Sunday, May 24, 2015

"YouTube, in its seemingly infinite breadth, is always a resource. Here then is more than you've ever wanted to hear of violinist-composer Dr. Gregory Walker"

Dr. Gregory Walker

On May 19, 2015 AfriClassical posted:

In the post, Dr. De Lerma writes: 

I  have yet to hear any music by violinist-composer Dr. Gregory Walker, by reputation very in tune with recent trends...

Dr. Gregory Walker writes:

Dear Dr. de Lerma,

Your perspective on musicians bridging the gap between art and pop was fascinating - though it sounds like Wagner was probably no help at all.

YouTube, in its seemingly infinite breadth, is always a resource.  Here then is more than you've ever wanted to hear of violinist-composer Dr. Gregory Walker:

[glitch] for CyberGuitar and Symphony Orchestra - YouTube
"The Elderly Orchestra Musician (played by bassoonist Sarah Fish) is stuck in the rut of playing familiar classics, such as Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, a fe...
Dreamcatcher for Electronic Violin and Orchestra - YouTube
A world premiere for electronic violinist Gregory T.S. Walker, conductor Eric Bertoluzzi, and the New Philharmonia at Fiddlers Green Amphitheater in Denver, ...
Dreamcatcher for Electronic Violin and Orchestra - YouTube
A world premiere for electronic violinist Gregory T.S. Walker, conductor Eric Bertoluzzi, and the New Philharmonia at Fiddlers Green Amphitheater in Denver, ...



Clipper Erickson: Join me on May 30th for a potluck dinner and concert at Salon 33, "Looking Glass Pond" in Princeton, NJ (794 Alexander Road) Pot luck 7 PM, Concert 8 PM

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

I'll be playing three suites by Dett - Magnolia, Cinnamon Grove and Tropic Winter. 

The event is free but donations make the music happen.

Pot luck from 7:00-8 PM, BYOB

The concert starts at 8pm 

I am also very proud to report that my KickStarter fundraiser is well on its way with 1/3 of funds raised so far. With 34 days to go, there is still time for anyone who would like to contribute to receive advance copies of the release.

Nathaniel Dett (1882-1943) was a great figure in American music, not only because he was one of the earliest important composers of African descent, but because he was one the first composers to find their own voice by using American musical materials.   

As you know, I have already funded the mastering and engineering phases of the recording myself.  The project is already half complete. I have a signed contract with PARMA Recordings to release the 2 CD set. My goal is to raise $6000 to fund printing, pressing and marketing of the CD's. I've gone this far, join me in finishing the project! 

Kevin Scott: Sun., May 31, U. of Kentucky Guitar Quartet will premiere my 'Arabesques - Twilight Musings' at Jan Hus Presbyterian Church, 351 East 74th St., NYC at 1 PM

Kevin Scott

Kevin Scott writes:

Hello, all:

It has been awhile since I have sent a mass mailing of my current endeavors as a composer, but there is good news!
Next Sunday (May 31st), the University of Kentucky Guitar Quartet will premiere my Arabesques - Twilight Musings at Jan Hus Presbyterian Church, located at 351 East 74th Street in Manhattan at 1:00 p.m. It's a brief work (4-5 minutes), but it has a lot of material packed into it. The concert is part of Vox Novus' Composers Voice series, and this concert is their seventh annual guitar concert. So if you are coming, please come early!

Now for those who live in Florida, or know anyone that lives in Florida, the Akuchi String Quartet will premiere my short work (1-2 minutes) entitled A Serene Celebration (O Celebrare Semina), a work originally composed for the Passione Quartet's call for one-minute works as part of Vox Novus' Fifteen Minutes of Fame series. Inspired by Jonathan Holland's orchestral composition Shards of Serenity, the work is a peaceful, yet optimistic, meditation.
A Serene Celebration will be premiered during the second week of June (tentative date June 15) at the Tampa Library. Further and official details forthcoming.

I should also mention that several cellists are looking at Je suis..., a large-scale work for solo cello composed in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris earlier this year. Two cellists are trying to secure a premiere, and several more are contemplating the work to see if they can add it to their repertoire. 

Also, I am still seeking a string quartet to premiere my seventh string quartet, which was composed last year. This quartet is based on material I composed for a short independent film entitled Lily in the Grinder (The director decided to go with another composer), but I felt the music was too good to just lie around, so...I expanded the work into a five-movement, 25 minute quartet.
In addition to the two aforementioned quartets, I am currently revising and finalizing my fifth string quartet, whose genesis comes from incidental music I composed for an off-off Broadway production of Chekov's The Sea Gull. When finished, the work will be my longest quartet at forty minutes(!) 

And I still have a lot of music that is being composed, not to mention seeking performances, so if anyone is interested, or knows anyone who is interested, in doing the quartet, please let me know.

Otherwise, I hope to see some of you next Sunday in Manhattan!

