Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wayne Marshall, Black British Organist, Has 21 CDs & Is Conductor of Verdi Orchestra in Milan

[BOTTOM: Symphonie: Organ Works by Charles-Marie Widor; Marcel Dupre; Naji Hakim; Jean Roger-Ducasse; Wayne Marshall, organ; Virgin Classics (2000) TOP: James MacMillan: A Scotch Bestiary, Piano Concerto No. 2; BBC Philharmonic; James MacMillan, conductor; Wayne Marshall, organ and piano; Chandos CHAN 10377 (2006)]

Wayne Marshall is a 49-year-old Black British organist and pianist who has enjoyed a high-level global career and has recently developed a parallel career as Conductor of the Verdi Orchestra in Milan, Italy. He is also in demand as a guest conductor. His playing can be heard on 21 CDs! He has also made a DVD. The Public Radio program Pipedreams calls him “one of today's most dynamic organ virtuosos.” John McLaughlin Williams was kind enough to put us in touch with him. We interviewed Wayne Marshall on March 30, 2010 shortly after he had returned from Milan to his home in Malta, and as he was preparing for another trip.

It's nice of you to work me into your busy schedule!
No problem!
I understand you were born in Britain, is that right?
That's right, yes.
Where in Britain were you born?
In Oldham, Lancashire near Manchester. My parents came over from Barbados in the Caribbean, and we are a musical family. I have two sisters who are also practicing musicians as well, so we are all in the music business, basically.
So quite a musical background, then?
I have seen the date of birth for you as 13 January 1961; is that correct?
That's correct, yes.
You have such a marvelous website that you started in January that it almost seems that an interview is redundant!
Oh yes! My fiance did all that.
When you were growing up were you always interested in music yourself Wayne, when you saw your family playing it?
Yes, I was always actually. My mother was the pianist; she still plays. She was the one who really started me with the piano when I was three, and she taught me lessons when there was time, depending on what she was doing. I was always practicing, and it all started from there! And then the other thing was that both my parents used to take me to the parish church, which was just across the street from where we used to live. So every Sunday, twice on Sunday, we would be in church. It was a great education!
I understand from the notes on your CD Popular Pieces for Trumpet and Organ that you were educated at Chetham's School of Music in Manchester?
That's correct, yes.
How old were you when you attended there, Wayne?
I was 11 when I was there, and I left when I was 17. I then went to London to the Royal College of Music, on a scholarship. I was there for four years and that coincided with my period at Windsor Castle as an organ scholar there for 3 years.
You did both at the same time?
That's right, yes. I lived in Windsor and commuted to London 2 or 3 times a week in order to attend the Royal College. Then after that period, in 1983 I went to Vienna to the Hochschule for 6 months while I studied with Peter Planyavsky who was then organist at the Cathedral, St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna. And then, I have been performing ever since!
It seems that you have branched out from piano and organ into conducting?
Yes! This all really started by chance, basically! In 1985 I was asked to start a youth orchestra and it started from there! Most of my time is spent conducting now. I find this is a great way of making music in addition to my organ playing. It's wonderful to have the two careers!
You seem to spend a lot of your time in Italy?
Quite a lot of time, yes, but you see most of my work is in Europe. I don't really travel that much to the States these days.
It seems from your website that you have at least 21 CDs and one DVD?
Yes, they're not all solo CDs of course! Some involve playing with an orchestra, an ensemble or colleagues.
That's quite a lot, actually!
Yes! You have done a premiere of a work called A Scotch Bestiary?
That's right!
By James MacMillan, it's a work that was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, for the opening of the new Disney Concert Hall organ.
Oh, that was the occasion?
Yes, that was it!
