he performs musicians want their "conductors to be efficient as possible with their time during rehearsals (where all the important musical decisions are made) and to help them play as well as they possibly can.
"If there is any bias, it certainly isn't with the musicians," who appreciate talent in whatever package it's wrapped, he said.
Tipton, 50, who lives in Beaumont, Texas (where he is music director of the Symphony of Southeast Texas), said the NHSO post is his first as a pops conductor, and that he looks upon it as another musical learning experience.
Plus, he loves "the quality of NHSO musicians," as well as one of New Haven's signature foods: "The pizza is amazing."

Chicago Sinfonietta Ball - Save the Date - May 30, 2015 for Exciting Black Tie Fundraiser

Pentatone Remastered Classics Releases Scott Joplin's Opera 'Treemonisha' in Schuller Orchestration, performed by Houston Grand Opera Orchestra

Scott Joplin (c. 1867-1917) is profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works List by Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma,


Scott Joplin - Treemonisha, Opera in 3 Acts, 2 SACDs

Gunther Schuller, Houston Grand Opera Orchestra

Released on 01-03-2015 , PTC 5186221

Price 32,40 Euros (Approximately $36 U.S. at present)

CD Information

The seeds were planted in the early 1970s when Deutsche Grammophon realised what amazing results could be achieved by recording on multi-channel tapes, using either four or eight channels. Yet, due to a few restrictions, they never fully blossomed. Flaws in the playback equipment meant that music connoisseurs were prevented from enjoying these recordings in the way that artists, producers, engineers and other professionals intended, even though recording technology was already way ahead of its time. 

Now — over a quarter of a century later — thanks to the arrival of the multi-channel Super Audio CD (SACD), there is finally a system available which permits these precious recordings to be released in the quality they deserved back then.

This release is an outstanding version of Scott Joplin’s opera Treemonisha. Not only because this recording — which was orchestrated by the American composer and jazz musician, Gunther Schuller, in 1975 for the Houston Grand Opera — probably comes the closest to Joplin’s original intention, but also because the recording’s crisp and bright sound can now be cherished on 2 SACD(s), complete with a full libretto in English.

Joplin’s uniquely beautiful and dearly inspiring score is a buoyant blend of ragtime, vaudeville and grand opera, with lots of dancing, a big portion for the chorus, and arias and ensembles of stunning beauty. The composition has an inherently American tone and it was definitely created by a true entertainer. It is “a landmark set”, as Christopher Cook put it in a review in BBC Music Magazine (August 2005).

Dominique-René de Lerma: Myron Munday Fellowship in Sacred Music at Florida State University

Dominique-René de Lerma

When I was selected as the Wiley Housewright Visiting Scholar for 1990 at Florida State University, I found an extraordinary assemblage of exceptional artists and scholars on the faculty of the College of Music -- certainly including the composer and conductor Dr. André Thomas, whose career I had watched carefully from his student days -- and a body of ardent students to match.  I had been asked only to have a graduate seminar on Black music, spending the rest of my energies in personal research.  That was too much of a luxury to face, so I pleaded that I might also have a course in the subject that would be open to both graduate and undergraduate students, regardless of major.  Within that large class, I have particular reason to remember Ken Pereira, a drama major (now Professor of Theatre and Director of the Honors Program at Illinois State University), pianist Kevin Wayne Bumpers (now Professor of Music and Director of Keyboard Studies at Miami-Dade College), and soprano Randy Jones (now completing her doctorate at the University of Iowa), whose name will be known to record collectors and those interested in her important register of currently active Black singers []).
One of the greatest joys was coming to know Myron Carl Munday, one of the three in the seminar.  He was quickly identified as one with a keen intellect, one whose distinctive humor might seem to override his pride and passion when it came to Black music.  He presented a most splendid lecture recital on the organ works of the composers, clearly giving evidence of a literature search that resulted not only in the acquisition of publications, but of manuscripts.  I greatly lamented this presentation was not recorded.
While there are no commercial recordings of his work, a few cassettes exist of his recitals.  With singers and instrumentalists, he presented a recital at Tallahassee's Trinity United Methodist Church, where he was senior organist, 24 May 1990:
Buxtehude, Dietrich.  Also hat Gott die Welt geliebet, Bux. 5.
Reinberger, Josef.  Andante  pastorale, op. 98.
Gwinner, Volker.  Herr Jesu Christ, du höchstes Gut.
Schroeder, Hermann.  Duplum.
Wesley, Samuel.  Duet.

