Monday, September 21, 2020

Rebeca Omordia: Meridian Records releases "21st Century Double Bass" with Leon Bosch, Double Bass, and Rebeca Omordia, Piano

21st Century Double Bass is accompanied by Rebeca Omordia on Piano and features the music of Robin Walker, Simon Parkin, Philip Wood, Ivor Hodgson, David Ellis, Malcolm Lipkin and Roxanna Panufnik.

@RebecaOmordia Tweeted: Out now! Very special to record The South African Double Bass with duo partner @leonbosch! The recording is out now on

Rebeca Omordia Elizabeth Llewellyn joins Wigmore regular Simon Lepper for a programme including Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's set of six songs dedicated to his wife.

 Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912)

Wednesday, 23 September 2020, 1.00pm

A British opera singer who debuted with the English National Opera, Elizabeth Llewellyn joins Wigmore regular Simon Lepper for a programme including Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's set of six songs dedicated to his wife.

This concert will be live streamed on this website in HD. Watch live here:

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Published on 21 September 2020

Sunday, September 20, 2020

NYTimes: Anthony McGill, ‘Citizen Musician,’ Wins $100,000 Award

Credit...Miranda Barnes for The New York Times

The New York Philharmonic’s principal clarinet, and a leader in promoting racial representation, was chosen for the Avery Fisher Prize.

Sept. 15, 2020

Anthony McGill, the New York Philharmonic’s principal clarinet, hasn’t been heard onstage at Lincoln Center since the coronavirus pandemic abruptly ended the orchestra’s season in March. But he has been difficult to miss online, whether as the instigator of #TakeTwoKnees performances in response to the killing of George Floyd, or as a prominent voice in subsequent conversations around racial representation in classical music.

Those sides of his artistry — as a captivating virtuoso on the stage, and as a longtime advocate for social change extending beyond it — have earned him the Avery Fisher Prize, an honor that comes with $100,000, the Avery Fisher Artist Program announced on Tuesday.

Mr. McGill was chosen for the award last December; an announcement had been planned for April, with a celebration to follow in June, but both were canceled because of the pandemic. (The ceremony will now be virtual, and streamed Tuesday evening.) Still, his contributions this year to the Black Lives Matter movement have reinforced why he won the prize in the first place, said Deborah Borda, the Philharmonic’s president and the chairwoman of the executive committee of the Fisher program, which is administered by Lincoln Center.

“I have the highest admiration for what I would call the citizen musician,” said Ms. Borda, who as Mr. McGill’s Philharmonic colleague recused herself from the award vote. “He is the embodiment of that.”


Mr. McGill joins the ranks of previous winners, who in recent years have included the new-music champions Leila Josefowicz and Claire Chase, as well as the pianist and writer Jeremy Denk. Because an in-person celebration was not possible, Mr. McGill has been granted an additional $30,000 to donate; he chose the Juilliard School’s Music Advancement Program, of which he is the artistic director and which seeks students from backgrounds generally underrepresented in classical music.

That extra money, combined with added gifts from Mr. McGill and Weston Sprott — a trombonist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and the dean of Juilliard’s preparatory division — will be used to create a $100,000 scholarship fund.

“We’re trying to ensure openness and opportunity for all kids, regardless of background, race, religion, sexual orientation,” Mr. McGill said in an interview. “That’s my No. 1 goal and passion.”

Mr. McGill was the Philharmonic’s first Black principal musician when he joined in 2014; he is currently its only Black player. He appears at David Geffen Hall and elsewhere as a concerto soloist, and is in a trio with his brother, Demarre McGill — the principal flute of the Seattle Symphony — and the pianist Michael McHale. In 2009, he performed at Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration. Utah Symphony’s cautious opening proves a moving experience: Fela Sowande’s “Joyful Day” opened the show in festive fashion.

Fela Sowande (1905-1987)

[Fela Sowande is considered the Father of Nigerian Art Music. His career is profiled in detail at]

Utah Symphony’s cautious opening proves a moving experience

By Catherine Reese Newton

September 19, 2020

The Utah Symphony opened its 2020-21 season on time Thursday night, ending a six-month intermission. Earlier the same day the Utah Department of Health reported a state record of 911 new cases of the novel coronavirus.

The orchestra took abundant care in its first concert since the Covid-19 pandemic stopped the music world in its tracks. The Abravanel Hall stage was extended to allow at least 6 feet of distance between the night’s performers—about 40 string players, joined briefly by harpist Louise Vickerman and even more briefly by principal percussionist Keith Carrick.  

Fela Sowande’s “Joyful Day” opened the show in festive fashion. In this first movement from the Nigerian composer’s 1944 African Suite based on West African tunes, it may have taken a few bars for the string sound to coalesce, but the orchestra soon showed itself in top form.        

John Malveaux: Mezzo Soprano Denyce Graves Montgomery was a dear friend of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Denyce Graves Montgomery and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

John Malveaux of writes:

Mezzo Soprano Denyce Graves Montgomery was a dear friend of  Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  MusicUNTOLD presented Denyce Graves-Montgomery in recital at Long Beach Performing Arts Center June 19, 2011. The following YouTube performance is dedicated to the Honorable Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg See pic Justice Ginsburg and Denyce Graves Montgomery

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Chicago Sinfonietta: Common Ground: Collective Stories October 17, 2020

We welcome you to join our opening concert of the season on Saturday, October 17!

