Sunday, May 31, 2009

'Ignis Fatuus: Piano Music of Adolphus Hailstork' (b. 1941), Troy 1112 (2009)

[Ignis Fatuus: Piano Music of Adolphus Hailstork; Andrey Kasparov & Oksana Lutsyhyn, pianists; Albany Records Troy 1112 (2009)]

Adolphus Cunningham Hailstork is a prolific African American composer who was born in 1941 and is profiled at The new CD Ignis Fatuus: Piano Music of Adolphus Hailstork was released on May 1, 2009, according to gives this definition of “ignis fatuus”: “The will o' the wisps or ignis fatuus ("fool's fire") is the phenomenon of ghostly lights sometimes seen at night or in twilight hovering over damp ground in still air, often over bogs.” Figuratively, the term can mean can mean “foolish” or “misleading”.
“Five works for solo piano plus a sonata for two pianos by the distinguished American composer Adolphus Hailstork are performed by Andrey Kasparov and Oksana Lutsyshyn. Sharing the honors on the solo piano pieces, they join forces for the Sonata for Two Pianos. Hailing from Armenian and Ukrainian families, these musicians were educated at the Moscow State Conservatory and came to the United States in the 1990s. They presently teach at Old Dominion University where they are colleagues of the composer.” A brief audio file can be heard at the record label's website.

The track listing is as follows:“1. Two Scherzos, 2. Trio Sonata, 3. Ignis Fatuus, 4. Eight Variations on Shalom Chaverim, 5. Piano Sonata No. 2, 6. Sonata for Two Pianos”

Columbus State Concert Band Presents 'Music of William Grant Still' With Judith Anne Still, June 2

[Top: Afro-American Symphony; Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Karl Kruger, conductor; Bridge 9086 (1999) Bottom: The American Scene; Manhattan Chamber Orchestra; Margaret Astrup, soprano; Richard Auldon Clark, conductor; Newport Classic NCCD 85596 (1995)]

This Week In The Arts
Classical Music
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Columbus State Concert Band will perform "The Music of William Grant Still" at 8 p.m. Tuesday in Nestor Hall at Columbus State Community College, 550 E. Spring St. Judith Anne Still, daughter of the 20th-century black composer, will speak. Admission is free. Call 614-287-3993.”
About Columbus State...Arts Calendar
The program will feature the music of African-American composer William Grant Still. The composer's daughter will be the featured guest and will discuss her father's life and music.  The band, under the direction of Thomas Lloyd, will perform William Grant Still's music including the "Fanfare for the 99th Fighter Squadron" (Tuskegee Airmen), and excerpts from "The American Scene" and the Afro-American Symphony.”

Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma's entry on Fanfare for the 99th Fighter Squadron reads:
Fanfare for the 99th Fighter Squadron, for winds (1945). Mission Viejo CA: WGS Music. Duration: 1:00. Première: 1945/VII/22; Hollywood Bowl; Los Angeles Philharmonic: Leopold Stokowski, conductor.” Dr. De Lerma says of William Grant still: “His materials are held by his daughter, Judith Anne Still, manager of William Grant Still Music, which moved to Flagstaff, Arizona.” William Grant Still Music offers a wide range of sheet music and recordings of the composer at: [The complete Works List by Dr. De Lerma is found on the William Grant Still page at]

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Taslimah Bey Performs at Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival June 3-7, Sedalia, MO

[Taslimah Bey – Live!; Ragtime Legacy 634479304934; © 2001 Taslimah Bey; Taslimah Bey is a return performer at the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival in Sedalia June 3-7, 2009]

Missouri June 3-7 -- Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival, Sedalia. Ragtime entertainers from around the world perform.  Dance lessons, a parade, dinners, shows and concerts.  660-826-2271”

Performers profiled at the Foundation website include Taslimah P. Bey: “In addition to performing ragtime, Taslimah has Bachelor’s of Music and teaches at Law Academy in Detroit. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in Music Education from Oakland University.”