Shortly before, on 31 March, at the same location, he had offered a solo recital with works by Frederick Tillis, Juan Cabanilles, John E. West, André Raison, and Bach.  He had ended the previous year (3 December) at Trinity Methodist, joined by the Women's Glee Club, harpist Jamie Ann Gossett and oboist Timothy Murdock, conducted by James Bagwell (all then FSU colleagues):
Thiman, Eric H.  A Christmas meditation.
Britten, Benjamin.  A ceremony of carols, op. 28.
Monteverdi, Claudio.  Angelus ad pastores ait.
Poulenc, Francis.  Ave Maria.
Bach, Johann Sebastian.  Magnificat.  Suscepit Israel.

He was born in Atlanta, on 12 June 1951.  He was awarded his doctorate in 1992 and then on 7 November 1995, he died. The cause might have been pulmonary (he had been hospitalized with a lung disorder about 1991).  Family members (although relationship has not been determined) included Alget Munday, Larry K. Munday, and Willie Curtis Munday.
The Myron Munday Fellowship in Sacred Music was established jointly by Trinity United Methodist Church and the College of Music at Florida State University in the fall of 2014, open to current or prospective FSU undergraduates seeking training in music, liturgy, theology, and administration.  Awardees are provided with an annual scholarship of $2,000 and a book allowance.  News of the fellowship was announced in several sources, including the newsletters of the American Guild of Organists and came to my attention from Randye.

Munday, Myron Carl.  A selected bibliography of solo organ music by Black composers.  Graduate paper (D.M.) Florida State University, 1992. 160p.
Munday, Myron Carl.  Florence B. Price.  Unpublished paper, 1991.  14p.

Dominique-René de Lerma

Detroit Free Press: Five questions with composer George Walker [For Violin Concerto at Classical Roots, 'The composer's son, Gregory Walker, will be the soloist.']

George Walker 
(Associated Press)

George Walker (b. 1922) 
has a website at
and is featured at

By Mark Stryker, Detroit Free Press Staff Writer 

March 4, 2015

It's a credit to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra that George Walker is a familiar name among local concertgoers. At 92, Walker, the first African-American composer to win the Pulitzer Prize for music (1996), has had about half a dozen of his muscular, expressive pieces performed by the DSO dating back to the 1970s. Some of them were DSO commissions, and the orchestra also recorded his Piano Concerto as part of the pioneering Black Composer's series in the '70s on Columbia Records. A virtuoso pianist, Walker even once played Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 with the DSO during the summer at the Meadow Brook Music Festival in the '70s on the same program as his "Lyric for Strings," His 2008 Violin Concerto will be performed by the DSO this weekend as part of the annual Classical Roots celebration of African-Americans in classical music. The composer's son, Gregory Walker, will be the soloist. George Walker, who will attend the concerts in Detroit, spoke this week from Montclair, N.J.`

QUESTION: What does the Detroit Symphony mean to you?
ANSWER: My relationship with the DSO has been exceptional and very special because of all of the connections that I've had going back to 1977 when Paul Freeman did my Piano Concerto — then later when Neeme Jarvi was conducting and when Emil Kang was in the administration.

Now with my Violin Concerto, people don't realize how unusual is is to have the father-son combination. I can't think of any other instance going back to the 18th Century of a composer writing a major work for his son to play. And it's not just one piece, but all the others I've written for him.

John Malveaux: Detroit Symphony Classical Roots Sat., March 7 honors Joseph Striplin, who in 1972 became the first African American in the DSO

Joseph Striplin at the 2015 Classical Roots Celebration

John Malveaux of 
sends this news:

Fox 2
The Detroit Symphony Classical Roots Celebration is Saturday, March 7 at the Max M. Fisher Music Center. This year's event honors Joseph Striplin, who in 1972 became the first African American musician to join the DSO and today, 40 years later is still just one of three African Americans on the DSO roster. The program will include George Walker's Violin Concerto and William Grant Still Symphony 3. Please see
John Malveaux

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Sergio A. Mims: Nigerian/French Soprano Omo Bello in Rameau's 'Castor et Pollux' Taped at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees in Paris (YouTube) (1:56:25)

Omo Bello

(Credit: Patricia Dietzi)

(HD) Rameau: Castor et Pollux, tragédie en musique in five acts | Hervé Niquet

Sergio A. Mims writes:

This a  video of a beautiful production of Jean Philippe Rameau's opera Castor et Pollux taped last fall at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees in Paris with the Nigerian/French soprano Omo Bello singing the lead female role of Telaire

She won the first prize in the general category at least year's Paris International Opera Competition, the French opera of the 19th century prize and the public prize.


