Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
“AFRICAN AMERICAN MAESTRO STEPS UP TO RUDOLFINUM PODIUM TO CONDUCT CONCERT ON THE FRINGE OF THE PRAGUE SPRING FESTIVAL
June 6, 2009 7:30PM Artist World Concert Promotion will present Czech trained African American conductor Marlon Daniel, winner of the 2009 Foncannon Conducting Award, in a concert at Prague's historic Rudolfinum. One of the brightest new stars of classical music today he will lead the Praga Sinfonietta in a concert of music by Mahler, Brahms and a world premiere work by Hampson Sisler. He has been described as '…one of the leading conductors in this new age of African American classical musicians'. He is Principal Conductor of the Festival of African and African Music in Saint Louis, MO (FESAAM.ORG) and Music Director of the New York City based chamber orchestra ‘Ensemble du Monde’. In 2007 he worked with Maestro Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic as the winner of the James and Lola Faust Fellowship and in 2008 was the recipient the 'Voice of the Artist' Award from the United Nations.”
“This concert will be one of the highlights of Prague Classical Music Season. It will begin with a performance of Phoenix Forever, a new world premiere work by composer Hampson Sisler and Johannes Brahms’ popular Double Concerto with Bulgarian virtuosi Hristo Popov (violinist) and Kalin Ivanov (cellist). The concert will conclude with Gustav Mahler’s beloved Symphony No. 4 in G Major. The soprano soloist in the final movement of the symphony will be lyric coloratura soprano, Melissa Cintron. There will also be a special guest appearance by composer Hampson Sisler.” “Rudolfínum, Dvořák Hall, Saturday June 6, 2009 7:30pm” http://www.artistworld.org
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
[Akin Euba, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Music, University of Pittsburgh]
Akin Euba is a Nigerian composer and musicologist who developed the theory of African Pianism. Euba was born in Lagos, Nigeria on April 28, 1935 and spent his early years there. He is a member of the Yoruba ethnic group and is profiled at AfriClassical.com His biography is Akin Euba: An Introduction to the Life and Music of a Nigerian Composer by Joshua Uzoigwe. It is a 1992 publication of the Bayreuth African Studies Series, edited by Prof. Eckhard Breitinger. Akin Euba received his first piano lessons from his father, beginning in 1943. Euba won first prize at the First Nigerian Festival of the Arts in 1950. In four years at Trinity College of Music, Akin Euba earned three degrees in piano performance and teacher training.
Uzoigwe tells us Akin Euba regarded his first major composition to be a 1956 work, Introduction and Allegro for Orchestra. He earned Fellowship diplomas at the College in 1957 in Composition and Piano Performance. Euba submitted a string quartet for the Composition Fellowship. He went back to Nigeria in 1957 and served as a Senior Programme Assistant (Music) at the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation until his promotion to Head of Music in 1960. The author continues: “Two works which were written as a result of his experiences at this time are Six Yoruba Songs for voice and piano, and Two Yoruba Folk Songs for unaccompanied choir. They were both completed in 1959. In the same year that he was promoted as Head of Music (1960), Akin Euba wrote another work entitled The Wanderer for violoncello and piano.”
Akin Euba's curriculum vitae observes that his creative concepts have no better representation than the opera Chaka, MRI 0001CD (1999). “Briefly stated, Chaka is a fusion of 20th century techniques of composition with stylistic elements derived from African traditional music, particularly the music of the Yoruba of southwestern Nigeria. Moreover, the orchestra is a combination of African and Western instruments.” [Full Biography]Akin Euba
Chaka: An opera in two chants
Professor of Music
University of Pittsburgh
at 10:08 AM
Monday, April 27, 2009
[Leo Brouwer (b. 1939) is profiled at AfriClassical.com]
The Modus Novus
26 April 2009
“I have been preparing for this specific performance since I enrolled as a student of the USC Classical Guitar Department.” “The first part of the program features music that is very organic in it’s development. I often choose such repertoire because it requires an attention to well-paced expansion. This process mimics the 'growing with the repertoire approach', which is analogous to the organacism present in these pieces’ compositional structure. Cuban composer Leo Brouwer (b. 1939 Havana) writes from the perspective of a guitarist and composer who is concerned with exploiting motive, and intervallic relationships of his instrument (Rodriguez). I have programmed two of his solo pieces in my recital, Etude XX and XVII from his set of twenty Simple Etudes, Estudios Sencillos. In terms of form, these pieces have a ternary structure that functions within this concept of organic music development. In both Etudes, a theme is introduced, and then undulates through augmentation and diminution until a section of new thematic material is reached. This new material will, like the previous section, exist initially only to be subjugated through permutation. The middle section will provide the most severe contrast to the outermost sections. The final section recreates the now distant image of the opening material that got everything moving. A return to the familiar is in no way forced, and establishes an understood finality to the pieces structure. Etude XX contains a development section (B) to the ternary form (ABA’) that is this way is exceptionally organic in its architecture." [Full Post]
