Saturday, April 19, 2014 Afro-Cuban Maestro Leo Brouwer directs '13th edition of the International Guitar Festival and Contest on April 21-27'

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

Havana, Cuba, Apr 18.- Havana will host the 13th edition of the International Guitar Festival and Contest on April 21-27, under the direction of maestro Leo Brouwer.

Young interpreters of Europe and Latin America will take part in the competitive stage, to be held at the Jose Marti Memorial, while a series of attractive concerts and recitals will also be part of the Festival, which will be inaugurated on Sunday, 8:30 p.m., at the Covarrubias Hall, with a gala that includes the Savarez duo, Rosa Matos, violinist Anolan Gonzalez and the Sonantas Habaneras Orchestra, conducted by Jesus Ortega, the Granma newspaper reported on Thursday.
Starting from Monday, at the same Hall and always in the evenings, there will be presentations by guest artists; the first one by Cubans Marco Tamayo and Jorge Luis Zamora; and the second one, on Tuesday, by U.S. player Hopkinson Smith, specialized in Spanish music for vihuela (early form of guitar) and baroque guitar, French Renaissance lute, Italian music of the early 17 th century and the so called high German baroque. On Wednesday, Uruguayan Alvaro Pierri, with rich discography and a pedagogical work in Europe and the United States, will meet again with the Cuban public. Two Years After Centennial of Death of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Recognition of His Work Continues

[Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) is profiled at, which
features a comprehensive
Works List and a Bibliography by Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma,  We are
collaborating with the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Foundation of the U.K.,]
Kwaku of writes:

Full story posted at:

Friday, 18 April 2014

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Recognised in 2014

In 2012, there were numerous events to commemorate a century since the death of the African British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. Although the numbers later fell, the events nevertheless continued into 2013, with the SC-T Collective being part of the consortium which managed to get SC-T's image unveiled in the boardroom of the Performing Right Society during British Black Music Month 2013.

Come 2014, we are heartened to announce that recognition of SC-T's work and his place in British history continues...

TheGuardian: Tom Service On Classical Blog: 'Class, Race, and Classical Music: the Debate'

Tai Murray

Candace Allen

On January 30, 2014 AfriClassical posted:

Sergio A. Mims writes:

Well the talk did take place and I've sent you for for all your readers an article about the subject by Tom Service in his classical music column in The Guardian. Along with a short edited video of the debate (5:14), and an audio recording of the entire 100 minute discussion which is truly enlightening and inspiring as well as extremely informative.


The white sea … Despite its best efforts, classical music's audience does not reflect the UK's diversity. Photograph: John Stillwell/Reuters

The Guardian

Important, this: a debate on Class, Race, and Classical Music hosted by London Music Masters at the English Speaking Union. Candace Allen (whose piece on this crucial subject you can read here), violinist Tai Murray, and LMM’s Executive Director, Rob Adediran, were the panelists who inspired a wide-ranging, controversial, and challenging debate. Up for discussion, among much else, were the idea of who classical music is for, why we think it’s so important for the whole of society to have access to it, and what the institutions of music education and musical excellence can do to become part of people’s lives in areas of economic impoverishment and communities who wouldn’t otherwise have access or opportunity to be involved in this music.
Watch the short film above to hear some of Candace, Tai, and Rob’s main points, and follow that up by listening to the whole thing here. It’s only a start, but this is the conversation that classical music needs to be having, in public, in private, and in principle in the future.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Jeffrey Mumford: 'through a stillness brightening,' 2-CD set, Albany Records Troy 1473-74 (2014) reviewed by Time Out New York and New York Times

Jeffrey Mumford
(Al Fuchs, Courtesy of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music)

Jeffrey Mumford
through a stillness brightening
Albany Records Troy 1473-74 (2014)

Jeffrey Mumford:
FYI, two recent critic's picks in NYC!  Hope you are well and thanks for all that you are doing!!

