Sunday, July 12, 2020 Philadelphia string players are planning two candlelight vigils for violinist Elijah McClain [George Walker's "Lyric for Strings" to be performed]


Composer George Walker in Verizon Hall, April 29, 2018, where his "Lyric for Strings" was performed. 

by Peter Dobrin, Posted: July 12, 2020

It happened almost a year ago in Aurora, Colo. But like an echo growing paradoxically louder over time, the story of Elijah McClain and his horrific death has spread across the country.

Next week it lands in Philadelphia. A group of local string players is planning two candlelight vigils in his memory — one Wednesday at Malcolm X Park in West Philadelphia, and another July 19 on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The aim is to “lift up voices of Black artists and musicians, and to hold the space for victims of systemic racism and police brutality,” says instrumentalist Veronica Jurkiewicz, one of the organizers, who will play viola at the vigils.

“Music has always found a way to bring peace and bring a calm to people when there is so much tragedy in their lives,” says Alberta Douglas, a Philadelphia violinist who is another one of the planners. “It has a way of conveying emotion that words can’t always do.”

McClain, a Black 23-year-old massage therapist, was walking home from a corner store last August when he was approached by three white Aurora police officers after a 911 call reporting someone who “looked sketchy.”

Police said McClain was “uncooperative,” according to a district attorney report. They struggled to handcuff him. A police body camera reveals McClain saying: “I am an introvert. Please respect the boundaries that I am speaking. Leave me alone.”

Police placed him in a carotid hold, and paramedics injected him with the sedative ketamine. He suffered cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital and died three days later, according to news reports.

After an initial investigation, no charges in his death were filed.

David Zalubowski / AP
FILE - In this June 27, 2020, file photo, demonstrators carry a giant placard during a rally and march over the death of 23-year-old Elijah McClain outside the police department in Aurora, Colo. 

McClain’s fate has especially drawn the attention of musicians, who see him as one of their own. He was also a violinist, and a photograph of him playing music for stray cats has been widely circulated.

The music chosen for the candlelight vigils has significance. Lyric for Strings is by George Walker, whose 1996 Pulitzer Prize for music was the first to be awarded to a Black composer. The work was premiered in 1946 on a radio concert by the orchestra of the Curtis Institute of Music, just after Walker graduated from the Philadelphia school. It was originally titled Lament.

“He wrote it after someone in his life [his grandmother] passed away,” says Douglas. “In the piece, you can hear it goes in and out of happiness as if to remember all the sweet memories of the person and the sadness and longing for the person who you can no longer walk beside. It seems to me it has the gentleness of Elijah’s soul and the spirit and sweetness of his smile. But also the sadness of this tragedy.”

John Malveaux: OperaWire interviews Bass Baritone Kevin Short

Kevin Short

John Malveaux of writes:

OperaWire interviews Bass Baritone Kevin Short

Afro-American Chamber Music Society Orchestra from "Intersection of the Symphony & Civil Rights" series


David Crawford writes:


Outstanding performances by the Afro-American Chamber Music Society Orchestra
from "Intersection of the Symphony & Civil Rights" series.

Highlights are the World Premiere of "Summer" by
Dr. Joyce S. Moorman, progressive, provocative &unique.
Also, a joyful & fun felt performance of "Castle House Rag" by James R. Europe.

Listening recommended!

David Crawford, 
MFA, Cal Arts

Saturday, July 11, 2020

"Remembering George Walker" by Da Capo Chamber Players at Merkin Hall, Kaufman Music Center, February 12, 2020 at 8 pm

George Walker (1922-2018)

Gregory Walker, the composer's son, forwards the program of a concert of George Walker's works on February 12, 2020:

Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center
Wednesday, February 12, 2020 at 8 pm

Da Capo Chamber Players
Patricia Spencer, flute/piccolo; Marianne Gythfeldt, clarinet/bass clarinet
Curtis Macomber, violin; Chris Gross, cello

Guest Artists: Robert Mack, tenor; Christopher Oldfather, piano; Thomas Feng, piano William Anderson, guitar/mandolin; Oren Fader, guitar; Robert Ingliss, oboe/English horn
Michael Lipsey, percussion; Marcus Parris, conductor

Remembering George Walker

GEORGE WALKER Music for 3 (1970/1991)

GEORGE WALKER Five Fancies (1975)
Introduction and Five Variations

GEORGE WALKER Modus (1998)
In Four Movements
Written for the Cygnus Ensemble


GEORGE WALKER Tangents (1999; arr. 2020) World Premiere
World Premiere of transcription for the Da Capo Chamber Players

WENDELL LOGAN Runagate, Runagate (1989)


About the Da Capo Chamber Players

Da Capo is honored to be collaborating with the Cygnus Ensemble for the performance of George Walker’s Modus, written for that ensemble.

