Monday, July 28, 2014

John Malveaux recounts plans for the Roy Harris Symphony 'for the 1980 Summer Olympic Games'

Roy Harris

“The Politics of Music-Part 2”
John Malveaux
July 28, 2014

In 1978- 9, I offered American composer Roy Harris 
a commission to write a symphony for me. After 
some thought and asking me a few questions, Roy 
Harris said he did not know what to write about 
me and he was presently committed to write a 
symphony and his age may be a challenge.  Roy 
Harris shared that the Soviet Union Olympic 
Committee asked him to write a symphony for the 
opening of the 1980 Summer Olympics Games in 
Moscow that would receive an international 
broadcast. He somewhat apologetically asked if I 
would accept the symphony he would write for 
the 1980 Summer Olympic Games as my requested 
commissioned work. I asked my attorney, Martin 
Blank Jr., to prepare an agreement. Roy Harris and 
I signed the agreement.

During my final visit with Roy Harris in a Santa 
Monica Hospital, the score was on a table near his 
bedside. Roy Harris did not complete the symphony.
The name of the score suggested a reference to me.

I subsequently contacted the United States Olympic 
Committee with the idea for me to organize a 
concert honoring Roy Harris featuring the New York 
Philharmonic Orchestra at Lincoln Center Avery 
Fisher Hall. The concert would be a “good will” 
gesture to the Soviet Union Olympic Committee and 
a fundraiser for the USOC. After discussion and 
reaching mutual agreement with the USOC, I asked 
my attorney, Martin Blank Jr., to prepare the 
agreement. Colonel R. Don Miller, Director of 
Fundraising for the USOC and I signed the agreement.  
AT&T was suggested as a potential sponsor by 
the USOC. I met with two AT&T executives but 
did not reach an agreement and a second meeting 
was scheduled to continue the planning.

While our USOC team was enjoying unexpected 
victories during the Winter Games in Lake Placid, I 
received an unexpected telephone call at the 
Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Colonel R. Don Miller said
the USOC will be unable to complete the contract 
with me because “President Carter will announce 
a boycott of 1980 Summer Games TOMORROW.

Eric Conway. D.M.A.: YouTube Excerpts from Nathan Carter Tribute Concert on July 26, 2014 (9:38)

Excerpts from Nathan Carter Tribute Concert on July 26, 2014 (9:38) 

Eric Conway. D.M.A.:


I am not certain that there was an official recording of the Nathan Carter Tribute Concert on Saturday, but I did get some limited footage on my iPhone before my battery went dead.  See link to attached video below.

Eric Conway, D.M.A.
Fine and Performing Arts Department, Chair
Morgan State University

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Southbank Centre, London: Wednesday 17 September 2014 'Youth Orchestra of Bahia' [Brazil] Queen Elizabeth Hall

Youth Orchestra of Bahia

The Youth Orchestra of Bahia is from the Brazilian State of the same name, which has a strong Afro-Brazilian heritage

Julia Wolfe: riSE and fLY (Percussion Concerto)


Gustav Mahler: Symphony No.1 (vers. standard in 4 movements)

Colin Currie and the Youth Orchestra of Bahia perform new work by Julia Wolfe and Mahler's First Symphony.

Inspired by New York City street beats and the rhythms of American work song, Julia Wolf'es riSE and fLY is a dazzling work composed especially for Colin Currie.
Borrowing the title from a chain gang work song, Wolfe's intention is to 'take Colin to a new place and to bring something earthy and visceral to the orchestra – to break with formality and get down and dirty.'

The result is a thrilling evocation of street drummers, accordionists, singers, Chinese stringed erhus and the folk tradition of body percussion that fully encapsulates the festival's title, Metal, Wood and Skin.

Mahler's First Symphony established the intimate relationship between his symphonic scores and songs, its enchanting melodic world evoking the sights and sounds of nature and taking its cue from his Songs of a Wayfarer.

The stylistic nerve-centre is a slow movement that juxtaposes a minor-key version of Frère Jacques against the sounds of streets bands and popular music.

Queen Elizabeth Hall at 6.15pm. Pre-concert talk

Southbank Centre’s Head of Classical Music Gillian Moore chairs a discussion with conductor Ricardo Castro and percussionist Colin Currie about the concert and the social impact of music. Free.

In partnership with the Royal Philharmonic Society

The Front Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall at 9.15pm.

An informal post concert event with percussionists from the Youth Orchestra of Bahia. Free.


Youth Orchestra of Bahia
Ricardo Castro conductor
Colin Currie percussion

Eric Conway, D.M.A.: 'Dr. Nathan M. Carter, Jr. Tribute' Morgan State University Alumni Choir, July 26, 2014, 5 PM, New Shiloh Baptist Church

Dr. Eric Conway:

Many were not able to make the stellar tribute concert to Dr. Nathan Carter last evening.  Please see program attached for your review.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Southbank Centre, London: Sunday 14 September 2014 Kinshasa Symphony: The Kimbanguiste Orchestra and Chorus, Congo, Royal Festival Hall

Southbank Centre, London, U.K.