Kevin Scott


Saturday, May 23, 2015 James P. Johnson one of three newest members of Jazz at Lincoln Center's Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame [Johnson helped pioneer the Harlem stride style]

[Victory Stride: The Symphonic Music of James P. Johnson; The Concordia Orchestra; Marin Alsop, Conductor; Music Masters 67140 (1994)]

The African American composer and pianist James Price Johnson, profiled at, was born on Feb. 1, 1894 in New Brunswick, New Jersey.


Saxophonist Dexter Gordon and pianists James P. Johnson and Lennie Tristano are the newest inductees into Jazz at Lincoln Center's Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame.


Johnson helped pioneer the Harlem stride style of jazz piano in the 1920s...

JALC announced the 2015 inductees Friday, May 22.

Dr. Eric Conway: Day 3 in Argentina was the biggest travel day of our tour! See link to concert at the Teatro Circulo in Rosario (1:37:58)

Dr. Eric Conway:

Day 3 in Argentina was the biggest travel day of our tour!  We received a wake-up call at 5:30 AM.  We were scheduled to leave by 7AM.  To the credit of the hotel, I am told that the hot croissants were in the dining room as early at 6AM for our breakfast.  We left the hotel, surprisingly by 7:15 AM.  Given the early hours of the morning, we had a very quiet trek to Córdoba with one rest stop on the way.

Unfortunately, the slow travel speed of the bus and distance needed to be covered made it impossible to make our 12 noon arrival time.  As stated earlier, we have a double-decker bus, which is generally comfortable for the group, but difficult to negotiate in an urban environment with low trees overhead.  Buses in Argentina like many foreign countries have limitations on their gears to not allow them to go any faster than is considered safe. We did not arrive at the Maestro Marcelo Lopez City University Public School until after 1:15 PM.  Despite our late arrival, the school who had been waiting for our arrival since noon, was all ready for a much anticipated exchange.  The Music School had a lower, middle, and upper school choir that each performed for our US delegation.  After their performances, the Morgan choir sang about five selections from our repertoire for them.  Beyond a wonderful music exchange for both choirs, this was set-up as a teaser event to encourage the parents of the students to attend our concert in the evening at the church.  Like children will do, they were all up over members of the group shaking our hands (where is the Purell) , giving hearty welcomes, and of course taking photos with us.  We enjoyed the afternoon.  The only angst was knowing that we were going to be late and keeping students waiting with the end of the school day fast approaching.  We would have had to leave by 6AM to make it on time.  On the surface this may have seemed like poor planning, however, given we did not return to the hotel from our concert at the Teatro Circulo until around 10:30 PM, and Friday was the only school day we were going to be in Córdoba  we did not have any choice, if we wanted this exchange.  As a result of this long travel day - over six hours to Córdoba from Rosario - our meals were out of sync - and the day drudged on much slower as a result. 

See link to lower school choir performance:

In addition to the long travel day, we had a huge concert here in Córdoba.   We quickly checked in to the hotel in Córdoba found lunch and rested.  We skipped the soundcheck given the length of the day to get to Córdoba   We have a group dinner, that could have been good, however, given many finally ate their lunch as late as 3:30 or 4PM, many were not hungry for the early dinner.  

So far, our concerts have been much better attended than any of our tours over the years.  Although we have only had two concerts, both had huge audiences who enthusiastically appreciated our music.  Last night’s concert was at a church called Compañía de Jesús Church.  One of the choirs from the music school opened up our concert.  After they performed two selections, we sang a 75 minute concert to a crowd that was beyond capacity for the space.  In the United States, fire marshals would have never allowed this many persons to be in such a structure.  Every seat in the church was taken.  Every space in the aisle was taken with either someone siting or standing to hear our concert.  Again, we sang their Argentinian favorite Gracias a La Vida to great acclaim.  One of the persons accompanying us proclaimed, you all must feel like rock stars!  Again, we are trying to carry the name of Morgan with honor and excellence!


See link to concert at the Teatro Circulo in Rosario (1:37:58):

Sergio A. Mims: 'In Search of the Black Mozart' on BBC Radio 4 is starting next week (on podcast site)

Sergio A. Mims forwards this link:

BBC Radio 4

Double bass player Chi-chi Nwanoku MBE turns musical detective as she goes in search of some of the great black composers and performers of the 18th century.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Dr. Eric Conway: Day 2 in Argentina - the city of Rosario; We learned one song famous in Argentina - Gracias a la Vida. We sang in Argentinian Spanish

Dr. Eric Conway:

Day 2 in Argentina - the city of Rosario,

After a breakfast that featured hot croissants baked on the premises, we began our 2nd day with a tour of the nearby city of San Lorenzo.  The city is famous for a very famous battlefield where Argentinian troops led by General José de San Martín defeated Spanish troops.  We visited the battleground and an adjacent Convent de San Carlos famous for hiding Argentinian troops in a surprise attack to defeat the Spanish soldiers in San Lorenzo.