Winners of the 1973 Naumburg Award, the internationally acclaimed Da Capo Chamber Players has worked closely with countless distinguished composers, representing an enormous spectrum of compositional styles. Da Capo’s virtuoso artists bring years of creative insight, involvement and artistic leadership to performances of today’s repertoire, including well over 150 works written especially for the group, from composers such as Joan Tower, John Harbison, Shulamit Ran, Valerie Coleman, Philip Glass, George Perle, Shirish Korde, Tania León, and Milton Babbitt, among many others.

In tour concerts and mini-residencies across the country, Da Capo works with young composers everywhere, giving them opportunities to try out things with highly experienced virtuoso performers as well as recordings (often award-winning!) of their works. The ensemble has been in residence at Bard College for over three decades, and since 2006 has been Ensemble in Residence with the Composition Program of the Bard College Conservatory of Music. In May 2012, the Naumburg Foundation invited Da Capo to premiere works by their first ever composition winners. National Public Radio named Da Capo’s CD, Chamber Music of Chinary Ung on Bridge Records, as one of the 5 Best Contemporary Classical CDs of the year in 2010.

In May 2016, a 45th Anniversary Program offered several themes tied to Da Capo’s identity: “rhythmnation,” long-standing collaborations with gifted composers, honoring black history. The Da Capo Chamber Players’ history includes a number of exemplary programs highlighting superb works by minority composers, including African-American, Latino, and Asian. Further, these works are routinely included in Da Capo’s “normal” programming (which we of course think is “supra-normal”).

The concerts of the Da Capo Chamber Players are made possible in part with public funds from:

New York State Council on the Arts The National Endowment for the Arts
They are also made possible with private funds from:
Aaron Copland Fund For Music
Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University
Amphion Foundation
Hulbert Charitable Trust
The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation
The Zethus Fund
and generous individuals

GEORGE WALKER Tangents (1999; arr. 2020) World Premiere
World Premiere of transcription for the Da Capo Chamber Players

WENDELL LOGAN Runagate, Runagate (1989)
Next concert in this series at Merkin Hall

Featuring works by Elliott Carter, Mario Davidovsky, Robert Martin and
younger composers Amy Williams, Lei Liang, and others.
June 3, 2020 at 8 PM

The program Remembering George Walker has received special support from the Composers Guild of New Jersey and the Roger Shapiro Fund for New Music.

Friday, July 10, 2020

NOBLE Town Hall: Crisis of Policing and Public Trust: Monday, July 13th at 8:30pm ET on NOBLE's Facebook Live or YouTube Live channels

Join us Monday, July 13th at 8:30pm ET on NOBLE's Facebook Live or YouTube Live channels as we bring you: 

The Crisis of Policing and Public Trust Town Hall

The policy options are on the table and they will address operations but how do we lead the process of building, sustaining, and increasing trust with the communities we serve? How long will it take? is it repairable? How can NOBLE lead the charge of building trust?

Join us on Monday evening, July 13th at 8:30pm ET as we tackle this important topic. I, Too, Sing: A conversation about the Black experience in opera. Friday, July 17th 7 PM ET, Zoom live on Facebook & YouTube

First Row: Naomi Andre, Thomas W. Douglas, Kevin Short
Second Row: Anqwenique Kinsel, Cameron Barnett, Candace Burgess, Creator/Moderator

For Link & Access Visit

Thursday, July 9, 2020

NAACP x BeyGOOD, a meaningful partnership for our community

Earlier this week, I made a commitment to you that NAACP will dedicate the next decade to advancing Black Economic Sustainability. Well, I’m proud to announce that one of our most promising partnerships has launched today – a joint program with BeyGOOD, a global initiative founded by Beyoncé.

