Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ritz Chamber Players: "'Play Your Part' in our Community Engagement”

[Ritz Chamber Players Community Engagement]

The Ritz Chamber Players understand that over and above our role on the concert stage, it is our mission to bring the art of chamber music to listeners of all ages and backgrounds – regardless of their ability to pay. Through our community initiatives we offer daytime concerts to students at under-funded schools that support intellectual inquiry, cultural enhancement, and mentoring opportunities.

Help us reach our Annual Fund goal by making a gift today! Simply click on the DONATE button at and utilize our secure, online donation form. We accept all major credit cards.

Or send a check made out to:
Ritz Chamber Music Society, Inc.
Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts
300 Water Street, Suite 200
Jacksonville, FL 32202

Thank you very much for your support.
Terrance Patterson
Executive and Artistic Director
Ritz Chamber Players

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Violist Nokuthula Ngwenyama in Four Summer Chamber Music Festivals in 2010

[Nokuthula Ngwenyama]

Nokuthula Ngwenyama is a prominent African American violist and violinist who was born in the U.S. to a Japanese mother and a Zimbabwean father on June 16, 1976. She is profiled at, and her personal website is “Thula,” as she is nicknamed, switched from violin to viola at age 12. She maintains a heavy schedule of performances and has been Visiting Associate Professor (Viola), at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music since 2008. Her most recent recording, Rubinstein Sonatas, is one we have been playing frequently. It deserves to be widely heard, for both the program and the performance.

Nokuthula Ngwenyama is scheduled to participate in four Chamber Music Festivals in July and August 2010:
Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, July 18-23, 2010
Sierra Chamber Music Festival, July 24-31, 2010
Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, August 11-15, 2010
Salt Bay Chamberfest, August 20, 2010

Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival
Jolivet / Heggie / Brahms
Date: Sunday, July 18, 2010
Time: 6:00 PM
Location: St. Francis Auditorium, 107 West Palace Avenue, Santa Fe, NM

JOLIVET Chant de Linos
JAKE HEGGIE The Deepest Desire: Four Meditations on Love
BRAHMS Piano Quartet No. 3

Giuseppina Ciarla, Jennifer Frautschi, Susan Graham, Jake Heggie, Ralph Kirshbaum, Nokuthula Ngwenyama, Tara Helen O’Connor, Jon Kimura Parker, William Preucil

'In Sweden, there is very little spiritual music written in Dr. Dawson's style'

[The Spirituals of William L. Dawson; The St. Olaf Choir; Anton Armstrong, conductor; Marvis Martin, soprano; St. Olaf Records 2159 (1997)]

Today a native of Chicago left a comment in the Guest Book at about introducing the spirituals of William Levi Dawson to his church choir in Sweden. He also provided a link to his website about his experiences as an American musician in Sweden:

Sven-Erik Sieurin
Tuesday, 6/29/10, 6:03 AM What a wonderful site, I came in looking for information on Dr. William Levi Dawson and found what I wanted. I want to do some of his works for our church choir here, it will be a challenge! While what I would describe as modern, popular gospel is sung very often here in Sweden, there is very little spiritual music written in Dr. Dawson's style performed here. It will be fun to introduce his music to our choir. From: Chicago Web Site: Sven-Erik Sieurin
[William Levi Dawson (1899-1990) is profiled at, which features a complete Works List compiled by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma of Lawrence University Conservatory]

Monday, June 28, 2010

Late Hale Smith, Influential Composer of Classical Music & Jazz, Was Born June 29, 1925

[Hale Smith (1925-2009)]

In 2010, for the first time, the birthday of the African American composer and Professor Hale Smith is being observed posthumously. The New York Times put it well seven months ago when it titled his obituary of November 27, 2009: “Hale Smith, Who Broke Borders of Classical and Jazz, Is Dead at 84.”

“Hale Smith (1925-2009), a classical composer who also worked as a performer and arranger with jazz greats like Dizzy Gillespie and Chico Hamilton, died Tuesday at his home in Freeport, L.I. The noted composer and longtime friend of Smith, T.J. Anderson, reflects on the life of Hale Smith in New Music Box. Hale Smith was a member of the American Composers Alliance from 1958 to 1995. He served on its Board of Governors from 1966 to 1972.” T.J. Anderson began his memorial of November 30, 2009 with these words: “On November 24, 2009, America lost Hale Smith, one of its most important composers. His works musically intertwined the dialectic between African American identity and European traditions.”

