Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dominique-René de Lerma: James B. Furman (1937-89), Composer, organist, choral director and college professor

James B. Furman (1937-89)

Dominique-René de Lerma:

He grew up in Louisville, where he had been born, and started the piano at age six, studying with his aunt, Permelia Hansbrough.  He attended Coleridge-Taylor Elementary School (1943-1948), Madison Junior High School (1948-1951), and Central High school (1951-1954).  As winner of the Louisville Philharmonic Society’s Young Artists Contest in 1953, he appeared as soloist with the orchestra.  His degree work was undertaken at the University of Louisville as a composition student of George Pearle (B.M.Ed., 1958; M.M., 1965), with additional study at Brandeis University on a fellowship (1962-1964) studying with Arthur Berger, Irving Fine and Harold Shapiro, while active also as assistant choral director for the campus.  He attended Harvard University  in the summer of 1966, studying choral conducting and music history.  His teachers also included Claude Almand..
From 1953 to 1960 he served as organist and choirmaster at Louisville’s Church of Our Merciful Savior.  He began teaching in the Louisville school system (1958 to 1959).  During his military service (1960-1962) while based at Fort Devens MA, he was arranger, pianist, and conductor of the “Rolling along show,” a touring group of the U.S. Army.  During this time he was choral conductor of a BBC documentary on Charles Ives (1966).  He taught school in Mamaroneck NY (1964 to 1965), serving also at the Jewish Scientist Church in New York.  He began his association for the remainder of his life on the faculty of Western Connecticut State University in Danbury in 1965, where his students devotedly dubbed him “Sir James," one of whom, Sam Arnold, assisted in providing the information for this entry.  In 1987 he added  directorship of the Suzuki Talent Education School in Sandy Hook CT (site of the 2012 student massacre).
The bulk of his musical estate, including extensive research on the history of gospel music, was left, with the assistance of Ruth Lanham, to Dominique-René de Lerma and was in turn donated to the Center for Black Music Research in 1990.  Some materials were destined by his estate to Morgan State University, on the belief that Dr. de Lerma had remained on that faculty when his will was prepared.
While at the University of Louisville, he won the Omicron Delta Kappa Award in acknowledgement of his superior standing within the graduating class (1958).  He placed first in the Brookline Library Music Committee Composition Competition (1964) and received the merit award in 1966 from the National Federation of Music Clubs.  On 4 July 1974, he was choral conductor for the Leonard Bernstein American Symphony Orchestra Ives Centennial Concert, held on the Danbury State Fair Grounds.  Western Connecticut State University in 2002 established the Don Craig and James Furman Choral Legacy award, adding to the James Furman Memorial Awards offered for academic standing, excellence in departmental service, and musical performance.
Ruth Lanham, to whom he dedicated Chanson, was a close friend in Danbury, who facilitated management of his affairs after he was discovered dead of AIDS.

Black music research journal.
Black perspective in music, v2, p150; v3, p103; v7, p264; v14n1, p72; v17, p197
Bull, Storm.  Index to biographies of contemporary composers, vol. 3.   Metuchen: Scarecrow Press, 1987.   xxiv, 854p.  ISBN 0-8108-1930-9.
Butcher, Vada Easter  [Outlined data on various figures] in Annual report of the Center for Ethnic Music, 1970-1971, ed. by Vada Easter Butcher.  Washington: Howard University, 1971.
Carter, Madison H.  An annotated catalogue of composers of African ancestry.  New York: Vantage Press, 1986.
Center for Black Music Research.  “Furman, James, 1937-1989”.  http://www.cmbr/lib/hfurman.htm.  (2003).  2p.  Consulted 2004/I/6.
Center for Black Music Research.  Digest, v3n3, p8
College Music Society.  Directory of music faculties in colleges and universities, U.S. and Canada, 1984-1986.  Boulder: The College Music Society, 1985.
Con brio, v1n3
Flandreau, Suzanne.  “Furman, James” by Suzanne Flandreau and Robert T. Townsend, in International dictionary of Black composers, ed. by Samuel A. Floyd, Jr.  Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 1999, v1, p471-477.
Furman, James.  Black gospel music; A history and performance
Gardner, Effie Tyler.   An analysis of the technique and style of selected Black American composers of contemporary choral music.  Graduate paper (Ph.D.), Michigan State University, 1979.
Garrison, D. Max.  “Declaration makes music history” in News-times [Danbury] (1977/IV/21).
