Friday, September 30, 2011

Deborah Yamak, Cellist of Havana String Quartet, on Leo Brouwer CD, Classical Winner of Latin Grammy

[The Havana String Quartet Leo Brouwer - The String Quartets - String Trio; Zoho Classix ZM 201108 (2011)]

The Afro-Cuban composer Leo Brouwer is featured at He is one of the leading classical guitarists in the world, as well as a composer and an orchestra conductor. In November 2010 the Havana String Quartet won the award for Best Classical Album for Leo Brouwer - The String Quartets - String Trio. When the Havana String Quartet made plans to tour in the United States, we were offered a telephone interview with Deborah Yamak, cellist, during the group's stay in the U.S. An interview took place September 26, 2011, after the Quartet began its tour with a performance in Milwaukee.

Hello Deborah, I'm happy to meet you; it's nice to make your acquaintance!
Yes indeed, indeed!
How long have you been with the Havana String Quartet?
I joined the Quartet in 2006, so it's been about five and a half years.
Are you the most recent member?
I am the most recent member, that's true.
I believe the original member is Jorge Hernàndez?
Jorge Hernàndez, that's correct. The Quartet itself was started in 1980 by Leo Brouwer. He wanted to create a quartet that would devote itself to Latin music and his own music as well, of course, and Jorge has been the original and the most long-lasting member of the Quartet! It's been 31 years now!
Yes, that's quite a while!
I understand that you are from Lebanon?
I was born in Lebanon. I am an American citizen. They fell in love at Columbia University, and that was that! I basically grew up in the United States.
I believe the Quartet has done a few other recordings?
That's right!
At least three?
Before I joined there were several recordings made on a Cuban label, and the other members of the Quartet and I all play in the same orchestra in Cordoba.
Is that the orchestra that Maestro Brouwer founded in Spain?
Yes, as a matter of fact! Leo Brouwer conducted it from 1992, from its inception as an orchestra. For about 9 or 10 years he was a conductor there. It's great to have all of the colleagues in the Quartet playing in the same orchestra. We have the same schedule so it makes it easier of course to rehearse. We're not coming from five million different places!
I believe your first stop on this tour was going to be in Milwaukee?
That's correct. We did play a concert there on the 22nd of this month, and at a lovely restaurant-event space in Milwaukee called The Hamilton, and we had a lovely, very warm public and we were able to sell some CD's. It was a very enthusiastic response, and now we have our next concerts in New York and Philadelphia.
Is the New York one at the...
Cervantes Institute.
Is that named for Ignacio Cervantes?
Exactly! There's one in Chicago and one in New York and it's an Institute that promotes Spanish culture, Spanish language...
Not just Cuban, but Spanish in general?
Spanish in general, yes, exactly. They very kindly ceded us their auditorium, and have done wonderful publicity through the embassies and cultural institutes around the East Coast.
When will you go to New York?
We're leaving for New York tomorrow, actually, and the concert at the Cervantes Institute is the 29th.
Yes, yes.
You'll also be playing in Pennsylvania?
We'll be playing in Philadelphia on the 30th, and then back again in New York in a wonderful performance space in Chelsea in Manhattan on the 2nd of October.
Is that the completion of your tour then, the Oct. 2nd concert?
Exactly! It's a short little tour, and we can get some interest as far as booking agents or managers, because this is our first time playing in the United States. Having won the Latin Grammy, nobody on this side of the pond really knows us yet! We wanted to take advantage of some vacation time and do some concerts to try to get our name out there.
Yes, I read that you found out about the Latin Grammy at 2 o'clock in the morning in Spain and you let out a scream?
It's 6 hours ahead, that's right!
I have to congratulate you! It must be an amazing opportunity to receive that!
Yes, it really is! Hopefully the rest of the concerts on the tour will go as well as the first concert in Milwaukee did! It was a lovely reception, and they really warmed up to the music that we were playing. We played two Quartets by Leo Brouwer, the Third and the Fourth Quartets.
I see...
And then the second half was devoted to two more quartets by Cuban composers, one of which is a violinist in our orchestra in Cordoba, a magnificent young composer!
Would you like to mention his name?
His name is Igmar Acosta, a marvelous composer. And then the second part of the second half is devoted to popular music from Latin America. Some pieces from Brazil, some pieces from Argentina, a piece from Cuba, a piece from Uruguay, and so we get to hang out a little bit. It's not typical classical music, but it's a lot of fun to play as the quartet with wonderful arrangements, and the public really loves that kind of thing! It crosses the line a little bit between classical music and popular music.
The Fourth Quartet is relatively new, isn't it?
Yes it is! As a matter of fact, when we recorded the album with the complete String Quartets, we recorded three, and the String Trio that Leo Brouwer had written, and then he said “Well no, no, no you can't call it complete Quartets because I have a Fourth Quartet,” which he sent. He scanned and faxed and everything like that; he sent the parts over, thank goodness for modern technology, and so we got another hall to play, to record the Fourth Quartet. Apparently there's also a Fifth Quartet! We haven't seen the music to it yet, but Leo Brouwer is interested in us doing this piece in Cuba next fall.
So that's a nice thing to put on the calendar!
Absolutely! Would you like to comment on the different quartets, like the first one, going back to the memory of Bela Bartok?
Bela Bartok, correct, yes.
That would be quite different from the others, wouldn't it?
Absolutely! It really has nothing to do with the rest of the Quartets! It's very classical in its form, the compositional form, and also using the instruments in a very classical way. Of course Leo Brouwer always has his compositional stamp. You can tell that there's a lot of Cuban, African Cuban rhythm and melodic influence in his pieces. And then his Second Quartet is aleatoric. There are a lot of parts where we are given little series or cells of notes that we can play forwards or backwards, long notes or short notes. He's not writing every single note down with a time signature.
So you have some freedom to adjust it?
Exactly! And then there is also, in the Second Quartet as well in the Fourth Quartet, we are required to act a little bit, on the assumption that all musicians are very egotistical, and each one plays better than the other, you know we have to play louder than the other and make the other one shut up when we don't like what they're playing, so it's quite amusing! It does get a laugh out of the audience.
Kind of a skit?
Yes. The Third Quartet he wrote specifically for the Havana String Quartet, over a period of six or seven years, in Cordoba, and that's personally my favorite quartet!
Oh! Would you like to say anything more about it?
It's in four movements with suggestive titles and it's fun to play and it's also full of imagery, Cuban-African rhythm and the Fourth Quartet also has a little bit of playing in it, where we make our fellow musician shut up! The second violin gets a chance to improvise over a bass line that the cello will play for him, like a jazz bass. It's quite funny! It's very well written and he did very good work.
Is Jorge Hernàndez the sort of managing partner of the Quartet?
Well when one can speak Spanish, Jorge does a lot of organizing in Spain.
I see.
We are now at the moment also playing in a circuit of concerts through Andalucia, that the Andalucian government sent us out to cities and towns in the Andalucian part of Spain to play for the public. On that little tour we are playing Leo Brouwer's Fourth Quartet, music of Halffter from Mexico, a female composer of Armenian descent who lives in Argentina now, so all of the music that we are playing right now is strictly Latin American. The public is always very intrigued, because that's not music that they usually get to hear. It's not Brahms, it's not Dvorak, it's not Mozart, but it's very listenable music. They are pieces that are not necessarily on the major quartet repertoire, and it's good music so this needs to be heard. So in that respect the Havana String Quartet I think does a lovely job of honoring many composers that haven't been heard in the grander scheme of things!
This I think is the first classical work on this new Zoho Classix label?
Yes, it is! As a matter of fact, this is a new idea that Jochen Becker – he's the owner of Zoho - that he has had, that he would like to keep going on with. We have the possibility, we're trying to get to do a recording for example with Paquito D'Rivera, the clarinetist...
Oh, yes!
Doing something like Benny Goodman did, you know recording the Brahms Quintet and the Mozart Quintet, and the D'Rivera has also written music for clarinet and quartet. So that's in the talking stage at the moment. We'll see if that comes to fruition, which would be wonderful! Jochen is very pleased of course with the Latin Grammy win and is pushing ahead to try to find more recording possibilities for the Quartet.
I notice that he's worked with several record labels including Vox and Discover International?
Yes; he knows his stuff! No doubt about it! I've spoken with him on the phone several times. Luckily, at our first concert in New York, on the 29th, I will be able to meet him firsthand for the first time!
Very good!
So, I'm very excited about that! It's very nice to be in the hands of someone who is very professional and knows what he's doing, and knows what he wants. Well, we'll see what happens!
Leo Brouwer is the only living Cuban composer at, but there are some other people from the past, like José White; have you done some of his works?
Yes, of course! Leo Brouwer is still going strong! We recorded the complete string quartets and the string trio in honor of his 70th birthday. Hopefully we'll have another decade of music.
He was born in 1939?
Exactly! So, we made the recording in order to be able to come out in 2009 and he was tickled pink, obviously!
Yes, he must have been! I want to thank you very much for taking the time to contact us.
You're very welcome. Obviously we're in the same time zone! It has been good speaking with you. We'll be in touch regarding the upcoming concerts, okay?
Very good, thank you very much.
Thank you very much Bill!
Goodbye now!
Bye bye.

