Friday, October 31, 2008

“This work is properly called Five Negro Melodies for Piano Trio” by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor

[Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Chamber Music: Fantasiestucke for String Quartet, Op. 5 (20:55); Five Negro Melodies for Piano Trio (18:10); Nonet in F Minor (26:40); Coleridge Ensemble; AFKA SK 543 (1998)] 

Earlier today, AfriClassical posted: “Chamber Music Charleston Performs Piano Trio of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Nov. 2”. JW has kindly posted an informative comment: “This work is properly called Five Negro Melodies for Piano Trio, and is C-T's arrangement for piano, violin and cello of five movements from his historic collection 24 Negro Melodies for Piano.” The only CD version of which we are aware is the one recorded by the Coleridge Ensemble, AFKA 543 (1998). We have enjoyed it many times since its release a decade ago. Websites from which it is available include [Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) is profiled at]

Chamber Music Charleston Performs Piano Trio of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Nov. 2

[Samuel Coleridge-Taylor; Chicago Sinfonietta; Paul Freeman; Cedille 90000 055 (2000)]

Sunday, November 2 at 3pm
First (Scots) Presbyterian Church, 53 Meeting Street, Charleston
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Piano Trio Op. 59 No. 1
Ludwig van Beethoven Piano Trio in B flat Major, Op. 97, “Archduke”
Performing Musicians:
violinist Megan Allison, cellist Timothy O’Malley and pianist Irina Pevzner. [The Afro-British Composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) is profiled at]

Thursday, October 30, 2008

'Three Visions' of William Grant Still at University of Tennessee Chattanooga Concert

[Afro-American Symphony; William Grant Still; Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Karl Kruger, conductor; Bridge 9086 (1999)]

“A Celebration of American Diversity: Dr. Sin-Tsing Tsai, piano concert
The UTC Music Department was recently gifted with a Yamaha concert grand piano from the estate of Dr. Eugene Hames, through the generosity of Lakin Boyd. UTC Associate Professor Dr. Sin-Hsing Tsai will present a dedicatory recital on Saturday, November 8 at 8 p.m. in the Cadek Recital Hall (located at 715 Oak St., directly behind the UTC Lupton Library). The recital is presented free of charge and is open to the general public. Tsai has chosen for this recital the theme of 'American Diversity' as demonstrated in the works of five American composers ranging from the 19th to the 21st centuries, specifically, Arthur Farwell, Samuel Barber, William Grant Still, Edward MacDowell, and Robert Muczynski.”

“Arthur Farwell’s 'American Indian Melodies, Op. 11' are a collection of harmonizations of ten songs collected on phonograph cylinders by anthropologist Alice C. Fletcher from Native American Indians. The pieces tell a story of the life of the Native American Indian. Samuel Barber’s 'Excursions, Op. 20' are four explorations of American musical idioms including a boogie-woogey! William Grant Still’s 'Three Visions' are transcendental depictions of the journey of the soul from death and destruction to ultimate restoration of hope. Edward MacDowell’s 'Woodland Sketches, Op. 51' are a musical description of the New England countryside. Ending the program will be Robert Muczynski’s 'Toccata, Op. 15' which the composer describes as 'rage over a lost car.' A virtuoso work featured often in piano competitions, Muczynski describes it as having the momentum of an avalanche propelling itself non-stop to the climatic ending.  [Full Post]  [William Grant Still (1895-1978) is profiled at]

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

'On An Overgrown Path' Pays Tribute to African American Conductor Dean Dixon (1915-1976)

Today I heard from my U.K. blogger friend Bob Shingleton, who writes a leading classical music blog, On An Overgrown Path: “Hi Bill, it is rewarding to see On An Overgrown Path featuring in today's New York Times - This mention has sent a lot of new readers to the Overgrown Path. In response, and to mark the end of Black History Month in the UK, I have today paid tribute to Dean Dixon, the anniversary of whose death falls in a few days. My article includes some new facts and corrects two minor errors perpetuated in several other articles on him. I hope it adds something to the memory of this fine African-American conductor -  Regards, Bob” 

