Sunday, October 31, 2010

'Street Scene: music by Kurt Weill; lyrics by Langston Hughes; book by Elmer Rice' Oakland East Bay Symphony, 5/13/11

[photo: (c) Eileen Darby Images, Inc. - Kurt Weill, Elmer Rice and Langston Hughes on the set of Street Scene.]

On Oct. 30 we wrote that Michael Morgan, Music Director and Conductor of the Oakland East Bay Symphony, has programmed Street Scene, described as “An American Opera.” Today we present the program for the concert. The program page of the American Masterworks Series features a link to an Audio Podcast of Maestro Morgan about the concert:
May 13, 2011
Friday, 8:00pm,
Paramount Theatre, Oakland
Michael Morgan, Conductor
Pre-concert talk by John Kendall Bailey at 7:00pm

Music by Kurt Weill; lyrics by Langston Hughes;
book by Elmer Rice

Soloists tba
Oakland Symphony Chorus
(Lynne Morrow, Music Director)
and members of
Piedmont East Bay Children's Choir
(Robert Geary, Artistic Director)

“For our fourth production in the American Masterworks Series, we’ll present a concert version of Street Scene, Kurt Weill’s extraordinary musical theater piece which received the first Tony Award for Best Original Score.

“Best-known for his collaboration with Bertolt Brecht on The Threepenny Opera, Weill is one of the most innovative and influential theater composers of the twentieth century. In Street Scene, he mixes show tunes, jazz, arias, folk songs and spirituals to portray the passions and frustrations of a multi-ethnic New York City tenement block during two brutally hot days in the Depression era. With lyrics by the great Harlem Renaissance poet, novelist and playwright Langston Hughes, and based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Elmer Rice, Street Scene is an important, vital work that builds to an explosive conclusion.

Kazem Abdullah, Winner of 2010 Solti Foundation Award, Conducts Napa Valley Symphony Nov. 14

[Kazem Abdullah]

Maestro Kazem Abdullah entered the world of music as a clarinetist, only to change to conducting. In January 2009 he made his debut with the Metropolitan Opera. Last season Kazem Abdullah conducted a Latin American powerhouse, the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, in its third coast-to-coast tour of the U.S.

3:00 p.m.
November 14, 2010
Lincoln Theater Napa Valley, Yountville
Kazem Abdullah, Conductor
Marnie Breckenridge, Soprano

Copland - Music for the Theater
BarberKnoxville Summer of 1915
MahlerSymphony No. 4

Columbia Artists Management Inc.
June 4, 2010
“The Solti Foundation U.S., established in 2000 by Lady Valerie Solti, widow of the late legendary conductor Sir George Solti, and their two daughters, Gabrielle and Claudia, honors the memory of the internationally celebrated conductor and his dedication to helping young artists. The Foundation seeks to encourage and lend significant support to talented young American conductors, providing critical assistance to them at the start of their professional careers. In continuing to fulfill its mission, The Solti Foundation U.S. is pleased to announce that it has awarded its 2010 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award to Kazem Abdullah.

Sphinx Founder and President on Detroit Public Television's American Black Journal, Video On Demand

[Aaron Dworkin, left, and Stephen Henderson, right, on American Black Journal]

Aaron Dworkin (b. 1970) is profiled at He is Stephen Henderson's second guest on the program, which airs today, Oct. 31, 2010:

Detroit Public Television Video on Demand
Sphinx Organization:
“Aaron Dworkin, Founder and President of the Sphinx Organization, speaks with Stephen Henderson on the value of orchestras and music education on America's longest running Public Affairs Show.”