'Flutronix Comes to the Midwest': Chicago Sept. 30 & Madison, Wisconsin Oct. 1


Nathalie Joachim and Allison Loggins-Hull are Flutronix. The latest Flutronix Newsletter includes:

Flutronix makes their Windy City debut at Morseland. Opening the night is singer-songwriter Diana Lawrence.
Friday, September 30th
1218 West Morse Avenue
Chicago, Illinois
$5 cover

Right after Chicago, Flutronix heads to the University of Wisconsin - Madison for an afternoon lecture and evening performance.
Saturday, October 1st
Morphy Hall - UW Madison Humanities Building
455 North Park Street
Madison, WI

Flutronix teams up with PUBLIQuartet for an evening of new music for strings, flutes and electronics at the intimate Cornelia Street Cafe.
Monday, October 10th

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Patrick D. McCoy: 'Manhattan Recital Debut of soprano Brandie Sutton'

[Brandie Sutton]

Patrick D. McCoy sends this recital announcement to AfriClassical:

I am pleased to share with you all that soprano Brandie Sutton will present her Manhattan debut recital this Saturday, October 1, 2011 at Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufmann Center. Ms. Sutton will present a recital of music by Handel, Bach and Faure, among others. Ms. Sutton is the first place winner of the Ben Holt Memorial Branch of the National Association of Negro Musicians and recently, The American Prize. A favorite in Washington, D. C., the Oakwood alumna was presented in her Kennedy Center debut recital by Vocal Arts. Please see the attached poster.