Time Out New York
Posted: Thu Apr 3 2014

Jeffrey Mumford, a composer who studied with modernist lions Elliott Carter and Bernard Rands, has an uncanny knack for writing music that plays rigorous but sounds painterly, a point neatly made by through a stillness brightening, a two-CD compendium on the Albany label. Here, you can catch three of the artists involved in that set—violinist Miranda Cuckson, cellist Julia Bruskin and pianist Steven Beck—in live renditions of Mumford's works.

Miranda Cuckson 
(Gregory Christopher for The New York Times)

The New York Times
April 9, 2014
MUMFORD: ‘Through a stillness brightening’
Miranda Cuckson, violinist; Wendy Richman, violist; Julia Bruskin, cellist; Winston Choi, pianist; Argento Chamber Ensemble, conducted by Michel Galante; and others (Albany)

Jeffrey Mumford, a distinguished American composer who studied with Elliott Carter and Bernard Rands, among others, has an unerring knack for fashioning rigorous works as changeable as cloudscapes, bursting with color, nuance and poetry. Those qualities are abundantly present in this generous Kickstarter-financed collection of chamber pieces spanning 30 years; sources and sonorities vary, but inspiration and expert advocacy are consistent. (Steve Smith)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

In CNN segment on YouTube, pianist Roy F. Eaton compares his experiences as an advertising executive of color to the TV series 'Mad Men'

A CNN segment on YouTube allows pianist Roy F. Eaton to compare his personal experiences as a pioneering advertising copywriter and music director of color to those depicted in the television series Mad Men on 

My "15 minutes" extends

Dominique-René de Lerma: Composers on 8th 'Black, Brown and Beige': Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Jeffrey Mumford, Hale Smith, Alvin Singleton & Roland Hayes

Jeffrey Mumford (Ronald Jantz)

Dominique-René de Lerma:

Black, Brown, and Beige Concluded
            The eighth program within Bill McGlaughlin's fascinating series, Black, Brown and Beige, was dedicated to five Black composers: Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Jeffrey Mumford, Hale Smith, Alvin Singleton, and Roland Hayes.  The 100th anniversary of Coleridge-Taylor's death in 1912 did not stimulate the revival of interest in this country it should have but, if Maine's Longfellow Chorus had proper competition, it would doubtless still have come out on top (the commemoration by the University of Houston missed our notice).  In Coleridge-Taylor's own country, Hilary Burrage managed to stimulate international attention, but even her efforts did not produce the results one would have hoped. This Brit's visits to the United States, especially the first in 1904, was one of two major events from abroad that were to stimulate the subsequent Harlem Renaissance (the other being the visit of Dvořák in the previous decade).  American public schools were soon named for Coleridge-Taylor (in Baltimore and Louisville, for example), but how many of their staff or students could identify the composer or know any of his works today?  His choral treatment of Longfellow's Hiawatha text was next to Handel's Messiah and Mendelssohn's Elijah in popularity during the years following his early death in 1912 and the first of these -- Hiawatha's wedding feast -- ranks with his clarinet quintet not only as the promising blossoms of true talent, but as works fully deserving attention as mature compositions.  But what happened?  I doubt  that he was as incredibly precocious as Mozart or Mendelssohn but, like Mendelssohn, the development was not consistent.  Do you agree that the Reformation symphony  is not on the same level as the string octet or the overture to A midsummer night's dream?  I think it was a lessening of the creative spark in Coleridge-Taylor's case that produced the Petite suite de concert; even though this five-movement suite is certainly charming, it belongs on the pop concert program, not the subscription series.
            Jeffery Mumford served as advisor to Bill McLaughlin again for this series of programs on Black music.  His is a distinctive orchestral voice, sometimes pointillistic, but always original.  We had lunch together in Oberlin when I had been asked to complete the semester for Wendell Logan's Black music class, and I totally forgot to ask Jeffrey about the fanciful titles, always in lower case, that he gave his works.  They certainly are evocative and sensual, but I wonder if the composer and his audience conjure up the same impression, and if it matters.
            I'm sorry Bill and Hale Smith never met.  Our beloved Hale was a real talker, and always a stimulating one.  No wonder his classes at the University of Connecticut were so popular!  He once took his audience aback for the moment when he said he worried when the orchestra's harpists were male and the garbage collectors were Anglo.  Quite apart from being a charming autocrat on panels, he was a splendid master of composition who seemed delighted by providing titles to his works that gave a clue to their organization, but he was no neo-classist at heart.
            Alvin Singleton firmly established his reputation initially in Europe, where he stayed for 14 years, first with a Fulbright grant, but not failing to comment on social matters taking place back in the United States.  When he returned in 1985, he was appointed composer-in-residence to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (a position held years earlier by T. J. Anderson) and in 2008 was active in Albania.  Commissions and performances of his works are frequent -- not only throughout the U.S., but in Paris, London, Amsterdam, Vienna, Cologne, and Rotterdam.
            The program's fifth composer was the venerable tenor, Roland Hayes (1887-1977), whose extraordinary gift as both singer and guardian of the spiritual had been a model for Marian Anderson and all who followed.  He had been a student at Fisk University, but was expelled from the university for giving an off-campus performance without the school's permission.  In 1923, he was the second Black soloist to appear with the Boston Symphony Orchestra (the first had been José White in 1876, excused because he was latino). The tenor's life story, MacKinley's Angel Mo' and her son (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1942) ranks high among biographies of musicians and in its depiction of  the era.