The Black-Owned Small Business Impact Fund, administered by NAACP in partnership with BeyGOOD, is a meaningful program that aims to assist our small business communities that have been directly impacted by the recent events across the country. The grants in the amount of $10,000 will be offered to Black-owned small businesses in select cities to help sustain businesses during this time.

To find out about eligibility requirements, click here.

At such a critical time for our nation, it is absolutely vital the most vulnerable people in our community have access to resources that can empower them socially, politically and economically. We are thrilled to partner with BeyGOOD to help strengthen small Black businesses and to ensure economic sustainability for our communities.

I can’t overstate the importance of this program to Black businesses, especially those who are faced with an uncertain future in the wake of COVID-19 and nationwide protests. Please, if you or a business you know is eligible for the grant, I implore you to apply today.

Randye Jones re-launches Afrocentric Sounds, the online radio station featuring classical music written and/or performed by the African diaspora

Afrocentric Sounds - Free Internet Radio - Live365

Author, researcher and soprano Randye Jones announces the re-launch of Afrocentric Sounds, the online radio station featuring classical music written and/or performed by the African diaspora.
Afrocentric Sounds has a pretty eclectic program of music, reflecting the influence of other music styles–Spirituals, Ragtime, Jazz, Blues, Gospel, and other popular and folk music–on the creation and interpretation of classical music. The station also reflects the presence of Afrocentricity in Europe and the Americas. It is a place where performance of Beethoven or Bach resides comfortably with compositions by Joplin, Ellington, Bonds, etc. The station can be accessed directly from the link at or via the station's information page

Afrocentric Sounds Radio also offers daily programming for two hours of music especially focused on specific styles or instruments (all times listed are Central time):

  • Sundays, 9 a.m. until noon – Sacred Sounds: Celebrates sacred music from masses to spirituals
  • Sundays, 5 p.m. – New Sounds: Recordings recently added to Afrocentric Sounds Radio
  • Mondays, 5 p.m. – Spirituals Sounds: Negro spirituals for solo voice
  • Tuesdays, 5 p.m. – Secular Sounds: Art songs and other secular vocal music
  • Wednesdays, 5 p.m. – Piano Sounds: Piano music from yesterday and today
  • Thursdays, 5 p.m. – Orchestra Sounds: Orchestral music from yesterday and today
  • Fridays, 5 p.m. – Opera Sounds: Music from the world of opera
  • Saturdays, 5 p.m. – Chamber Sounds: Secular from solo instruments to chamber ensembles
The goal of Afrocentric Sounds Radio is to provide a broadcast venue for recordings that are currently underrepresented on mainstream classical radio in the hope that those hearing this glorious music for the first time will want to make it a part of that mainstream.
Afrocentric Sounds originally launched on November 1, 2009. Unfortunately, both it and its sister station, Afrocentric Voices Radio, were shelved in 2016. It’s taken four years, but the station has returned with its programming combining music from both stations into one: Afrocentric Sounds Radio.

American Masters – Unladylike2020: The Changemakers Premieres Friday 7/10 on PBS Featuring Women Who Transformed the Nation

Mary Church Terrell, a leader in the anti-lynching movement and a founder of the NAACP

American Masters – Unladylike2020: The Changemakers

Highlights Women in the U. S. Who Fought for Civil Rights and Women’s Suffrage, and Premieres Nationwide July 10, 2020 on PBS

The program spotlights women who pioneered social change and equal rights 100 years ago – including the first women in the U.S. Congress and State Senate, and a co-founder of the NAACP – as part of PBS’ summer celebration of women trailblazers

Timed with the 2020 presidential election and the women’s suffrage centennial, American Masters – Unladylike2020: The Changemakers, narrated by award-winning actor Julianna Margulies (ER, The Good Wife, Billions), and featuring the voice of Lorraine Toussaint (Selma, Orange is the New Black, The Glorias), premieres nationwide Friday July 10 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) and the PBS Video app, as part of PBS’ summer celebration of women trailblazers. This hour-long documentary focuses on political change, examining the ways women accomplished amazing milestones over 100 years ago, overcoming incredible odds and great resistance, to map a national future of equality and to improve life for Americans. It features the rich biographies of five little-known trailblazers, including some of the first women to hold elected office, and women who fought to ensure that citizens are treated equally and protected by the same rights. The lives of these unsung heroes are brought back to life through captivating original artwork and animation; rare archival imagery; and interviews with historians, descendants, and accomplished women and modern-day thought leaders, who reflect on the influence of these pioneers, and the status of suffrage and equality today. 