Composer and Pianist Margaret Allison Bonds was born March 3, 1917; her transcription of the Spiritual 'Wade In The Water' is one of her most-performed works

Margaret Allison Bonds (1913-1972), who was born March 3, 1917, is profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works List and a Bibliography by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma,

On January 14, 2015 AfriClassical posted:

Richard C. Alston: A piano transcription of the spiritual "Wade In The Water" by Margaret Bonds chosen as The Juilliard School Alumni Video of the Month 

Richard C. Alston
Alumni Video of the Month | The Juilliard School

Comment by email:
Hello Bill,  Thank you very, very much!  Harmoniously, Richard [Richard C. Alston] 

'Quantz Solo Flute Music' is the Debut Solo CD of Acclaimed Flutist Eric Lamb, a Native of Detroit Who is a Co-founder of Ensemble Paladino in Vienna

Quantz Solo Flute Music
Eric Lamb, Flute
Paladino Music PMR 0060 (2015)

Eric Lamb is a highly accomplished American flutist who was born in Detroit July 27, 1978. He is a founding member of Ensemble Paladino, which is based at ORF Radiokulturhaus in Vienna.  His website is

Eric has begun 2015 with the release of two CDs, Quantz Solo Flute Music PMR 0060 and Mozart (re)inventions PMR 0050.  The Johann Joachim Quantz disc was recorded November 4 and  5, 2014 at 4tune studio, Vienna, Austria.  
Mozart and Quantz may be said to be near opposing ends of the spectrum of music recordings.  Major music websites such as and offer at least 100 Mozart recordings for every Quantz recording., for example, offers 69 Quantz recordings and 7,409 Mozart recordings.
We have a strong personal interest in learning of composers whose works have never been properly recognized, or have gained recognition but have subsequently fallen into unjustified neglect.  Johann Joachim Quantz (1697-1773) appears to be in the second category. In choosing to perform and record some of his lesser known works, flutist Eric Lamb is presenting repertoire which was performed and enjoyed two centuries ago in royal courts of Germany and elsewhere.
Eric Lamb writes in the liner notes:
“I am proud to present a rarely heard collection of 15 solo flute pieces (Fantasies, Minuets, Sarabandes etc.) and a complete performance of his 8 Caprices. The source of this performance is the manuscript preserved by the Royal Library of Copenhagen under the title Fantasier og Preludier, 8Capricierog andre Stykker til Ovelse for Floyten al Quantz. After further research, it came to my attention that a few of these pieces found in this incredibly rich volume of music were indeed not originally Quantz’ but most probably by Johann Martin Blochwitz (1678-1742), a flutist and composer of the Dresden Hofkapelle or by the great french flutist Michel Blavet (1700-1768).”  He adds: “It is a wonder to me that these little gems are not more often taught and performed.”                                                                
Eric Lamb’s website and the liner notes for this CD list his multiple
roles in the world of music: “soloist, recitalist, concert curator and chamber musician.” The website continues: “He has premiered more than 200 works and has worked closely with composers John Adams, Kaija Saariaho, George Lewis, Marc-Andres Dalbavie, Matthias Pintscher, Reinbert de Leeuw, Michel van der Aa, Nico Muhly, Ben Foskett and conductors Vladamir Ashkenazy, Ludovic Morlot, Pablo Heras-Casado, Steve Schick, Susanna Mälkki and Pierre Laurent-Aimard.”

The website adds: “Eric has performed with a long list of the worlds most important orchestras and ensembles.”  Several European orchestras are mentioned, as well as the “American Contemporary Music Ensemble and the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra.”  “Until 2013, Eric performed extensively as a core member of the New York/Chicago based International Contemporary Ensemble - ICE.  He continues to be a much sought after pedagogue and is regularly invited to present workshops, master classes and lectures throughout Europe and the US.”
Eric Lamb’s website describes his musical education as follows: ”Eric completed his musical studies at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music where he was a student of Michel Debost. He then continued at the Hochschule für Musik Frankfurt am Main with Thaddeus Watson and later at the Sculoa di Musica di Fiesole, Italy with Chiara Tonelli.”

We also learn from the website that “Eric is an Altus performing artist and lives in Vienna.”  One of the music websites we happened upon is “American flautist Eric Lamb releases his long-awaited first solo album with music by Johann Joachim Quantz (1697–1773), one of the teachers of Frederick the Great. Quantz’s eight caprices are framed by little pieces such as fantasias and preludes as well as elaborate variation cycles.”
The first track is: Vivace Alla Francese In D Major, QV 3:1.3 (1:38).  Our first impression was one of light, playful music. The early tracks remain our favorites, but we have enjoyed hearing the entire disc many times. We have added the CD to our music player, and fully expect to listen to it regularly.
We are not alone in savoring Eric Lamb’s playing; some of his YouTube videos have been watched thousands of times. Our appreciation for Eric Lamb’s debut solo CD is enhanced by our respect for his decision to perform beautiful music by an historic composer whose life and works no longer receive the attention they commanded during his career, as well as his scholarly research into the original manuscript at the Royal Library of Copenhagen.  

Disclosure: A review copy of this recording was provided by the record label.