Garrison, D. Max.  “Grasso makes concert debut” in News-times [Danbury] (1977/IV/29).
Garrison, D. Max.  “King dream inspires Furman oratorio” in News-time [Danbury] (1976/VII/28) p39.
Horne, Aaron.  String music by Black American composers.  Westport: Greenwood Press, 1991 (Music reference collection, no. 33).  xx, 327p.  Foreword by Dominique-René de Lerma.  ISBN 0-313-27938-1. +
Horne, Aaron.  Woodwind music by Black American composers.  Westport: Greenwood Press, 1990.
Horne, Aaron. Brass music by Black composers; A bibliography.  Foreword by David N. Baker.  Westport: Greenwood Press, 1996
Matney, William C.  Who’s who among Black Americans.  3rd ed.  Northbrook: Who’s Who Among Black Americans, 1981.
Merkling, Frank.  “Furman, the man, the music, the mystique” in News-times [Danbury] (1979/XII/11).
Nagase 1993. p110
Petersen, Debbie.  “Première packs Ives” in Echo [Danbury] v2n24 (1977/V/03) p1, 8.  [Declaration of independence]
Southern, Eileen.  “Furman, James B.” in Biographical dictionary of Afro-American and African musicians.  Westport: Greenwood Press, 1982, 140.  (The Greenwood encyclopedia of Black music).
Spencer, Jon Michael.  As the Black school sings; Black music collections at Black universities and colleges, with a union list of book holdings.  Westport: Greenwood Press, 1987.
Spradling, Mary Mace.  In black and white; Afro-Americans in print.  3rd ed. supplement.  Detroit: Gale Research, 1985.  Detroit: Gale Research, 1980.
Tischler, Alice.  “James Furman” in Fifteen Black American composers; A bibliography of their works.  Detroit: Information Coordinators, 1981, p135-147.
Trice, Patricia Johnson.  Choral arrangements of the African-American spirituals; Historical overview and annotated listings.  Westport: Greenwood Press, 1998 (Music reference collection).
Tuck, Lon.  “Evelyn White Chorale” in Washington post (1982/XI/02).
Wegge, Glen.  [Program notes for a concert, “Music of James Furman, Composer” held at Ives Concert Hall in Danbury, 1982/IV/20].  3p. with data branches.  Consulted 2004/I/.5.
Western Connecticut State University.  “School of Professional Studies, Student annual scholarships and awards.”  (2002).  6p.  Consulted 2004/I/6.
White, Evelyn Davidson.  Choral music by Afro-American composers; A selected, annotated bibliography.  2nd ed.  Metuchen: Scarecrow Press, 1996.  viii, 126p.  ISBN 0-8108-3037-X.  First edition issued by Scarecrow in 1981:
Who's who in America 1983.
Who's who in classical 1983, 1985.

A babe is born in Bethlehem; Puer natus, for SSATB (1978).  Text: 14th century, in Latin with English translation by Philip Schaff (1869).  Dedication: “In loving memory of my uncle, Harry Barnes.” Duration: 1:30.
Aria, for horn & woodwinds (1976).
Ave Maria, for SSAATTBB with piano reduction (1971). 3p.  Commission: Kentucky State University.  Dedication: Ronnie Burnbaum.  Duration: 2:30.
Frankfurt KY, Bradford Hall, 1971/XII/12.
Kentucky State University Choir; James Furman, conductor. 
AC: GSS Recording 111 (New American choral music, v3; 1987).
Gregg Smith Singers; Gregg Smith, conductor. 
Battle scenes, for amplified harpsichord & band (1976).  1. The battle; 2. Annette; 3. The battle of New Orleans; 4 Johnson’s march.  Medfield MA: Dorn.  Based on sketches by Frank Johnson.  Dedication: Neil Slater.  Duration: 11:10.
Danbury, First Congregational Church; 1976/XII/9.
Western Connecticut State University Orchestra; James Furman, conductor. 
Born in a manger; Christmas hymn, for SATB (1978). Text: James Furman.  Dedication: “In loving memory of my uncle, Adam Barnes.”
Louisville, Museum of Natural History, 1979/XII/16.
Valley High School Chorus; Robert Harris, conductor. 
Bye, bye, lully, lullay, for medium voice & SATB (1978).  Text: from 15th century England. Dedication: Robert Harris.  Duration: 1:45.
Louisville, Museum of Natural History; 1979/XII/16.
