William Grant Still (1895-1978) is profiled at AfriClassical.com, which features a comprehensive Works List by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma, http://www.CasaMusicaledeLerma.com
Timothy Verville, Music Director of Georgia Symphony Orchestra, brings this article to our attention:
Marietta Daily Journal
Georgia Symphony Orchestra announces 2017-18 season
[T]he symphony’s continuation concert of its America series, “America, Vol. 4” will step outside of the realm of traditional, classical artists and into the minds of some of the world’s most famous African-American composers.
That production will include performances at the Ray Charles Center as well as the Marietta Performing Arts Center in March 2018 and will feature artistic partnerships with the Morehouse College Glee Club, Georgia Spiritual Ensemble, Oral Moses and the Uzee Brown Society of Choraliers. The production will also include a world premiere of “Moonlight Waltz,” written by the GSO’s own N.E. Wheeler, and Georgia premieres of William Grant Still’s “And They Lynched Him on a Tree” and Daniel Bernard Roumain’s “Human Songs and Stories.”
“We’ve done work in the African-American community before but I started consulting with local black arts leaders and discussing with them how important it would be for the African-American community for our organization to take up something which, unfortunately, is still an important topic today: race relations. You would hope we could be beyond these types of things, but we’re not. They were extremely encouraged,” Verville said.
Verville said Still is one of America’s first African-American composers to reach a high level of fame and that most people know him from his work with the Afro-American Symphony. But while the title of Still’s masterpiece might pose some controversy, Verville said the story of injustice and murder will undoubtedly move audience members, which is the goal of music itself.
“It should be of interest to everyone. This is the type of thing that stays in the shadows and people dance around it, and I think the only way you grow from something is by having the discussion. Our hope with this concert is to have that discussion. The piece is moving in a way that’s hard to put into words and that’s a good thing because it does what good music does, which is indescribable. You just know how it’s affected you and that’s the point of music — to say it in a way words can’t,” Verville said.
For more information on the GSO, visit georgiasymphony.org.