Here are some excerpts from the post on Dean Dixon, who died Nov. 3, 1976: “He was born in 1915 in New York City and studied at DeWitt Clinton High School in Harlem, then at the Juilliard School and Columbia University. At the age of 26 Dixon became the youngest conductor to lead the then New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, and in 1941 he conducted the NBC Symphony in the orchestra's summer season. He made many recordings of American contemporary music including Henry Cowell's Symphony No. 5, Edward McDowell's Indian Suite, and Douglas Moore's Symphony in A with electronic resources for the the American Recording Society label. In later years Dixon worked with the Philadelphia and Boston orchestras.” 

“If that was the story of Dean Dixon's career it would be a notable one, even by today's standards when international conducting opportunities are the norm rather than the exception. But, to allow his music making to speak for itself, I have omitted one fact about Dean Dixon. It is the angle that almost every article about him takes. My photos give it away. Dean Dixon was an African-American born of West Indian parents. When he was 13, a teacher told his mother to 'stop wasting her money' and discontinue his musical studies. He had to fund his own 70 player Dean Dixon Symphony in 1932 to give him (literally) a platform for his talents. Eleanor Roosevelt encouraged him to pursue his conducting career, he went on to be the first African-American to conduct the New York Philharmonic, and his repertoire included the Afro-American Symphony of William Grant Still.” 

Awadagin Pratt Performs Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4 in Newport News Oct. 31

[Beethoven Piano Sonatas; Awadagin Pratt, piano; EMI 55290 (1996)

The African American pianist Awadagin Pratt has been Associate Professor of Piano and Artist-in-Residence at the College-Conservatory of Music of the University of Cincinnati since 2004. His website gives an overview of his life in music: “Born in Pittsburgh, Awadagin Pratt began studying piano at the age of six. Three years later, having moved to Normal, Illinois with his family, he also began studying violin. At the age of 16, he entered the University of Illinois where he studied piano, violin, and conducting. He subsequently enrolled at the Peabody Conservatory of Music where he became the first student in the school's history to receive diplomas in three performance areas - piano, violin and conducting. In 1992 Mr. Pratt won the Naumburg International Piano Competition and two years later was awarded a 1994 Avery Fisher Career Grant. He has played numerous recitals throughout the U.S. including performances in New York at Lincoln Center, Washington, D.C. at the Kennedy Center, Los Angeles at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and Chicago at Orchestra Hall.”

Awadagin Pratt has recorded A Long Way From Normal, EMI (1994); Beethoven Piano Sonatas, EMI (1996); Live From South Africa, EMI (1997); Transformations, EMI (1999); The Caveman's Valentine, CD & DVD, Decca (2001); and Play Bach, St. Lawrence String Quartet; Angel (2002). As an Associate Professor, pianist, artist-in-residence and conductor, Awadagin Pratt maintains a rigorous schedule of performances. At 8:00 p.m. Friday, October 31, 2008 he will perform the Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 4 in Newport News, Virginia with the Virginia Symphony, led by Larry Rachloff, conductor. Pratt will perform the same program with the Virginia Symphony in Norfolk Nov. 1 at 8:00 p.m., Virginia Beach Nov. 2 at 2:30 p.m., and Newport News Nov. 6 at 8:00 p.m.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Harpsichordist Anne Robert Performs Music of Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges in France Nov. 8

[Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges: Violin Concertos, Op. 5, Nos. 1 & 2; Op. 3, No. 1; Op. 8, No. 9; Bernard Thomas Chamber Orchestra; Jean-Jacques Kantorow, Violin; Arion 68093 (1990)] 

AfriClassical sent an E-mail to harpsichordist Anne Robert concerning Jean-Claude Halley's post on Guadeloupe Attitude. She has replied: “Hello! Thank you for your mail! A lot of people went to the concert in "La Chaux de Fonds" (Switzerland). They especially appreciated the various programs I played: the old Harpsichord sounded magnificently, even with Ewa Gabrys' Toccata (1970), and with Saint-Georges too. For me too, it was a challenge...I was anxious before my performance! Best greetings! Anne Robert” In a postscript, Anne Roberts also calls attention to her forthcoming performance of works of Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges and others. Her website describes the event in French. We translate as follows: “On Saturday, November 8 at 4:30 pm, Anne Robert will present a concert at the Fnac Forum in Nimes [in the South of France]. She will play the magnificent Martine Argelès French harpsichord in a program of Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Froberger, Telemann and Alain Louviers. (Telephone: 0466363308).