Patrick D. McCoy
"The African-American Voice in Classical Music”

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Nephew of Michael Mosoeu Moerane (1909-1981) Adds Details for Composer's Page at

[TOP: Memorial Plaque: "Fifth Pan African Conference was held here 15-21 October 1945 Decisions Taken At This Conference Led To Liberation of African Territories" BOTTOM: South African Music; Fatse la heso (My Country) (11:18); National Symphony Orchestra of the South African Broadcasting Corporation; Peter Marchbank, Conductor; Marco Polo 8.223709 (1994)]

Izak Khomo is Programmes Producer at Channel Africa in Auckland Park, South Africa. He provides a correction and additional information for the page on his late Uncle Michael Mosoeu Moerane (1909-1981), a South African composer, pianist and choral director. Moerane was a member of the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO). SAMRO's Biographical Notes on him explain that Michael Mosoeu Moerane was born in 1909 and is the late uncle of South Africa's former President, Mr. Thabo Mbeki. Izak Khomo is the nephew of Michael Mosoeu Moerane. He tells

Michael Mosoeu Moerane was the second child and second son of Jakane Moerane and wife Sofi Moerane and he was born in the village of Mangoloaneng, in Mount Fletcher, District Eastern Cape. His elder brother Daniel Moerane was also born there, however, their father came from Lesotho, and he came to Mangoloaneng to put up a school at the request of the Sotho chief of the area, the school cum church is still standing in front of the home stead.”

Izak Khomo explains that his late mother, born Renee Moerane, was the youngest of the seven children of the family:

“My Late Mother, Renee Sake Khomo, nee’ Moerane was the last born of a family of seven children who included ex President Thabo Mbeki’s mother. Renee being the youngest, born in July 1920, was almost brought up by Michael that was when he was teaching at Lovedale and was at the same time undertaking his musical studies.”

SAMRO lists the schools Moerane attended and those at which he later taught:

“He had his schooling at the Lovedale Institute and at Fort Hare, near the town of Alice in Ciskei, and then became a school-teacher, beginning at his alma mater, Lovedale in 1927, continuing at the High School in Maseru in Lesotho, and later at the Umfundisweni Institute in Pondoland, and finally at the Peka High School in Gumtree, Lesotho.”

While teaching in several different communities, Moerane attended the University of South Africa by taking correspondence courses in Music, SAMRO relates:

“Moerane holds the distinction of being the first black person to obtain a degree in music at a South African university. For the Bachelor of Music degree at the University of South Africa (UNISA), one of the largest distance-education institutions in the world, he studied History of Music, Harmony and Counterpopint, Acoustics, Score-Reading, Orchestration and Instrumentation, as well as Composition proper.”

Moerane was also tutored in Composition by Friedrich Hartmann, a Professor of Music at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, according to the Biographical Notes. SAMRO explains how Moerane came to compose Fatse la heso (My Country):

“Moerane was required to present a composition exercise in order to complete his degree, and so composed the symphonic poem, Fatse la heso (My Country), which he completed in 1941, graduating that same year. Three years later, in November 1944, the work was premiered by the BBC Symphony Orchestra in two separate studio performances under the baton of Clifford Curzon, one broadcast by the BBC's Home Service, and the other by its African Service. Fatse la heso was subsequently championed in New York and Paris by the pioneering black American conductor, Dean Dixon.”

Izak Khomo calls attention to the use of Fatse la heso at the Fifth Pan African Conference, in Manchester, England from 15-21 October, 1945:

“There is a lot about the Song Fatse La Heso, the song was played at the opening of the Manchester Pan African Conference organized by the Great Pan Africanist leader W E B Du Bois, and for that Du Bois requested permission which was granted by Mosoeu.”

We learn from Izak Khomo that Michael Mosoeu Moerane supported the Pan Africanist movement:

“Mosoeu himself was a strong Pan Africanist and so the statement ‘Fatse La Heso’ (Our Land) which was also the Clarion call of Pan Africanists in South Africa, this came from witnessing the gradual destruction of their father’s property and wealth by settler colonial laws which saw loss of farm land, the culling of the large heads of cattle and also flock of sheep under the pretext of land conservation.”

The Bantu Education Act of 1953 gave the South African Government control of education of Black children throughout the nation. Most mission schools closed rather than operate under the new and highly unequal conditions set for the Bantu schools, such as limiting instruction to three hours per day, and preparing students to hold only menial employment. Izak Khomo says Michael Mosoeu Moerane's opposition to Bantu Education resulted in his being banned from teaching, thus causing him to end his career in Lesotho:

“Mosoeu finished his teaching career in Lesotho not of his liking but rather, like many teachers of the time, as a result of being banned to teach as a result of their opposition to the introduction of Bantu Education.”

Moerane's composition Fatse la heso (My Country) (11:18) has been recorded on the CD South African Music, Marco Polo 8.223709 (1994). The National Symphony Orchestra of the South African Broadcasting Corporation is led by Peter Marchbank, Conductor. Moerane prefaced his score with an explanation of the source materials he incorporated into the work, as we learn from the liner notes by Alison Gaylard:

“According to the composer, in a note prefaced to the score, My Country is based on thematic material derived from freely-adapted African songs: a warrior's song, a reaper's song, a free transformation of a cradle-song and a hymn which supplies the harmonic structure.”

SAMRO tells us that some of Moerane's songs were selected for use in national choral competitions among schools. The Notes tell us he did not limit his professional career to composing:

“Moerane was also active as a pianist and choir conductor. He died in 1981.

Among Moerane's other compositions are three works for school orchestra, some descriptive piano pieces and a quantity of choral music on biblical texts.”

