Saturday, January 25, 2020

A Black History Program - African American Legacies: Outstanding Moments in our History - 2/15/2020


African American Legacies: OutstandingMoments in our History 
February 15, 2020 3:00 PM

Knox Presbyterian Church
FREE admission!
AFRICAN AMERICAN LEGACIES – Outstanding Moments in our History is slated to be an event that should not be missed. If you appreciate Black History, are a lover of music, or enjoy the artistry of the spoken word, then this event is truly for you. Knox Presbyterian Church and the Georgia Laster Association of Musicians, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit affiliate branch of the National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc.(NANM), have teamed together to to showcase some outstanding African-American, historical moments through the works of arranger and composer, Hall Johnson, the brilliance of soprano, Jessye Norman, the passion in the poetry of Maya Angelou and much more. All are welcome and admission is free.  For more information about both organizations, visit www.nanm.org and knoxpresla.org.

The Barnstable Patriot: Ghanaian American pianist and scholar William Chapman Nyaho performing Camille Saint-Saëns’ “Africa”

William Chapman Nyaho

Symphony, guests take audience on ‘Africa’ journey

John Malveaux: ZocaloPublicSquare.org: America’s Racial Progress Is Real. So Is the White Supremacy That Threatens It

Lawrence D. Bobo
(Photo by Aaron Salcido.)

John Malveaux of www.MusicUNTOLD.com writes:

1-23-20 Dr. Lawrence D. Bobo (Harvard University) interviewed by LA Times writer Sandy Banks at Zocalo Public Square WHAT DOES THE RESURGENCE OF WHITE SUPREMACY MEAN FOR THE FUTURE OF RACE RELATIONS?  Listen to podcast

Friday, January 24, 2020

On An Overgrown Path: An African-American in Moscow [John McLaughlin Williams Conducted Novaya Russiya]


John McLaughlin Williams

On An Overgrown Path

Thursday, January 16, 2020

In 1938 Fritz Reiner conducted Henry Kimball Hadley's concert overture 'In Bohemia' at a memorial concert for the composer. Now a very powerful new video from Moscow of the Novaya Russiya Orchestra playing 'In Bohemia' conducted by John McLaughlin Williams - seen above - has appeared on YouTube. Today Hadley is a forgotten figure, but he once played a leading role in American music. In 1911 he became the founding conductor of the San Francisco Symphony, the first American-born musician to hold a major conducting position, and he was associate conductor of the New York Philharmonic from 1921 to 1927. As a major figure in the early years of Hollywood film music he conducted the New York Philharmonic for the soundtrack of Warner Bros' 1926 film Don Juan starring John Barrymore, which was the first movie with synchronized music. He composed the score for the 1927 Barrymore film When a Man Loves, and among his other compositions are five symphonies (listen to symphonies 2 and 4 here and here) and five operas.

This Moscow concert video intrigued me as today performances of Henry Kimball Hadley's music are very rare. So I asked John McLaughlin Williams for the backstory, which he provided as follows:

My agent is Lena Khandros of Momentum Artists. She made the gig happen. Lena is Ukrainian and Jewish by birth and a longtime citizen here. She worked her magic in ways unknown to me. An American organization called the Foundation for Cultural Engagement was greatly involved in making my appearance happen. The concert was under the auspices of the Moscow Philharmonic Society and the orchestra is Novaya Russiya, which is Yuri Bashmet's orchestra. The concert program was billed as "Hollywood Melodies" and it was conceived and largely programmed by the Ivanov Brothers, Mikhail and Andrey, who are famous Russian jazz musicians. The concert also featured three singers: Chuck Wansley (an American song stylist presently residing in Prague), Mariam Merabova (nationally famous over there as a blues singer), and Tatiana Pavlovskaya (world famous operatic soprano resident at the Mariinsky). The performance was in the famous Tchaikovsky Hall.

Though the program featured the Ivanov brothers, I was asked to provide a program opener and in keeping with the American orientation of the extant program, Hadley's showstopper came to mind immediately. The concert's first half began with that and continued with some famous Sinatra arrangements featuring Chuck. I did Morgen (from Strauss' Four Last Songs) with Tatiana (wonderful!) and also did some choice Mancini: Breakfast at Tiffany's, Charade, and his arrangement of Jesus Christ Superstar. Tatiana is a world-class singer: in fact, all these folks are famous in their own fields.