Guadeloupe Attitude on Anne Robert, Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges & 350-Year Anniversary

[Top: Opus 11, Sonata for Violin and Pianoforte in A Major; Stéphanie-Marie Degand, Violin ; Aline Zylberajch, Pianoforte; Orchestre du Parlement de Music; Martin Gester, Conductor; Bottom: Les 10 sonates pour clavecin; Anne Robert, harpsichord; BNL 112934 (2006)]

On October 21, 2008 AfriClassical posted “Anne Robert Plays Sonata of Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges at Louis Denis Harpsichord Event”. She is a harpsichordist who was participating in a concert celebrating the 350-year anniversary of the 1658 Louis Denis Harpsichord. Jean-Claude Halley made a post in French on the blog Guadeloupe Attitude on the following day. He said it was “An opportunity to combine two great friends of Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges: Bill and his wonderful site dedicated to Black musicians; Anne for her constant affection for the music of Saint-Georges”. Jean-Claude Halley has been a supporter and friend from the early days of in 2000. We appreciate his post.     

Roy Eaton Plays Chopin, Joplin & Gershwin at Church of the Good Shepherd Nov. 16, 2:30 pm

Church of the Good Shepherd, Roosevelt Island
Monday, 20 October 2008

Roy Eaton first performed in Carnegie Hall on Thursday, June 17,1937 as a Gold Medalist in a competition sponsored by the Music Education League of New York. Winner of the first Kosciuszko Foundation Chopin Award in June 1950, he made his American debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performing Chopin's F minor Concerto under George Schick in 1951. He was re-engaged to perform Beethoven's 4th concerto, and also made his New York Town Hall debut in 1952. His career was "temporarily" interrupted by two years in the U.S. Army, then approximately thirty years in advertising at Young & Rubicam, Benton & Bowles, and Roy Eaton Music. Roy Eaton’s life story is one of spiritual and creative triumph - overcoming significant difficulties and adversity. One of his missions has been to restore Scott Joplin's works to the domain that it was Joplin's intention that they live--as classical works in the tradition of the great European masters. He is on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music and performs in concert throughout the world. December 9, 2002 marked his return to Carnegie Hall as soloist with the N. Y. Pops Orchestra led by Skitch Henderson. His current featured recordings are Joplin: Piano Rags, Sony; The Complete Preludes Of Chopin, Gershwin, Still, Summit Records; and Keyboard Classics For Children, Summit Records.”  [Scott Joplin is profiled at]

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Warren Symphony Orchestra Plays William Grant Still's 'Darker America' Nov. 2

[Africa: Piano Music of William Grant Still; Denver Oldham, piano; Koch 3 7084 2H1 (1991)]
Published: Sunday, October 26, 2008
The Warren Symphony Orchestra will present “America, The Melting Pot,” a dynamic, multimedia concert depicting the moving story of America’s immigrants, on Nov. 2 at Macomb Center for the Performing Arts. The concert will feature Peter Boyer’s “Ellis Island,” with professional actors and large projected images of immigrants from all over the world who arrived at Ellis Island. “Ellis Island” mesmerized the audience when performed by the Warren Symphony three years ago and has returned as part of an exhibit entitled “A Journey of Hope: Michigan’s Immigrant Experience,” which is on display at the Lorenzo Cultural Center, adjacent to Macomb Center for the Performing Arts. Professional actors who will dramatize “Ellis Island” include Shirley Benyas of West Bloomfield, David Bokas of Southfield, Henrietta Hermelin of Southfield, Sam Pollak of Oak Park, Rochelle Rosenthal of Birmingham, Karen Sheridan of Oak Park and Travis Walter of Sterling Heights. 