'Valses to Voodoo: Piano Music of Haitian Composer Ludovic Lamothe' is CD of Joshua Russell

[ABOVE: Ludovic Lamothe; Fleurs d`Haiti, 10 Selections de Piano par Ludovic Lamothe Compositeur; Disques Victor. BELOW: Valses to Voodoo: Piano Music of Haitian Composer Ludovic Lamothe; Joshua Russell, piano (2010)]

The Haitian pianist Ludovic Lamothe (1882-1953) is profiled at Until now, the only CD devoted entirely to the piano works of Ludovic Lamothe has been: A Vision of Ludovic Lamothe, a 2001 CD from IFA Music Records which features pianist Charles P. Phillips. Joshua Russell, DMA, is an instructor in piano at Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois. Prof. Russell has made a specialty of performing Haitian Music after teaching at a Summer Music Camp in Haiti. His CD can be ordered for $15 plus shipping at his website,

Peoria JournalStar
Oct 31, 2010
“Pianist Dr. Joshua Russell will present a program of Haitian piano music for Friends of the Children of Haiti on Nov. 10 at Dingeldine Music Center, Bradley University.” “The concert will include all of the music from Dr. Russell's latest recording, Valses to Voodoo. The recording features the piano music of Haiti's best-known composer, Ludovic Lamothe, who is also known as the 'Black Chopin.'

"Lamothe's music is a fusion of Latin-American dances, imitation of Voodoo drumming and ceremonial music, and European classical styles. Joshua Russell has taught at the Holy Trinity Music School in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and has performed concerts of Haitian piano music across the United States.” “Additional information about Russell and the music is available at”

The website features two televised interviews with the pianist on the new CD and the allocation of half of the proceeds to reconstruction of Holy Trinity Music School, which was destroyed on January 12, 2010

Comment by email:
Hello Bill, Thank you so much for posting the information about the CD on Africlassical, and thank you for the CD purchase. I put the CD in the mail this evening, so it should be to you by the end of the week. Please let me know if you do not receive it. I truly appreciate the posts about this project, and other concerts/projects, that I have been doing with Lamothe's music the last year or two. It has been a great privilege to be able to use this music to help out the school in Haiti. It is such wonderful music and deserves to be heard! Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to help. Thank you! Joshua Russell

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Michael Morgan Programs Regina Carter in Billy Childs' Violin Concerto, 'Street Scene' of Langston Hughes & Kurt Weill

[Michael Morgan]

Maestro Michael Morgan has been Music Director and Conductor of the Oakland East Bay Symphony for 10 years. The 2010-2011 Season begins in November, and includes these highlights along with an eclectic array of other works:
Message From The Maestro (Excerpts)
“World-renowned jazz violinist Regina Carter joins us in February to perform a new violin concerto written for her by the great jazz composer and pianist Billy Childs. We're presenting this in cooperation with San Francisco Performances, an outstanding local organization we're pleased to be working with for the first time.” “We'll conclude our season with the fourth presentation in our American Masterworks Series, Street Scene by Kurt Weill and Langston Hughes.”

“Michael Morgan was born in Washington, DC, where he attended public schools and began conducting at the age of 12. While a student at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, he spent a summer at the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood, studying with Gunther Schuller and Seiji Ozawa. It was during this summer that he first worked with Leonard Bernstein. His operatic debut was in 1982 at the Vienna State Opera conducting Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio. In 1986, Sir Georg Solti chose him to become the Assistant Conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a position he held for five years under both Solti and Daniel Barenboim. In 1986 he was invited by Leonard Bernstein to make his debut with the New York Philharmonic. As a guest conductor he has appeared with most of America's major orchestras as well as the New York City Opera, St. Louis Opera Theater and Washington National Opera.

“In addition to his duties with Oakland East Bay Symphony, Maestro Morgan serves as Artistic Director of Oakland Youth Orchestra, Music Director of Sacramento Philharmonic, Artistic Director of Festival Opera in Walnut Creek, Artistic Advisor to the Peoria Symphony in Illinois and teaches the graduate conducting course at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. As Stage Director he has led productions of the Bernstein Mass at the Oakland East Bay Symphony and stagings of Mozart's Don Giovanni and Benjamin Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream and Gounod's Faust at Festival Opera. As a chamber musician (piano) he has appeared on the Chamber Music Alive series in Sacramento as well as the occasional appearance in the Bay Area.”