On Jan. 6, 2010 AfriClassical interviewed Regina Harris Baiocchi about two separate but closely related topics, her career as a composer and her friendship with the late Hale Smith. The interview, "Composer Regina Baiocchi and the Late Hale Smith" was published in a series of five installments from January 11-29, 2010. Part 1 was posted January 11, 2010.

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture presented “An Evening of Music by Hale Smith” on May 17, 2010. Laura Rivera wrote in that day: “Smith's wife, Juanita, 82, selected music for the program and invited Smith's former students and colleagues to perform. Violinist Sanford Allen, 71, a friend and collaborator of Smith's since the 1950s and the first African-American member of the New York Philharmonic, said that while Smith was outspoken about his theories on music and life, 'he was a man who was open to other points of view.' Smith even acknowledged preferring Allen's approach to one of Smith's own compositions, 'Epicedial Variations.'”

The page on the late Hale Smith was made possible by research generously provided by Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma, Professor of Music at Lawrence University Conservatory in Appleton, Wisconsin. He also compiled the complete Works List featured at

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Haitian Musician & Composer Giscard Nazon Forwards YouTube Link To CD 'Belle Ayiti'

[Belle Ayiti - Mizik Savant Ayisyen (Beautiful Haiti – Haitian Classical Music); Tangente au Yanvalou; Sonate Vodou Jazz; Haitian Folk Songs; Zanmi Ansanm Mizik Ayisyen (Friends Together For Haitian Music) (75:29) (2007)]

The CD Belle Ayiti has been featured by AfriClassical and is discussed on the page of Haitian composer Julio Racine, whose works appear on the recording. Giscard Nazon is a musician and composer who was born in Haiti in 1980 and now lives in Florida. We have been in touch with him about Haitian Classical Music for several years. Today AfriClassical received this message from Giscard:

"I hope all is well on your end.
I wanted to let you know that there is a related YouTube video with samples from the album featured that you could link to. It's at
Kind regards, Giscard"
"ZAMA – Belle Ayiti
Mizik Savant Ayisyen - Haitian Classical Music.
CD produced by Zanmi Ansanm Mizik Ayisyen (Z.A.M.A.) - Friends Together for Haitian Music.
Features compositions by Werner Jaegerhuber, Julio Racine, Martha Jean-Claude and Frantz Casséus. Cover art by Ernst Toussaint. Store link:
'All proceeds from the sale of this recording and future recordings are used for ongoing scholarships that Z.A.M.A. is establishing at institutions of music and culture throughout Haiti.'"

Saturday, June 26, 2010

William Grant Still's 'Africa' by American Symphony Orchestra on MP3 July 14, 2010

[William Grant Still: Africa; American Symphony Orchestra; Leon Botstein, conductor; (27:11) MP3 Available July 14, 2010] has announced that an MP3 version of William Grant Still's Africa (27:11) will be available for download July 14, 2010. It is a live recording of a concert called Revisiting William Grant Still, performed at New York City's Lincoln Center by the American Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Leon Botstein, conductor, on March 22, 2009.

Gail Wein reviewed the concert for
“Written during Still’s self-proclaimed 'Negroid' period (1926-1934), Africa begins with a timpani solo that immediately brings to mind stereotypical sounds of that continent. A tone poem in three movements, ‘Land of Peace’, ‘Land of Romance’ and ‘Land of Superstition’, Still referred to the piece as 'the Africa of my imagination.' His expert use of tone colors was likely gleaned from his studies with Chadwick, a master of orchestration.”

“It’s apt that the American Symphony Orchestra, whose mission is to present rare and unknown works, would champion the music of this great American composer, William Grant Still. It was gratifying to hear his music in such excellent performances.” [William Grant Still (1895-1978) is profiled at, where a complete Works List by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma of Lawrence University Conservatory is found.]