When the Johannesburg Philharmonic celebrated its 5th Birthday with twin concerts on May 18 & 19, 2005, the announcement was entitled: "Jo’burg Philharmonic performs music by the man who taught Mbeki to play the flute". It explained that South Africa's future President Thabo Mbeki lived with his uncle's family for two years when he was a young child in the early 1950s, and his uncle taught him to play the flute. The music of Moerane on the program was Fatse la heso (My Country).

Alexander Johnson and Chris Walton of the University of Pretoria in South Africa have compiled a list of the works of Michael Mosoeu Moerane:
Fatsa la heso, symphonic poem, 1941

Chorale, for school orchestra (flute, clarinet, piano and strings)

Sunrise, for school orchestra (flute, clarinet, piano and strings)

Why worry?, for school orchestra (flute, clarinet and strings)

Piano solo works listed are:


In Hout Bay

Joy ride


Choral works (all SATB) include these and many more titles:


Banozolo: ke tla bina

Barali ba Jerusalema

Ba tsabang molimo: yizani nive

Bokang Jesu

“Uncommon Rhythm: 'A Black, White, Jewish, Jehovah’s Witness, Irish Catholic Adoptee’s Journey to Leadership'”

[Uncommon Rhythm: A Black, White, Jewish, Jehovah’s Witness, Irish Catholic Adoptee’s Journey to Leadership; Aaron P. Dworkin, author; Aquarius Press, publisher (2011)]

Shortly after the launch of the website which came to be known as, we realized that our list of Composers of African Descent needed to be accompanied by a list of Musicians of African Descent. Most are instrumentalists or conductors, but one person honored with a page at the website was Aaron P. Dworkin (b. 1970), who stood out because he had recently founded the Sphinx Organization to provide opportunities to young Black and Latino string players. The genius of Aaron Dworkin's concept was reflected by the fact that the Sphinx Organization became a national institution virtually overnight, a point of entry allowing young string musicians of color a chance to hone their skills and participate in their chosen field of classical music.

We are proud to tell our readers of the publication of Aaron Dworkin's new memoir:
Uncommon Rhythm: A Black, White, Jewish, Jehovah’s Witness, Irish Catholic Adoptee’s Journey to Leadership

The book has just been released by Aquarius Press, whose website is:

Aaron Dworkin provides a synopsis of the book, and tells us: “Key testimonials may be found on the website including Branford Marsalis, former Governor of Michigan Jennifer Granholm and others. I hope you enjoy learning about my personal journey!”

Aaron P. Dworkin
Founder & President, The Sphinx Organization,
Social Entrepreneur, Spoken Word Artist, Visual Artist, Author,
Member, National Council on the Arts,

“Aquarius Press is pleased to announce the upcoming release of the long-awaited inspirational memoir by White House Champion of Change Aaron P. Dworkin, Uncommon Rhythm: A Black, White, Jewish, Jehovah’s Witness, Irish Catholic Adoptee’s Journey to Leadership. Aaron is the Founder and President of the Sphinx Organization, the leading national arts organization that focuses on youth development and diversity in classical music. Uncommon Rhythm is a harrowing yet moving account of Aaron’s journey through social isolation and discrimination to found one of the nation’s cultural jewels. The book is a tapestry of stirring narrative, precious photos and poignant poems. A MacArthur Fellow, Aaron is driven by the single vision of 'inclusion for all,' and hopes that this book will inspire all people who have ever felt like outsiders to nurture their own gifts and make valuable contributions to society.”

More about Uncommon Rhythm
“Aaron Dworkin is America’s everyman and America’s exceptionalism rolled into one person; he is inspiration personified. The tapestry of his life has been breathtaking: powerful threads of talent braided with soft threads of religion and colorful threads of ethnicity, creating an extraordinary memoir that is both compelling and endearing.”
~Jennifer Granholm, (former) Governor of State of Michigan

“Success is an amazing combination of talent, hard work, and good fortune. Aaron Dworkin is the embodiment of this troika, and his story is quintessentially an American one. As his book shows, he has made the most of opportunities presented to him, and his words show him to be a visionary in the promotion of American culture to its young citizens. Uncommon Rhythm is a very informative, and inspirational read.”
~Branford Marsalis, Grammy Award-Winning Jazz Musician
Former Leader of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Band

"Aaron Dworkin is a gifted and extraordinary leader. His passion for music and unwavering commitment has transformed youth at risk, urban areas, and the world of classical music. His story and message are a must-read. You will be inspired by his gripping journey. Highly recommended!"
~Josh Linkner, NY Times Bestselling author, Disciplined Dreaming, CEO and Managing Director, Detroit Venture Partners, Professor of Applied Creativity, University of Michigan

“Aaron Dworkin is a living testimony to the power of art to bridge cultures, races and socio-economic barriers . . . a leader whose rising star shines brightly on a path that is so needed and missing in the world today.“
~Janet Brown, Executive Director; Grantmakers in the Arts

More about Aaron P. Dworkin
“Named a 2011 White House Champion of Change, a MacArthur Fellow, a Member of the Obama National Arts Policy Committee and President Obama’s first nominee to the National Council on the Arts, Aaron P. Dworkin is the Founder and President of the Sphinx Organization, the leading national arts organization that focuses on youth development and diversity in classical music. An author, social entrepreneur, artist-citizen and an avid youth education advocate, he has received extensive national recognition for his vast accomplishments. He has been featured in People, on NBC’s Today Show and Nightly News with Brian Williams, CNN’s Airport Network-Innovator Series and Anderson Cooper 360°, named one of Newsweek’s 15 People Who Make America Great , NPR’s “The Story and Performance Today,” in addition to articles in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press, Washington Post and The Chronicle of Philanthropy, as well as many other media outlets.”