Measha Brueggergosman Sings Mahler's 'Das Knaben Wunderhorn' in Chicago Symphony Debut

[Measha Brueggergosman, soprano, and Sergio Mims, WHPK radio host]
Measha Brueggergosman is the African-Canadian soprano who recently released Night and Dreams, with pianist Justus Zeyen, on Deutsche Grammophon 477 8101 (2010) (65:29). Sergio Mims is a classical music radio host at Chicago's WHPK, 88.5 FM. He sends a message about Measha Brueggergosman debut performance with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on October 28:

“Here's a picture of me with soprano Measha Brueggergosman taken tonight. She was in Chicago singing Mahler's Das Knaben Wunderhorn with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She gave a wonderful, glowing performance and was radiant as always! I think I'll add this to my collection of other photos of us together. Soon I'll have enough for a book. Sergio Mims

Friday, October 29, 2010

Celso Machado's CD 'Jogo da Vida' ('Game of Life') With 'Baião Barroco,' CBC 3021 (2007)

[Jogo da Vida; Celso Machado; CBC Records 3021 (2007)]

The Afro-Brazilian classical guitarist and composer Celso Machado (b. 1953) is profiled at and has a personal website, On Sept. 23, 2010 AfriClassical posted: “Celso Machado on guitar & David Virelles on piano in YouTube Video 'Baião Baroque.'”

We received a correction from Jessica Machado, wife of Celso Machado. She explained that the piece in the YouTube video is called Baião Barroco and is actually a track from the CD Jogo da Vida, CBC Records 3021 (2007). The CD is shown on the Celso Machado page at and is discussed in Paragraph 21. We obtained the disc and have chosen to use the back cover as a display of the titles of the compositions, along with the names of the performers and their instruments. The art work is by Davide Merino © 2007.

Here is an excerpt from the liner notes by Malcolm Gould, Producer:
“For me, Celso Machado is the truest of musical Renaissance men (except that he's more interested in the music of the later Baroque period) and the ultimate one-man band. Until now, in fact, Celso's recordings and live performances have been mostly solo affairs: amazing, delightful, but still focused pretty much on his own talents. To start this project, however, we put together Celso's dream band for a Toronto concert as part of CBC Radio's OnStage radio steries.

"We brought in his brother, Carlinhos, from São Paulo, added the prodigiously-talented young Torontonians David Virelles and Rich Brown, and completed the quintet with renowned New York-based Brazilian expatriate, Cyro Baptista. The concert was a great success. Then, as the subsequent recording sessions heated up, two more young Torontonians – singers Eliana Cuevas and Guiomar Campbell – stirred their sonic spices into the delicious musical stew that is now Jogo da Vida. Celso alone is a force of nature, but I couldn't believe my ears when I first heard the sound of these six other great musicians adding their unique voices to his. Now you can too. Bon apetite!” 1946 Photo of Composers William Grant Still, Miklos Rosza, Franz Waxman & Meredith Wilson

[Group of 22 Composers in 1946, Including William Grant Still]

Posted 10/28/10
By Mark Ford
“Bruce Broughton's father passed away recently and he posted the following on his FaceBook page:
"Going through my father's things, I found a letter written from Miklos Rozsa to my grandfather. My grandfather was a composer, but not in the movies. Nevertheless, he treasured the note. This photo shows my grandfather standing with a group of composers in 1946 that include Rozsa, Franz Waxman, Dmitri Tiomkin, Meredith Wilson, Victor Young, John Green and William Grant Still."

“He doesn't say which one is his grandfather. What a great picture with so much talent in one room!” [William Grant Still (1895-1978) is profiled at, where a complete Works List by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma is found.]

ASALH: '2011 National Black History Theme: African Americans and the Civil War'

[African American Civil War Memorial & Museum] provides a wealth of information on African Heritage in Classical Music. The 52 biographies are accompanied by a Black History Quiz and more than 100 audio samples. Each year announces the Black History Month Theme.

