Thursday, April 30, 2009 Mzilikazi Khumalo's 'Princess Magogo Soars into History'

[J.S. Mzilikazi Khumalo]

AfriClassical recently posted a link to a review of the Opera Africa production of Princess Magogo. The music was composed by the South African composer, arranger and choral director J.S. Mzilikazi Khumalo (b. 1932), who is profiled at Today we offer a second opinion of the production:
April 30, 2009
By J Brooks Spector
COMPOSER: Mzilikazi Khumalo
LIBRETTO: Themba Msimang
COMPANY: Opera Africa 
DIRECTOR: Themi Venturas
CONDUCTOR: Vincent de Kort and Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra
DESIGNER: Andrew Verster
WHERE: The Mandela at the Joburg Theatre
WHEN: Tonight at 8pm and Sunday at 3pm
RATING: **** 

“The opera, Princess Magogo, is based on the life of the woman who helped revive the fortunes of the Zulu nation with her music in the hard years after the Bhambatha Rebellion.” “Director Themi Venturas and conductor Vincent de Kort guide the whole production with a clear, unified vision.
Mzilikazi Khumalo has said that he composes so that in their Valhalla… 'the thousands can sing, they can dance and they can celebrate'. He has succeeded. Princess Magogo demonstrates that South Africa holds great dramatic stories that can be worthy inspirations for operatic works - can we some day look forward to operas on such stories, among others, as the tragedy of Saartjie Baartman or the drama of the Treason Trial?”

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

African American Conductor Marlon Daniel Leads Praga Sinfonietta June 6, 2009

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”

'The Young Eight' Presents Concert at Seattle University at 8 PM Friday, May 1

“The Young Eight, America’s only professional string octet, will be in concert on Friday, May 1 – 8 PM in Seattle University’s Pigott Auditorium, 1016 E Marion Street in Seattle, Washington. The Young Eight is Ensemble in Residence at Seattle University. Concert repertoire will be Beethoven’s Duo for Viola and Violoncello (with two eyeglasses), Dvorak’s Terzetto, op. 74 in C Major for two violins and viola, Summertime for two violins, arranged by John Littlejohn, Michael DePaul’s Elegy for String Octet and the Mendelssohn Octet for Strings in E-flat major, op, 40 (in celebration of the bicentennial year of Felix Mendelssohn).” 

“The Young Eight, consisting of Artistic Director Quinton I. Morris, Kayoung Nam, Timothy Peters and Chala Yancy, violins, Amber Archibald and Carl St. Jacques, violas and Caleb Jones and Tahirah Whittington, violoncelli, is an octet of African-American musicians from The Boston Conservatory, Cleveland Institute of Music, Indiana University, The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music, Mannes College of Music, New England Conservatory of Music and Peabody Conservatory of Music.”

Robyn Sassen of Reviews Mzilikazi Khumalo's Opera 'Princess Magogo'

[J.S. Mzilikazi Khumalo]

The Opera Africa production of Princess Magogo is based on the life of Princess Constance Magogo ka-Dinuzulu. The music was composed by the South African composer, arranger and choral director J.S. Mzilikazi Khumalo (b. 1932), who is profiled at
“My View by Robyn Sassen: 'Princess Magogo' is an important fusion between western and African culture, but one narratively thwarted.”

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Akin Euba, Nigerian Composer and Musicologist Born in Lagos April 28, 1935

[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 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

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Modus Novus: Etude XX of Leo Brouwer is 'exceptionally organic in its architecture'

[Leo Brouwer (b. 1939) is profiled at]

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

Sacramento Philharmonic To Play William Grant Still's 'Suite for Violin and Orchestra' in 2010

[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 

Philadelphia Inquirer: 'Johnson was the first black American to have his compositions published'

[The Music of Francis Johnson & His Contemporaries: Early 19th-Century Black Composers; Diane Monroe, Violin; The Chestnut Brass Company and Friends; Tamara Brooks, Conductor; Music Masters 7029-2-C (1990)]

Posted on Sun, Apr. 26, 2009 
Francis Johnson lived in Philadelphia in the early 1800s and became one of the most popular band leaders in the city. As the first black American to give public concerts, Johnson and his band performed at functions all over Philadelphia, from balls to private parties. Philadelphia politician Samuel Breck wrote in his diary about attending a ball at the Rush house on Chestnut Street in 1828. 'Johnson, with five of his band, was there,' Breck wrote. 'The Black musician is a man of taste and even science in his vocation. He has organized a large Band, and gives lessons upon various instruments; and what is still more useful and certainly more singular, is the talent he has of turning every lively tune in the new operas to his purposes.'