The concert’s three additional works express the experiences of immigrants to America who arrived through locations other than Ellis Island. “My Homeland,” by Anton Dvorak, who lived in the United States for a period during the 1890s, reflects his native land, Bohemia. “Darker America,” written by William Grant Still, depicts the experiences of Africans who came to the U.S. as slaves. “Sinfonia India,” by Carlos Chavez, expresses Mexican and Native American musical themes in a lively composition often conducted by Leonard Bernstein. “America, The Melting Pot” will be performed at 3 p.m. on Nov. 2 at Macomb Center for the Performing Arts, 44575 Garfield Road in Clinton Township. Tickets are available by phone at 754-2950 or at the door prior to the concert. Ticket prices are $23 for adults, $20 for seniors, $10 for college students and free for younger students. Group discounts are available in advance; information is online at [William Grant Still (1895-1978) is profiled at

'A Tribute to Jerome Ashby (1956-2007)', Oct. 26, 2008, 3 p.m. at The Curtis Institute of Music

AfriClassical thanks Wilmer wise for this announcement related to the late Jerome Ashby: “I haven't seen any mention of this event, so here's the scoop. You are cordially invited to attend A Tribute to Jerome Ashby (1956-2007), Sunday, October 26, 2008, at 3 p.m.,  Field Concert Hall, The Curtis Institute of Music, 1726 Locust Street, Philadelphia. Reception immediately following in the Bok Room. All horn players are invited to join the mass horn choir at the end; please e-mail Curtis horn faculty member Jennifer Montone at This event is free and open to the public. Please forward the invitation to anyone who may be interested in attending.”

Randall Butisingh's Weblog: 'Conductor Rudolph Dunbar of Guyana'

BBC Radio 4 program on Rudolph Dunbar broadcast on August 7, 2007 should read Echoes of Rudolph Dunbar on the BBC .

At a concert this week in Berlin, Berlin’s famed 65-year-old Philharmonic Orchestra was led by a U.S. war correspondent in battledress. Besides being a war correspondent, the guest conductor was a Negro, born in British Guiana. The 2,000 Berliners and the 500 Allied soldiers in the audience found it quite an experience. They applauded warmly when the conductor led the orchestra through Webber’s familiar Oleron and Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique. They broke into cheers, and called him back five times, when he gave them Berlin’s first hearing of fellow-Negro William Grant Still’s boisterous, bluesy Afro-American Symphony.

Slender, serious Rudolph Dunbar is no musical freshman. He studied at Manhattan’s Julliard School, has several times conducted the London Philharmonic. He was in Berlin as correspondent for the Associated Negro Press of Chicago. Shortly before the Berlin Philharmonic’s Conductor Leo Borchard was accidentally killed by U.S. sentries, he had invited Dunbar to guest-conduct. U.S. occupation authorities were all for it, though their interest was more in teaching the Germans a lesson in racial tolerance than in Dunbar’s musicianship.”

The news story above was published in Time on September 10, 1945 when the career of Rudolph Dunbar was at its peak. Dunbar lived for another forty-three years, but what happened in those years to the first black musician to conduct the Berlin and London Philharmonic Orchestras is a mystery. The story starts at the turn of the last century in British Guiana (now Guyana). The date of Dunbar’s birth is variously given as 1902 or 1907, and classical music was an unlikely career for a black Guyanese boy at that time. But the young Dunbar’s interest was sparked by hearing transcriptions of Wagner and Elgar played in Georgetown by the British Guiana Militia Band. He joined the Militia Band as an apprentice clarinettist at the age of 14, and stayed with them for five years.