In the liner notes for her CD, Taslimah Bey – Live!, released on Ragtime Legacy in 2001, Taslimah writes: “I began researching ragtime in 1983, in an effort to learn about African-American composers in the early 20th century. The music was so exciting, so rich, and so representative of the double-consciousness of Africans in America, that I became determined to bring it to the attention of the public. In 1985, I presented the 'Ragtime Legacy,' a lecture/concert on the compositions of early ragtime composers, including Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, Artie Matthews, Eubie Blake and James P. Johnson. In 1986, I formed 'Taslimah’s Ragtime Band,' which featured my band arrangements of ragtime pieces by these composers.” [Scott Joplin and James P. Johnson are profiled at]

The Guardian: Olabode seeks to emulate success of 'Akin Euba, Laz Ekwueme, and Ayo Bankole'

[Akin Euba (b. 1935) is a Nigerian composer and musicologist whose theories include “African Pianism”.   He is profiled at]

The Guardian
Lagos, Nigeria
By Osa Amadi
"AT his age, he should have been flapping his hands in the air, hopping about the stage like a monkey, and barking out meaningless words for music as young people do these days in the name of Hip-Hop music. But instead, Ogunboye Paul Olabode has in his musical career, chosen a part more responsible, dignifying and projective of the rich African culture. That part is the composition of classical music in African idiom. Listening to the piano rendition of his composition like Jesu Wa Ja Funmi (Jesus come and fight for me), Gbadura Funmi (Pray for me), Oluwa Mi (My Lord), Ose O (What a pity) and his popular Ekitisonic, performed by Geir Henning Braaten, an acclaimed Norwegian pianist during a musical concert organised by Royal Norwegean Embassy last February at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, one cannot but feel proud that Paul is a product of Nigeria.

Those are just a few of his works. He has over 20 compositions in his kitty. And apart from his gift in musical composition, this quiet, humble and amiable young man is fantastic on the piano, which of course, is his working instrument. He conducts orchestras and choirs but has lots of passion for transferring his musical knowledge to others through teaching.” “Where is he headed to? 'I would like to attain the level Akin Euba, Laz Ekwueme, and Ayo Bankole have attained in music. If Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe and the rest are using literature to project African culture, I should be doing the same thing with music. I would also like to write for films and advertisements.'"

Friday, May 29, 2009

Seattle Times: James DePreist is 'majestic and contemplative, like a king buddha at the podium'

[James DePreist]

Concert review A felicitous homecoming for Joshua Roman
Cellist Joshua Roman is right at home in Benaroya Hall, where he joins Seattle Symphony and conductor James DePreist for a program that includes the world premiere of David Stock's Cello Concerto.
By John Sutherland
Special to The Seattle Times
Concert Review
“Roman wasn't the only celebrated guest this week. The concert also saw the return of former Oregon Symphony conductor James DePreist. DePreist began with Smetana's 'Bartered Bride' Overture, one of those workouts where the strings are playing a million notes a minute, right out of the gate. But respect the conductor who treats these old chestnuts like real music, as DePreist does. He kept the ensemble tight and restrained, so the forte sections burst with jubilation. DePreist has a presence that is at once majestic and contemplative, like a king buddha at the podium. The orchestra felt it, and responded.” [Full Post] [James DePreist is profiled at]

Oakland Students Play Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Florence B. Price & William Grant Still May 31

[Angela Wellman, Trombonist, is Founder of Oakland Public Conservatory of Music, “The country's first Public Conservatory of Music”]
By Angela Woodall
Oakland Tribune
Posted: 05/27/09
Updated: 05/28/09
“From Aaron Copland to Modest Mussorgsky, young Oakland musicians will take the stage Sunday at Skyline Community Church for an afternoon of works by innovative composers. The Oakland Public Conservatory of Music chamber orchestra and youth symphony also will perform selections from William Grant Still, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Florence Price and Amy Beach — composers whose musical vision transcended their 19th century lives.