Book Information
“Uncommon Rhythm:
A Black, White, Jewish, Jehovah’s Witness, Irish Catholic Adoptee’s Journey to Leadership
September 30, 2011
Aquarius Press
ISBN 978-0-9846212-7-9
6 x 9
208 pages

The book is available from the publisher, and will shortly be offered as an Ebook and will be sold by book sellers including and local book stores.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Second Press Conference on 'III Leo Brouwer Festival of Chamber Music' 11 AM, Sept. 28 at Hotel Meliá, Havana

[Leo Brouwer]

Leo Brouwer (b. 1939) is an Afro-Cuban classical guitarist, composer and orchestra conductor who is featured at Antuña Arelys writes from the Office of Leo Brouwer, which is inviting the Press to the Second Press Conference, on Wednesday September 28, 2011 at 11:00 a.m., in the Coronas Room of the Hotel Meliá, of the III Leo Brouwer Festival of Chamber Music, which will be held from September 30 to October 7, 2011 in the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Africa House and the National Theater of Cuba.

Guest musicians will be presented, such as Manuel Guillén (violinist, Spain), José Manuel Hierro (flamenco guitarist, Spain), Saint Cecilia Wind Quintet, and Enrique Pla, among others. Admission to the conference is by invitation which can be obtained by contacting the Office of Leo Brouwer on Monday, September 26 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Participants are asked to RSVP by phone to: 835 1937 / 836 3840 / 836 3958 or by email: /

The website of the Festival is:

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Douglas McRay Daniels Conducts 'Opening Night' of BNMI Ensemble 7:30 PM Saturday, Oct. 1

[Douglas McRay Daniels]

Douglas McRay Daniels was appointed Music Director of the Boston New Music Initiative, Inc. in November 2010. He tells us of the first performance of the new season on Oct. 1, 2011:

“The Boston New Music Initiative, Inc. will kick off its third concert season with Opening Night, an evening of works by eight living composers on Saturday, October 1 at the Fenway Center at Northeastern University, 77 St. Stephen Street.

“Douglas McRay Daniels, music director and Nathan Lofton, associate music director, will lead the BNMI ensemble in the performance of new works for large chamber ensemble by Ian Dicke (Assembly Lines), Gabriele Vanoni (Blurry Landscapes), Chris Arrell (Argot with soprano soloist Kim Soby), and Michael Gandolfi (As Above). The program will feature electroacoustic music by Kyong Mee Choi (Sublimation for marimba and electronics) and Clifton Callender (Metamorphoses for cello and electronics), a lively duo by Garrett Byrnes (Villanelle for violin and harp), and a world premiere by Kirsten Volness (Sleeping in the Forest for solo violin and chamber ensemble). All works were chosen from the organization's international call for scores.

“A pre-concert talk with the composers begins at 6:45pm. The concert begins at 7:30pm. Tickets are $15 for general admission, $12 for students, available online or at the door on the evening of the concert.

South Mountain C. C.: Afro-Panamanian Pianist Henry Rose in 'An Evening of Music for Two Pianos' Sept. 30

[Walter Cosand (left) and Henry Rose (right and above)]

Wilma Monluis, a longtime supporter of AfriClassical and, sends this news of a performance by her nephew Henry Rose, an Afro-Panamanian pianist and composer:

South Mountain Community College Music Faculty Henry Rose will team with Arizona State University Music Professor Walter Cosand for an evening of duo-piano classics on Friday, September 30.

Mr. Rose and Mr. Cosand will perform a variety of classical and contemporary compositions by Bach, Brahms, Debussy, and Rose. 'Mr. Cosand is a highly respected artist both nationally and internationally,' says Mr. Rose. 'It is truly a pleasure to perform with him in our Performance Hall.'

Friday, September 30, 7:30 p.m.

South Mountain Community College Performance Hall
7050 S. 24th Street in Phoenix (just north of Baseline Road)

$10 general admission
Free for Maricopa Community College District students

South Mountain Community College is one of the ten Maricopa Community Colleges.”

“Mr. Henry Rose, a native of Panamá, is currently the Director of Piano Studies at South Mountain Community College where he teaches theory & composition and applied piano. He has studied with Jaime Ingram, Robert Wharton, and most recently, Robert Hamilton while in pursuit of advanced graduate studies at Arizona State University. He has coached with Jeffrey Kahane, Gita Karasik, and Emanuel Ax.

“In addition to his duties as Chairman of the Young Artist Committee, Mr. Rose maintains a private studio in the East Valley and is an active performer, adjudicator, and composer. His compositions include the recently premiered Sonata Breve for Cello and Piano, Myxed Colors for Two Pianos, and he continues to gain national and international recognition with the publication and subsequent recording of his Accompaniments for Second Piano to Johann Sebastian Bach's Fifteen Two-Part Inventions.