His talent was such that he left the band when he was 19 to study at the (now the Juilliard) in New York, and lived in the city until he graduated in 1925. His subjects at the Juilliard were composition, clarinet and piano, but he was also active in the Harlem jazz scene, and was clarinet soloist on recordings by The Plantation Orchestra. While in New York he became a friend and champion of the African-American composer William Grant Still, and their correspondence is held today at the University of Arkansas. [Full Post]

Friday, October 24, 2008

Peter Steven Quotes Music Historian Elaine Keillor On R. Nathaniel Dett (1882-1943)

[The Collected Piano Works of R. Nathaniel Dett; Summy-Birchard (1973)]
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Johnny Canuck's the Lad III
by Peter Steven [Excerpt]

The young Nathaniel Dett (1882-1943) remained completely unknown in Canada beyond Niagara Falls during his time here, but thanks to modern scholars and supporters he is now considered a major figure, his name kept alive by Toronto’s Nathaniel Dett Chorale. Dett was born in Drummondville, an ex-slave community near Niagara Falls, became a child prodigy and went on to write dozens of significant compositions in many styles. These included spirituals with newly popular rhythms, serious piano suites and choral music. His earliest compositions were clearly ragtime, created for popular dance tastes. After the Cakewalk – March-Cakewalk (1900) was the first, followed by Cave of the Winds, March and Two Step (1902). “It was once possible to walk behind Niagara’s Bridal Veil Falls,” explained Dett. “The experience was very much like entering a cave.” Visitors described the winds there as “tumultuous and breathtaking and called it the ‘Cave of the Winds.’”

Dett’s music drew on a wide range of traditions – his mother’s piano and spiritual singing, through the local British Methodist Episcopal Church, his father’s guitar and saloon piano playing, and free music lessons by a skilled local teacher. While still attending high school in Niagara Falls, Ontario Dett landed steady work as piano player over the river at the up-scale Cataract Hotel. Yet not everything was smooth sailing, and lest we forget the social climate for African Canadians at the time, in 1889 Nathaniel’s younger brother was shot dead by a local, white property owner. Early in the century he moved to the U.S. where he soon began to publish significant new music. His Juba Dance piano solo (1913) was included in the Royal Conservatory of Music syllabus. According to music historian Elaine Keillor of Carleton University, Dett’s subsequent work in the U.S. “revolutionized the presentation of African American music.” "There was poured into the astonished and delighted ears of the world an indigenous music, sung by its own creators, a music as fresh as the morning, as intimate as the breath and as vital as the heartbeat." – R. Nathaniel Dett [Full Post

Thursday, October 23, 2008

New York Times: 'Rite of Strings, for Black and Latino Youth'

New York Times 
Published: October 22, 2008
During a concert by the Sphinx Laureates on Tuesday evening, a girl sitting in a row of children behind me at Carnegie Hall wondered aloud why performers always exit the stage between bows. The formal traditions of classical concerts sometimes surprise newcomers. What may have surprised veterans, on the other hand, was seeing so many minority children and teenagers in the audience, and that kind of presence is something the Sphinx Organization — a nonprofit group dedicated to increasing the presence of blacks and Latinos in classical music as performers, composers and audience members — wants to encourage. Sphinx, founded in 1996, offers an annual competition for black and Latino string players, and laureates perform in the excellent Sphinx Chamber Orchestra, now midway through its inaugural national tour. Chelsea Tipton II, resident conductor of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, led a diverse program of works for strings on Tuesday, opening with the Fugue from Villa-Lobos’s “Bachiana Brasileira” No. 9.

The violinist Elena Urioste, the 2007 winner of the Sphinx Competition senior division, offered a passionate, virtuosic rendition of the “Ballade” from Ysaÿe’s Sonata No. 3 for solo violin. She also performed the solo part in the Ponce-Heifetz “Estrellita,” played here in a languid arrangement for violin and string orchestra by Geoffrey McDonald. The concert, presented by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, also included a lively rendition of the jazzy “Alla Burletta” from Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson’s “Generations” Sinfonietta and an elegant performance of George Walker’s romantic “Lyric for Strings.” The Harlem Quartet, consisting entirely of first-place laureates of the Sphinx Competition, was joined by the guest artist Paul Katz, the former cellist of the Cleveland Quartet, for the first movement of Schubert’s String Quintet in C.