That's quite the event!
It was a great event, and I gave a recital the day after. But it was great to work with Esa-Pekka Salonen and also with James as well; it was fantastic!
Had you known him before?
Yes, a few days before. He's a very good composer, and also he's asked me to record his Second Piano Concerto, which is also another great piece and it is also recorded on the same CD.
I hear from a friend in Dallas that you've performed at the weddings of some people there; Andrew Litton?
That's right, I played during his wedding. Andrew has left the Dallas Symphony, you know. He's now with the Bergen Philharmonic.
Oh, that's a major change!
Yes, yes.
I am also told that the wedding of Graeme Jenkins...
Graeme Jenkins, I played for his wedding, yes, in Glyndebourne. That was a very interesting event.
That was in Britain?
You say it was a very interesting event?
Well it was, because we had the Glyndebourne Chorus singing, and unfortunately a few minutes before the wedding started, half the organ decided not to work, which is a way of saying an electronic problem happened. But still, we had a great time!
I wonder if there is anything that you would like to add?
I think you have seen my website,, which has a lot there. I enjoy what I am doing and I am lucky to have the opportunity to travel and make music, which is something I like very much!
When you were educated, were you made aware of the fact that there were composers of African descent, such as Samuel Coleridge-Taylor?
Yes, of course! But I have never considered my race to be an issue.
Regarding conducting and performing, what do you intend to do in the future?
Well, exactly what I am doing now! I have just been very lucky that I can have this career of conducting along with playing.
How did you become aware of Glen Inanga?
Through my fiance, Jennifer, who of course is his duo partner, when I was playing a festival back in 2004. That's where we met and that's how we got together, and how I got to know Glen.
You were recently in the Cayman Islands for a “Piano 8-Hands” event, weren't you?
That's right! That was fantastic, actually, thanks to John.
John McLaughlin Williams?
Yes. All those wonderful amazing arrangements! He is an encyclopedia of knowledge! Things I knew nothing about! He came up with all of these amazing scores, and we played quite a few of them. We are going to do a repeat performance in Malta next March or April.
Yes, I think it would be good. We'd love to try to take it further, and maybe make a recording. So we'll see what happens.
That would be pretty distinctive, I would think, a recording of “Piano 8-Hands”?
That would be great!
I would be in the market for that!
Yes, definitely!
How did you become interested in American music such as Bernstein and the Gershwins?
I think it's just music I was interested in; I was 8 when I heard the Piano Concerto of George Gershwin for the first time and I sort of knew then that that was really what I wanted to play. I got the score and performed it in school, and it led from there.
So the music spoke to you, it appealed to you?
Yes, of course! I was very fortunate in 1985 to be able to play the part of Jasbo Brown in the opera Porgy and Bess, and I was working with Simon Rattle. It was a fantastic experience! That was really my first glance into the world of opera. It changed everything, and of course Porgy and Bess became a piece which I would play a lot and eventually conduct. And so I discovered other orchestral material of George Gershwin which was very fine, and over the years led me to my love of American music.
You certainly have been affiliated with it, having even combined your performance of MacMillan's music with the opening of the Disney Concert Hall organ!
That's it! It's all been very, very interesting!
How do you like living in Malta?
Oh, Malta's great! It's lovely weather here as well, and the people are very nice and it suits me very much. The weather in the U.K. as we speak is really horrendous! It's summertime now. So we're very fortunate here where it's nice and warm.
I want to thank you very much!
No problem at all!
Goodbye now.
Take care.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Columbia University Acquires Papers of Ulysses S. Kay (1917-1995), African American Composer