David Bright, baritone; Valley High School Chorus; Robert Harris, conductor. 
Canti, for guitar & optional string orchestra (1980).  1. Canto hondo; 2. Canto flamenco.  Dedication: “To my brother, Leroy.”
Stamford CT, Trinity Episcopal Church, 1980/V/21.
Andrew Lafreniere, guitar. 
Chanson, for trumpet or cornet & string orchestra (1979).  8p.  Dedication: Ruth Lanham.  Duration: 3:30.
Stamford CT, Trinity Episcopal Church, 1980/V/21.
Joseph Macari, trumpet; James Furman, conductor. 
----- for trumpet & piano.  4p. 
Come thou long-expected Jesus, for SATB (1971).  Fort Lauderdale: Music 70, 1980 (M70-298).  7p.  Commission: Kentucky State University.  Dedication: “In loving memory of my sister, Catherine.”   Frankfort KY, Bradford Hall, 1971/XII/12.  Duration: 1:43. 
Kentucky State University Choir; James Furman, conductor. 
LP: Classics Record Library10-5573 (1977).
LP: Silver Crest MOR-111977 (1977, College choirs at Christmas, 1977).
Morgan State University Choir; Nathan Carter, conductor.  
Concerto, chamber orchestra (1964).  Exists only as a piano sketch.  Duration: 9:00.
Fantasia and chorale, for string orchestra (1971).
For Thanksgiving; Rejoice, give thanks, and sing, for SATB & optional piano or organ (1978).  Text: Edward Plumtre.  Duration: 2:00.
Four little foxes, for soprano, mezzo-soprano & SATB (1963).  New York: Oxford University Press, 1971 (95-309).  11p.  1. Speak gently; 2. Walk softly; 3. Go lightly; 4. Step softly.  Text: Lew Sarett, Covenant with earth.  Dedication: “In loving memory of my aunt, Permila Hansbrough.”  Duration: 3:30.  The first and third movements, now for solo quartet, were originally set for SATB chorus.
Danbury, Berkshire Auditorium,1965/XII/14.
Western Connecticut State University Chorale; James Furman, conductor. 
Glory to God  in the highest, for SATB (1978).  New York: Lawson-Gould, 1979; Fort Lauderdale: Music 70, 1981 (MM70-325) . 15p.  Dedication: Gregg Smith.  Duration: 2:50.
Danbury, Emmanuel Lutheran Church1982/XII/7.
Western Connecticut State University Concert Choir; James Furman, conductor. 
Go, tell it on the mountain, for 2 soloists, SATB, piano & organ (1971).  New York: Sam Fox, 1972 (Sam Fox choral library, Ps-193).  14p.  Duration: 3:00.
Frankfort KY, Bradford Hall,1971/XII/12.
Kentucky State University Choir; James Furman, conductor.
----- for SATB, brass dixtour (3331), electric bass, percussion (drum set, bongos, tambourines), piano & organ.
Gospel anthem, for soprano, mezzo-soprano, SATB, brass ensemble, piano, organ & electric bass (1971).  New York: Sam Fox, 1972.  Commission: Carl Smith. 
----- for soprano, alto, SATB & piano.
Hehlehlooyuh; a joyful expression, for soprano & SATB (1976).  Chapel Hill: Hinshaw Music, 1978 (HMC-312).   8p. Dedication: “to my mother, Ollie Furman.”  Duration: 2:30.
Danbury, First Congregational Church, 1976/XII/9.
LP: Mark ACDA89 MC-1.
Western Connecticut State University Choir; James Furman, conductor. 
Highijin; The seven Buddhist gods of luck, for alto saxophone & piano (1980).  Islington: Dorn Publications.  82p.  1. Benten; Goddess of love; 2. Ebisu; God of abnegation; 3. Daikoku; God of wealth; 4. Fukurokujin; God of longevity; 5. Jurojin; God of longevity; 6. Hoeti; God of generosity; 7. Bishamon; God of war.  Commission: Philip DeLibero and Mary S. DeLibero.  Dedication: Philip DeLibero and Mary DeLibero.  The second movement is based on Japanese folk songs, Kochae-bushi and Yoniyem jinku, and is for piano solo.  The third movement is for saxophone solo.  The saxophonist is author of Contemporary saxophone studies (Needham MA: Dorn, 1975)
Danbury, Western Connecticut State University, Concert Hall, 1980/IV/20.
Philip DeLibero, alto saxophone; Mary S. DeLibero, piano. 