In a video presentation about the organization’s goals, Melissa White — the second violinist of the Harlem Quartet, a Sphinx laureate and a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia — discussed the isolation she felt growing up and encountering so few black and Latino classical musicians. The violinist Aaron P. Dworkin, Sphinx’s founder and president, said from the stage that as a biracial classical musician he had also experienced isolation, and that classical music would benefit from the involvement of a wider section of society. The program also included the presentation of a new prize created in honor of the violinist Isaac Stern, which the organization hopes will be awarded annually to one particularly gifted Sphinx musician. The inaugural recipient was the violinist Clayton Penrose-Whitmore, 15, who demonstrated his skills during a buoyant performance of Vivaldi’s Concerto in B minor for Four Violins, which concluded the concert. [Sphinx President Aaron P. Dworkin (b. 1970) and Composer George Walker (b. 1922) are profiled at]

Nokuthula Ngwenyama Reunites With Wes Kenney of Fort Collins Symphony Oct. 25

Wednesday, October 22, 2008
By Matt Brady
Fort Collins Symphony Director Wes Kenney is about to be reunited with one of his most accomplished and interesting pupils after more than twenty years. Nokuthula Ngwenyama, 32, was eight years old when Kenney conducted her in a Los Angeles youth orchestra. At the time, Ngwenyama was only just beginning her studies with the violin, a pursuit that would lead her to international acclaim as a stellar soloist on the viola. “He was actually my first conductor ever,” Ngwenyama said in an interview. “I had studied before but that was really the beginning of my musical education as far as learning the orchestral repertoire.”

Though they parted ways after a couple of years, the two have managed to keep in touch, enough so to eventually come full circle with this weekend’s upcoming performance. “The music world is really small so I’ve heard about how he’s been doing and what he’s been up to and vice versa,” she said. “I haven’t seen him in a very long time so this is going to be very exciting.” Kenney concurs with the small-world view of musical circles, noting that there’s no question it attributed to this weekend’s reunion. “She (Ngwenyama) was an adjudicator for an international violin competition a couple years back in Salt Lake City and one of our (FC Symphony) players was also a judge there. They were talking and he mentioned my name and she said, ‘I know Wes Kenney!’”   [Full Post]

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

R. Nathaniel Dett & Langston Hughes Were First Black Artists at Yaddo Artist Colony

[The Collected Piano Works of R. Nathaniel Dett; Summy-Birchard (1973)]

The Canadian Press
Politics. War. Scandal. Art: Yaddo exhibit opens in New York City
October 22, 2008

“NEW YORK — Iron gates from the Yaddo artist colony, with the Yaddo logo and its muscular, musical 'Y' spelled out in script, have been installed inside the New York Public Library for a four-month exhibit, allowing you to imagine the same rustic grounds entered by James Baldwin, Leonard Bernstein and so many others.  But you will soon take in what Yaddo's chosen artists discovered: The promised seclusion was ever broken by the shouts of current events. Poverty. Race. War. Politics. 'It seems well to remind our guests that Yaddo supports exclusively no social or artistic philosophy,' colony executive director Elizabeth Ames advised in the 1930s, a most argumentative time.”

Well before the civil rights movement, Yaddo integrated blacks and whites. In 1942, over some dissent, the first black artists were admitted: Langston Hughes and composer R. Nathaniel Dett. The nearby community wasn't quite ready. 'I do not object to Langston Hughes, the coloured writer, coming to our bar as long as is in the company of someone else for Yaddo,' wrote restaurant owner Edward C. Sweeny. For years, Yaddo worried unduly about the drinking, sex life and financial status of its black residents.”  [Full Post] [R. Nathaniel Dett (1882-1943) is profiled at

Imani Winds Perform World Premiere of 'Cane' by Jason Moran in Philadelphia Oct. 24