The event is a fundraiser for the conservatory's low-cost youth music programs. The free concert begins at 5 p.m. at the church at 12540 Skyline Blvd. The conservatory was founded in 2005 under the leadership of trombonist Angela Wellman. The school, at 1616 Franklin St., now hosts numerous classes for youths and adults in a wide variety of styles, including the youth symphony, open mic singing and percussion.” [Full Post]

Trombonist Angela Wellman, hailing proudly from Kansas City, Missouri, has performed with the McCoy Tyner Big Band, Joe Williams, Al Grey, Slide Hampton and other noted musicians. Ms. Wellman is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where she received a Masters degree in Music Education. She is also a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Study Fellowship to study with trombonist, Steve Turre.” “From 1997-2002, Angela served as the Education Director for the Oakland Youth Chorus (OYC). During her tenure with the OYC, she developed award-winning community music education program, Music in the Schools. In 2005, Wellman founded the Oakland Public Conservatory of Music, which, as she states, is the 21st century iteration of the 20th century HBCU, the focus being American Musical culture and identity.”  [Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912), Florence B. Price (1887-1953) and William Grant Still (1895-1978) are profiled at]

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Fela Sowande, Nigerian Composer Born in Oyo May 29, 1905

[The Organ Works of Fela Sowande: Cultural Perspectives by Godwin Sadoh; Quality Paperback (2007); Fela Sowande: African Suite for Strings; The New Symphony Strings; Trevor Harvey, conductor; Decca LM 4547 (1952)]

As AfriClassical commemorates the anniversary of the birth of Fela Sowande (1905-1987), it is in the position of competing with another blog which posted's 16-part web essay on Fela Sowande as if it were its own work. The essay appeared on May 19, 2009 without attribution and virtually in its entirety:

Similarly,'s essays on the Nigerian composers Samuel Ekpe Akpabot and Akin Euba were posted by the blog on the same day, without credit to the author or the website. Written protests have been made by email, but the unattributed material has not been removed as of this writing. 

The Nigerian composer, organist and Professor Olufela Sowande was born in Oyo, Nigeria on May 29, 1905. Bode Omojola, Ph.D., chronicles his life and career in the 1995 book, Nigerian Art Music, in which he observes: “Fela Sowande is undoubtedly the father of modern Nigerian Art Music and perhaps the most distinguished and internationally known African composer. The most significant pioneer-composer of works in the European classical idiom, his works mark the beginning of an era of modern Nigerian Art Music.” Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma has posted an excerpt on Fela Sowande from a manuscript on Black composers: Prof. De Lerma's biography of the composer includes a detailed Works List and a Bibliography.

On April 11, 2008 AfriClassical Blog posted “African Suite by Fela Sowande Digitally Remastered From 1952 Decca LP”. The article explained that Mike S. Wright, Chair, International Society for African to American Music (ISAAM), had digitally remastered the content of the 1952 LP and planned to issue a CD. Organ music of Fela Sowande was performed by organist Douglas Brown in Richmond, Virginia on Oct. 8, 2009 as part of The International Year of the Organ, observed by the American Guild of Organists and its Richmond Chapter. On June 13, 2008 the website published a post in which Akinla is depicted in the animated cartoon Oni Dodo – An African Symphony. It can still be seen at the website.

John Malveaux Makes A Comment On Afro-American Chamber Orchestra Post

Yesterday, AfriClassical posted: “Afro-American Chamber Orchestra & Janise White Present 'Black Symphonists Concert'”. A second comment has been made, this time by John Malveaux: “I attended and greatly appreciated this very important concert to preserve achievements and heighten awareness of composers of African heritage. I noticed musician and composer Jacqueline Hairston, niece of Jester Hairston, also appreciated the presentation. Ms Hairston was the guest of Robert Ball, noted Los Angeles singer and musician associated with NANM. John Malveaux” [The late choral composer Jester Hairston lived from 1901-2000; NANM is The National Association of Negro Musicians,]

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Prof. Janise White Comments on Afro-American Chamber Orchestra Post

[Prof. Janise White, Conductor of the Afro-American Chamber Orchestra]