Hold on, for 2 voices, SSATB, piano & electric organ (1972).  New York: Lawson-Gould, 1979; Fort Lauderdale: Music 70, 1981 (M70-326).  Commission: Kentucky State University.  Dedication: Carl Smith and the Kentucky State University Choir. 
Louisville, Green Street Baptist Church, 1972/III.
Kentucky State University Choir; Carl Smith, conductor.
I have a dream; symphonic oratorio, for baritone, SATB, gospel chorus, orchestra, gospel piano, organ, guitar, combo organ, electric bass, guitar & electric guitar (1970).  Danbury: 1970.  45p.  1. In the river of life; 2. I have a dream; 3. Let freedom ring.  Commission: Greenwich Choral Society to commemorate its 45th anniversary.  Instrumentation 2111, p; 2310; piano, organ, celeste, banjo, guitar, percussion; strings.  Text: Martin Luther King, Jr.  Dedication: “To the beloved memory of my friend, Martin Luther King, Jr.”  e]:; Greenwich CT, 1970/IV/19.
Greenwich Choral Society; James Furman, conductor.  Duration: 40:00.
----- rev. 1971.  57p.  Instrumentation: solo trumpet; 1111 (p); 2220; peerc (bongos, timbales, cymbals, triangle, xylophone, orchestral bells, gong, whip, siren, maracas, chimes, claves, wood blocks, snare drum, bass drum). 
Cincinnati; 1971/I/22.  Library: Morgan State University.
McHenry Boatwright, baritone; Len Mink, folk singer; Millie Wilson, Loiis Wilkins, Alica Clark, gospel singers; Geneva Kinnard, piano; Robert Shaffer, organ; Cal Collins, banjo; Frank Proto, combo organ; Robert Bradley, electric bass; Rob Reider, electric guitar; David Frerichs, drums; Baroque Choral Ensemble, Central State University Choir, Kentucky State College Chapel Choir; Wilberforce University Choir; Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra; Erich Kunzel, conductor. 
----- Fantasia and chorale, for string orchestra.  2p.  Duration: 5:20.
----- Hymn, for SATB.  Duration: 3:00.
I have a friend in Jesus, for medium voice & piano or organ (1978).  Text: James Furman.  Dedication: Laeet Adams.  Duration: 2:00.
I keep journeyin’ on, for soprano, SATB, piano & lectric organ (1972).  10p.. Dedication:  “In loving memory of my uncle, Archie Barnes.”
In the woods; dans le bois fleuri, for voice & piano (1983).  3p.  Text: D. Baud Bovy.  Dedication: Jessie Landsberg. 
Danbury, Western Connecticut State University,  Ives Concert Hall, 1984/IV/11.
Jessie Landsberg, soprano; James Furman, piano.  Duration: 2:10.
It’s 11:59, opera.  Text: Edward Eliscu (actor and playwrite, Eliscu (1902-1998) lived in Connecticut in his later years).  Withdrawn.
Jupiter shall emerge, for SSAATTBB (1978).  Fort Lauderdale: Music 70-80, 1988 (M70-461).  1. On the beach at night; 2. Jupiter shall emerge.  Text: Walt Whitman.  Duration: 7:40.   
AC: GSS Recording  111 (New American choral music, v3; 1987).
Naomi Zimmerman, soprano; Gregg Smith Singers; Gregg Smith, conductor.
Just Jesus, for voice.
Let us break bread together, for SATB (1957).
Moments in gospel, for orchestra (1985).  1. Walk to the altar; 2. Invitation and prayer; 3. Holy dance.  Duration: 17:00. 
Danbury, Ives Concert Hall, 1985/V/5.
Danbury Little Symphony; Richard Brooks, conductor. 
Mouvements (4), for flute (1982).  1. Roulade (1975); 2. Le cornemuse solitaire (1982).  Dedication: Don Wells.
Stacey David, replacing Michael Mennone. 
Music for saxophone and piano (1979).  Commission: Philip DeLibero.
Quartet, strings (1986).  1. Introduction; fugue; 2. Song; 3. Dance.  Commission: Eric Lewis.  Dedication: Eric Lewis and the Manhattan String Quartet.  Duration: 18:00.
Music Mountain, Salsbury CT, 1987/VIII/9.
Manhattan String Quartet [Eric Lewis, Roy Lewis, violins; John Dexter, viola; Judith Glyde, cello]. 