Imani Winds Legacy Commissioning Project presents CANE by Jason Moran THIS FRIDAY!
October 24th at 7:30 p.m. Perelman Auditorium, Kimmel Center, Philadelphia. Through the Legacy Commissioning Project, Imani Winds continue to celebrate their decade anniversary with new works written exclusively for the ensemble. Their third installment in the project is the World Premiere of CANE by Jason Moran. This intriguing musical portrait of Moran’s Louisiana bayou ancestry dates back to his great grand-aunt Marie CoinCoin, an ex-slave, who opened a plantation and bought her family's freedom. CANE is made possible through generous support from The Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust and The Kimmel Center. Program will also include: Call (world premiere) by Imani's own Toyin Spellman-Diaz, Ten pieces for wind quintet by Gyorgy Ligeti, speech. and canzone an electro-acoustic work by Valerie Coleman, Terra Incognita by Wayne Shorter, Contrabajissimo by Astor Piazzolla arr. Jeff Scott.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Anne Robert Plays Sonata of Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges at Louis Denis Harpsichord Event

[Top: Saint-George, Un African à la CourOpus 11, Sonata for Violin and Pianoforte in A Major; Stéphanie-Marie Degand, Violin ; Aline Zylberajch, Pianoforte; Orchestre du Parlement de Music; Martin Gester, Conductor; Bottom: Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges: Les 10 sonates pour clavecin; Anne Robert, harpsichord; BNL 112934 (2006)]

Celebration of the 350 years of the Louis Denis 1658 Harpsichord
Recital with Paola Erdas (Trieste), Jovanka Marville (Lausanne), Anne Robert (Besançon), Patrick Montan (Romainmôtier). Sunday, October 26, 2008 at 4:30 pm at the Faller Hall of the Conservatory, Av. L.-Robert 34, La Chaux-de-Fonds. Works of N. A. Lebègue, Perrine, L. Couperin, F. Couperin, J. J. Froberger, Chevalier de Saint-Georges. Admission is free. To make a reservation contact 

Harpsichordist Anne Robert lives and teaches in Besançon, France. She will perform works of Johann Jakob Froberger (1616-1667), Ewa Gabrys (b. 1936), and Georg Philipp Teleman (1681-1767), as well as the Sonata No. 1 in C of Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799), from an unpublished manuscript of the French National Library at Paris. Anne Robert's recordings include a CD of works of Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Les 10 sonates pour clavecin (The 10 Harpsichord Sonatas), BNL 112934 (2006). An audio sample of the recording can be heard at the Saint-Georges Harpsichord page of,

Brazilian Classical Music Includes Works of José Mauricio Nunes Garcia (1767-1830)
Arts: Music

"Brazil's rich cultural tradition extends to its music styles which include samba, bossa nova, forró, frevo and many others. Brazilian contributions to the genres of classical music can be seen in the works of composers José Maurício Nunes Garcia (1767-1830), Antonio Carlos Gomes (1836-1896), Elias Álvares Lobo (1834-1901), Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959). Camargo Guarnieri (1907 - 1993), Cláudio Santoro (1919-1989) and Osvaldo Lacerda (1927)."  [José Mauricio Nunes Garcia is profiled at]

Monday, October 20, 2008

Maestro James DePreist and Juilliard Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, December 12, 2008

Since July 1, 2008 a news release at has read, ”The Juilliard School, now in its 103rd year, announces a season of more than 700 dance, drama, and music (classical and jazz) performances featuring Juilliard students, faculty, and special guest artists in 2008-09. Almost all of these events are FREE and are open to the public; some carry a nominal charge.” The African American conductor James DePreist (b. 1936), who is profiled at, will lead the Juilliard Orchestra in a concert at Carnegie Hall on Dec. 12, 2008. Works on the program are: Enescu: Rumanian Rhapsody in D major, Opus 11, no. 2; Prokofiev: Concerto No. 2 in G minor for Violin and Orchestra, Opus 63; Corigliano: Symphony No. 1.

Comment on “Myrtle Hart Society: 'The Boys Choir of Kenya in Chicago Oct. 13'”

On Oct. 10, 2008 AfriClassical posted: “Myrtle Hart Society: 'The Boys Choir of Kenya in Chicago Oct. 13'”. We have received an online comment on the post from Labo: “hey, I love the site & the info!!, but can you please maybe provide more features on African artists/composers who are not necessarily 'classical-oriented' thanks.” The format of both AfriClassical and is focused on classical music by people of African descent, but Lobo can be assured that many other websites and blogs do cover African Music which is not necessarily classical. If one Googles “African Music Blogs”, the results include a list of 20 African Music Blogs on; the African Music Treasures Blog of the Voice of America Radio Network; and a Village Voice article dated August 19, 2008 entitled: “Mining African Blog Riches: A fresh wave of globally minded music websites will broaden your horizons.”