            André Watts was included with his brillant performance as a teenager in the Liszt E-Flat major piano concerto.  Ever to be enormously admired, he always fills the house (and his fee, so it is said, even then obliges additional patronage).  He had been born in Germany in 1946 to a Hungarian-German pianist mother and an African-American soldier; he thus had the "disadvantage" of a typical Black American child.  Even though his parents moved to Philadelphia when he was quite young, his life was not typical -- by age nine he was already demonstrating his uncommon gift.  Perhaps as a result,  he is not known to have music by a Black composer in his vast repertoire -- Gershwin is as close as he has come.  Liszt was held by Watts' mother as an idol.  In more recent times, Liszt's stock has not fared well, being a composer of seriously difficult music (designed to show off the composer's dedication to virtuosity that often ventured into gross flamboyance), but has risen somewhat with consideration of his lesser known treatment of innovative harmony and with the respectful tribute given by Jorge Bolet.  This concerto has not made it into the more elevated status.
            Program nine sampled three additional composers: Olly Wilson, Roberto Sierra, and Anthony Davis.  The Boston Symphony Orchestra provided Wilson's example with the second movement of his Sinfonia, a memorial tribute to the composer's father and conductor Calvin Simmons (whose early death cut short a career already international). Wilson is a very major figure, incapable of writing inferior music or of ignoring his ardent social stance.  Sierra, a rriqueño now on the faculty of Cornell University, is a remarkably prolific composer, ever true to his roots and with such a brilliant reputation that we should be ashamed for not having given him overt notice within our primary  agenda.
            And then there is Anthony Davis who, as a opera composer, won our notice initially with X, the life and times of Malcolm X, in which he charts his path for opera's future.  The work readily was noticed when it was given its formal première by the former new York City Opera in 1986.  The leading role was taken by Ben Holt, who configured his entire persona to that of the hero.  The story was that the opera was such a success, it would be presented the next year for a less restrictive run, and would tour.  This was not to be. The work was recorded after Ben's death, and dedicated to his memory (and, by the way, Bill McGlaughlin as conductor did have the chance to work with Ben).
            The broadcast of the final program of the series was preempted on WFMT.  Here was a catch-hall pot pourri that juxtaposed Langston Hughes, King Oliver, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Charlie Parker with Darius Milhaud, exhibiting what I felt to be a lack of organic unity of the two weeks.  But let's not be too critical: Bill merits our deep appreciation for this second series of programs dedicated to Black musical culture -- a world so diverse that it is easy to lose focus.
            If we were to be treated to a third two-week tribute, what composers would we recommend for introduction?  This series brought us Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Anthony Davis, Adolphus Hailstork, Roland Hayes, Jeffery Mumford, Roberto Sierra, Alvin Singleton, Hale Smith, and Olly Wilson, all of whom could benefit from return booking.  The horizon was expanded with a few performers of  "art" music (as our African figures term "classical" music): Anne Brown, Todd Duncan, Paul Freeman, the Howard University Choir, Natalie Hinderas, Jubilant Skyes, Wynton Marsalis, Jessye Norman, Leontyne Price, Robert Sims, André Watts, Karen Walwyn, and William Warfield. 
            What other composers might we recommend without hesitation?  Michael Abels, H. Leslie Adams,  T. J. Anderson, Harry Burleigh, David Baker, Ed Bland, Leo Brouwer, Margaret Bonds, William Banfield, Arthur Cunningham, Will Marion Cook, Edmond Dédé, R. Nathaniel Dett, Akin Euba, James Furman, Mark Fax, Primous Fountain, Felipe Gutiérrez y Espinosa, Talib Hakim, Francis Johnson, J. Rosamond Johnson, Thomas Kerr, Ulysses Kay, Tania León, Vicente Lusitano, Dorothy Rudd Moore, Undine Moore, Gary Powell Nash, J. H. Kwabena Nketia, José Maurício Nunes Garcia, Fred Onovwerosuoke, Robert Owens, Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson,  Florence Price, Julia Perry, Daniel Roumain, Howard Swanson, Joshua Uzoigwe, George Walker ...  And there are those classic giants who dedicated most of their attention to the spiritual: Edward Boatner, Lawrence Brown, William Dawson, Moses Hogan, Hall Johnson, Charles Lloyd, John Work ... As for performers, we would start with Dorothy Maynor and Paul Robeson, but after that we'd be buried with stellar figures like George Shirley, D. Antoinette Handy, Florence Quivar, Grace Bumbry, Lawrence Winters, Shirley Verrett, Reri Grist, Robert McFarren, Ben Holt ... those of the recent past are too many to list, and the currently active stars (Darryl Taylor, James de Preist, Terrance Wilson, Lecolion Washington, Kevin Short, the McGill brothers, Eugene Moye, Leslie Dunner, Denise Graves, Anthony Ellliot, Audra McDonald, Kevin Maynor, virtually all the Sphinx laureates, and what about those choral ensembles from Morehouse, Morgan, and Fisk?) ... one becomes too dizzy! 
            When time permits, Bill, remember us again.  No other latitude on radio gives us such attention, and we are most grateful that you are alerting your thousands of ardent fans to this enormous world we love.
Dominique-René de Lerma