Composer George Walker, 88 on June 27, Has Autobiography, Violin Concerto & 2 Chamber Music CDs

[ABOVE: George Walker: Chamber Music and Songs, Son Sonora String Quartet; Angelo Frascarelli, conductor; Naxos 8.559659 (2010) (73:43) BELOW: Great American Orchestral Music, Vol. 2; Gregory Walker, violin; Andrzej Krzyzanowski, solo flute; Sinfonia Varsovia; Ian Hobson, conductor; Troy 1178 (2010) (57:49)]

The African American composer and pianist George Walker was born in Washington, D.C. June 27, 1922. He is profiled at, and his personal website is

In 1996 George Walker became the first African American composer to win the Pulitzer Prize in Music. The winning work was Lilacs, for voice and orchestra. The year leading up to George Walker's 88th birthday has been filled with notable events. One of the most significant was the premiere of his Violin Concerto on December 10, 2009. The violinist was his son Gregory Walker, Professor of Music at the University of Colorado Denver. He was accompanied by the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Neemi Järvi.

The year 2010 has witnessed the release of a CD recorded in Warsaw on October 30, 2009, Great American Orchestral Music, Vol. 2, with Gregory Walker on violin and Andrzej Krzyzanowski on solo flute. Ian Hobson conducted the Sinfonia Varsovia. The CD is an Albany Records release, Troy 1178.

On December 1, 2009 AfriClassical posted: “'George Walker: Chamber Music' on Naxos, streaming and download; Notes by composer.” Naxos provides the notes of the composer at a link titled About the Recording. The recording is presently available by streaming and download only. However, Naxos has announced the release of a CD version in July 2010.

An autobiography of George Walker has also appeared in the past year. It is a 230-page hardcover released by Scarecrow Press in 2009: George Walker: Reminiscences of an American Composer and Pianist.

Friday, June 25, 2010

James DePreist & Imre Palló Lead Sydney Conservatorium & Juilliard Orchestra Oct. 18, 2010

[James De Preist conducts Oregon Symphony]

June 21, 2010
“The Juilliard Orchestra announces its 2010-2011 season featuring esteemed guest conductors John Adams, David Effron, Alan Gilbert, Jeffrey Kahane, Nicholas McGegan, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Imre Palló, Keri-Lynn Wilson, and Xian Zhang, and Juilliard conductors James DePreist (director of conducting and orchestral studies) and Jeffrey Milarsky (music director of AXIOM). Maestros Kahane, Nézet-Séguin and Palló will be leading the Juilliard Orchestra for the first time. Also this season, Juilliard collaborates with the Sydney Conservatorium of Music from Australia in a special joint program on October 18, led by conductors James DePreist and Imre Palló.”

“On Monday, October 18 at 8 PM in Alice Tully Hall, Juilliard collaborates for the first time with the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Orchestra (SCMO) from Australia during their debut visit to the U.S. James DePreist and Imre Palló will lead a work of their choosing with the orchestra of the other conservatory, as well as a joint orchestra made up of students from each conservatory. The program features Schuman's American Festival Overture (performed jointly with Palló conducting); Dello Joio's Meditations on Ecclesiastes (SCMO with DePreist conducting); Richard Mills' Sequenzas (Juilliard with Palló conducting); and Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (performed jointly with DePreist conducting).”

On March 1, 2010 announced a complete revision of its page on James DePreist (b. 1936), the world-famous African American conductor.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dominique-René de Lerma: Wendell Logan '...was a far more significant composer than most of us realize.'

[Wendell Logan (Photo in The New York Times, Courtesy of Oberlin College]

We received word of the passing of Wendell Logan from Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma, Professor of Music at Lawrence University Conservatory in Appleton, Wisconsin as well as principal advisor to and its companion blog AfriClassical:

“You will very soon be receiving news, probably from many sources, that Oberlin professor Wendell Logan has died. I had the challenge of finishing a semester with a weekend’s notice of Wendell’s Black music class a few years ago when he had emergency surgery. That gave me the opportunity to see not only the deep respect his highly motivated students had for him, but a very real and deep devotion for him as a man. I am to prepare a revision of my article on him for the second edition of The new Grove dictionary of American music but I have to hold off on this for a bit and let the news sink in. Yes, he headed the jazz program at Oberlin, but he was a far more significant composer than most of us realize.”

Comment by email:
Dominique De Lerma's summation of Wendell Logan is hauntingly true: Wendell was grossly underrated as a man and as a musician. His Spirit has enriched us far beyond measure... Regina Harris Baiocchi

New York Times: 'Wendell Logan, Composer of Jazz and Concert Music, Dies at 69'

[Wendell Logan (Photo in The New York Times, Courtesy of Oberlin College]

By Margalit Fox
Published: June 22, 2010
“Wendell Logan, a composer of jazz and concert music who more than two decades ago founded the jazz department at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, long a bastion of high-level classical training, died on June 15 in Cleveland. He was 69 and lived in Oberlin, Ohio. Professor Logan died after a short illness, Marci Janas, a conservatory spokeswoman, said. At his death he was chairman of the jazz studies department and professor of African-American music at the conservatory, which is part of Oberlin College.

