(St. Louis American)
On January 9, 2015 AfriClassical postred:
'Sheldon Classics: Africa': Members of St. Louis Symphony, Sheldon Concert Hall 8 PM Jan. 28 in works of Scott Joplin, William Grant Still & Fred Onovwerosuoke.
William Grant Still (1895-1978) and Scott Joplin (c.1867-1917) are profiled at AfriClassical.com, which features a Bibliography and comprehensive Works List for each by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma, http://www.CasaMusicaledeLerma.com.
FredO at the Sheldon
January 22, 2015
By Chris King
Works by a living, local black composer will be performed in “Sheldon Classics: Africa,” a program of “music inspired by the rhythms and sounds of Africa” that will be presented at The Sheldon at 8 p.m. Wednesday, January 28.
Fred Onovwerosuoke will have his compositions performed by pianist Peter Henderson and members of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, with SLSO principal percussionist Will James also performing two works for solo marimba.
Onovwerosuoke – best known as FredO – has illustrious company in Henderson’s set list: ragtime legend (and composer for opera and ballet) Scott Joplin (ca. 1867-1917) and William Grant Still (1895-1978), who remains “the most recognized African-American composer of classical chamber music,” FredO said.
Henderson will play selections from Onovwerosuoke’s “Five Kaleidoscopes for Piano,” which was commissioned by Rebeca Omordia (a Romanian-Nigerian pianist living in London), and “Six Sketches for Oboes and Piano” featuring Laura Ross on oboe.
FredO was born in Ghana to Nigerian parents but has been based in St. Louis since the early 1990s, except for seven years commuting up and down the Mississippi River to New Orleans. He has been able to make a living as a composer since Hurricane Katrina, which attracted volunteers from Oxford University in England, who insisted on publishing his music after they helped to salvage his manuscripts from the floodwaters.
That Oxford University Press publication “Songs of Africa: 22 Pieces for Mixed Voices” (2008) shows his years of experience writing and arranging for the St. Louis African Chorus, which he formed in 1994 (and which now survives as African Musical Arts Inc.). That book led to many other publications as a composer, and music publishing royalties have become a revenue stream for FredO’s family – thanks in large part to Robert De Niro using some of Onovwersuoke’s compositions in his 2007 film about the birth of the CIA, “The Good Shepherd.”