[Ulysses Kay: Works for Chamber Orchestra; Metropolitan Philharmonic Orchestra; Kevin Scott, Conductor; Troy 961 (2007)]

Music Library Association
Notes Volume 66, Number 3, March 2010
“Columbia University's Rare Book & Manuscript Library has acquired the papers of the noted American composer, Ulysses S. Kay (1917-1995). A prolific and important composer of contemporary symphonic, chamber, and choral music, Kay also wrote five operas, the most substantial and last of which, Jubilee (1976) and Frederick Douglass (1991), were based on themes from African American history. Kay was encouraged by William Grant Still to study music and attended the University of Arizona as an undergraduate. He received an M.A. in composition from the Eastman School, where he worked with Howard Hanson and Bernard Rogers, and then studied under Paul Hindemith at Yale. After serving in the navy during World War II, Kay returned to New York to work with Otto Luening at Columbia. Between 1952 and 1968, he worked as an editorial advisor and later music consultant with Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), building a name for himself as a composer by writing music in the evenings and on weekends. Kay finished his career with two decades as a professor at Herbert Lehman College (CUNY), retiring in 1988. Highlights of the collection include a large number of Kay's scores in manuscript, a substantial collection of press cuttings relating to...”

Ulysses Simpson Kay, Jr. was born on January 7, 1917 in Tucson, Arizona. He died in Englewood, New Jersey on May 20, 1995. Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma of Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin has generously made his research entries on Ulysses S. Kay and William Grant Still (1895-1978) available to, where his complete Works List for each composer can be found.

African American Cellist Damon Coleman on WGTE's 'Live from FM 91' Webcast, 10 AM ET April 2

[Damon Coleman]

AfriClassical has received an announcement from Brad Cresswell, Classical Music Director of WGTE Public Media in Toledo, Ohio:
“I wanted to give you a heads-up about the next episode of WGTE's 'Live from FM 91': Toledo Symphony Orchestra Cellist Damon Coleman will perform a live program in our studio, including three of the five Spirituals for Cello and Piano arranged by Lawrence Brown, which I believe you've profiled on your site before. The radio show is on Friday April 2nd at 10:00 a.m., and will be webcast live through our website at You can find more info on the program at this link: All the best - Brad Cresswell"

We have asked a few questions of Damon Coleman, including: “Which three songs will you perform? Will you have a piano accompanist?” “I notice someone by the name of Damon Coleman is listed on a 1997 RCA CD of Michael Tilson Thomas and the New World Symphony, Alma Brasileira - Music of Villa-Lobos.” Damon Coleman has replied:
“Thank you for your message. I've been a cellist with the Toledo Symphony for nine years, and I studied with Paul Katz at the Eastman School of Music. My pianist on Friday will be Michael Boyd, who teaches piano at the University of Toledo. He will also be my pianist for an upcoming solo recital on May 16 at 2:00 pm in the Great Gallery of the Toledo Museum of Art. I haven't entirely decided which three movements will be played on Friday- but as of now, my inclination is leaning towards #1, #4, and #5. The recording you found is one that was made when I was a member of the New World Symphony. To the best of my knowledge, it is the only one I'm playing on that is available to the public. Take care, Damon Coleman"

Toledo Symphony Orchestra Cellist Damon Coleman joins Brad Cresswell for live performance and conversation.
Damon Coleman, cello
Michael Boyd, piano
Fauré: Élégie for cello & piano in C minor, Op. 24
J.S. Bach: Cello Suite No. 4 in E-flat major, BWV 1010: Allemande (2) and Sarabande (4)
Lawrence Brown: Spirituals: Five Negro Folk Songs, for cello & piano (Excerpts)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Soprano Measha Brueggergosman Records CD 'Night and Dreams' on Deutsche Grammophon

[Night and Dreams; Measha Brueggergosman, soprano; Justus Zeyen, piano; Deutsche Grammophon 477 8101 (2010) (65:29)]

Sergio Mims is an African American classical music radio host on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago. We have published some of his interviews with musicians of African descent, including one for with the African Canadian soprano Measha Brueggergosman. Sergio says of her forthcoming CD Night and Dreams, “I already have it and it's GREAT!”

The album website features a 4-minute video excerpt from the performance:
Critical praise from Gramophone and The Toronto Globe and Mail is quoted at the site:

“The voice itself is fascinating, all shifting colours and contours, and she luxuriates in the sound here . . . this delicately attuned soprano and her ever-wakeful pianist drift wherever Morpheus calls most beguilingly. The lullabies, serenades, evocations of moonlight and invocations to sleep are sweetly voiced . . .
Record Review / John Steane, Gramophone (London) / 01 February 2010”

“Melodies from Mozart to Debussy unroll like bolts of velvet and silk, plush sound that transforms songs vastly different in style into variations on a theme called 'beauty.' Pianist Justus Zeyen's accompaniment lightly envelops the voice in a resonant haze that is richly pedalled, barely articulated. Brueggergosman, in turn, smoothes the songs' topographies, gentling the vocal inflections that quicken text, character and conflict, ensuring that Night and Dreams is the long and luscious lullaby its title promises.
Record Review / Elissa Poole, Globe and Mail / 08 February 2010

In Arizona Republic, James DePreist Says of Conducting Beethoven: 'I look for the old depth and breadth of expression'

[James De Preist, Fanfare Magazine, November-December 1995]