During this unique time in the history of our country, and the world, we continue to seek a path to equity and justice through Common Ground. Chicago Sinfonietta presents an online season opening concert that begins with Copland's historic Fanfare for the Common Man, dedicated to the pandemic's heroes that have helped us all to move forward in this extraordinary time. Followed by Portrait of a Peaceful Warrior, a Chicago Sinfonietta world premiere commission to which we can all find meaning in by Kathryn Bostic, the first female African American composer to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and a moving work for string ensemble by Florence Price. Jeff Scott's woodwind quintet arrangement of Piazzolla's rousing and crowd pleasing Libertango reflects our yearning for liberty during these challenging times. Closing the concert is a new string arrangement by American composer Jeffrey Briggs of Beethoven's beloved Pathétique Sonata for piano, which marks the 250th anniversary of the prolific composer's birth.
Learn More

To purchase a ticket to the virtual concert, reserve a membership now! One week prior to the event, members will receive a link with access instructions. The concert will be available to stream beginning at 7:30pm CDT on Saturday, October 17, for a 24-hour time period.

Defiant by Design. An orchestra for the 21st century.

Your support means everything to us, ensuring that Chicago Sinfonietta can hold concerts for years to come. We can't wait to see you when it is safe to gather in person.
Visit our website to see everything we have in store for our 2020-2021 Season.

Arts Engines: Aaron Dworkin Interviews Terri Lyne Carrington!

Welcome to this week's episode of Arts Engines which now reaches over 100,000 weekly viewers in partnership with Detroit Public Television, Ovation TV, The Violin Channel and American Public Media including Performance Today and YourClassical. Arts Engines seeks to share the most valuable advice and input from arts administrators who tell their stories of creative problem-solving, policy, economic impact, crisis management and empowering the future of our field.

This week's show is co-curated by our Creative Partner, the Berklee College of Music and our guest is Terri Lyne Carrington, Founder & Artistic Director of the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice.  Enjoy... and have a creative week!


Friday, September 18, 2020

John Malveaux: Composer Dr. Nkeiru Okoye INVITATION TO A DIE IN Premiere performance

Dr. Nkeiru Okoye

John Malveaux of writes:

Composer Dr. Nkeiru Okoye  

INVITATION TO A DIE IN Premiere performance


John Malveaux: Director Rita Coburn to document Marian Anderson for PBS and beyond

Rita Coburn

John Malveaux of writes:

Director Rita Coburn to document Marian Anderson for PBS and beyond.  See

Sergio A. Mims: 'Classical Music Can Change The Racial Conscience Of Society,' Says One Conductor

Brandon Keith Brown

Brandon Keith Brown

Sergio A. Mims writes:

Conductor Brandon Keith Brown earlier this week gave an interview to Boston's NPR radio station WBUR about how classical music can change society for the better. 

Sept. 14, 2020

By Tonya Mosley and Samantha Raphelson

Last week, Minnesota Public Radio fired its only Black classical music host for changing up the station's music lineup without permission.

Garrett McQueen defends what he did, saying he mixed in works by Black composers and added more contemporary music to reflect the current moment of racial reckoning in the U.S. McQueen's actions are just the latest in an ongoing movement calling for more diversity in classical music.

Brandon Keith Brown, a classical conductor based in Berlin, argues that classical music can change the racial conscience of society. He recently penned a Medium article titled "It's Time To Make Orchestras Great Again — By Making Them Blacker."

“I believe that only classical music can save itself,” Brown says. “But I believe classical music is the only thing that can change the racial conscience of white society in America because it polarizes society in such a strong way.”

A concert hall is a magical place, but as a Black man, Brown says it is made abundantly clear that those spaces are made for white people.

Orchestra halls are historically spaces for upper-middle-class white people “to separate themselves from people of lower class and people that are different than them,” he says. That’s why there are often few Black people in orchestra audiences today.

“There is always still even that sense of not belonging when you go,” he says. “And it also sometimes can follow me very much on the podium when I'm conducting an orchestra as well.”

This sense of not belonging extends to classical music itself, Brown says, because it is historically an elitist art form.

“Every time you've given Black people access to an art form, athletics, we have dominated,” he says. “I think one of the biggest fears white people have is that Blacks will come in and dominate this space and take away the space from them.”

Less than 2% of musicians in U.S. orchestras are Black, and only 4.3% of composers are Black. Black people are ready and able to step into these roles, Brown says, but they haven’t occupied more space because white people want to keep the status quo.

“This woke me up, to put it very frankly, to the fact that I'm Black before I'm a conductor,” he says. “I will never be seen as an orchestra conductor before I am Black.”

Classical music has failed to attract a diverse audience because it secludes itself by race and class, Brown says. You can see it in advertising for classical music performances, he says, which tends to ignore the exchange of cultures.

In an orchestra’s advertising, promotionals are often “just saying, 'We're playing in this hall. You should come in. And if you don't, you're low class. You're less educated. You're not sophisticated,' ” Brown says. “And so I do speak a lot on the racial aspect, but you've got to realize that classical music is saying no to the working poor.”

In other words, classical music is not welcoming new people into its world. As a conductor, Brown says it’s his responsibility to “reach across racial lines” and bring more people in.

“If we can remind people that we're all human and we have the same feelings through sound, if we could do it through this way,” he says, “I think that this is something, the shared empathy that will go out into the street.”

The empathy people experience through classical music could change everything about our daily lives, he says.

“This is something that is going to allow us to sit next to each other on the train without white people getting up when I sit down. People won't grab their purse when I pass by and switch it to the other side,” he says. “And maybe the police would stop shooting us.”