“Though Oberlin had been turning out world-caliber classical soloists, conductors and orchestral performers for generations, jazz there had long been an extracurricular subject at best. Professor Logan, who played soprano saxophone and trumpet, joined the faculty in 1973 and began offering jazz classes soon afterward. But it was not until 1989 that he was able to make jazz studies a full-fledged major, in which students can earn a bachelor of music.

“Besides composing many jazz works, Professor Logan wrote concert music, a discipline that black composers have historically been discouraged from pursuing. His compositional style integrated elements of Modernism, European classicism and African-American musical traditions like jazz, blues and gospel into a seamless whole. Among his best-known concert works are 'Doxology Opera: The Doxy Canticles' (2001), a gritty sung drama of race and morality with a libretto by Paul Carter Harrison, and 'Runagate, Runagate' (1989), a setting of Robert E. Hayden's poem about a fugitive slave.

“Wendell Morris Logan was born on Nov. 24, 1940, in Thomson, Ga. His first musical studies were with his father, an amateur alto saxophonist. He attended Florida A&M University, a historically black institution, on a football scholarship, graduating in 1962 with a bachelor’s degree in music. He earned a master’s in music from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, in 1964 and a Ph.D. in music theory and composition from the University of Iowa in 1968.”

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mickey Thomas Terry Reviews Godwin Sadoh's Books on Organ Music of Fela Sowande & Ayo Bankole

[Fela Sowande]

Mickey Thomas Terry, Ph.D., is Editor, The African-American Organ Music Anthology:

This is a review of two books on two modern Nigerian composers written by Godwin Sadoh. The books are, The Organ Works of Fela Sowande and Cultural Perspectives and Intercultural Dimensions in Ayo Bankole's Music.

“The Organ Works of Fela Sowande: Cultural Perspectives [New York: iUniverse Publishing, 2007]
The advent of new scholarly publications is always a joy to discover; however, this first of Godwin Sadoh's two books featuring Nigerian/African organ composers is exceptionally fine. The organist and composer Fela Sowande (1905-1987) is the subject of this study.

“Sowande's life was marked by the type of distinction that manifests itself only when accompanied by extraordinary achievement. He was the first African to be appointed as a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists and was the first African to receive the British FRCO diploma (the highest award for organ-playing). In addition to this honor, Sowande was the recipient of the Harding Prize for organ-playing, the Limpus Prize for Theory, and the Read Prize for the highest aggregate marks in the fellowship examinations. Sowande received many honors during his lifetime. One of the most notable was conferred in 1956, when Queen Elizabeth II made Sowande a Member of the British Empire for distinguished service in the cause of music.

“Sadoh's book focuses primarily on Sowande''s work as an organ composer and the pervasive elements of culture (African, African-American, and European) contained in his works. The author begins by providing an historical background for the milieu in which Nigerian musicians, such as Sowande, developed. In order to do this, he discusses the political, social, and economic factors that were responsible for introducing western classical music to Nigeria. The significant role of the mission schools and colonial institutions in the musical development of Nigerian musicians is clearly highlighted, for these two sources played a major role in the formal education of Nigerians. It was the culmination of these forces that produced Sowande and other Nigerian musicians of the era. In Sowande, a world view was forged that would accompany him during his lifelong musical pursuits.”

“In speaking of Bankole, one can hardly refrain from citing similarities between the composer and his teacher, Fela Sowande; however, unlike Sowande, Ayo Bankole lived a rather short existence. His life came to a sudden and tragic end in 1976. Although he did not produce many works, Bankole was a man of considerable talent and promise. Had he survived, there is no telling what creations he may have given the world.

“Bankole's musical training was of African, English, and American origin. He was primarily an organist and pianist; consequently, it should come as no surprise that much of his compositional output centered on these instruments. His extraordinary skill as an organist is exemplified by his youthful selection as Assistant Organist of the Cathedral Church of Christ in Lagos, Nigeria. This tenure was soon followed by his appointment as Organ Scholar of Clare College at the University of Cambridge in London (1961-1964).” [Fela Sowande is profiled at]

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Trumpeter Wilmer Wise: 'I start chemotherapy on Monday...I will survive!'