On March 1, 2010 announced a complete revision of its page on James DePreist, the world-famous African American Conductor who is Director of Conducting & Orchestral Studies at The Juilliard School in New York City. Maestro DePreist was born in Philadelphia in 1936 and is the nephew of the renowned contralto Marian Anderson. He is quoted today in an article about conducting the works of Beethoven:

The Arizona Republic
by Richard Nilsen
March 28, 2010
A hero's music
“You can hear the problem in many modern performances of Beethoven. The conductor no longer believes in the grand ideas and falls back instead on the music's obvious rhythm and drive. There's a great divide between the conductors who performed before World War II and those who came after.
'I look for the old depth and breadth of expression that was there and can be retrieved if we listen to the right master,' conductor James DePreist says. 'And most of the right masters are dead.'" [James DePreist is profiled at]

Saturday, March 27, 2010

MusicUNTOLD Chorale Sings 'I Dream a World' by Langston Hughes at Long Beach JUNETEENTH, June 15, 2010

[Chorale Director Zanaida Robles by Steven Georges/Staff Photographer, Long Beach Press-Telegram]

AfriClassical has received this news fom John Malveaux of MusicUNTOLD,
“The 25-member MusicUntold Chorale will open Long Beach JUNETEENTH WorldWide at the Long Beach Performing Arts Center with 'I Dream a World' by Langston Hughes, musical arrangement by Dr. Rosephanye Powell; and 'A Letter from Lincoln,' with music composed by Ulysses Kay to accompany the text of Abraham Lincoln's correspondence to a Confederate widow. The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, a federal agency in Washington DC, has endorsed the performance of 'A LETTER from LINCOLN' as an official performance of the Commission. John Malveaux"

The Commission tells John Malveaux of the performance: “And it has the distinction of being the last endorsement ever to go through to the Commission, as we are closing shop here in a couple weeks. Your endorsement will be listed on our website which lives on, and a letter of endorsement will arrive in the mail.” “Many thanks for your support of the Bicentennial celebration!” [Ulysses Simpson Kay (1917-1995) is profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works List by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma of Lawrence University Conservatory]

Pianist William Chapman Nyaho Performs at Festival on Hornby Island, British Columbia April 2

[Dr. William Chapman Nyaho]
“Hornby Festival Presents: William Chapman Nyaho
Friday, April 2nd, 2010
Door at 6:30pm, pre-show chat at 7pm Performance at 8pm
Classical pianist, William Chapman Nyaho, a Ghanaian American, is well known as a researcher and performer of classical music by composers of African descent. His solo CD 'Senku: Piano Music by Composers of African Descent,' is a groundbreaking compilation of music of the African Diaspora. Gramophone Magazine said, 'Nyaho’s gripping performances kept my ears glued to this disc. Let’s hope the pianist continues to explore - and record - more such commanding repertoire.' A recipient of many prizes from international piano competitions, Chapman Nyaho has performed in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and throughout North America, including Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center. He has been soloist with various orchestras and as chamber musician. Following four years as a North Carolina Visiting Artist, Chapman Nyaho taught at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and was the recipient of the Distinguished Professor Award and held the Heymann Endowed Professorship. He was also the recipient of the Acadiana Arts Council Distinguished Artist Award. [William Chapman Nyaho (b. 1958) is profiled at and has a personal website,]

Friday, March 26, 2010

'Woodbox Beats & Balladry' is CD of Haitian-American Violinist/Composer Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR)

[Woodbox Beats & Balladry; Daniel Bernard Roumain; Thirsty Ear Recordings (2010)]

Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR) 'Woodbox Beats & Balladry' Available March 30th on Thirsty Ear Recordings

“…about as omnivorous as a contemporary artist gets.” – New York Times

“He takes his classical roots, stands them on their ends, and injects hip-hop, electronics, scratching, hard rock and more personality than you could ever imagine.” - Iowa Gazette

Check out the making of Woodbox Beats & Balladry video trailer (5:04) –

As an example of how contemporary classical structure collides with experimental electronic dance music, DBR’s Sonata for Violin and Turntables is a musical exploration between classical, concert music in the violin and hip-hop, commercial music in the turntables. “It’s an attempt to honor not only the first and second Viennese schools of Europe, but to pay tribute to the Bronx and the waves of inventions that that music sent to us,” explains DBR. Since DBR and Vytal have been touring Sonata for Violin and Turntables, the project has received critical praise. The Boston Globe said, “Both performers brought a combination of unabashed earnestness and quicksilver musical wit.” The Washington Post raved, “The music was involving, tonal and eminently accessible, steeped in the wash-rinse-repeat cycle of minimalism but sexed up considerably with hip-hop rhythms, jazz riffs and imaginative collaboration.”