"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]

Friday, April 24, 2009

SUNY Orange Symphonic Band Presents 'Nature's Calling' April 29 – May 2, 2009

[Kevin Scott, conductor, SUNY Orange Symphonic Band]

SUNY Orange
The Arts and Communication Department, in conjunction with the Global Studies Department present NATURE’S CALLING!  A concert of music inspired by the American outdoors
Joseph Bertolozzi: Wings of Eagles
Homer C. LaGassey: Sequoia
Brian Balmages: Pele
James Barnes: Symphony No. 4, “Yellowstone Portraits”
Earl Mays: Tropical Breeze
SUNY Orange Symphonic Band; Kevin Scott, Conductor; Joseph Bertolozzi, guest composer/performer; Christine Sacchi, guest soloist.  April 29 to May 2, 2009

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.

'El Decameron Negro' of Afro-Cuban Composer Leo Brouwer Featured at Fairbanks Recital

[The Black Decameron [El Decameron Negro]; John Williams, guitar; London Sinfonietta; Steven Mercurio, Conductor; Sony 63173 (1998)]

By Glenn BurnSilver
Published Friday, April 24, 2009
“Fairbanks — Classical guitarist Jason Vieaux has no pretensions about his place in classical music circles. He knows in order to maintain his place in the upper echelon of his craft he needs to practice frequently, while also pushing himself with challenging works.” “Vieaux comes to Fairbanks for two performances, a solo recital April 30, and a performance with the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra Sunday, May 3.”

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]

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Leo Brouwer Wrote 'Un Dia de Noviembre' for a 1972 Film by Humberto Salas

[A day in November; Adam Khan, guitar; Dinmore DRD052]

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]

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Performs William Grant Still's 'Afro-American Symphony' May 3

[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, with remaining tickets sold at the door.” [William Grant Still (1895-1978) is profiled at, where a complete Works List by Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma is also found]

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Oregonian: 'James DePreist makes it personal with the Oregon Symphony'

[The Firebird Suite; The Rite of Spring; Igor Stravinsky; James DePreist, Conductor; Delos DE 3278]
April 19, 2009
James DePreist returned to the Oregon Symphony over the weekend with a musical program shot through with personal associations. The 72-year-old former music director of the orchestra - his title of laureate conductor expired last year - led three works at Schnitzer Hall: Christopher Theofanidis' 'Rainbow Body,' which he conducted in New York recently; Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto with pianist Garrick Ohlsson, a longtime colleague and friend of DePreist's; and the First Symphony of Jean Sibelius, a composer who greatly admired DePreist's aunt, the singer Marian Anderson.”

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 'Celso Machado got a standing ovation at intermission'
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 and has a website of his own,]  

Oberlin College Black Musicians Guild: 'Call & Response: Black Music in the Community' Apr. 24-26

[Dr. Samuel A. Floyd, Jr.]

Danielle Taylor, Chair of the Oberlin College Black Musicians' Guild, issues this invitation:
You are invited to a very special event taking place at Oberlin College the weekend of April 24th-26th, 2009. “Call & Response: Black Music in the Community” is the first major conference presented by the Oberlin College Black Musicians Guild. The mission of this conference is to initiate a discussion of the power, possibilities, and importance of Black music. We want to celebrate music within the African Diaspora and recognize the work that many artists are doing to make the fine arts more accessible to communities of color and low-income communities as well as incorporating the study of Black music into institutions of higher learning.  Guest artists include:

Dr. Samuel A. Floyd Jr. - Dr. Floyd is a leading scholar for researching, publishing, and editing literature dedicated to Black Music. His educational contributions are immense, including his book "The Power of Black Music", as well founding and directing the Columbia College Center for Black Music Research.

Dr. Zakarya Sao Diouf - Born in the African nation of Senegal, Dr. Diouf is the founder and director of Diamano Coura West African Dance Company. Dr. Diouf has had a prolific career as a celebrated performer, choreographer, and educator, and educator and has worked with artists such as Katherine Dunham and has directed many ensembles, including the Mali Ensemble and Les Ballets Africains. Currently based in Oakland, CA, he continues to teach and give workshops to both students and professionals on drum-making, music analysis, African history, and dance. 