Recitative and aria, for horn & woodwind ensemble (1976).  Instrumentation: 1111, bcl, alto saxophone.  Duration: 5:00.
Danbury, Ives Concert Hall,  1977/II/17.
Lawrence Huntley, horn. 
----- for horn and piano. 
Rejoice, give thanks and sing, for SATB & piano or organ (1978, 1980).
Responses for church service (3), for SATB & organ (1978).  1. Bless thou the gifts; 2. The Lord bless thee and keep thee; 3. Amen
Rise up shepherd and follow, for SATB (1977).
Salve regina, for SSATB (1966).  Duration: 2:35. 
AC: GSS Recording  111 (New American choral music, v3; 1987).
Gregg Smith Singers; Gregg Smith, conductor. 
Some glorious day, for alto, SATB & piano (1971).  New York: Sam Fox, 1972.  Commission: Kentucky State University. 
Sonata, piano (1982).  1. Fantasy; 2. A touch of blue; 3. Sonata concert piece.  Dedication: Dominique-René de Lerma. 
Thomas DeStefano, piano.
Sonata, violin (1977).  1. Allegro; 2. Moderato; 3. Presto (Allegro vivace in Flandreau 1999). 
Eric Lewis, violin.
Songs of juvenilia; Nursery rhyme cycle, for high voice & piano (1956, rev. 1984).  1. Tom, Tom, the piper’s son; 2. Little boy blue; 3. Contrary Mary; 4. Humpty Dumpty.  Duration: 4:50.
Louisville, 1956.
Annettte Offutte soprano; James Furman, piano. 
----- for SATB & piano, or wind ensemble (2-0-2-2; 0-2-0-0) (1979) .
----- for SATB & wind octet.
Suite, clarinet (1976).  1. Introitus; 2. Moresca; 3. Incantation; 4. Motore musica.  Dedication: Vincent Krulak. 
Danbury, Ives Concert Hall, 1976/III/5.
Vincent Krulak, clarinet.
----- 3. Incantation, for clarinet & strings.
The Declaration of Independence, for narrator & orchestra with optional organ & bagpipes (1976).  1. Fanfare; 2. We hold these truths; 3.He has refused; 4. He has obstructed; 5. Infernalis; 6. He has abdicated; 7. In every stage; 8. We, therefore; 10. Contilena.   Dedication: Ella Grasso (née Ella Rose Tambussi [1919-1981], she was the first woman to be elected [not inherited] state governor [1974-1980].  She resigned, diagnosed with ovarian cancer).  Duration: 18:00.
AT: Danbury, Ives Concert Hall, 1977/IV/28.
Ella Grasso, narrator; Western Connecticut State University Orchestra; James Furman, conductor.
---- 1. Fanfare.
----- Fanfare and finale, for brass ensemble & percussion (1976).  Instrumentation: 3-3-4-1.  Duration: 1:20.
----- 10. Cantilena, for string orchestra (1976).   Duration: 3:50.
The grosse Fuge revisited, for 2 sopranos, mezzo-soprano, 2 tenors, baritone, string quartet & brass quintet (1980).  Text: based on An die Freude and Das Lied von der Glocke, by Friedrich Schiller. Based on the string quartet by Beethoven.  Commission: Eric Lewis.
Buffalo, Art Park, 1980/VII/29.
Manhattan String Quartet, Western Wind Vocal Ensemble, Annapolis Brass Quintet.
The quiet life, for soprano, alto, tenor, bass & SATB (1968).[1]  Fort Lauderdale: Music 70, 1980 (M70-293).  1. Quiet by day; 2. Sound sleep by night; 3. Thus let me live.  Dedication: “to the living memory of Irving Fine.” 
1969 (White 1996 cites a preliminary unpublished movement, Fanfare and pastorale.  Publication of Thus let me live is not acknowledged).
The three-fold birth, for boys’ chorus, SATB & organ (1962).  Commission: Joseph Muise. 
There is a balm in Gilead, for mezzo-soprano, baritone & SATB (1984).  New York: Lawson-Gould, 1988 (M70-514). 
Trampin, for mezzo-soprano & SATB (1959).
Triumphal fanfare, for brass quintet & percussion. 
Variants, for violin, piano & technician (1963).  Waltham MA: 1963.  Award: Brooklin Library Music Competition (1964). 
Valse romantique, for high voice & piano (1976).
----- for trumpet, double bass & string quartet.

Dominique-René de Lerma

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