While continuing to tour worldwide, DBR currently serves as Visiting Associate Professor of Composition at his alma mater, Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music. He completed his Masters and Doctoral work at the University of Michigan under the tutelage of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer William Bolcom.

1976 Premiere Performance of Ulysses Kay's 'Western Paradise' on 'Disco Archiva' CD

[Ulysses Kay: Works for Chamber Orchestra; Metropolitan Philharmonic Orchestra; Kevin Scott, Conductor; Troy 961 (2007)]

Kevin Scott is conductor of the SUNY Orange Symphonic Band. He conducted the Metropolitan Philharmonic Orchestra in the recording of chamber music works of his mentor Ulysses Kay (1917-1995), Ulysses Kay: Works for Chamber Orchestra; Troy 961 (2007). Ulysses Kay is profiled at, which features a Works List compiled by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma. The entry on The Western Paradise reads:

The western paradise, W129, for male narrator & orchestra (1975). New York: Carl Fischer, 1977. 84p. Contains 5 movements. Text: Donald Door. Commission: National Symphony Orchestra for the Bicentennial. Première: 1976/X/12; Washington; William Conrad, narrator; National Symphony Orchestra; Antal Dorati, conductor. Duration: 16:00.”

Kevin Scott sends us this news:
“Dear Bill: I am informing you that there is a recording, albeit 'pirated' of Ulysses Kay's The Western Paradise, which is available through 'Disco Archiva' a label specializing in live archive performances. What is amazing about this is that there are TWO performances! The first is from the world premiere performance of 9 October 1976 in Washington, D.C., whereas the second performance is the New York premiere at Carnegie Hall. Both performances are by the National Symphony Orchestra under Antal Dorati, with William Conrad narrating. Also on the disc are Miklos Rozsa's Tripartita and Gunther Schuller's Second Concerto for Orchestra. On one of the discs is an included interview with all three composers! This is definitely worth listing! The website is

“And to keep you up to date, I am about to commence seeking financial backing for the second disc, which I am hoping will include Western Paradise. Yours, Kevin”

Thursday, March 25, 2010

'African Musicology: A Bibliographical Guide to Nigerian Art Music (1927–2009)'

[Godwin Sadoh]

Godwin Sadoh, D.M.A., is Professor of Music at Talladega College in Talladega, Alabama. He is author of six books, including Intercultural Dimensions in Ayo Bankole's Music (2007).

Project MUSE
Notes, Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association
Volume 66, Number 3, March 2010, pp. 485-502
Godwin Sadoh
African Musicology: A Bibliographical Guide to Nigerian Art Music (1927–2009)

“This article provides a brief introduction to the history of art music in Nigeria, a concise discussion of three generations of music composition in Nigeria as well as an extensive bibliography of Nigerian art music comprised of articles, books, and discographic materials. The article is primarily set to present a list of sources on Nigerian art music, showcasing the depth and breadth of scholarly activities on this music.”

“The bibliography encapsulates the focus of the extensive bibliographies which represent the scholarly contributions on modern Nigerian art music by various musicologists from Africa, Europe, and the United States. Most of the Nigerian authors are composers, ethnomusicologists, performers, and music educators, whose research is largely based on fieldwork, and their personal experiences in composing and performing this music.”

Guitarist in YouTube Video of 'Carnival of Venice' of Justin Holland, African American Composer

[Justin Holland]

Justin Holland (1819-1887) was an African American composer, guitarist and teacher who is believed to have been Cleveland's first African American professional. He is profiled at Classical Guitarist Dr. Jimmy Everett Moore has made a YouTube video of himself playing Carnival of Venice (7:02) on July 13, 2008. It is: “An excerpt of a Doctoral Lecture Recital on the History of the Guitar in America at Florida State University.”