A little over a century ago, women in the United States did not have universal suffrage. From the 1890s to 1920s, the country experienced rapid industrialization, urbanization, technological innovation, and reform that resulted in increased opportunities for women, including their participation in political institutions. It was also a time of resistance to change, defined by the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, racial violence and Jim Crow, efforts to limit immigration from non-Anglo nations, and campaigns to assimilate American Indians and immigrants. Overcoming unthinkable challenges, some women used their voices and power to become changemakers – running for elected office, organizing for civil rights, citizenship rights and anti-lynching campaigns, and fighting for the right to vote.

The women highlighted in American Masters – Unladylike2020: The Changemakers are Martha Hughes Cannon, the country's first female state senator; Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress; Mary Church Terrell, a leader in the anti-lynching movement and a founder of the NAACP; Jovita Idar, a journalist, and president of the first Mexican American women's civil rights organization; and Zitkála-Šá, also known as Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, who lobbied for U.S. citizenship, voting rights, and sovereignty for American Indians a century ago. 

The hour concludes with the perspectives of contemporary women thought leaders, who consider the lasting impact of these trailblazers’ accomplishments on our nation, and the work they began 100 years ago that is unfinished today. Interviewees include Rep. Deb Haaland (NM-01), one of the first American Indian women in Congress; former Rep. Mia Love (UT-04), the first African American Republican woman in Congress; Ai-jen Poo, executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance; and Brittany Packnett-Cunningham, member of the Ferguson Commission formed following the police shooting death of Michael Brown, Jr. in Ferguson, Missouri.

Unladylike2020 Executive Producer and series creator Charlotte Mangin describes the history featured in the special as timely and current: “Our Unladylike2020 changemakers were critical to making the equality agenda part of the national fabric of this nation.” Executive Producer Sandra Rattley also states, “Two of our heroines, Mary Church Terrell and Jovita Idar, took a stand against lynching. In 2020, Congress is still debating the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act after 120 years of trying to make lynching a federal crime. I have no doubt these unladylike women would be protesting for justice today.”

 Charlotte Mangin and Sandra Rattley directed, wrote and produced the special which is based on the Unladylike2020 multimedia series of 26 documentary shorts that launched in March on the American Masters YouTube channel and continues Wednesdays through August 26, Women’s Equality Day. Executive Producer for American Masters is Michael Kantor.

Major funding for American Masters — Unladylike2020: The Changemakers is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Support is also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, HumanitiesDC, The Leslie and Roslyn Goldstein Foundation, Humanities Montana, South Dakota Humanities, Utah Humanities, and Ohio Humanities.

Support for American Masters is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, AARP, Rosalind P. Walter, Judith and Burton Resnick, Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Vital Projects Fund, Lillian Goldman Programming Endowment, The Blanche & Irving Laurie Foundation, Seton J. Melvin, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, Ellen and James S. Marcus, The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation, and public television viewers.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

John Malveaux: NAACP IMAGE Awards perpetuates systemic racism (omission of achievements by African Americans in classical music and composition)

Derrick Johnson - NAACP

John Malveaux of writes:

The NAACP has a seat at the table and receives funding from selected major US corporations seeking to redress systemic racism. However, the annual NAACP IMAGE Awards perpetuates systemic racism (omission of achievements by African Americans in classical music and composition). Please see 

Classical music is subliminally associated with the concept of White superiority. Many African Americans incorrectly believe classical music is “White music,” and they voluntarily exclude themselves from appreciation, participation and benefits in a refined and cerebral segment of society. Classical music is also known as academic or art music. Achievements of African Americans remain in a kind of cultural closet outside recognition in the annual NAACP IMAGE AWARDS.

AfriClassical website and blog is administered by a retired Administrative Law Judge without corporate or any outside funding with only a sincere dedication to publicize the history and achievements by people of African descent in classical music. However, some blogs NOT specific to classical music are approved and published. The NAACP often publicizes via  Please see 
See pic of Derrick Johnson, President & CEO NAACP