Earlier today, AfriClassical posted: “Afro-American Chamber Orchestra & Janise White Present 'Black Symphonists Concert'”. Prof. Janise White has submitted a comment: “
Thank you for covering our concert. AACMSO will continue to disseminate information to the larger music community through websites such as yours. Also, thanks for the website in general which serves both as a concert calendar, record release posting and an on-line Black Composers Encyclopedia. I appreciate your efforts to preserve our heritage.”
Prof. Janise White,
West Los Angeles College
Afro-American Chamber Music Society Orchestra

Westenn String Quartet Performs Music of William Grant Still May 30

[William Grant Still]
Linden, Tennessee
Once again, the Westenn String Quartet will perform an afternoon of classical chamber music in Perry County. The FREE concert will be held at Linden First Baptist Church at 2:30, this Saturday, May 30. A program of Music for America will include works of Benjamin Franklin—yes, the one with his face on our $100 bills—William Grant Still, Randall Thompson, and Antonin Dvorak. 

"Members of the string quartet are James Sparks, first violin; Susan Atkins, second violin; Marian Himmelreich, viola; and Carol Keith, cello.” “The Westenn String Quartet, presented by the Perry County Arts Committee, is funded in part by RC&D, a program of the United States Department of Agriculture, an equal opportunity provider and employer.” [Full Post] [William Grant Still (1895-1978) is profiled at, where a complete Works List by Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma is found.]

Afro-American Chamber Orchestra & Janise White Present 'Black Symphonists Concert'

[Thomas "Blind Tom" Wiggins (top); Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Arion 68093 (center); George Walker (bottom)]

The Afro-American Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Janise White and accompanied by violinist Christopher Woods, presented works of Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Tom Bethune and George Walker in a “Black Symphonists Concert” at 5:00 PM on Sunday, May 24, 2009 at Wilshire United Methodist Church, 4350 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, California. The concert was supported in part by the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles.

Afro-American Chamber Orchestra:
The nationally acclaimed orchestra was founded in 1987 by Professors Janise White, Valencia Mitchell, Violists, Robin Ross and the late Patrick Morgan. AACMSO is dedicated to the preservation and performance of music by symphonists of the African diaspora. Since its inception, AACMSO has revived and premiered works by over 200 composers. International Violinist Chris Woods debuted at age twelve with the Florence Symphony, performing the Mozart Concerto in G major. He began musical training on violin at age four, with Thelma Hawkins.

CHEVALIER DE ST. GEORGES: (1745-1799) Virtuoso Violinist, Champion Fencer, Royal Guard, Colonel of the Legion Nationale des Americains et du Midi

GEORGE THEOPHILUS WALKER: (b. 1922) Composer, Pianist, Professor Emeritus Rutgers University, New Jersey; Pulitzer Prize Winner 1996

BLIND THOMAS WIGGINS BETHUNE: (1849-1908) Pianist, Composer

Symphonie, Op. 11 No. 2....St. GEORGES: I. Allegro Presto, II. Andante, III. Presto

Lyric for strings.....WALKER

Reve Charmant....BETHUNE



Tuesday, May 26, 2009

'First complete performance of the Afro-American Symphony in the history of Mississippi' Nov. 19

[Dr. Herbert Woodward Martin (above); Dr. Willis C. Patterson (below)]

"MUSIC AND THE ARTS: STILL OUR ONLY FUTURE", is a conference which will take place from November 19-22, 2009 in Historic Downtown Natchez, Mississippi. It is described at “Over 400 prominent music educators, music students, musicologists and others from colleges, universities, conservatories and other professional organizations throughout the United States and abroad are expected to attend this inaugural event. Join us in Natchez!”
Judith Anne Still of William Grant Still Music adds:
“News about the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra concert, Nov. 19th in Natchez: They will present the first complete performance of the Afro-American Symphony in the history of Mississippi, and the first professional performance of "Deserted Plantation." The narrator will be Dr. Willis Patterson for the concert, Herbert Woodward Martin for the symphony. Other soloists: John McLaughlin Williams, James Sterrett-Bryant and Dr. Everett Jones. A stellar event all-round!” 