Recent AfriClassical posts on Justin Holland have mentioned that Douglas Back has made a recording which includes five works of the composer, American Pioneers of the Classic Guitar, Mento Music Press SMM 3023 (1994). It can be ordered at his Web site, Scraps From The Operas has been recorded in MP3 format by Donald Sauter. His website is

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Double Bassist Rick Robinson Announces 'CutTime Simfonica Inaugural Concert May 8, 2010'

[Kim Kennedy, Rick Robinson, Geoff Applegate, Jim VanValkenburg, Robert deMaine,
Caroline Coade]

On Nov. 9, 2009 AfriClassical wrote: “African American Double Bassist Rick Robinson of Detroit Symphony Leads CutTime Players.” Rick brings us news of his latest venture:

“Great things ARE happening in Detroit's music community!
You may know me as the bass player the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) hired 20 years ago. You may also know that since 1995 I've led several DSO colleagues in the CutTime Players, covering classical hits in schools and abroad. Recently, I've turned my creative focus to composing!

“After the DSO premiered my 'accidental' ESSAY (After Sibelius) in 2006, I began to write for a new string ensemble called CutTime Simfonica. The group features two violins, two violas, cello and bass, plus an occasional woodwind solo. My latest work, City of Trees, was inspired by my childhood in Highland Park, where I began playing strings and dreaming of orchestras.”

“I really enjoy reaching out to people with expressive music and incredible DSO musicians, and my mission is to share this passion with audiences everywhere! You can support my efforts, CutTime Simfonica, and our first CD recording by attending our inaugural concert and fundraiser the evening of Saturday, May 8, 2010 at the Virgil H. Carr Cultural Arts Center. The Arts League has graciously invited me to become a resident composer at The Carr Center and is helping us raise the money to record and distribute our work.

“I am most fortunate to be joined by several principal DSO colleagues for both the recording and this concert! Geoff Applegate, Kim Kaloyanides Kennedy, Jim VanValkenburg, Caroline Coade and Robert deMaine are deeply imaginative musicians who know when to swing! We will feature Robert in the dreamy Gabriel's Oboe, and guest Michigan Opera Theater oboist Sally Pituch in my Bach tribute, the Gigue Rondo. With fun, new arrangements of Beethoven and Duke Ellington, this is sure to be an incredible night!
Sincerely, Rick Robinson
TICKETS ON SALE! Call 313.965.8430 [Duke Ellington (1899-1974) is profiled at]

Phyllis Fleming: 'I had the pleasure of playing string quartets at Aretha's Southfield home'

[Aretha Franklin]

Yesterday Reuters carried a Billboard story about the plans of Aretha Franklin, "The Queen of Soul", to sing arias in charity concerts in Southfield, Michigan this summer with Condoleezza Rice, the concert pianist and former Secretary of State. Today we were pleased to hear from an acquaintance, violinist Phyllis Fleming:

“I had the pleasure of playing string quartets at Aretha's Southfield home for a private birthday party back in the 80s. She truly loves classical music. I doubt that the MET will contract her for any upcoming productions. She has many favorite arias and sings them 'her way.'

“I also was called to play in a performance with her at the Washington National Cathedral. It was a fundraising benefit for the National Honor Society. I was shocked. I couldn't imagine what she would sing in that sacred place.” “I soon learned that she would sing exactly what the audience wanted to hear, 'Chain, Chain, Chain', 'Respect', 'Rock Steady' and more! Kathleen Battle was on the same program, but at the last minute, decided not to perform with Aretha's music director and a freelance (albeit union) orchestra. With only a 'same day' warm-up rehearsal, it was too unpredictable.

“Franklin-Rice would be an interesting 'duo.' Who knows? It might somehow contribute to peace in the Middle East!”

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Imani Winds Quintet: Rare Performance in New York City, National Arts Club, 8 PM April 15, 2010

[Imani Winds]

Rare Performance
15 Gramercy Park South, NYC
April 15, 2010 8pm
Champagne reception to follow!
Proceeds to benefit students in need who will be attending the IMANI WINDS CHAMBER MUSIC INSTITUTE held at The Juilliard School, July 31 – August 7, 2010.
This summer marks the inaugural year of the Imani Winds Chamber Music Institute, an 8-day intensive training program dedicated to excellence in chamber music performance.