[African American Trumpeter Wilmer Wise; Photo from website of The Jazz Museum in Harlem]

The African American trumpeter Wilmer Wise sends us an email with a video link:
“I start chemotherapy on Monday. My treatment is less expensive that the one spoken about on the video, and I am assured that it is quite effective. I am in great shape for a guy my age.............I will survive! I am getting my stuff together for the 2011 ITG [International Trumpet Guild] event. Nothing will stop me from being there :-)”

“Subject: The video ............. I will survive! This was shown all over the country- Video: Cancer Costs Video

South African Composer & Choral Director J. S. Mzilikazi Khumalo Born June 20, 1932

[J. S. Mzilikazi Khumalo (b. 1932)]

The South African Composer, Arranger & Choral Director J. S. Mzilikazi Khumalo is also a Professor Emeritus of African Languages. He was born June 20, 1932 and is profiled at In November 2009 AfriClassical linked to an interview with him. At the request of the South African Society of Music, we added this note:

“This interview was published in the academic journal SAMUS: South African Music Studies, Volume 28 (2008), pages 155-168. Copyright over this material is held by the South African Society for Research in Music, and it may not be reproduced without permission. The Society has granted SAMRO permission to put it on their website as a static document, with the proviso that the interview's origins in the journal SAMUS are acknowledged.
Sincerely, Zelda Potgieter, Chairperson: SASRIM"

Here is an excerpt from the interview:
Ndwamato George Mugovhani
Mzilikazi James Khumalo, Emeritus Professor in African Languages at the University of the Witwatersrand, folksong arranger, choral composer, and choir director, was born on the Salvation Army farm KwaNgwelu, in the Vryheid District of Natal, in 1932. He was the third son of Senior Major A.M. Khumalo, a priest in the Salvation Army and Mrs Ntombizodwa Johanna Khumalo. Throughout his scholastic career he sang in school choirs and thereby learned to read tonic solfa notation. He also learned staff notation through playing the euphonium in the Salvation Army band. Professor Khumalo qualified as a teacher in 1954, and thereafter studied music part-time under the organist Charles Norburn. Besides literary publications, he is a prolific composer whose works include a cantata, and an opera in the African idiom. He retired from Wits in 1998 and is Deputy Chair of the Board of Directors at SAMRO. This interview took place at SAMRO House, Johannesburg.”

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Janise White's Rendition of 'The Glory Hallelujah Piano Concerto' of Howlett Smith is Well Received

[Howlett Smith, composer]

On June 10, 2010 AfriClassical posted: “Afro-American Chamber Music Society Orchestra in 'The Glory Hallelujah Piano Concerto' of Howlett Smith, 2 PM June 11.” The post quoted Janise White's description of the work:

“On Friday, June 11, 2010 at 2 pm the Afro-American Chamber Music Society Orchestra will premiere 'The Glory Hallelujah Piano Concerto' containing 16 variations in every musical genre from classical to avant garde jazz, including a Gospel section. The thirty-two minute work is based on the popular Civil War hymn 'Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory of the Coming of the Lord,' however it is named for its 'Glory Hallelujah Chorus' which was sung in both Confederate and Union Armies to lift their spirits. This is a wonderful work exhibiting influences of Gershwin, Beethoven, Chopin, McCoy Tyner and Grieg. I am honored to premiere this work for Smitty. This will be a WORLD PREMIERE and probably Smitty's first piano concerto and the first piano concerto of this magnitude.”

AfriClassical has received this critique of the concert from Sam Dress of Friday Entertainment:
“Glory Halleluia Variations, performed by pianist Janise White and conducted by Brian Onderdonk was very warmly received when played at the United Methodist Church on Wilshire Blvd. The large audience gave great approval and support to Howlett Smith who, for years, has been known as a jazz pianist, lyricist, composer of pop tunes, vocal coach and arranger.”

Sphinx Musicians Return to Carnegie Hall Stage October 2010 Under Maestro Damon Gupton

[Sphinx Chamber Orchestra and Conductor Damon Gupton. Photo: Nan Melville]

Delroy Lindo and Supporters Launch Campaign for Sphinx Organization
"Seeing classical musicians of color onstage resonates with audience members from all walks of life, but especially with young people, who realize that there is a way to achieve their dreams," states Delroy Lindo. “Our goal is to increase the support for these young musicians, who are truly changing the face of classical music.”