February is Black History Month in Jamaica, the United States and Canada. October is Black History Month in the United Kingdom. The annual observance was founded in 1926 by the American historian Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson (1875-1950). He also founded the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH),

The ASALH has announced that the 2011 National Black History Theme is "African Americans and the Civil War". The Woodson Review is an annual magazine with articles on the Black History Theme. The ASALH tells us the 2011 edition of The Woodson Review is due to go on sale in November 2010. To receive email notices about the magazine and other Black History Month materials, visit the website In the upper left corner is this message: "Sign up for our Email Newsletter." Enter your email address and click "Go" to be taken to a form for receiving the Email Newsletter. The email address of the ASALH is: The phone number is (202) 865-0053.

85th Annual Black History Month
2011 Luncheon and Authors' Book Signing
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Book Signing starts: 10:30 am
Doors open: 12:15 pm
Luncheon starts: 12:30 pm
The Renaissance Washington, DC Hotel

Journal of African American History
“Edited by the noted historian V.P. Franklin of the University of California, Riverside, JAAH is the oldest and most prestigious scholarly journal in the field of African American History. It is a peer-reviewed, quarterly publication.”

Black History Bulletin
“Founded in 1937 at the urging of Mary McLeod Bethune, the BHB serves the needs of primary and secondary teachers who incorporate African American history into their lesson plans. Now peer-reviewed, the Bulletin has been redesigned to meet the national teaching standards and to be the nexus between educational innovators and students. The BHB is published biannually.”

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Philadelphia Chamber Music Society: 'Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio W/ Nokuthula Ngwenyama, viola' Jan. 28

[Nokuthula Ngwenyama]

The violist and violinist Nokuthula Ngwenyama (b. 1976) is profiled at
Date: Friday, January 28, 2011 - 8:00 PM
Location: Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center

The Program
Beethoven: Variations in E-flat Major, Op. 44
Mendelssohn: Piano Trio in D Minor, Op. 49
Brahms: Piano Quartet in G Minor, Op. 25

The Artists
“After more than three decades of international concert success, acclaimed recordings, and a new legacy of commissioned works, the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio (pianist Joseph Kalichstein, violinist Jaime Laredo and cellist Sharon Robinson) continues to dazzle audiences and critics alike with their performances. Since making their debut in January 1977 at the White House for the Carter Inauguration, the Trio has enjoyed a steady stream of honors and tributes. Musical America named the Trio its 2002 Ensemble of the Year. Since the 2003-04 season, the Trio has been Chamber Ensemble in Residence at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.”

“Nokuthula Ngwenyama is acclaimed as an orchestral soloist, recitalist and chamber musician. Gramophone proclaimed her playing as providing 'solidly shaped music of bold, mesmerising character,' and The Washington Post described her as playing 'with dazzling technique in the virtuoso fast movements and deep expressiveness in the slow movements.' Ms. Ngwenyama came to international attention when she won the Primrose Competition and the Young Concert Artists International Auditions at age 17. Plaudits followed her debut recitals in Washington, D.C. at the Kennedy Center and in New York at the 92nd Street Y, and in 1997 she received the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant. Born in California of Zimbabwean-Japanese parentage, Ms. Ngwenyama graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music. As a Fulbright scholar she attended the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique de Paris and received a Master of Theological Studies degree from Harvard University. For more information on Nokuthula Ngwenyama visit"

Raymond Harvey Leads Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra in 'The World Of... Robert Schumann' Nov. 14

[Raymond Harvey, D.M.A., Music Director and Conductor, Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra]

Raymond Harvey,, is Music Director and Conductor of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra. He received B.A. and M.A. degrees from Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and graduated from the Yale School of Music with a Doctor of Musical Arts degree.

The World Of... Robert Schumann
Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra
Sunday, November 14, 2010 at 3pm
Light Fine Arts Center
The KSO musicians, directed by Raymond Harvey, lead you through works from Robert Schumann, one of the most famous and Romantic composers of the 19th century.