Kinshasha Symphony

Jean Sibelius: Finlandia

Congolese choral works

George Shearing: Songs and Sonnets of Shakespeare

Congolese orchestral works


Hector Berlioz: March to the scaffold (4th movement) from Symphonie Fantastique

Hector Berlioz: Dreams of a witches' Sabbath (5th movement) from Symphonie Fantastique

Ludwig Van Beethoven: Presto - Allegro assai (4th movement) from Symphony No.9 (Choral)

The extraordinary orchestra and chorus from Kinshasa perform in London for the first time.

The story of this orchestra and choir (Orchestre Symphonique de Kimbanguiste) from Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo is miraculous and uplifting.

They were formed in one of the world's poorest cities and in a country torn apart by war. However, these talented, self-taught musicians and their conductor, Armand Diangienda, carry a message of peace and hope.

Their inspiring story has been an international sensation and will be celebrated in a specially commissioned BBC documentary later this year.

The orchestra is joined in this concert by members of the BBC Concert Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and Hallé Youth Choir to perform a programme including movements from Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, the finale of Beethoven's Symphony No.9 (Choral Symphony) and a selection of Congolese music.

Visit the Africa Utopia festival page for more details on free events, interactive workshops and opportunities to take part as we celebrate the orchestra and chorus' concert.

The Orchestre Symphonique de Kimbanguiste's visit to the UK is a partnership between Bristol Music Trust, the Hallé Orchestra and Southbank Centre and has been made possible with special support from Arts Council England through its Exceptional awards programme.

Southbank Centre would like to thank Rosenblatt recitals for their generous support of this project and Les Aldrich Music and Thwaites Fine Stringed instruments for their gifts to the instrument repair workshops.


Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste (OSK)

Jamie Phillips conductor
Armand Diangienda conductor
London Philharmonic Choir

Comment by email:
We need a United States tour.  John Malveaux

John Malveaux: “The Politics of Music-Part 1”

NANM Awards Gala: [Left to Right]  

Joseph R. Taylor, Dr. James Lent, Annelle Gregory, John Malveaux

John Malveaux of submits:

“The Politics of Music-Part 1”
John Malveaux
July 27, 2014
The National Association of Negro Musicians 2014 Awards Banquet was held Wednesday, July 24, 2014 at the DoubleTree Los Angeles Westside Hotel. Joseph R. Taylor was one of numerous recipients in different categories. Dan Ellen Joseph shared information of Joseph R. Taylor’s years of teaching music in public schools, private instruction, music director and conductor of youth orchestras in Compton/Watts/Los Angeles communities, professional musician, and conductor of community orchestras to earn the Music Education Award. Future international concert violinist and current freshman at USC Thornton School of Music Annelle Gregory and pianist Dr. James Lent performed “Romance and Hungarian Dance” by Sergei Rachmaninoff in tribute to Joseph R. Taylor.
I attended the NANM Awards Banquet specifically to honor Joseph R. Taylor for a reason not mentioned by Dan Ellen Joseph in her introduction or in the acceptance speech of Maestro Joseph R. Taylor.

In 1978, I befriended American classical composer Roy Harris.  The first commercial recording by an American record company of a symphonic composition was the CBS recording of Roy Harris “Symphony 1933”.  Roy Harris “Fifth Symphony” was dedicated to the valor of the Russian soldiers who were our allies in World War 11.  Roy Harris was subsequently selected as a member of the State Department’s first cultural exchange with the Soviet Union 1958. He became the first American to conduct a Russian orchestra when he conducted his “Fifth Symphony” in the Soviet Union. Roy Harris and his family became tragic victims of McCarthyism after he refused to stop a United States performance of the “Fifth Symphony”. His career was greatly damaged by a boycott of his name and music. He even had to relocate after physical threats against his family including young children.

Roy Harris “Bicentennial Symphony” or “14th Symphony” premiered at the Kennedy Center for three days, February 10-12, 1976, with the National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Murry Sidlin.  In my opinion, the “Bicentennial Symphony” is the strongest musical statement on U.S. History, slavery, and race relations ever made by an American composer.  The work was written for orchestra with large chorus.  The chorus carries the larger part of the work with passages from the Preamble to the Constitution, the Gettysburg Address, and the Emancipation Proclamation as well as original passages.

The introduction is a musical representation of dawn to daylight.  The first movement is a setting of the Preamble of the Constitution.  The second movement is an exposition of the bitter disagreement about slavery between the North and the South.  The third movement is a statement in music about the ferocity of the Civil War, brother against brother.  The fourth movement is a musical setting of Abraham Lincoln’s “Freedom Proclamation”.  The fifth movement is a musical setting of new attitudes of free black people.  The coda is a setting of portions of the Preamble of the Constitution proclaiming freedom “for all of us”.