Dr. Willis C. Patterson is Professor Emeritus of Voice at The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, according to the website of The University of Michigan. says: “Dr. Herbert Woodward Martin has served as Poet-in-Residence and Professor of English at the University of Dayton for more than thirty years.” 

Monday, May 25, 2009

Leo Brouwer Conducts Musica Viva in Kaluga, Russia at XII International Festival 'World of Guitar'

[Leo Brouwer (b. 1939)]

This post is translated and summarized from an article in Spanish at the online news website RIA Novosti, regarding the Afro-Cuban guitarist, composer and conductor Leo Brouwer:
Leo Brouwer is making an appearance in Russia after an absence of 30 years. The XII International Festival “World of Guitar” opens in Kaluga, Russia today, May 25, the news agency RIA Novosti reported on May 22, 2009. The festival's artistic director, Oleg Akimov, was quoted as saying the main event would be a concert by the Moscow Chamber Orchestra MUSICA VIVA under the direction of Leo Brouwer, the renowned Cuban composer and guitarist. He added that the Russian musician Nazar Kozhujar and the Polish-Russian Lute Duo would perform a program entitled “Masterpieces of the Baroque”. The festival consists of five days of performances, May 25-29, 2009. Particiapting guitarists are from Brazil, Spain, Australia, USA, France, Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia. The 'World of Guitar' was founded in Kaluga in 1997.

Johnstown Symphony Orchestra Programs William Grant Still's 'Suite From The American Scene'

[Africa: Piano Music of William Grant Still; Denver Oldham, piano; Koch 3 7084 2H1 (1991); The American Scene; Manhattan Chamber Orchestra; Margaret Astrup, soprano; Richard Auldon Clark, conductor; Newport Classic NCCD 85596 (1995)]

The Tribune-Democrat
Johnstown, Pennsylvania
Published: May 22, 2009 01:32 pm
“For the 81st year, members of Johnstown Symphony Orchestra will provide a place for music lovers. 'Your Destination for Live Music' is the title of the 2009-10 season for the orchestra. Maestro Istvan Jaray, the symphony’s music director, said the idea came about to encourage the audience to listen to live music above recordings.” “The final concert of the season will bring some 'American Fireworks' to the stage with compositions by American composers, which were written about American events and scenes. Music will feature 'Strike Up the Band Overture' by Gershwin; 'West Side Story Suite' by Leonard Bernstein; 'Old American Songs' by Aaron Copland; and 'Suite From the American Scene' by William Grant Still. Johnstown Symphony Chorus will sing selections from Gershwin’s 'Porgy and Bess.'” [Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma, Professor of Music, Lawrence University, Appleton, Wisconsin, has compiled a complete Works List for William Grant Still (1895-1978) which is found at]

Thomas “Blind Tom” Wiggins, Pianist Who Played At White House As A Slave, Born May 25, 1849

[Blind Tom, The Black Pianist-Composer: Continually Enslaved; Geneva Handy Southall; Scarecrow Press (2002)]

Thomas Greene Wiggins was born May 25, 1849 to Mungo and Charity Wiggins, slaves on a Georgia plantation. He was blind and autistic but a musical genius who had a phenomenal memory. In 1850 Tom, his parents, and two brothers were sold to James Neil Bethune, a lawyer and newspaper editor in Columbus, Georgia. Tom was fascinated by music and other sounds, and could pick out tunes on the piano by the age of four. His concert debut in Atlanta took place when he was eight years old. In 1858 Tom was hired out as a slave-musician, at a price of $15,000. In 1859, at the age of 10, he became the first African American performer to play at the White House, for President James Buchanan. His piano pieces “Oliver Galop” and “Virginia Polka” were published in 1860. 