Symphony No. 2, Op. 61 (excerpts)
Overture, Scherzo, and Finale
Hermann und Dorothea Overture
Cello Concerto, Op. 129 (excerpts)

“Robert and Clara's marriage in 1840 led to the most creative period of the composer's life. Until his marriage Schumann had only published music for the piano and a few vocal pieces. After 1840 his output expanded to include music for chamber groups and orchestra. This development is generally credited to Clara's influence. The couple worked from a base in Leipzig for four years and then moved to Dresden. These early years of marriage were a creative high point for Schumann. He wrote the Overture, Scherzo and Finale, Opus 52, in 1841 right after the premiere of his "Spring" Symphony, the Symphony No. 1 in B-flat. Schumann's Opus 52 is almost a symphony and not quite an orchestral suite. It is a bright piece in three movements that is reminiscent of Beethoven at his most playful.” © 2010 Klayton Woodworth and Karen M. Woodworth

Ethnomusicology Students at UCLA Present 'Sounds of the World: The Americas' Nov. 3

[Ethnomusicology Students at UCLA]

The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, Department of Ethnomusicology and
The Ethnomusicology Undergraduate Student Organization (EUSO)
Sounds of the World: The Americas

Randy Taylor and Friends
Mariachi de Uclatlán
The UCLA Bluegrass and Old-Time String Ensemble

Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Jan Popper Theater

"Sounds of the World is a three-part, yearlong concert series presented by EUSO in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Ethnomusicology Department at UCLA to illustrate its vast depth and diversity of talent. This fall’s concert features music from Latin and North America, performed by UCLA ethnomusicology undergraduate and graduate students who specialize in the musical genres from these areas.

Open to the public and free of charge
Parking in Lot 2 — $10 (Hilgard and Westholme Avenues)
Information: (310) 206-3033

Note: Popper Theater has only 140 seats, and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Free tickets will be issued at 6:30pm to those present until we have given out 140 tickets.

LATimesBlogs: 'Music Review: a Pasadena Symphony restart'

[Violin soloist Anne Akiko Meyers and Maestro James DePreist with the the Pasadena Symphony.]

John Malveaux of sends AfriClassical this word of the Oct. 23 concert of the Pasadena Symphony: “I attended Pasadena Symphony season opener after attending special community chat with Maestro DePriest. Please see

Culture Monster
October 24, 2010
“The conductor was James DePreist. Former long-time music director of the Portland Symphony, he is director of conducting studies at Juilliard, a post Mester once held. DePreist was born in 1936; Mester 1935. DePreist, who -- like Mester -- has a reputation as an orchestra builder, now serves as artistic advisor of the Pasadenans, but he will not return for the rest of its short season.

“DePreist, who contracted polio in 1962 and conducts from a wheelchair, showed great caution. His tempos were very slow.” “Anne Akiko Meyers was the soloist in Samuel Barber’s romantic, 1939 Violin Concerto. She played her 'Molitor' Stradivarius, which was believed to once have been owned by Napoleon and which she had purchased the previous week in auction for a record $3.6 million.”

“Meyers played aggressively, but might have been more rhapsodic had she not been carefully constrained by DePreist. Her encore, Gershwin’s 'Summertime,' was supple, jazzy and alluring.”
[ profiles James DePreist (b. 1936). Maestro De Preist has published two volumes of poetry and has his own website,] Less than '1% of music performed by North American orchestras was composed by blacks or latinos, despite a rich repertoire.'

[Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799)]

Aaron Dworkin (b. 1970), Founder and President of the Sphinx Organization,, is featured at and is an authority on diversity in classical music. He has often addressed the need for orchestras to hire performers of color. In fact, many of the Black and Latino performers who have joined orchestras in recent years are Sphinx laureates.

Aaron says that less than “1% of music performed by North American orchestras was composed by blacks or latinos, despite a rich repertoire.” The 41 Composers of African Descent who are featured at represent a tiny fraction of the thousands of composers of color who have enriched the classical repertoire over the centuries. Why do North American orchestras program so few of the distinguished compositions of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Adolphus Hailstork, Florence B. Price, Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges, William Grant Still and George Walker, to name just a few whose works are readily available?