Sergio A. Mims: Lawrence Brownlee stars in "I Puritani" at the Metropolitan Opera

Lawrence Brownlee

Sergio A. Mims writes:

I know you will be interested in this of course.


Amanda Ameer:
Throughout his career, tenor Lawrence Brownlee 
has astounded critics and fans alike with the 
beauty of his voice in the bel-canto repertoire. 
Starting...April 17, audiences can experience 
his gifts live at the Metropolitan Opera when he 
appears alongside Olga Peretyatko in Bellini's
Puritani. Baritone Mariusz Kwiecien and bass 
Michele Pertusi will also appear in the 
production, which was directed by Sandro Sequi.
I Puritani tells the tale of a besieged group of 
English dissenters during the overthrow and 
execution of King Charles I. Best known for its 
thrilling scenes of madness for the soprano,
Puritani also features beautiful moments for 
Arturo, the tenor role. 
Brownlee's recent album, Virtuoso Rossini Arias,
was released last month. It offers a selection of 
rarely-heard arias drawn from several of Rossini's 
less performed operas, along with favorites from 
some of the composer's best known works. The 
recording is Brownlee's first aria collection with 
orchestra and was recorded with Constantine 
Orbelian on the Delos label. 

New York audiences last heard Brownlee at Lincoln 
Center's "American Songbook" series in January, 
where he sang selections from his recent album 
Spiritual Sketches: a recording of 10 traditional 
spirituals newly arranged by his friend and 
collaborator Damien Sneed. Brownlee performed 
part of the album as an NPR "Tiny Desk Concert." 
To watch, click here.

Rehearsal photo courtesy of Ken 
Howard/Met Opera.

Newly Uploaded Podcast of Richard Thompson's Interview With Jim Svejda of Classical KUSC-FM

Composer and Pianist Richard Thompson with Jim Svejda of KUSC-FM

Bill Doggett writes:

Announcing the newly uploaded Podcast of client composer, Richard Thompson's Classical KUSC-FM interview broadcast, March 4 2014.

Richard Thompson is a Black/Scottish composer and pianist who writes exquisite and engaging art songs,piano and chamber music in a blended genre of classical music and jazz.... called "Third Stream Music"     

His recent chamber opera, The Mask in The Mirror based on the life and courtship of renown turn of century Black poet, Paul Lawrence Dunbar and feminist social progressive, Alice Ruth Moore is musically exquisite with elements that suggest late Samuel Barber, Paul Bowles and Ned Rorem

The interview begins with the composer's Jazz Vespers transcription of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot and proceeds to insightful conversation with renown Classical Music radio host, Jim Svejda.

Please feel free to download and comment on SoundCloud.

Bill Doggett

Regina Harris Baiocchi: 10th Anniversary Haiku Festival Awards Program! Saturday, 26 April 2014@10 A.M.

Dear Family and Friends:

Please RSVP to the attached Haiku Festival's 10th Annual Awards Invitation. The event is Saturday, 26 April, 10am, Harold Washington Library, 400 South State Street, Chicago. FREE admission: please bring a child.
        Our program features: Haiku Festival Poets (ages 8-14), Tsukasa Taiko Japanese Drummers, Michelle Manson (viola prodigy), Steven Solomon (pianist, composer, Haiku Fest alum); our 10th Anniversary Anthology; and Haiku Master, Prof. Sonia Sanchez.
        Please make donations payable to "Haiku Festival."
       Thank you!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Composer and Professor Adolphus C. Hailstork was born April 17, 1941; His 'Overture' for David Lockington will be premiered in 2014-15 Season

Adolphus C. Hailstork (b. 1941) 
is featured at

Adolphus Hailstork: Symphonies Nos. 2 and 3
Grand Rapids Symphony
David Lockington, Conductor
Naxos 8.559295 (2007)

Adolphus C. Hailstork is an African American composer and professor who was born on April 17, 1941. His vocal and instrumental compositions are among the most frequently performed of those of any composer of African descent.  He was interviewed by William J. Zick on April 13, 2010. The website has a link to a transcript. It can be read on AfriClassical Blog, and is excerpted on his page at Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma was a Professor of Music at Lawrence University Conservatory when he wrote in the liner notes of African Heritage Symphonic Series, Vol. II; Cedille CDR 90000 061 (2001):

"Adolphus Cunningham Hailstork was born in Rochester, New York in 1941, but spent most of his childhood in Albany, where he joined the choir of the Episcopalian cathedral. From this experience he developed an interest in vocal melodic writing that asserts itself not only in his choral works and art songs."

Adolphus Hailstork attended the public schools of Albany, New York. He says in his interview: "Early on, I took a Music Aptitude Exam given by the school system in New York State where I grew up.” “Apparently they thought I had some aptitude for music. If you do, you wind up getting free instrumental lessons. I started out on the violin by the Fourth Grade, and then switched to Piano and Organ, sang in the Choirs, and that was all my early schooling."  

Òn March 16, 2014 AfriClassical posted:

Maestro David Lockington conducted the Grand Rapids Symphony in its Naxos recording, shown above, of Adolphus C. Hailstork's Symphonies 2 and 3.  The premiere performance of the composer's Overture is scheduled for the 2014-2015 Season of the Grand Rapids Symphony.