Sunday, April 26, 2009
[Africa: Piano Music of William Grant Still; Denver Oldham, piano; Koch 3 7084 2H1 (1991)]
By Edward Ortiz
Published: Sunday, Apr. 26, 2009 - 12:00 am | Page 10
“The last concert of the season, scheduled for May 2010, offers violinist Rachel Barton Pine performing Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 2 and a work by the 20th century African American composer William Grant Still, a suite for violin and orchestra. The appearance of Barton Pine, an incandescent violinist and one-time prodigy who rebuilt her career as a soloist after a horrible train accident, comes by way of Morgan's conducting at a Civic Orchestra of Chicago concert. Morgan said Barton Pine made a lasting impression on him during the 1983 concert when she was a 12-year-old violinist in the orchestra's string section. That concert, like the orchestra's May 2010 concert, was devoted largely to African American composers, said Morgan. 'She will be a great gift to the community when she's here,' said Morgan. 'She does a lot of music by black composers, and when I asked her what piece she wanted to do with us, her suggestion was the Still piece.'" Full Post
"Johnson also performed outside the city, at resorts in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and Cape May, and led a small ensemble on a European tour in 1837. He was famous for his skills on the violin and keyed bugle, and for his dramatic performance style." [Full Post] [Francis B. Johnson (1792-1844) was an African American bugler, bandleader and composer whose life has been researched by Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma, Professor of Music, Lawrence University, Appleton, Wisconsin. The research has been made available for the Francis B. Johnson page at AfriClassical.com]Francis Johnson
First Black Published Composer
Early 19th-Century Philadelphia
African American Composer
Leader of Band
Dominique-René de Lerma
at 6:53 AM
Friday, April 24, 2009
[Kevin Scott, conductor, SUNY Orange Symphonic Band]
Wednesday, April 29, 2009, 7:00 p.m. Paramount Theatre, 17 South Street, Middletown. SUNY Orange Symphonic Band, Open Dress Rehearsal. Free and Open to the Public.
Thursday, April 30, 2009, 11:00 a.m. Orange Hall, SUNY Orange Middletown Campus. Master class/discussion with Joseph Bertolozzi. Free and Open to the Public.
Thursday, April 30, 2009, 7:00 p.m. Room 221, SUNY Orange Newburgh Campus, One Washington Center (Broadway and Colden Street). Concert featuring original music by Joseph Bertolozzi and The Bronze Collection. Free and Open to the Public.
Saturday, May 2, 2009 Paramount Theatre, 17 South Street, Middletown. 7:15 p.m. Pre-concert discussion with Kevin Scott, Paul Basinski and Joseph Bertolozzi. 8 p.m. Concert, Admission $5.00. For further information, call (845) 341-4787 or (845) 341-4393.
“Following a brief intermission, Vieaux will continue in similar vein with 'El Decameron Negro' by Afro-Cuban composer Leo Brouwer. This piece has three movements: El Arpa del Guerrero (The Warrior’s Harp); La Huida de los Amantes por el Valle de los Ecos (The Flight of the Lovers Through The Valley of Echoes); and Balada del Doncella Enamorada (Ballad of the Loving Maiden), and represents Brouwer’s classical, Afro-Cuban, jazz and avant-garde influences. It is 17 'challenging' minutes long.” [Leo Brouwer (b. 1939) is profiled at AfriClassical.com]
Thursday, April 23, 2009
AfriClassical recently posted a research inquiry from Timothy Mahn, “Was Leo Brouwer's Guitar Work 'Un Dia de Noviembre' Originally Composed for Piano?”. Today Tim writes: Mr. Zick -- recently I requested information on Leo Brouwer's work. Apparently the information I received -- that 'Un Dia de Noviembre' had originally been composed for piano -- is erroneous. But I did get some interesting history on the piece from the Library of Congress. I thought you might be interested. Thanks! Tim Mahn”
James Wintle of the Music Division of the Library of Congress writes: “Mr. Mahn, Leo Brouwer’s popular guitar solo “Un dia de Noviembre” was not originally written for piano. The piece was in fact originally written for a 1972 Cuban film of the same name directed by Humberto Solás. The original instrumentation was for guitar accompanied by flute, bass, and percussion. In an interview with Mr. Brouwer conducted by Vladimir Wistuba-Alvarez in 1989 (citation below), Brouwer discusses the piece and explains that it was originally orchestrated and was then transcribed by him for solo guitar (Wistuba-Alvarez, p. 145).