Office of Leo Brouwer: Press Conference Honors Chucho Valdés on His 70th Birthday

[TOP: From left, Chucho Valdés and Leo Brouwer BOTTOM: From left, Chucho Valdés, Alfredo Muñoz, Leo Brouwer and Guille Vilar]

Leo Brouwer (b. 1939) is an Afro-Cuban classical guitarist, composer and orchestra conductor who is featured at Isabelle Hernàndez writes from the Office of Leo Brouwer. She identifies the people in the Bottom photograph as, from the Left, Chucho Valdés, Alfredo Muñoz*, Leo Brouwer and Guille Vilar*. The asterisks denote the names of the Winners of the Premio Espiral Eterna 2011 (2011 Eternal Spiral Award). The Top picture is of Chucho Valdés and Leo Brouwer. The press conference on September 9, 2011 was in homage of Chucho Valdés on the occasion of his 70th Birthday.

Isabelle Hernàndez also notes that the concert "La fiesta de la Luz" (Celebration of the Light) on October 6, 2011 will feature the Ernan López-Nussa Trio, José Manuel Hierro (flamenco guitarist, Spain), Marco Tamayo (guitarist), Edwin Vichot (Cuban lute), Duo Habana da Camera, Wind Quintet Santa Cecilia, Darío Martín (pianist) and Leo Brouwer as conductor.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Lara Downes: 'The music on this recording looks back to Bach through different lenses'

[13 WAYS of Looking at the Goldberg: Bach Reimagined; Lara Downes, solo piano; Tritone Records]

13 WAYS of Looking at the Goldberg: Bach Reimagined on Tritone Records (2011) is the second recent compilation of works by a large number of composers we have reviewed. The first was Amy Briggs: Tangos for Piano, Ravello Records RR7808 (2011), whose 22 tracks include Tango-Variations (2:49) by the African American composer Jeffrey Mumford. 13 Ways is also the second recording of new variations on the Goldberg Variations of J.S. Bach which has come to our attention. Robin Holloway: Gilded Goldbergs is a 2-CD set of variations by a single composer for two pianists, the Micallef-Inanga Piano Duo. Jennifer Micallef is from Malta; Glen Inanga is Nigerian. Their recording is Hyperion CDA67360 (2001).

The variations performed by Lara Downes are so unusual and so different from each other the recording seems otherworldly as soon as Fred Lerdahl's Chasing Goldberg begins. We find it refreshing to hear 13 contemporary composers express themselves with total artistic freedom.

On Sept. 14, 2011 AfriClassical posted: “Lara Downes: '13 WAYS of Looking at the Goldberg: Bach Reimagined' by Contemporary Composers.” The complete history of the project can be found at “13 Ways of Looking at the Goldberg was commissioned in 2004 by the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival.”

Composers and Contributions

Derek Bermel Kontraphunktus

William Bolcom Yet Another Goldberg Variation

Ryan Brown Ornament

Dave Brubeck Chorale, from Chromatic Fantasy Sonata

C. Curtis-Smith Rube Goldberg Variation

David Del Tredici My Goldberg

Lukas Foss Goldmore Variation

Ralf Gothóni Variation on Variation with Variation

Fred Hersch Melancholy Minuet

Jennifer Higdon The Gilmore Variation

Fred Lerdahl Chasing Goldberg

Bright Sheng Variation Fugato

Stanley Walden Fantasy Variation

Mischa Zupko Ghost Variation

Lara Downes writes in the liner notes:
“The music on this recording looks back to Bach through different lenses, and calls back to Bach with different voices.” “Bach's GOLDBERG VARIATIONS are what I remember as my first music. It's such a vivid memory, a little girl in my father's big armchair, listening to Glenn Gould's 1955 recording of the Goldbergs, wondering at the twists and turns of Bach's creation and Gould's imagination.”

“Along with 13 WAYS, I've chosen Bach-inspired works by two great American composers, Dave Brubeck and Lukas Foss, who have both in their inimitable and sometimes surprising ways, been deeply shaped by their love of Bach.”

Disclosure: A review copy of this CD was provided by the record label.

Friday, September 23, 2011 'Patrick D. McCoy presents CAAPA Award to legendary musician Richard Smallwood'

[Patrick D. McCoy with Maestro Richard Smallwood]

Patrick D. McCoy sends a link to a press release dated September 23, 2011:

Author - Hyacinth K. Scott

“The Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts presented its 7th Annual 'Melody of Art' Pre Congressional Black Caucus reception hosted by Dale and Terri Allen. The honoree was Richard Smallwood for his accomplishments in the arts.”

Langston J. Fitzgerald, III, Trumpet Soloist with Penn State Chamber Orchestra Sept. 26

[Langston J. Fitzgerald, III]

Trumpeter Wilmer Wise
sends this announcement:

Penn State University Chamber Orchestra Concert
Monday, September 26. 2011, 8:00 PM,
Esber Recital Hall
Admission: $4.99 Adults, Students $2.00

Chamber Orchestra
Location: Esber Recital Hall, Music Building I, University Park


Mother Goose Suite: RAVEL

"Down a River of Time"
A Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra:
Eric Ewazen
Soloist: Langston J. Fitzgerald, III

Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 36: BEETHOVEN

Directions and parking information to Esber Recital Hall
and other School of Music events are found at:

Comments by email:
Fitz is an old friend from our mutual Morgan days and he was a legend to many, including Wynton Marsalis, from those days when he was with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He was there when I had my first dealings with the orchestra about 1974. And I've heard him in recital with his consort of trumpets. A really splendid musician and great guy. I think he followed our trumpet professor here academically. Dominique-René de Lerma,

Hello everyone, first of all, thanks Wilmer for sending this on; thanks Bill for putting it out there, and Dominique, I thank you so much for such kind words about me! I can't remember just how long it's been since we have communicated, but now I have your information, and I'd like to stay in touch! Please feel free to record and use my information of contact, too! Thanks All! Fitz [Dr. Langston J. Fitzgerald, III]