“The concert directly promotes Sphinx’s mission to build diversity in classical music on stage, in the audience, and through the performance of works by composers of color. The October 2010 performance marks the sixth appearance of the Sphinx Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. The ensemble is comprised of top alumni and Laureates of the annual Sphinx Competition for young Black and Latino string players. The Orchestra will perform under the direction of prominent Conductor and Actor, Damon Gupton. [The Founder/President of The Sphinx Organization is violinist Aaron P. Dworkin (b. 1970), who is profiled at]

Friday, June 18, 2010

Alabama S. O. Wins ASCAP award for programming; M. L. King Work of Adolphus Hailstork Debuts in 2010-2011 Season

[Prof. Adolphus Hailstork]

Published: Friday, June 18, 2010
Michael Huebner – The Birmingham News
“ASO and Music Director Justin Brown will be recognized today in Atlanta at the League of American Orchestras' 65th Annual Conference. The Birmingham-based orchestra joins the New York Philharmonic (Group 1) and Albany Symphony (Groups 3-4), among others, in receiving the first-place awards. Second and third place awards in the Group 2 division went to the Pacific Symphony and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.”

“During 2009-10, ASO commissioned new music from its first composer-in-residence, Paul Lansky, showcased the music of George Crumb and strengthened its cutting-edge Symphony 7 series. Plans for 2010-11 include premieres of commissioned works by Adolphus Hailstork and its next composer-in-residence, Avner Dorman.”

The Scene Blog of The Birmingham News announced the commission in December 2008:
Posted by Michael Huebner December 17, 2008 6:00 AM
New symphonic music by a prominent composer will honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a joint project by three Birmingham cultural organizations.

“Adolphus Hailstork plans to visit Birmingham in January to discuss the musical and narrative possibilities for the music he will compose that will honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Adolphus Hailstork, whose music has been performed by the Chicago and Baltimore Symphonies and New York Philharmonic, will compose music for the Alabama Symphony Orchestra's 'Reflect and Rejoice' concert, a musical tribute to King sponsored each January by ASO, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the Alys Stephens Center. The premiere will take place at the 2011 event. The three organizations are co-sponsoring the commission, which they hope will become an annual project.

"'We're hoping to get sponsors and donors excited about the concept so we have an annual source of funding to create a new work,' said Curt Long, ASO's executive director. 'There's a story to tell about what happened in Birmingham during the civil rights era, and symphonic music can do a very good job of telling it.'" [Adolphus Hailstork (b. 1941) is profiled at, where the composer describes his career in his own words.]

Sponsors Needed for Imani Winds Chamber Music Institute July 31 – Aug. 7, 2010

[Imani Winds Chamber Music Institute]

Enrollment is closed for the 2010 Imani Winds Chamber Music Institute, but sponsors are still needed:

Support the education of the next generation of classical music. Sponsor a student and fulfill a dream.

“Make a donation to the Scholarship Fund for students in need attending the Imani Winds Chamber Music Institute. YOUR PATRONAGE IS NEEDED!!

“Come and see the students perform Saturday, August 7th, 8pm at the Rose Studio, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Free and open to the public.

Comment by email:
Thank you Bill! Your support is so important, we appreciate it always. Mariam Adam, Clarinetist, Imani Winds, Transatlantic Ensemble

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Works of George Walker & Thomas Kerr in Mickey Thomas Terry Organ Recital in NYC 8 PM, July 27

[Dr. Mickey Thomas Terry]

Mickey Thomas Terry, Ph.D., sends us this announcement:

“I receive AfriClassical releases daily and read them with great interest. Frequently, I see announcements for recitals and concerts by artists and performing groups. I am a concert organist, who is also the leading published authority on African-American classical organ composers. I am the Editor of the critically-acclaimed 'The African-American Organ Music Anthology' (MorningStar Music Publishers, Fenton, MO). The purpose of my correspondence today is to request the posting of an upcoming organ recital that I am giving. The recital is part of the Tuesday-Evening series at the Riverside Church in New York. The recital will take place on Tuesday, July 27th at 8pm. Performed will be works by Bach, Tournemire, Dupre, Sowerby, Horatio Parker, as well as African-American composers George Walker and Thomas Kerr.