A critic mauled the premiere performance and perhaps most of the 1976 audience misinterpreted the work as an indictment instead of a celebration. The subject of slavery, especially in realistic description, had been keep out of the concert halls. I speculate that Roy Harris believed the Emancipation Proclamation along with other mentioned documents were the great achievements to spotlight for the 200th birthday of our nation. I further speculate that the elite audience at the Kennedy Center may have expected an achievement such as walking on the moon to represent our nation’s 200th birthday instead of the ending of slavery. Reviews, discussions, and even mentions of the premiere performance at the Kennedy Center are scant and non-existent.

In response to my inquiry, the administrative office of the National Symphony Orchestra insisted that an archival recording was not made of the performance. Renowned cellist Rostropovich performed separately on the same program. The Harris Symphony was scheduled to be performed the following week-end by the Dallas Symphony. The story was told by the Dallas Symphony that the score was “LOST IN FLIGHT” and the respected “Third Symphony” was substituted for the “Bicentennial Symphony”. The Kennedy Center premiere included a chorus of 100 singers from Texas.

On a different note, Aaron Copland's “A Lincoln Portrait” was slated for Eisenhower's Inaugural Concert. But days before the concert the composition was removed from the concert. A Congressman offered the explanation "The Republican Party would have been ridiculed from one end of the United States to the other if Copland's music had been played at the inaugural of a president elected to fight Communism."

My friendship with Roy Harris embraced Johana Harris. Each time I visited their home, Johana treated me to a short piano recital in a spacious room with a striking view of Pacific Palisades and the Pacific Ocean before Roy entered the room.
After Roy’s death, I asked Johana Harris for the rights to publicize, promote, and perform the “Bicentennial Symphony”. The rights were granted to me and Johana’s assistant forwarded the original copy drafted by Johana or her assistant to the University that commissioned the “Bicentennial Symphony” and held the original score in their library archives.

On another note, if the South had won the Civil War, we could not have elected the current second term President.  I hear the Confederate mentality in the current opposition to President Obama. Dr. Stephanie McCurry argues in her book “Confederate Reckoning” that the confederacy created its own demise by excluding women and Blacks who were then the majority of the population.

Tribute concert for Dr. Nathan Carter at New Shiloh Baptist Church, July 26, at 5 PM

Dr. Nathan Carter

July 25, 2014 
Dr. Eric Conway:

Hello everyone,

I just want to make sure that absolutely everyone knows that a special Morgan State University Alumni Choir will present a concert celebrating the life and music of the late Dr. Nathan Carter on tomorrow afternoon, July 26, 2014 at 5:00 PM at the New Shiloh Baptist Church, Dr. Carter's Baltimore home church.   This month of July happens to be ten years after his passing.  This alumni choir made up of Morgan choir members over the decades will present a concert in his memory. The concert will feature Dr. Carter's music as well as music that was frequently performed by his choirs over the years.  


Eric Conway, D.M.A.
Fine and Performing Arts Department, Chair
Morgan State University

Friday, July 25, 2014

Errollyn Wallen: 'ANON receives its London premiere this Saturday July 26th at 7pm at Platform Theatre, Central St Martins, London'

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We are just  back from Latitude festival where the new production of Cautionary Tales was enthusiastically received. I have to say it was because of superb team effort!
Watch this space for news of developments for a tour and read our blog at

Nick Mercer put some images together of us getting ready for performance (we had an hour) inside the Theatre Tent – the music is from my orchestral homage to Handel. 

This week two other of my operas are in rehearsal – ANON (commissioned by WNO) and the premiere of Cakehead (commissioned by Tete a Tete and 
performed throughout the festival in the environs of King's Cross).

ANON receives its London premiere this Saturday July 26th at 7pm at Platform Theatre, Central St Martins, London. Details below.

 Hear me talking about the operas on In Tune last week. I'm in the last 20 minutes.

    Hope to see you this weekend!