The only published score that I have found is for solo guitar, which as you mentioned in your query is widely available. The interview listed below is entirely in Spanish. Wistuba-Alvarez, Vladimir. “Lluvia, Rumba y Campanas en los Paisajes Cubanos de Leo Brouwer y Otros Temas (Una conversacion con Leo Brouwer),” Latin American Music Review / Revista de Música Latinoamericana, Vol. 10, No. 1 (Spring – Summer, 1989), pp. 135-147. I am sorry that I was unable to locate a score from the original film version of “Un dia de Noviembre,” but given the political climate in Cuba in the early 1970’s it is no wonder that a copy was not acquired by the Library of Congress. I hope that this answers your query regarding Leo Brouwer’s music. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to write again.” [The Afro-Cuban composer, conductor and classical guitarist Leo Brouwer (b. 1939) is profiled at AfriClassical.com]
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
[William Grant Still (1895-1978); (Photo is the sole property of William Grant Still Music, and is used with permission.)]
North Andover Community Calendar
Fri Apr 17, 2009, 01:07 PM EDT
“Merrimack Valley Philharmonic
The Merrimack Valley Philharmonic will perform its final concert of the 48th season Sunday, May 3, 2:30 p.m., at the Rogers Center for the Arts at Merrimack College, 315 Turnpike St. The 'All-American' concert offerings will feature Leonard Bernstein’s 'Overture to Candide,' William Grant Still’s 'Symphony No. 1' (Afro-American Symphony) and George Gershwin’s 'Concerto in F Major for Piano and Orchestra,' Louis Stewart, piano soloist. Maestro George Monseur, conductor. Cost is $18 for adults, $12 for seniors and students, and $5 for children (ages 4+). For information, call 978-685-3505. Tickets can be ordered online at http://www.mvpomusic.org, with remaining tickets sold at the door.” [William Grant Still (1895-1978) is profiled at AfriClassical.com, where a complete Works List by Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma is also found]
Sunday, April 19, 2009
“DePreist and Ohlsson go back a long way. Since meeting in Helsinki years ago, they have developed a bond on stages around the world. At Saturday's performance of Beethoven's lyrical Fourth Piano Concerto, they shared the same spacious approach to the music.” “With minimalist movements from DePreist, we heard incisive and full-bodied playing in the surging music. Concertmaster Jun Iwasaki stepped up his role as string leader with vigorous and rhythmic assistance. Principal trumpet Jeffrey Work, principal trombone Aaron LaVere and their sections superimposed color and clout on the performance.” [James DePreist (b. 1936) is profiled at AfriClassical.com]
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Celso Machado got a standing ovation at intermission.
The strength of his guitar playing would have been more than enough for me. But he made music with all parts of his body and everything around him (mic stand, chair, etc). I realize that sort of thing can sound gimmicky, but no. His virtuosity on the tambourine, the way he uses it like a frame drum, is stunning. At one point he wordlessly, on the fly in the middle of a song, conducted the audience into simulating the sound of a thunderous rainstorm approaching and receding. You could hear the raindrops splashing in the puddles. By the time we realized what we had done, he was on to the next thing. That's the way he operates. What could be better than a performance where the delightful surprises never stop?
The Brazilian-born virtuoso guitarist, percussionist and singer Celso Machado is loved by many in his hometown of Vancouver and around the world but I found it surprising how many people in Nelson had never heard of him. His concert didn't even fill up the Capitol Theatre and there was no one from the music program at Selkirk College there. The performance was part of Alan Rinehart's 19th Annual Northwest Guitar Festival this weekend. I am doing a radio piece about it for CBC radio's North by Northwest. As part of the festival program he directed a small orchestra of 18 guitarists (and one pipa player) while accompanying them on an array of little percussion instruments. The generosity and audacity of this grinning-but-serious, focused-and-relaxed musical dynamo left us awe-struck and happy. Posted by Bill Metcalfe [Celso Machado is an Afro-Brazilian composer, guitarist, lyricist and singer who was born in Ribeiro Preto, Brazil on January 27, 1953. He is profiled at AfriClassical.com and has a website of his own, http://www.CelsoMachado.com]
[Dr. Samuel A. Floyd, Jr.]