During the Civil War he was back with his owner, and proceeds from his concerts were donated to the Confederate relief effort. By 1863 he played his own composition, “Battle of Manassas.” By 1865, 16-year-old Tom Wiggins, now “indentured” to James Bethune, could play difficult works of Bach, Chopin, Liszt, Beethoven, and Thalberg. He also played pieces after one hearing. Blind Tom Wiggins became an internationally recognized performer. By 1868 Tom and the Bethune family lived on a Virginia farm in the summer, while touring the United States and Canada the rest of the year, averaging $50,000 annually in concert revenue. James Bethune eventually lost custody of Tom to his late son's ex-wife, Eliza Bethune. Charity Wiggins, Tom's mother, was a party to the suit, but was bitterly disappointed when she did not win control of her son or his income.

Wiggins gave his last performance in 1905. He died three years later on June 13, 1908 at the age of 59 at his manager’s home in Hoboken, New Jersey. The Ledger-Inquirer newspaper published an article by Sandra Okamoto on Oct. 9, 2008: “The long-awaited Columbus Walk of Fame will be dedicated at 4 p.m. Nov. 4 at the Liberty Theatre Cultural Center, 823 Eighth Ave. The first three honorees are pianist Thomas 'Blind Tom' Wiggins; Gertrude Pridgett, who is better known as Ma Rainey and the Mother of the Blues and opera singer Fredye Marshall.” [Thomas “Blind Tom” Wiggins is profiled at, where a complete Works List by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma can be found]

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Leo Brouwer's Version of Beatles Tune 'Penny Lane' Opens Cubadisco Guitar Fiesta May 21

[Leo Brouwer (b. 1939)]
By Irina Echarry
HAVANA TIMES, May 23 - Cubadisco is an annual event created to stimulate the production and quality of Cuban recordings. Several categories are awarded, performances are given, discussions are carried out, and homage is paid to prominent figures of the music world. Last Thursday at the Amadeo Roldan Theater in Havana, it was the guitar’s turn to celebrate one of its most fervent lovers: maestro Leo Brouwer, considered as one of the greatest musical creators in the contemporary world. He is, in essence, a guide of the Cuban and universal guitar, and the winner of this year’s National Cinema Prize for his soundtracks.”

The orchestra Sonantas Habaneras opened the evening with a brilliant version of the Beatles Penny Lane, written by Brouwer. Starting from that moment no audience voices were heard - only the sound of strings and applause.” “Works from Brouwer’s repertoire were interpreted, as were several by Latin American giants such as Astor Piazzolla, Agustín Barrios, Abelardo Barroso and Noel Nicola.” [Full Post] [Leo Brouwer (b. 1939) and Amadeo Roldán (1900-1939) are profiled at]

Saturday, May 23, 2009

William Grant Still's 'Suite for Violin and Piano' at Piccolo Spoleto's Spotlight Series Friday

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

The Post and Courier
Charleston, South Carolina
Post and courier Reviewer
Saturday, May 23, 2009
It has been said that the violin is the instrument most capable of simulating the glory of the human voice. In Friday's premiere concert of Piccolo Spoleto's Spotlight Series, violinist Lee-Chin Siow and pianist Enrique Graf made a compelling argument in support of that statement with their performance. The concert, entitled "Songs My Mother Taught Me," after Dvorak's work, featured selections from Siow's debut album of the same title, and set the tone for what promises to be a winning 2009 Piccolo Spoleto. Siow and Graf began with Beethoven's Sonata in D Major. Their lyrical playing alternated between gentility and drama in one seamless transition after another.

Amy Beach's "Romance for Violin and Piano" followed, and it was here that Siow's elegant playing, particularly in the upper register, and Graf's artful and understated accompaniment, expanded the expressive possibilities beyond the Classical era. The next selection was William Grant Still's "Suite for Violin and Piano," a three-movement work inspired by sculptors. The first movement, "African Dancer," was characterized by its rhythmic intensity, ending in a demonic and virtuoso thrill for the captivated audience. The second movement, "Mother and Child," was calm and mesmerizing. The final movement, "Gamin," was a humorous and light-hearted end to the suite. [Full Post] The Piccolo Spoleto Festival 2009 takes place in Charleston, South Carolina from May 22 to June 7.

