Sunday, February 22, 2009

New Haven Register: 'Special NHSO concert program honors the lessons of the Amistad' Feb. 26

(New Haven Register (New Haven, CT) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Feb. 22--NEW HAVEN -- William Boughton was walking around New Haven familiarizing himself with the city as the newly named 10th music director of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra in 2007, when he came across the Amistad monument near the Green. It was his first exposure to the Amistad story of the Sierra Leone slaves whose case for freedom was heard in New Haven, but it touched him to the point that he knew he had to include some remembrance of its story in the programs he was beginning to create for the nation's fourth oldest symphony.” 

“The results of that moment become reality Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Woolsey Hall when Boughton leads the symphony, with guest artist French violin virtuoso Philippe Graffin and the Amistad Academy String Ensemble in a concert called Amistad Remembrance, an homage both to the event and Black History Month.” “The program is rich in African-American heritage: Duke Ellington's 'Suite from The River,' an undulating piece that replicates the coursing of a river, is 'very exciting and very unusual for the orchestra,' says Boughton, 'because it includes so many different elements of African-American music.' Graffin will be featured in Coleridge-Taylor's Violin Concerto in G Minor, a piece with a stretch of a local connection, as it was originally written for violinist Mort Powell, a favorite of the Stoeckels of Yale Norfolk Chamber Music Festival fame.” “The Amistad Academy String Ensemble has been rehearsing in workshops with Boughton since November, and Boughton has nothing but praise for them and their school.” [Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) and Duke Ellington (1899-1974) are profiled at]

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