Michael S. Wright: Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Was Born in Holborn and Raised in Croydon

[NPG 5724 Samuel Coleridge-Taylor by Walter Wallis (1881, oil on canvas) Copyright © National Portrait Gallery]

Michael S. Wright of the U.K. sends a correction regarding the birthplace of the Afro-British composer and conductor Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912), whose biography is featured at

“I would like to advise you that Coleridge Taylor was NOT born in Croydon although he was brought up there (67 Waddon New Road, Croydon). He was actually born at 15 Theobalds Road, Holborn, London, the blue plaque is on the building which is now a branch of Pret a Manger which I frequented on a number of trips to meeting a lawyer in London.”

Wednesday, October 27, 2010 In Birthplace of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, 'New Croydon festival asks Are We Here?'

[Samuel Coleridge-Taylor] features a biography of the Afro-British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor was born on August 15, 1875 in Croydon, a suburb of London, England. A new festival in Croydon celebrates music and the arts there:

This November, South London will host Are We Here?, a new festival that 'celebrates music, film and theatre and how, as art forms, they relate to the places in which they were created.' In this case, the festival specifically relates to Croydon, a renowned hotbed of musical talent over the years.

“Are We Here? will explore how 'Croydon’s national perception as a “concrete jungle” has been the catalyst and inspiration for truly paradigm changing art', from Conan Doyle and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s associations with the area, to the talent produced by the BRIT school and most recently, it’s role as the home of the Big Apple record store and the birthplace of dubstep.” [Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) is profiled at]

City Beat: Nokuthula Ngwenyama acquires violin 'crafted by Freeman Adams Oliver, a former slave'

[Nokuthula Ngwenyama]

Nokuthula Ngwenyama will perform in the Clarion Concerts "Leef Peeper" series on 10.30.10 at 8 PM in Columbia County, New York. The concert involves the pioneering African American violinist Sanford Allen and cellist Astrid Schween. Sanford Allen was the first Black musician to hold a permanent position in the New York Philharmonic. He was appointed Director of the Clarion Concerts after the death of Newell Jenkins, their founder, according to

City Beat
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
By Brian Baker
“As it stands now, there is barely any free time in the schedule of violist Nokuthula Ngwenyama. The married mother of two is a world-class instrumentalist and teacher with a constantly full slate of concert appearances and recording sessions, and the juggling necessary to balance it all could be considered just another of her many skills. Those skills will be put to the test when Ngwenyama comes to Cincinnati for a two-week whirlwind visit, the result of her being named the Taft Museum’s 2010 Duncanson Artist in Residence.”

“Ngwenyama becomes the 24th recipient of the Duncanson residency, a program that was established in 1986 as a tribute to the relationship between African-American artist Robert S. Duncanson and his patron, prominent Cincinnatian Nicholas Longworth, and to honor the accomplishments of artists of African American heritage across the broad spectrum of the creative arts. Ngwenyama, of Zimbabwean/Japanese descent, will be utilizing her full range of talents during her residency, giving public performances, conducting workshops and performing educational outreach during her two-week stay in the city. (Her public schedule is available at”

“Her husband, a violin dealer and collector, has just acquired an instrument crafted by Freeman Adams Oliver, a former slave and respected violin maker who opened a shop in Boston after the Civil War and was patronized by members of the Boston Symphony, among many others. 'I cannot wait to get my hands on that instrument,' Ngwenyama says with unrestrained glee. 'Yet again, here you have someone who was very successful at the turn of the century, probably a violinist himself, who had a lot of patronage and yet people don’t really talk about him today. So I’m hoping I can play some of the concerts on that instrument, which would be just amazing.'