“Focusing primarily on artists of the Southeast region, Piccolo Spoleto is the perfect complement to the international scope of its parent festival and its 700 events in 17 days, transforms Charleston into an exhilarating celebration of performing, literary and visual arts.” “For more information, visit [Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma, Professor of Music, Lawrence University, Appleton, Wisconsin, has compiled a complete Works List which is found on the William Grant Still page at] William Grant Still's Gamin is performed on a new CD by the violinist which "is available at", the newspaper says.

Friday, May 22, 2009

MusicUNTOLD Orchestra & Chorale Debut in Long Beach at JUNETEENTH Celebration June 13

[John Malveaux, Founder (above); Joseph R. Taylor, Conductor (below)]

John Malveaux sends AfriClassical a Press Release:
New ORCHESTRA & CHORALE debut in Long Beach
Joseph R. Taylor, Compton Unified School District music teacher and conductor of Bellflower Symphony, will conduct the new MusicUNTOLD Orchestra & Chorale debut performance at the 13th annual free Long Beach JUNETEENTH Celebration on Saturday June 13, 2009 at Martin Luther King Park, 1950 Lemon Ave. in Long Beach. MusicUNTOLD Orchestra & Chorale were founded by Long Beach resident John Malveaux to present little-known and seldom-performed historically significant compositions. 

American composer Roy Harris' "Bicentennial Symphony" premiered at the Kennedy Center in 1976 to celebrate our Nation's 200th year. The composition is the strongest musical statement on U.S. History and slavery ever made by an American composer. The chorus sings passages from the Preamble to the Constitution, the Gettysburg Address, and the Emancipation Proclamation as well as original passages. The June 13th performance under the baton of Joseph R. Taylor will be the West Coast premiere and first performance since the 1976 premiere. 

Zanaida Robles is Choral Director. 2009 is the Bicentennial year of Abraham Lincoln. The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, a federal agency, has endorsed the musical performance as an official event of the Commission. The free Long Beach Juneteenth Celebration starts at noon and ends at 5:00PM. Additional entertainment includes international blues artist Mighty Mo Rodgers and Latin jazz giant Bobby Rodriguez. Chairs, blankets and umbrellas are welcome. For more information contact 562 570-3150 or

Maestro Marlon Daniel Releases Trailers for June 6 Concert of Praga Sinfonietta

[Marlon Daniel, Conductor and Pianist]

On April 29, 2009 AfriClassical posted: “African American Conductor Marlon Daniel Leads Praga Sinfonietta June 6, 2009”. Maestro Daniel has since provided three YouTube trailers for the concert, including the world premiere of Hampson Sisler's composition, Phoenix Forever:

Here are the trailers for the concert in Prague. This should be also be on my website as an embedded movie file” (The website is
"This past February 2009 Maestro Daniel was appointed Principal Conductor of the International Festival of African and African American Music in Saint Louis Missouri. He is also the Music Director and Conductor of Ensemble du Monde and Manhattan Virtuosi chamber orchestras in New York and a former member of the New York Philharmonic Conductor's Round Table. Upcoming concerts include performances with the Ensemble Orchestra of Prague, Opera Ebony, Sofia Philharmonic, National Symphony of Ghana and solo appearances in London, Italy, Paris, and New York. His first CD with the Praga Sinfonietta of works of Sisler and Stravinsky will be released in October 2009 and his second CD of Mahler Symphony No. 4 in early 2010."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ritz Chamber Players Premiere 'String Quartet' by Gary Smart at Season Finale May 27

Terrance Patterson, Artistic Director of the Ritz Chamber Players, announces that the ensemble's Season Finale will feature String Quartet by Florida composer Gary Smart at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. May 27, 2009. The location is the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts, in the Jacoby Symphony Hall Tickets are now available for $30, but may be purchased online by May 26 for $20 per person. Purchase tickets by phone at (904) 354-5547 or online at

Terrance Patterson – Clarinet
Amadi Hummings – Viola
Terrance Wilson – Piano
Kyle Lombard and Diane Monroe – Violin
Kenneth Law – Cello

GERSHWIN Lullaby for String Quartet
MILHAUD Suite for clarinet, violin, and piano
SMART String Quartet (World Premiere)
BRAHMS Quintet for Piano and Strings in F Minor, Op. 34 

VIP reception in the Davis Gallery, during intermission and following the concert, is open to season ticket holders and to people who purchased tickets to both the Spring Concert and Season Finale.