Girma Yifrashewa Comments on AfriClassical's Remembrance of His Birthday

On October 15, 2008, AfriClassical posted a birthday tribute, “Girma Yifrashewa, Ethiopian Composer and Pianist Born Oct. 15, 1967”. Girma's second classical CD is Elilta, consisting of his own compositions. It was released in 2006. All six tracks are sampled at his page at and on the Audio page of the website. Girma graciously acknowledged the post in an E-mail comment: “Hi William, I really would like to appreciate your thoughtfulness towards my birthday, you really made me so happy even if I could not open the website from here. I will certainly let you know all my up coming activities. Thank you William for being amongst those I give my credit for a good friends. Best wishes for your upcoming Election!   Girma Yifrashewa"

Sunday, October 19, 2008, 'An Online Reference Guide to African American History', Has 275 Writers

[John Blanke, Musician at the Court of Henry VIII; National Archives of the United Kingdom]

I am proud to be a contributor to, An Online Reference Guide to African American History. It is a project of Dr. Quintard Taylor, the Scott and Dorothy Bullitt Professor of American History at the University of Washington, Seattle. He has just issued an update to contributors. “Please excuse this informal mass mailing. I have not communicated with you in some time and I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on another milestone. Sometime on Tuesday (October 14) the website passed the 750,000 mark in visitors for 2008. We also marked 2,703,027 page views. Over 100 nations were represented among the visitors.” “These statistics certainly prove that has become a valuable and well used resource. That success is the direct result of your contributions to the website. now has over 275 contributors. I hope you will continue to write for and promote it in all the ways you deem appropriate. Thank you, again, for your help.”

My contributions are an overview essay, “Black Composers and Musicians in Classical Music History”; and individual biographical profiles on John Blanke (16th C.); James DePreist (1936-); Paul Freeman (b. 1936-); José Mauricio Nunes Garcia (1767-1830); Joseph de Bologne, Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799); Ignatius Sancho (1729-1780); and Thomas “Blind Tom” Wiggins (1849-1908). Each of the artists is also featured at

Mali's Toumani Diabaté Plays 'The Mandé Variations' On The Kora With London Symphony Oct. 29

[Toumani Diabaté: The Mandé Variations]

Today we heard from our friend Bob Shingleton, who writes a leading classical music blog, On An Overgrown Path. He blogs from the United Kingdom, where Black History Month is observed in October: “Hi Bill, interesting news of concerto for kora and symphony orchestra by Malian musican Toumani Diabaté plus more on the kora and Black History Month here. Regards, Bob” 

Saturday, October 18, 2008
Presenting the instrument of the moment
The euphonius kora is very much the instrument of the moment. Back in May my post about the art and music of the Sahara featured kora player Toumani Diabaté's solo work The Mandé Variations. In an interesting example of world music meeting classical The Mandé Variations have been orchestrated, and Toumani Diabaté is performing them with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic on Oct. 21 and London Symphony Orchestra on Oct. 29.”

Monday, May 26, 2008
“The Mandé Variations by Toumani Diabaté; brought up in Bamako, capital of Mali, and son of one of the country's leading griot musicians Toumani Diabaté is one of the best known exponents of the twenty-one string African harp known as the kora. Griot musicians are part of an oral tradition which also includes the storytellers of Morocco who featured in an earlier article here. In recent years Toumani Diabaté has been responsible for the emergence of the kora from ensemble to solo instrument, and this move continues with The Mandé Variations which lay Western pop, Indian classical, flamenco and blues over a foundation of Malian griot music. As a member of the harp family the sound of the kora is not alien to Western ears which means this album is an excellent and accessible introduction to the musical art of the Sahara region.”