Errollyn Wallen MBE


WINNER OF FIPA D'OR 2013 for Best Music for a Television Series (ONE NIGHT, BBC One)


Dominique-René de Lerma: 'Three Faces of Racism'

Dr. Alfred Duckett

Dominique-René de Lerma

Scenario 1.  James DePriest is engaged as conductor of the Orchestre Symphonique de Quebéc, not for the color of his skin, but the character of his talent.
Scenario 2 . Dean Dixon never had an orchestra in his own country, not because of the character of his talent, but the color of his skin.
Scenario 3.  Paul Freeman established the Chicago Sinfonietta because of the character of his talent and the color of his skin.
Now let's consider the following variations:  Politician X received his education with the benefit of affirmative action, which he now opposes. Conductor X refuses to schedule any music not composed by a fellow African American.  Professor X makes no notice of the race of his students.
Racism seems basically to mean two different things, depending on how it applies and who does the application.  We certainly have never had difficulty in witnessing the negative version.  This has been manifest openly in the case of hate organizations and has been thinly hidden when code words were used: "of Oriental persuasion" was the previous term for anti-Semites.
When I was guest lecturer at a predominately Caucasian university, a faculty member during the Q&A session asked "Why can't we just consider good music to be just that and forget about race?"  This was like a newspaper editorial, anticipating the new exhibit at the local gallery, which stated "Romare Bearden was a great artist who just happened to be Black" (like such an apology should excuse Wagner for being German!).
Affirmative action was an effort to compensate the current generation for the wrongs previously inflicted in the past, but this was soon regarded as an anti-White policy. 
Then the act was defined as a benefit to the majority population as one of diversity.  In came students who knew the spiritual first-hand, who brought with them that precious aspect of American culture which had been lacking on campus.  A substantial part of this refreshed perspective was Black culture.  How enriched is that faculty that has a minority member in the music education department (whose students may soon be faced with "others" in the classroom), or a Black choral conductor who will not deprive students of a wider concept of performance practice!  President Obama cannot be asked to address only Black issues, but is to be lauded for the distinct sensitivity his own experience provided to support "My brother's keeper."  Entities without cultural diversity are impoverished.
Now we have the case of a vacancy in the voice department.  Especially if there is a Black member already on the faculty, we can expect, even assume, there will be at least one vote to support that candidacy -- assuming all applicants on the short list are qualified.  To reject that applicant might be racially motivated, just as to express support could be race-positive.
This is one of those times when the ugliest of manifestations might come into play: campus politics.  Behind-the-scenes meetings, closed-door conferences, quid pro quo agreements, tacit political alliances and other manipulations quite apart from teaching, which is why a faculty is hired.
Some of this may be part of a scene enacted in the past two years in the case of Dr. Alfred Duckett.  This is a young, enormously gifted talent, soon approaching mid-career maturity.  I can attest to this; he took every course I offered at the Peabody Conservatory when he was working on his master's degree.  Nothing would stop his passion for information.  He then secured his doctorate at Catholic University, and his academic appointments that followed were impressive: Southern Illinois University, Syracuse University, St. Augustine College, Allen University, Clark Atlanta University.  He has conducted Eastman's Gateways Festival Orchestra, the Metropolitan Orchestra of St. Louis, the Atlanta Community Orchestra, the Spokane Symphony Orchestra, the Berkshire Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Chamber Orchestra.  Small wonder that Oklahoma's Cameron University engaged him with tenure da capo.  Here his students rated him at the top.  "He was an awesome teacher! .. very interesting VERY funny and VERY serious and super musician..."
But then, as Robert Merriwether reported (10 March 2014) on the internet, "Black professor faces dismissal for being too Black."  Two days later, Colleen Flaherty outlined the sordid history ("Free speech or hostility?") noting that the American Association of University Professors had come to Dr. Duckett's aide.
On 24 July, Jackson State University won its new music chairman: Dr. Alfred Duckett.  They won't find him too Black. 

Dominique-René de Lerma

Comment by email:
Thanks Bill for circulating,
Thanks Dominique for writing this, a harsh ‘reality check’ for those who take comfort in their bigoted views!. This is a statement that is definitely very much in accord with my views. It should also be circulated far more widely than this site – e.g. ‘The Guardian’ in the UK, ‘The Gleaner’ in Jamaica etc.  Best wishes,  Mike
[Michael S. Wright]

John Malveaux with Dr. Willis Patterson, 'professsor emeritus of voice at University of Michigan' and author of 'Anthology of Art Songs by Black American Composers'

Dr. Willis Patterson (left) and John Malveaux (right)

John Malveaux of 

Dr. Willis Patterson has concertized extensively in the U.S. and Europe and has appeared as bass soloist with major American orchestras. He is professsor emeritus of voice at University of Michigan. Dr. Patterson has made an immeasurable contribution to vocal art music as author of the first and second ANTHOLOGY of Art Songs by Black American Composers. Generally, i can make an accurate determination about one's knowledge of African American contributions in classical music by their awareness of Dr. Patterson's two books. See 
Dr. Patterson and I briefly chatted before the National Association of Negro Musicans Gala Award Banquet on Wednesday,  July 23, 2014. Dr. Patterson also introduced me to his wife, Frankie Bouyer Patterson, who is from Opelouses/ Plaisance area of Louisiana as many of the Malveaux family. Mrs. Patterson was suprised to receive the previously unannounced last award of the evening for SERVICE. 
John Malveaux