R. Nathaniel Dett Concert Choir Joins Singers' Club of Cleveland Under William B. Woods May 23

AfriClassical has interviewed Dr. William B. Woods concerning If My Song Had Wings, a program of The Singers' Club of Cleveland and the R. Nathaniel Dett Choir of the Cleveland School of the Arts, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 23. The location will be Waetjen Auditorium of Cleveland State University, 2001 Euclid Ave., according to, and the phone number for tickets is 216-556-4405. Dr. Woods is Chairman of the Music and Dance Departments of Cleveland School of the Arts. On Saturday he will also be Guest Conductor for The Singers' Club of Cleveland, a men's choir.

R. Nathaniel Dett was an African American composer, pianist and choral director.  The two choirs will combine forces for most of the evening's program: The Italian Street Song by Victor Herbert; Sence You Went Away, text by James Weldon Johnson and music by the Cleveland native H. Leslie Adams; the spiritual Ride On King Jesus; and Best of All Possible Worlds from Leonard Bernstein's Candide. The men's choir will sing A Gershwin Swing Set, a medley which includes such songs as: They Can't Take That Away From Me, Nice Work if You Can Get It and Fascinating Rhythm.

Dr. Woods says it is an honor to conduct the program. The Cleveland Institute of Music gives this description of his education and career: “William B. Woods is a native of Gadsden, Alabama and received his early training in music at Carver High School. He then studied organ and choral music with the late Walter Blodgett at Tennessee State and Western Reserve University. His musical impact at Cleveland School of the Arts is felt throughout the Greater Cleveland Community and beyond. The Dett Choir, which he directs, has enhanced the reputation of the school by establishing a model of excellence in performance.” [R. Nathaniel Dett (1882-1943) and H. Leslie Adams (b. 1932) are profiled at]

Comment: Nokuthula Ngwenyama “is representative of a 'world-person'”

Yesterday AfriClassical posted: “Nokuthula Ngwenyama (b. 1976): An American Violist & Violinist of African and Asian Heritage”. Our friend G.Y.F. comments: “Bill, Your prolific gift of Africlassical is truly appreciated. Especially do I applaud today's post that highlights Nokuthula Ngwenyama. You know my commitment to total diversity. She is representative of a 'world-person,' beyond limitation of one 'kind' and culture in the inclusion of all.”  

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Nokuthula Ngwenyama (b. 1976): An American Violist & Violinist of African and Asian Heritage

[Rubinstein Sonatas; Nokuthula Ngwenyama, viola; Jennifer Lim, piano; EDI Records (2008)]

A teacher who has visited our website would like to introduce African heritage in classical music to students who are primarily Asian. We have replied by email: “Many thanks for your warm words for! I hope your students will enjoy learning of some of the people celebrated at the site. One person with Asian ancestry is the violinist and violist Nokuthula Ngwenyama, whose father was Zimbabwean and whose mother was Japanese.” The teacher responded by email: “Thanks for your encouragement. I will look into Nokuthula Ngwenyama. Wow, what a name! I am sure that my students will be hyped.”

Nokuthula Ngwenyama is a prominent American violist and violinist of Zimbabwean and Japanese descent. She was born June 16, 1976, and grew up in Southern California. Ngwenyama maintains a very active schedule of performances, including festivals. Among her recordings is Rubinstein Sonatas, on which she plays viola and Jennifer Lim plays piano. The disc is a 2008 release from EDI Records.