Ann Hobson Pilot Documentary on KQED-Channel 9 – Sunday, October 2 at 2:30 pm

[Ann Hobson Pilot (Dina Rudick, The Boston Globe]

AfriClassical recently wrote of an earlier airing of the Ann Hobson documentary, A Harpist's Legacy - Ann Hobson Pilot and the Sound of Change. On October 2, 2011 the documentary will be broadcast on KQED in Northern California:

A 30-minute documentary of the legendary African-American harpist Ann Hobson Pilot will be aired on KQED-Channel 9 on Sunday, October 2 at 2:30 pm. This compelling documentary, entitled “A Harpist’s Legacy – Ann Hobson Pilot and the Sound of Change” profiles the inspirational life and musical career of this gifted African-American woman’s triumph over barriers of race and gender to become the principal harpist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra for nearly 30 years – the first Black woman principal player in a major symphony orchestra. She is revered by many, including John Williams, Yo-Yo Ma and James Levine, as one of the world’s great harpists.

This moving documentary is a powerful story of one musician’s accomplishments, dedication and inspiration through a distinguished career filled with challenges and triumphs.

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's 'Life and Death' & 'A King There Lived in Tule' Uploaded to IMSLP

[Samuel Coleridge-Taylor]

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) was an Afro-British composer and conductor featured at The Centennial of his death will be in 2012. Major observances are being planned by organizations including the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Foundation, Two scores of the music of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor were uploaded on September 22, 2011, Life and Death and A King There Lived in Tule:

The International Music Score Project (IMSLP), Petrucci Library
Sharing the World's Public Domain Music

Life and Death
(Publisher London: Augener, 1914. Plates 14641, 14770.)
High Voice (in D-flat)
#128207 - 1.31MB, 4 pages
Scanned by Adam Ramet
Uploader: Adam Ramet (22 September 2011)

Medium Voice (in B-flat)
#128210 - 1.87MB, 7 pages
Scanned by Adam Ramet
Uploader: Adam Ramet (22 September 2011)

A King There Lived in Tule
(Publisher London: Boosey & Co., 1908. Plate H.6021)
#128160 - 3.94MB, 9 pages
Scanned by Unknown
Uploader: Adam Ramet (22 September 2011)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Kalamazoo Symphony: 'Clarinetist Anthony McGill performs Mozart's Clarinet Concerto' Oct. 21 & 22

[Clarinetist Anthony McGill]

Clarinetist Anthony McGill is a Metropolitan Opera Orchestra member who performed with violinist Itzhak Perlman and cellist Yo-Yo Ma for the inauguration of President Barack Obama. In 2010, he released his own CD, Anthony McGill: That Lightness of Spirit, which is distributed through Its repertoire is drawn from the music of France, Russia and the United States. The Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra has made this announcement as part of its 2011-2012 Season schedule:

Clarinetist Anthony McGill performs Mozart's Clarinet Concerto to complement a program including Ravel's Le Tombeau de Couperin and Schubert's Symphony No. 5. Guest Conductor Matthias Bamert leads the KSO.”

“Kalamazoo Symphony
Mozart & Schubert
Friday, October 21, 2011 at 8pm
Saturday, October 22, 2011 at 8pm
Chenery Auditorium
Prelude talk begins at 7:00 p.m.

“Anthony McGill performed with Perlman and Yo-Yo Ma at the 2009 Inauguration. Matthias Bamert conducts.

RAVEL Le Tombeau de Couperin
MOZART Clarinet Concerto
SCHUBERT Symphony No. 5

Read program notes (by Kay and Karen Woodworth)

Matthias Bamert, Guest Conductor
Anthony McGill, Clarinet
Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra"

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse: Nyaho and Garcia Duo in 'multi-cultural repertoire for four-hands' Oct. 1

[Nyaho and Garcia Piano Duo]

Dr. William Chapman Nyaho (b. 1958) is a pianist of Ghanaian Heritage who is featured at and has a website of his own, William Chapman Nyaho has recorded and published sheet music of numerous works for piano by composers of African descent. He has also performed and recorded with his Duo partner, Prof. Susanna Garcia of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette:

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
Piano artists-in-residence coming to UW-La Crosse
The piano duo of William Chapman Nyaho and Susanna Garcia will perform at UW-La Crosse Saturday, Oct. 1. Two accomplished pianists will share their talents at a University of Wisconsin-La Crosse artist-in-residence program.

“William Chapman Nyaho and Susanna Garcia will be guest artists on campus Thursday, Sept. 29, through Saturday, Oct. 1. Their visit ends with a recital by the duo at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Annett Recital Hall, Center for the Arts. The concert is free. Nyaho is a free-lance musician from Washington, D.C., who has edited and published five volumes of piano music titled, 'Piano Music of Africa and the African Diaspora.' Garcia, an associate professor of piano at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, is a nationally known piano teacher who has performed throughout the southwest. She has given numerous presentations and master classes throughout the country.

“UW-L Associate Professor of Piano Mary Tollefson says the residency will provide a different look at African music. 'It’s interesting how we often suggest that traditional African music is ritual music that includes singing and drumming and often music that is passed down only by oral tradition,' Tollefson explains. 'This residency program will help UW-L students and the La Crosse Community broaden their perspectives of what comprises African music.'