“Ngwenyama is planning a good deal of traditional Classical programming for her concert and recital schedule, but she’s also weaving in a number of works by African-American composers, in keeping with the spirit and legacy of the residency. 'I think it’s really important that we highlight that as well,' Ngwenyama says. 'I’ll be playing some works by a living composer named Adolphus Hailstork and the Anglo-African composer Samuel Coleridge Taylor, and I have some arrangements of some spirituals that I’ve programmed. But I’m going to throw some Brahms and some Kreisler in there; I’m trying to do nice, balanced programs.'”

Performance Schedule from Performer's Website

Clarion Concerts
10.30.10 8 PM
Columbia County, NY
Concert with violinist Sanford Allen and cellist Astrid Schween

2010 Duncanson Artist-in-Residence, Cincinnati, Ohio

Taft Museum of Art
11.04.10 6-8 PM

Taft Museum of Art
11.07.10 2-3 PM
Family Concert Strings and Things

Allen Temple A.M.E. Church
11.11.10 7 PM
Recital with pianist Sandra Rivers

Taft Museum of Art
11.14.10 2 PM
Recital with pianist Sandra Rivers

Cosmos Club
11.17.10 8 PM
Washington DC
[Nokuthula Ngwenyama is profiled at, as are Adolphus C. Hailstork (b. 1941) and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912). Her personal website is]

Comment by email:
Hi Bill, I especially enjoyed the story about Freeman Adams Oliver. For me, it's always interesting to learn more about our history. I'm also intrigued by discovering people with the last name, 'Oliver'. My maternal great-grandfather was, Marshall Oliver. He was born about 1876 in Georgia or perhaps Alabama. U.S. Census records vary. He visited us in Michigan when I was about 8 years old and we visited him in Illinois, where he lived out his elder years at my maternal grandmother's home. I recall that he could not read or write and as a child found that very strange. He was always delighted when my sister, Cathy, and I used to read stories to him. I was too young to understand much about his background and would not have known the questions to ask. Through, I recently located a copy of his World War I Draft Record and saw 'his mark' on the signature line.

“I also recall Nokuthula Ngwenyama's first appearance at the Kennedy Center and have enjoyed watching her career blossom. I'm delighted to hear of her residency at the Taft Museum in Cincinnati. Cathy and I have spent many summers at the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music's Annual Classical Guitar Workshop. My most vivid memory of the Museum's artifacts was that of President Taft's cradle. As always, I deeply appreciate your continued dedication to this website. All best, Phyllis Fleming”

The Roots of Jazz: James P. 'Johnson’s work gave the gift of a new piano style to other New York jazz stars'

[Victory Stride: The Symphonic Music of James P. Johnson; The Concordia Orchestra; Marin Alsop, Conductor; Music Masters 67140 (1994)]

James P. Johnson (1894-1955) is profiled at, which focuses on his classical works such as Yamekraw: A Negro Rhapsody. A post in The Roots of Jazz highlights his role in the creation of that genre:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010
The social landscape of 1920s New York for blacks offered a distinct opportunity: the Harlem Renaissance, a milieu of new black culture, art, literature, and music, but also representative of a divide between the black upper and lower classes living in Harlem, the largest black population in the nation. In Ted Gioia’s History of Jazz, he points out that 'Jazz was very much a part of this second Harlem – more at home here than in the 'other' Harlem of high culture and higher aspirations. True, the Harlem Renaissance created an ideology, a cultural context for jazz. But the Harlem of rent parties and underground economies created music (94, emphasis added). It was this cultural context that New York possessed and Chicago lacked – although Chicago’s South Side had a thriving jazz scene, the eyes of the nation and the world were set on New York. Whether or not the literary elite of Harlem liked it, lower class Harlem, including jazz, was a crucial part of their Renaissance.