Join us for an exclusive performance featuring music from our upcoming NEW ALBUM. Music by Wayne Shorter, Jason Moran, Paquito D'Rivera as well as Valerie Coleman and Jeff Scott. NOT TO BE MISSED!

Tickets: $30 minimum donation
Limited seating. Comp tickets available for those sponsoring students. For more information on student sponsorships email
Reserve seating at Muendo website or at the door.

Haitian-American Pianist Jonathan Cambry Gets 2.5 Million YouTube Views

[Jonathan Cambry]

AfriClassical first wrote about the young Chicago pianist Jonathan Cambry in April 2008. Recently we told him we would like to post current information on his activities: “Feel free to check out my website,, I have been playing a lot on the West coast, touring, giving benefit concerts for Haiti since I am Haitian-American as well (my dad is from Haiti).” “Thanks for writing to me and considering me for future postings! I'm very grateful that you did that in 2008 as well!”

Jonathan Cambry's YouTube videos include a “Benefit for Haiti” performance on Jan. 21, 2010 at Northwestern University Law School. He plays Etude-Tableau No. 5 (5:00) of Sergei Rachmaninoff.

“Jonathan Paul Cambry (b.1982) is a Haitian-American, classically trained pianist from the southside of Chicago. He has been playing piano since the age of 3, studying with David Andrews of the Suzuki-Orff School for 15 years. He is currently one of the most viewed and most subscribed pianists on YouTube to date, with over 2.5 million views and over 5,800 subscribers. He has posted over 37 music videos of himself playing the works of Scriabin, Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Liszt, Ravel and other composers. Thanks to his YouTube popularity, he was invited to perform in a gallery opening in New York, performances in Svendborg-Denmark, Amsterdam, Malaysia, Italy, and all over the United States. In 1997, Cambry won the Silver Medal at the NAACP ACT-SO Awards competition for the Music Instrumental-Classical category and in 1998 and 1999 won the Gold Medal in the categories of Music Instrumental-Classical and Music Instrumental-Contemporary.”

“Cambry continues to play in recitals, compose movie soundtracks, and perform in a variety of music projects. He is the featured performer and musical director for Sonatasia, founded by architect David M. Parker ( which is a project that originated in Laguna Beach, California that combines classical music and architecture. Through this opportunity, Cambry was able to collaborate with many other prominent musicians and dancers. Most recently in March of 2010, Cambry and Parker collaborated and raised over $3000 for Haiti. In Chicago, Cambry hosts the largest monthly-organized piano meetings in the city, located at”

Monday, March 22, 2010

Advertising Hall of Fame Inducts Classical Pianist Roy F. Eaton at Waldorf-Astoria March 25

[Roy F. Eaton]

We know Roy F. Eaton as a classical pianist, but for many years he was also an advertising executive responsible for music. Roy is about to be inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame:

American Advertising Federation
61st Annual
Celebrate those who have made advertising great.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
The Waldorf-Astoria, Grand Ballroom
Reception: 11:00 a.m. • Luncheon: 11:45 a.m.– 2:30 p.m.

“Roy F. Eaton, Former Vice President, Music Director, Benton & Bowles
Anyone over 30 will recognize music written or produced by Roy Eaton. 'You can trust your car to the man who wears the star.' All together now, 'We’re having Beefaroni. It’s made from macaroni.' Eaton’s Beefaroni served the brand for over 20 years. And, in September 2007, Advertising Age named that Texaco jingle from 1962 as the foundation for one of the twentieth century’s top 100 creative campaigns. Indeed, Eaton’s music has made an indelible mark on advertising.

“Eaton was not born to write ad jingles. His father and mother, a mechanic and a domestic worker from Jamaica gave birth to Eaton in 1930. Despite losing part of a finger on his right hand in an accident when he was three years old, Eaton took up classical piano when he was six. He first played Carnegie Hall in 1937. After New York’s High School of Music and Art, Eaton graduated from CCNY (magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa) and the Manhattan School of Music.”

“When Young & Rubicam hired Eaton as a copywriter and jingle composer in 1955, he became 'the first black at a major agency, with a creative function on general accounts,' according to Stephen Fox’s, Mirror Makers: A History of American Advertising and Its Creators. Eaton’s undeniable talent and drive cracked the color barrier at last.”