Mrs. Naomi Diouf - Born in Monrovia, Liberia, Mrs. Naomi Diouf is Artistic Director for Diamano Coura West African Dance Company and is a strong advocate for Arts-In-Education. For 15 years she has worked with the Arts Through Education programs in the San Diego, Los Angeles, San Fransisco, Oakland, Richmond, and Alameda School Districts to promote cultural literacy. An expert dancer and choreographer, Mrs. Diouf is currently teaching in Berkeley and Oakland, CA. 

Michael Morgan - Currently in his nineteenth year as Music Director of Oakland East Bay Symphony, Michael Morgan has worked with many orchestras and musical organizations to become an established leader in the classical world. He continues to do amazing work with youth across the country and is an inspiration for his community. 

Rachel Barton Pine - American violinist Rachel Barton Pine has appeared as soloist with many of the world’s most prestigious orchestras, including the Chicago, Atlanta, St. Louis, Dallas, Baltimore, Montreal, Vienna, New Zealand and Iceland Symphonies, and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Rachel's foundation, (The Rachel Elizabeth Barton Foundation), is a charitable organization and was founded in 2001 to expand awareness of and appreciation for classical music. It provides services and funding for classical music education, research, performances, and artists, to benefit listeners and learners alike. Current projects include an instrument loan program, grants for education and career, and creation of a supplemental curriculum of music for strings by composers of African descent.

Monica Ellis - Bassoonist, Monica Ellis, is a founding member of the Grammy-nominated wind quintet Imani Winds. The group is enriching the traditional wind quintet repertoire while meaningfully bridging European, American, African and Latin American traditions. Also a passionate teacher, Ms. Ellis has served on the faculties for a number of colleges and schools and continues to give workshops and performances across the country. 

For more information on the conference and guest artists, please visit For questions please email  [Rachel Barton Pine made the first U.S. CD of the music of the Afro-French composer Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799) in 1997: Violin Concertos by Black Composers of the 18th & 19th Centuries; Cedille 90000 037 (1997). It is a landmark recording which remains in print, and is featured on multiple pages at]

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hale Smith's 'Feathers' 'provides a fantastic ending to one of the seminal recordings of jazz'

[Hale Smith (b. 1925) is an African American composer who is profiled at, where a Works List by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma can be found]
Category: 1960s, Avant-Guarde, Essential, Post-Bop, Reviews
Written by Michael Kydonieus
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

Born April 17, 1941, Adolphus Hailstork Witnesses Many Performances of His Compositions

[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 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. 'Fela Sowande – African Symphony'

[The Organ Works of Fela Sowande: Cultural Perspectives by Godwin Sadoh; Quality Paperback (2007)]

Thursday, April 16, 2009
Fela Sowande, Nigerian composer, collected African melodies and developed them into original compositions. One of his many works, the African Suite, written in 1944, combines well-known West African music with European methods. For the opening movement, Joyful Day, Sowande uses a melody written by Ghanaian composer Ephrain Amu. In Nostalgia, Sowande composes a traditional slow movement to express his nostalgia for the homeland, and the finale, Akinla, began as a popular Highlife tune. This music is recommended by and Akinla is depicted in the cartoon animation, Oni Dodo – An African Symphony. Fela Sowande was 82 when he died of a stroke on March 13, 1987.”

Fela Sowande (1905-1987) is the subject of a biographical profile at It relies principally on the book Nigerian Art Music (1995) by Bode Omojola, Ph.D. and on an excerpt from Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma's manuscript on Black composers: 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

'Troubled Water' by Margaret Bonds is on CD 'West of the Sun', Released Yesterday by Joel Fan

[Margaret Allison Richardson Bonds (1913-1972)]

Troubled Water by Margaret Allison Richardson Bonds is included on a CD released yesterday, West of the Sun, Music of the Americas. The pianist is Joel Fan, of Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble. The CD is Reference Recordings RR-119 (2009). The New York Times reports on a CD release party held April 13, 2009:
To Woo the Widest Public, a Pianist Goes Clubbing
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, where a Works List by Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma can be found]

Leo Brouwer's 'Cuban Landscape with Rain' at Utah State University April 18

[Leo Brouwer (b. 1939)]

USU's Guitar Ensembles in Spring Concert
Multiple guitar ensembles are featured in a spring concert at Utah State University Saturday, April 18, at 7:30 p.m. in the Performance Hall (approximately 1090 E. 675 North, Logan). The concert follows a long performance tradition in the guitar program in USU’s Department of Music and the Caine School of the Arts.”

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]