Black Musicians' Guild
Call & Response
Black Music in the Community
April 24-26, 2009
Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio
at 7:13 AM
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Dolphy ends the date with the haunting Feathers, by the obscure composer Hale Smith. The harmonic progression and melody are surprising but feel inevitable, which is the ultimate tribute to a composer. The natural poignancy of the composition is intensified by the almost guitar-like plucking of thirds by Ron Carter on the cello. Somewhat amusingly, Dolphy chooses not to take the solo at the rubato pace of the head, but instead has Hayes and Duviver provide a gentle swing for his flights on alto. Feathers provides a fantastic ending to one of the seminal recordings of jazz.
“Out There is unique in the jazz literature, as far as I know, a mixture of post-bop, chamber music, and the avant guarde. Yet, for jazz fans with a dash of adventure in their souls, it’s remarkably accessible, and well worth seeking out.”
Thursday, April 16, 2009
[Adolphus Hailstork: Symphonies Nos. 2 and 3; Grand Rapids Symphony; David Lockington,
Conductor; Naxos 8.559295 (2007)]
Adolphus Cunningham Hailstork is an African American composer and professor who was born on April 17, 1941 in Rochester, New York and is profiled at AfriClassical.com. He received a Bachelor of Music degree from Howard University in 1963. He subsequently attended the Manhattan School of Music, where he received a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition in 1965 and a Master of Music degree in Composition in 1966. During the Summer of 1963 Hailstork studied in France at Fontainebleau with Nadia Boulanger. He served in the U.S. Armed Forces in Germany from 1966-68, then attended Michigan State University, where he obtained a Ph.D. in 1971. Hailstork has been on the faculties of Youngstown State University, Norfolk State University and Old Dominion University. Hailstork's musical The Race for Space was performed at Howard University in 1963, when he was in his senior year. Statement, Variations and Fugue was his master's thesis and was performed by the Baltimore Symphony in 1966, according to the Presser site. The composer has employed a wide range of forms and styles.
Looking back at recent posts on AfriClassical, we find many with news of Prof. Hailstork's compositions. Space permits only a few examples, so we will begin with the annual Spring Tour of the Tuskegee Choir. Its 2009 program includes music by Adolphus Hailstork. On Jan. 18, 2009, the Santa Monica Symphony's annual program in recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. included Adolphus Hailstork's First Symphony. On Jan. 16, 2009, a Concert/Lecture was presented by Dr. Rochelle Sennet, a Teaching Associate in Piano at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She regularly performs works of African American composers, including Adolphus Hailstork. We learned recently that Prof. Hailstork will compose music for the Alabama Symphony Orchestra's 'Reflect and Rejoice' concert, a musical tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. to be premiered at the 2011 event. Organist Douglas Brown performed music of Adolphus Hailstork on Oct. 19, 2008. The composer's Bassoon Set is featured on a recent CD, Albany TROY 1038 (2008), on which Lecolion Washington, Jr. plays the bassoon. The 2008 “Classical Thanksgiving” concert of the Meridian Symphony in Meridian, Idaho featured Adolphus Hailstork's new work for orchestra, tenor and chorus, 'I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes'. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Richmond Chamber Players presented a concert on August 17 which included Adolphus Hailstork's Trio for Violin, Cello, and Piano.
[The Organ Works of Fela Sowande: Cultural Perspectives by Godwin Sadoh; Quality Paperback (2007)]
Bode Omojola, Ph.D.
Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma
at 1:09 PM
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
To Woo the Widest Public, a Pianist Goes Clubbing
By ALLAN KOZINN
Published: April 14, 2009
“The pianist Joel Fan took over Le Poisson Rouge on Monday evening to celebrate the release of 'West of the Sun,' his new collection of music of the Americas for Reference Recordings.” “If you amplify too much, as he did, the piano takes on an unnatural glare and boominess.
“That said, his playing was the picture of textural clarity in Ernesto Nazareth’s 'Vem Cá, Branquinha,' which he played with the sparkle and rhythmic suppleness of a jazz improviser. He brought similar qualities to two works that quote folk themes, Villa-Lobos’s Chôro No. 5 ('Alma Brasileira'), with its gauzy bass and gracefully singing melody, and Margaret Bonds’s 'Troubled Water,' a set of bravura variations on the spiritual 'Wade in the Water.'” [Margaret Allison Richardson Bonds was an African American composer, pianist and musical director who was born in Chicago in 1913 and died in Los Angeles in 1972. She is profiled at AfriClassical.com, where a Works List by Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma can be found]
“The program for the evening includes a variety of music from Flamenco to swing to funk, including Cuban Landscape with Rain by Leo Brouwer. The piece is for acoustic ensemble that, through the use of special effects, imitates the sound of a storm in a rain forest. [Full Post] [Leo Brouwer (b. 1939) is profiled at AfriClassical.com]