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Viola Workshop & Master Class: 'Ecstasy of Love for Viola and Piano' of H. Leslie Adams, April 2

[BOTTOM: H. Leslie Adams TOP: Quincy Porter: Complete Viola Works; Eliesha Nelson, viola; John McLaughlin Williams, violin, piano, harpsichord; Douglas Rioth, harp; Northwest Sinfonia, John McLaughlin Williams, conductor; Dorian Recordings DSL 90911 (73:47) (2009)]]

AfriClassical has received news from H. Leslie Adams of a viola workshop by Eliesha Nelson, the Cleveland Orchestra violist who received stellar reviews for her recent CD, Quincy Porter: Complete Viola Works:

“Hello Bill, This Workshop differs from a traditional Master Class in that the latter is normally a professionally critiqued prepared piece. This utilizes a piece many participants will be seeing for the first time. The central piece is 'Ecstasy of Love for Viola and Piano' by H. Leslie Adams. It's unique in that the work is not the usual transcription from a violin or other instrumental piece. It's created expressly for the viola by a living composer.

“The objective is to introduce this new work to viola players and teachers, so they can become better familiar with it for their performance or as teaching piece for their students. With a Cleveland Orchestra member leading the session, it promises to be a very fruitful experience, both for the participant and for the work itself. Composer Adams will be on hand as well, to discuss the piece, answer questions and sign scores. This is a way of 'getting the piece out there' for all to hear and enjoy.”

Viola Workshop and Master Class
"Ecstasy of Love for Viola and Piano" by H. Leslie Adams.
(Good) Friday, April 2, 2010.
Seifullah's Gallery, 14940 Euclid Avenue, E. Cleveland, OH 44112
2:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. followed by fellowship and refreshments
By invitation from Creative Arts, Inc. Please contact or Creative Arts, Inc. c/o 9409 Kempton Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44108

Purpose: To introduce a new work composed specifically for the viola by Dr. Adams, a contemporary composer and a Cleveland native.
Participants: Violists who are professional musicians; or who are members of college, community and student orchestras; or who are skilled and proficient and want to benefit from and enjoy the session.
Session strategy: Discussion and review with the composer.
Technique practice: Phrasing, fingering, bowing, etc.
Performance: Play the piece as a group.
Workshop instructor: Eliesha Nelson, Violist,
The Cleveland Orchestra.
Accompanist: Dianna White-Gould, Classical Pianist.
[H. Leslie Adams (b. 1932) is an African American composer, pianist and professor who is profiled at]

Saturday, March 20, 2010

'Nu Rho Sigma Eta Beta Mu Fine Arts Fraternity, Inc.: Negro Philharmonic Society of Historically Black Musicians'

[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)]

“Nu Rho Sigma Eta Beta Mu Fine Arts Fraternity, Inc.: Negro Philharmonic Society of Historically Black Musicians”
“Welcome to the Official Site of the ONLY Fine Arts Fraternity in the world. I bring you greetings on behalf of Nu Rho Sigma Eta Beta Mu Fine Arts Fraternity, Incorporated. We are a Fraternity made up of Men & Women to bring a common bond of the Arts to Cities and College Campuses.”

The 11 “Musicians of the Negro Philharmonic Society” are the same individuals listed as “Musicians of African Descent” by, except for the spelling of the surname of James DePreist. The 41 “Composers of the Negro Philharmonic Society” include two whose names have been deleted from the roster of “Composers of African Descent,” Juan Morel Campos of Puerto Rico and Solon Verret of Haiti. removed Juan Morel Campos from the website when his African heritage could no longer be substantiated. He was replaced by Irene Britton Smith (1907-1999), who taught Reading for more than 40 years in the Chicago Public Schools. So little documentation is available on Solon Verret that his former page has been incorporated into a new page on one of his students, Julio Racine of Haiti.

The correct year of publication of A Collection of New Cotillions by the Philadelphia musician and composer Francis B. “Frank” Johnson (1792-1844) is 1818. It is not our understanding that he was a founder of the Negro Philharmonic Society of New Orleans. Composers and Performers of Black Classical Music deserve much more recognition by fine arts organizations than they have received to date, and it is to be hoped that the Nu Rho Sigma Eta Beta Mu Fine Arts Fraternity, Inc. will help increase awareness of these artists among performers and audiences like.