“Before Harlem, the largest black community in New York was San Juan Hill, and sure enough, the history of jazz is tied to this location as well. This is also something Chicago lacked: an older foundation of black musicians who created this cultural context in New York early on. As Professor Stewart pointed out in lecture, James P. Johnson and his predecessors had been making music even before New Orleans jazz took hold, developing the famous stride piano style that would be crucial to the growth of jazz when it reached New York (Oct 21). Using the piano, Johnson was able 'to bridge [the] gap between highbrow and lowbrow' in black culture, as the piano was both 'a calling card of lowbrow nightlife' as well as 'a symbol of middle-class prosperity' (Gioia, 95-6). Johnson’s work gave the gift of a new piano style to other New York jazz stars such as Willie 'the Lion' Smith, Thomas 'Fats' Waller, Art Tatum, and more, making stride piano the true musical landmark of New York jazz.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

NBC-TV in Kansas City: 'Sphinx Chamber Orchestra visits Ruskin High School' (1:33)

[Sphinx Chamber Orchestra, NBC-TV Action News Kansas City]

“They hope to inspire passion for classical music
Posted: 10/25/2010
By: John Batten
KANSAS CITY, Missouri - “Some talented young musicians who have played Carnegie Hall made a stop at Ruskin High School Monday. They're hoping to inspire a love of classical music in a new audience. 'The Sphinx Chamber Orchestra's a touring ensemble. We get together every year for about a month and just go around the country playing concerts,' said Tony Rymer, a cellist from Boston.

“That sounds like a pretty good gig, as the musicians say. Rymer wants to share it with kids who might not otherwise get a chance to consider a career playing classical music. 'Well, it's a lot of fun. We get paid and I think it's a good mission that the Sphinx Organization has; to diversify classical music,' Rymer said. They hope to accomplish that mission by exposing minority audiences to talented African-American and Latino musicians playing not only Bach and friends, but works by African-American and Latino composers.”

“The Sphinx Chamber Orchestra was brought to Ruskin High through a partnership with UMKC's 'Musical Bridges' program.” [The Sphinx Organization was founded in 1996 by violinist Aaron P. Dworkin (b. 1970), who is profiled at]

All Music Guide: 'Recorded Music of the African Diaspora' is 'Highly recommended'

[Recorded Music of the African Diaspora; New Black Music Repertory Ensemble; Leslie B. Dunner, conductor; Albany Records Troy 1200 (2010)]

On August 17, 2010 AfriClassical posted: “Mary D. Watkins & Olly W. Wilson: 'Recorded Music of the African Diaspora.'” Our review focused on the record label, Albany Records. The CD was produced by the Center for Black Music Research (CBMR): Morris Phibbs (Deputy Director, CBMR), Producer; Horace Maxile (Associate Director of Research, CBMR), Associate Producer; and Monica Hairston (Executive Director, CBMR), Executive Producer. Today we quote from a review of the disc in All Music Guide:

All Music Guide
New Black Music Repertory Ensemble
by James Manheim
“The Albany label has consistently released strong recordings of concert music by African American composers, and with this release it inaugurates a new series entitled Recorded Music of the African Diaspora. That's a broad topic, and the two pieces offered up as an introduction are quite diverse. But they hang together well as a pair. Mary D. Watkins is a San Francisco Bay Area pianist and composer who has broadened her palette from jazz piano to orchestral music. Five Movements in Color is close to what its title suggests: the work is episodic, given to signs of Africanism, and in many places directly referring to or even moving into the realm of jazz. It's an attractive, kinetic piece, but the real news here is Olly W. Wilson's Of Visions and Truth (1991). This song cycle for three vocalists and small ensemble is described by the composer as 'my personal reflection on the historical status of African-American males in American society.' Wilson sets four texts (given in the booklet, which is in English only), two traditional and two by African American poets, and there are two interludes. The work entails a fusion of modernist techniques with an African American vernacular idiom, and it is Wilson's genius, rivaled by few in this small but fascinating field of American composition, that neither pole is weakened in its attraction by the presence of the other."

"Of the new vocal trio, Three Mo' Tenors member Rodrick Dixon and baritone Donnie Ray Albert stand out in the extended and very powerful finale, If We Must Die, setting Claude McKay's sonnet of slave resistance. Highly recommended.