Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Akron Youth Orchestras & Texarkana Symphony Play Music of William Grant Still Feb. 8

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

Music of William Grant Still will be heard in two different locales on Sunday, February 8, 2009. The Akron Youth Orchestras will perform Still's Symphony No. 1 (Afro-American), his best known symphonic work. The above recording by the Royal Philharmonic is only one of many CDs of the composition. At Texarkana, Arkansas, works of William Grant Still will accompany those of other African American composers, including William Levi Dawson, Moses Hogan and Undine Smith Moore (1904-1989), a Virginia native who was a professor of Music at Virginia State University for more than four decades.

“The Akron Youth Orchestras, which is the Akron Youth Symphony and the Akron Youth Philharmonic, will perform at a free concert Feb. 8 at 3 p.m. at E.J. Thomas. The program will feature William Grant Still’s Symphony No. 1 'Afro-American.' Still was an African-American classical composer who wrote more than 150 compositions. He was the first African-American to conduct a major American symphony orchestra and the first to have a symphony of his own (his first symphony) performed by a leading orchestra.”

“The Lonoke Baptist Church Choir, the Texarkana Symphony Orchestra, and Texarkana Regional Chorale will team up for a concert on Sunday, Feb. 8, 6 p.m. at the Lonoke Baptist Church in Texarkana, Ark. Traditional African-American classical compositions will be performed with music from, among others, Undine Moore, William Dawson, Moses Hogan and William Grant Still. Poetry will also become a part of the festivities.” [William Grant Still (1895-1978) and William Levi Dawson (1899-1990) are profiled at]

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