We enjoyed some free time in the afternoon to leave at 4:45 PM for a soundcheck for our first concert of the tour the at the Teatro de Circulo - an Opera House in Rosario.  The acoustics in this space were quite good.  After the soundcheck we ate a very typical Argentinian meal, with a huge cut of beef and potatoes.

After the dinner, we returned to the Teatro to change into our dress for our concert.  The acoustics were good enough that the choir did not use microphones on this concert, except for soloists.  Despite our concert being on a Thursday night, we enjoyed a nearly full house.  The concert began at 8:30 PM. The audience was very appreciative.  

We learned one song famous in Argentina  - Gracias a la Vida.  We sang in Argentinian Spanish - a little different than what most of us learned in school. They were very appreciative although I knew that our pronunciation could have been better.  Often cultures appreciative one attempting to understand their culture via learning a familiar song.  This song was a huge success!

After the concert, we tried to quickly get back to the hotel, as we had a 5:30 AM wake call for our long drive to Córdoba the next day. 

Again,  a very good day.

Eric Conway

Columbus Dispatch: “Sometimes, we get a little too esoteric about what goes into a program, I think,” said guest conductor Thomas Wilkins

Thomas Wilkins
[Kaylor Management, Inc., Guest Conductor]

The Columbus Dispatch

‘Romantic warhorses’ to strut in season finale for Columbus Symphony Orchestra 

Programming an evening of classical music needn’t be rocket science.

In the Columbus Symphony Orchestra’s season finale concerts on Friday and Saturday, a pair of grand pieces will be performed: Johannes Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1 and Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5.

And the common thread is a shared mastery of music.

“Sometimes, we get a little too esoteric about what goes into a program, I think,” said guest conductor Thomas Wilkins, who will lead the orchestra this weekend.

“And sometimes . . . that endeavor is lost on the listener,” he said. “And it’s OK to just say, ‘ Here are two great pieces from the repertory.’ ”

Jacqueline Cogdell DjeDje, Ph.D.: 141 years later, Fisk Jubilee Singers return to England [Group performs in Birmingham, U.K. Saturday]

The Fisk Jubilee Singers prepare for a trip to England John Partipilo / The Tennessean

Dr. Paul Kwami, musical director for the Fisk Jubilee Singers, stands in front of a painting of the group that was commissioned by Queen Victoria of England in the 1870s. On Saturday the group will perform in Birmingham, England.(Photo: John Partipilo / The Tennessean)

The Tennessean
Juli Thanki <>

Jacqueline Cogdell DjeDje, Ph.D. writes:

I thought you would be interested in this article about the Fisk Jubilee Singers' return to England after 141 years.
Jacqueline Cogdell DjeDje, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus, Department of Ethnomusicology
The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music
2539 Schoenberg Music Building
P.O. Box 951657
University of California, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California 90095-1657

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Lara Downes: So far, 2015 has been quite a year. A new record, a new radio show, and lots concerts playing some of my favorite music, with some of my favorite colleagues!

Lara Downes writes:

Dear Friends,

Another Spring! I hope this finds you in good spirits and good weather, looking forward to the long weekend ahead.

So far, 2015 has been quite a year. A new record, a new radio show, and lots concerts playing some of my favorite music, with some of my favorite colleagues!


Lara Downes on Marketplace from American Public Media: "Beethoven vs Beyonce"

On the Bench with Lara Downes - Triangle: the Schumanns and Brahms


Steinway Concert Artist Lara Downes reinvents the traditional piano recital with On the Bench: conversational concerts with an accessible, fresh, and informed approach to engage both newcomers and music aficionados. Her thoughtful anecdotes draw historical and interpretive context around some of classical music’s most beloved works, bringing the music to life with timeless relevance, informal humor and a uniquely personal touch. 

Lara Downes
My new concerts-with-conversation series On the Bench,  launched this year with the first installment: Triangle - The Schumanns and Brahms, a recital that weaves together stories about the romance and marriage of Robert and Clara Schumann, and their complicated friendship with Johannes Brahms.

At the premiere, in NYC at the DiMenna Center, audience response was incredibly heartfelt and heartwarming - like this quote:
"I was riveted. Despite being utterly exhausted that evening, I didn't miss a single moment or feel my attention drift. On the contrary, I was moved to tears twice, and left feeling refreshed and uplifted. You have such a gift for storytelling, and for connecting to audience in words and through the piano. Thank you."
A girl can't ask for much more than that!

Schumann has been with me all spring, including a run of performances of the Schumann Concerto with the fabulous San Francisco Chamber Orchestra. This is one of my most beloved pieces of music, and I hadn't played it in many years. Performing it in my home town, with some old and dear friends in the orchestra, was just a golden moment. Here's a lovely review from San Francisco Classical Voice. 

I'm sharing some wonderful stories about the people behind the music on my radio show The Green Room, which launched nationally this month on the WFMT Network. Here's the newest episode, featuring an extraordinarily real and raw conversation with a spectacular musician and a great communicator about music, cellist Zuill Bailey.