"For your information, I am attaching a list of notices from previous recital performances as well as a biographical sketch. Would it be possible to list the Riverside recital? Thank you for your time and consideration.

Mickey Thomas Terry, Ph.D."

“MICKEY THOMAS TERRY holds degrees from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, and a Ph.D. from Georgetown University in Washington, DC. Dr. Terry’s principal organ teachers have been Clarence Watters, Charles Callahan, and Ronald Stolk (Improvisation). He was the Second Prize winner of the 9th Annual Clarence Mader National Organ Competition (Los Angeles/Pasadena), and a finalist in both the Michigan International Organ Competition (University of Michigan Music School-Ann Arbor), and the Flint Competition (Flint, Michigan).

Dr. Terry is a critically-acclaimed concert organist who has concertized throughout the United States and the Caribbean, and has been broadcast several times on Public Radio International’s Pipedreams.” “Dr. Terry appears on the Albany Records label compact disc George Walker-A Portrait, playing the organ works of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer George Walker and on the Minnesota Public Radio compact disc Pipedreams Premieres, Volume 2, playing an organ work of African-American composer Thomas H. Kerr. Terry is currently the Director of Music and Organist of St. Mary’s Church at Piscataway (Clinton, Maryland).”

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Maestro John McLaughlin Williams Has Grammy & 11 CDs; Makes Detroit S. O. Debut June 20

[John McLaughlin Williams with 2007 Grammy Award]

John McLaughlin Williams received the 1999 Geraldine Ford Award for American Conductors. In 2007 Maestro Williams won a Grammy Award for "Best Instrumental Solo with Orchestra," becoming the first African American conductor to win a Grammy, according to his biography at He was nominated for a 2009 Grammy Award as well.

Two interviews in 2009 allowed us to explore his performances and recordings on violin, piano and harpsichord, as well as his role as conductor. The interviews resulted in two posts, “Maestro John McLaughlin Williams: 4 Roles on Dorian CD 'Quincy Porter: Complete Viola Works'” on Sept. 22, 2009; and “John McLaughlin Williams Conducts Deon Nielsen Price's 'Dancing on the Brink of the World'” on Oct. 1, 2009. From those interviews we learned “JMW,” as his friends call him, was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, but was primarily raised in Washington, D.C. Both of his parents were pianists. He studied Violin in the public schools of Washington, D.C. At both Boston University and the New England Conservatory, he studied Violin Performance.

Williams eventually decided to switch to Conducting, which he studied as a graduate student at the Cleveland Institute of Music. During each of his three years at CIM, JMW programmed and conducted the annual “Black Heritage Concert.” In the interview posted Sept. 22, 2009, AfriClassical asked how many recordings he had made, either as a performer, a conductor or both. JMW replied: "Including the Quincy Porter that's coming out in a week or so, there are 11 out all together."

Not only is 11 a large number of recordings, but many of JMW's CDs have been released or distributed by Naxos, which gives them global distribution. Several are also in the Naxos American Classics Series, which is rapidly expanding the recorded repertoire of American music. AfriClassical interviewed John McLaughlin Williams by phone on June 15, 2010 on the subject of the “DSO River Days Festival.” Maestro Williams lives in Ann Arbor. He will conduct the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in a free concert at 7:00 PM, Sunday, June 20, 2010:

This concert of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra is part of a larger Festival, isn't it?
Yes, the River Days Festival has been going on for a while, and this is the fourth time that the Orchestra has participated in it. It's really quite a good thing and is becoming quite an inclusive thing now that the DSO is taking part in it. The Festival has popular acts and all sorts of other cultural things going on during that week.
I understand there is another show on that very day!
Oh, I didn't know that, but I'm not surprised.
Is this the first time that you've conducted one of these River Days Festivals?
Yes, this is the first time I've conducted River Days and the first time that I have appeared with the Detroit Symphony!
It is!
Yes, the very first time! It's quite a remarkable day for me, I would say. I am very much looking forward to it!
Is this a selection by Leonard Slatkin?
Yes, Leonard is familiar with my work, and familiar with some of my recordings too. This, I would say, is a way of introducing me to the Orchestra.
Well, I am very happy to hear that this is taking place! I understand this is a 7:00 PM concert, and it's a free one?
That's correct, it's always free.
Would you like to tell us what works you have programmed?
I put together a program that I hope will demonstrate something of the great mosaic that is the greater metropolitan Detroit area, all of the various peoples involved that live here in our wonderful environs! So there's some Americana, there's music of more ethnic origin. The program actually begins with the Shostakovich Festive Overture. That's a great way to get a program off to a start with a big bang! And I'm doing one of the great pieces of Americana from the Forties actually, the Morton Gould American Symphonette No. 2, which has a famous pavane movement that everyone seemed to play as a solo for piano for many, many years. I remember my Mom playing it on the piano when I was a little kid. It was one of the first pieces I tried to play too, when I tried to play piano. The piece has a real jazzy feel to it, but it also incorporates stylistic elements of Bach and Ravel.
It's a very interesting amalgam, put together with great wit and cleverness by one of our great American masters.
About how long does it run?
It is 3 movements in 9 minutes. Then I am doing some music of George Frederick McKay. I know that you are familiar with his name through recordings I have done for Naxos of some of his music.
Yes, the American Classics Series.
Right. We're doing excerpts from the suite From a Moonlit Ceremony, which was recorded on one of the CDs. This music is based upon religious folksongs of the Muckleshoot Tribe, which is based in the Pacific Northwest, where also the composer is based. The tunes are very interesting because this particular tribe, over the years has become Christianized. They have elements of Christianity and their original Native American religion commingling in a very mystical ceremony which happens at dusk and at moonlight, and the composer spent time out there with the tribe, and he notated the tunes that they used in the ceremony and he set them faithfully without changing them, into this incredibly gorgeous and ideomatic orchestral fabric. And he gave the suite its title, From a Moonlit Ceremony.
About how long is that piece?
We're doing 2 movements of the 4. I think that's going to come in at around 8 1/2 minutes. Next we are going to be doing something very close to home, which is a Duke Ellington Medley. Then we're going to be doing one of my favorite little pieces for orchestra, Arthur Benjamin's Jamaican Rhumba. This is a piece that was famous in its day; it was inspired by a trip that the composer took to Jamaica. He heard this particular tune being sung on the streets. He turned it into an orchestra piece. It got to be so famous, the Government of Jamaica thought it was a wonderful representation of their country and did their country good stead in the eyes of the world. As a reward for his composing of it, they awarded him a barrel of rum every year for the rest of his life!
Good compensation!
Yes! Then we're going to take a little side trip to the Middle East, and we're doing the bachanal from Saint-Saëns' opera, Samson and Delilah, which is of course an extremely exotic representation of moral degradation, 19th century French style of course! From there we are taking a trip up to Spain, where we will be doing the last movement from Manuel de Falla's ballet, The Three Cornered Hat. This is the dance called the Jota. Lastly, something everybody knows, everybody's always looking forward to, and that's the John Williams, the other John Williams, ET: Adventures on Earth.
So that's the finale?
That's the finale. It should send everyone home with a smile!
Do you have any particular soloist that you have selected?
No soloists on this concert, outside of the soloists within the orchestra.
Do you have an intermission?
There is not going to be an intermission.
What comments would you like to make, if any?
Well, this is a concert really that can be enjoyed by anyone, whether they are highly familiar with classical music or not familiar at all. There is something here that is going to make everybody smile!
Though it's accessible.
It's extremely accessible! Once again, I tried to put some different and unusual things on there, to make it even more interesting. That is why I came up with the Benjamin, the Gould and the McKay.
That should introduce some listeners to works they may not have even heard!
Exactly! We try to reach out and pique interest in anyway possible!
All of those would be available on recordings if anyone wanted to experiment with them!
That's right! Everything here is available on recording.
I think that's a real asset for a program to be available.
Yes, it absolutely is!
Are their other items that you'd like to point out?
I just wanted to encourage anyone local who feels like having a great time downtown, to comeon out and check it out! Because this is really one of the world's greatest orchestras! The DSO is really, really something else! It's an honor to be able to appear with them.
I know their history is illustrious, and I am happy to hear that their present performance rates that from you too!
It certainly does, and not just me. They are celebrated all over! In fact their recent recording of the Rachmaninoff Second Symphony has been getting rave reviews, and rightly so!
Well, I want to thank you very much, John!
Thank you, as always! I really appreciate everything you do at AfriClassical! That is an absolutely invaluable site! No one would know what to do without it; it's great!
I appreciate that!
Thanks a lot!