“Tollefson says Nyaho’s volumes of African piano music are progressive in difficulty and provide a wealth of styles. The artists-in-residence will meet with students, lecture in classes, and provide performance insight through master classes with UW-L piano students. The culmination of their residency will be Saturday’s concert of multi-cultural repertoire for four-hands at one piano and then at two pianos.”

Choro London: 'Thank you to the world renowned Brazilian guitarist, singer and percussionist Celso Machado'

[Celso Machado]

Celso Machado (b. 1953) is an Afro-Brazilian composer and guitarist who is profiled at and has a website of his own, is “...the online home of Brazilian Choro Music in London.” The group posted this message of thanks to Celso Machado:

“Thank you to the world renowned Brazilian guitarist, singer and percussionist Celso Machado for a wonderful masterclass and concert yesterday as part of the London Classical Guitar Festival. The action took place at Bolivar Hall (the Venezuelan embassy) and was attended by Emily O'Hara and Nicholas Ball of Vila Verde, who played two pieces by Guitarist Joao Pernambuco. 'Celso was extremely inspiring through his playing and articulate advice, he even let me try his pandeiro!' Nicholas told us.

“On Friday night Celso showed the audience how he used up his baggage allowance to bring a plethora of strange and incredible instruments to the UK. Barbara O'Hara was there for his performance; 'It was a very versatile performance, it was highly entertaining - Celso told stories of the Rainforest through his music and movement and interaction with a variety of props including the chair he was sitting on!'.

“It had been twenty five years since Celso had visited London, we hope it will be a little sooner next time.”

Ann Hobson Pilot & Chicago Sinfonietta in 'Ennanga' of William Grant Still Sept. 24, North Central College

[Ann Hobson Pilot; Boston Records BR1002CD (1991)]

Ann Hobson Pilot's first solo harp CD is Boston Records BR1002CD; it may be ordered at her website, She will make a guest appearance with the Chicago Sinfonietta at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois at 8 p.m. Saturday, September 24, 2011:

By Annie Alleman For Sun-Times Media
September 22, 2011 10:04AM
“A world-renown musician is performing a string of post-retirement dates, including one at North Central College. When the Chicago Sinfonietta opens its 2011-2012 season at North Central College with 'As Fate Would Have It,' a concert blending eastern and western musical traditions, it will be joined by acclaimed guest harpist Ann Hobson Pilot.

“The performance begins at 8 p.m. Sept. 24 in the Wentz Concert Hall and marks the first subscription concert by new music director Mei-Ann Chen. The professional orchestra is in residence at Wentz Concert Hall this year, which will be the regular west suburban venue. 'Mei-Ann Chen is an absolute burgeoning superstar in the classical music world. She is an absolutely riveting and exciting performer on the podium,' said the orchestra’s executive director, Jim Hirsch.”

“The piece, written by famed composer John Williams, is called 'On Willows and Birches,' and was written expressly for Pilot in 2009. She will also perform on William Grant Still’s 'Ennanga' — the only work he composed for harp.

“We selected that because of the orchestra’s commitment to diversity and inclusion,” he said. “It was fate that brought her to becoming a harpist in a field where basically African Americans had no opportunities whatsoever.” [William Grant Still (1895-1978) is profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works List by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma,]

'La Fiesta de la Luz' of Leo Brouwer is premiered at 'Leo Brouwer Festival of Chamber Music' 9/30-10/7

[Leo Brouwer]

Leo Brouwer (b. 1939) is an Afro-Cuban classical guitarist, composer and orchestra conductor who is featured at He also hosts an annual Leo Brouwer Festival of Chamber Music:
Wednesday, 21 September 2011 12:32
Written by L. Calvo
"Havana joyfully welcomes the third Leo Brouwer Festival of Chamber Music, to be held from 30 September to 7 October, 2011. Its much awaited concerts will be in unique venues such as the San Francisco de Asís Convent´s Basílica Menor in Old Havana, as well as the Covarrubias Room at Cuba´s National Theater and the Casa de África.

“There are many incentives included in this event for music lovers, as the scheduled concerts will have works performed by composers Hubert de Blanck, José Ardévol, Josep Soler, Leonardo Balada, Joan Manuel Serrat and Leo Brouwer himself, giving us an opportunity to walk around and enjoy a panorama of national and international chamber music from the twentieth century to more contemporary.

“Also a luxury are invited artists: Soloists: Marco Tamayo (Cuban-Austrian), Anabel Montesinos (Spanish), Manuel Guillén (Spanish) and Niurka González; Havana´s Chamber Orchestra, the Santa Cecilia Wind Quartet, Grupo Sintesis and pianist Ernán López-Nussa and his Trio, among others. In my opinion, the Festival´s 'highlight,' is the deserved tribute that will be given to pianist Chucho Valdés, who´s turning 70. His works 'Mambo influenciado' (Influenced Mambo), 'Los cuatrocientos golpes' (The Four Hundred Blows), 'La perla del Edén' (The Pearl of Eden) and 'Danzón patético' (Pathetic Dancing), arranged by Ernán López-Nussa, can be seen this 6 October at the San Francisco de Asís Convent´s Basílica Menor.

“This third Leo Brouwer Festival of Chamber Music will hold three lectures at the Havana San Gerónimo University where they´ll discuss Hubert de Blanck, the life and work of José Ardévol and the master Chucho Valdés´ new jazz concepts. Another special moment in store for us is the premiere of Leo Brouwer's 'La Fiesta de la Luz' (The Festival of Light), by the Santa Cecilia Wind Quartet and young pianist Darío Martín.