The second half featured the Ivanovs and was constructed like a detective story with music. This half began with Mancini's Pink Panther and went on to feature the big main title songs from James Bond films. The singers delivered these in various combinations along with copious extemporizations from the Ivanov brothers' and their two bandmates. All were excellent. The concert was sold out and was apparently a great success. There was a lot of P.R. for it and the entire concert will be available for online viewing. That's pretty much it. I got an opportunity and tried to make the most of it! I'm presently inquiring about future recording.
We can all learn from John's self-effacing observation that "I got an opportunity and tried to make the most of it". But this story raises two important questions. Why does Henry Kimball Hadley's music have to travel to Moscow to receive the attention it deserves? And why, despite the much-celebrated 'Sheku effect', does John McLaughlin Williams have to travel to Moscow to receive the attention he deserves?

John Malveaux: Vox.com: The lost neighborhood under New York’s Central Park


John Malveaux of www.MusicUNTOLD.com sends this link:

Vox

A historically black village’s destruction made way for Central Park’s creation.







Sergio Mims: André J. Thomas will conduct the London Symphony Orchestra in a concert of gospel symphonic music in March

André J. Thomas

Sergio A. Mims writes:


The London Symphony Orchestra has just released a press release announcing that next month the conductor/composer/arranger Andre J. Thomas will conduct a concert of symphonic gospel music with the orchestra.

"On Sunday 1 March 2020, leading American gospel music specialist André J Thomas will conduct the London Symphony Orchestra in their first ever full concert of gospel symphonic music. The evening will bring together the full orchestra, a 400-strong choir comprising the London Adventist Chorale, with LSO Community Choir, Hannah Brine Choirs, Hackney Empire Community Choir, and Milton Keynes Community Choir with guest soloists, NaGuanda Nobles (soprano), Jason Dungee (tenor) and Brandon Boyd (piano)".
'André J Thomas said: “This concert brings together two forms of music that are indigenous to African Americans: the slave song as spiritual and the gospel song which came after emancipation and grew out of the spiritual. Now we’re putting that in symphonic setting, with full orchestra and choir. This is music of the soul, of a people who were so close to music. It’s music about their lives. As Africans, that’s a crucial part of our expression – in the African village everyone dances and sings. That extended itself to the time of slavery; add the religious element on top, and it creates something incredibly powerful'.
'Kathryn McDowell, Managing Director of the LSO added: “Every year LSO Sing, the umbrella title for our range of singing projects for vocal enthusiasts of all ages, gets stronger and stronger, with an ever-broadening repertoire. For our Christmas Concert in 2018 we added a gospel element, and received such a wonderful warm response from our audiences and had a great time performing the music that the Orchestra decided it was time to present a full evening with gospel music at the heart. I am delighted that this has come to fruition. It’s a pleasure to welcome André J Thomas to conduct, and a thrill that on stage we have the wonderful London Adventist Chorale under the leadership of Ken Burton, and most of all, that we will be bringing together four community choirs to raise the roof of the Barbican Hall.”
'The programme for the evening will be in two parts: opening the evening will be selection of well-known and less familiar spirituals, with André J Thomas’ own composition Gospel Mass – A Celebration of Love and Joy forming the second part of the evening'. 

Thursday, January 23, 2020

John Malveaux: Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra in "Hiawatha," "A Lincoln Portrait" & "Afro-American Symphony" at SGI Auditorium January 18

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912)

Aaron Copland

William Grant Still (1895-1978)

John Malveaux of www.MusicUNTOLD.com writes:

January 18, 2020 Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra annual Martin Luther King Holiday Concert at SGI Auditorium in Santa Monica equaled or exceeded previous years. Maestro Guido Lamell opened with Overture to "Hiawatha" by Afro-British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. KUSC radio host Rich Capparela was an effective narrator for "A Lincoln Portrait" by Aaron Copland. The second half featured all four movements of William Grant Still's "Afro-American Symphony No. 1". The special afternoon ended with an appreciative audience singing the traditional "We Shall Overcome" with added solo improvisations from four orchestra players. See pic 1 Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, pic 2 Aaron Copland, pic 3 William Grant Still.

Sergio Mims: Sheku Kanneh-Mason's New Decca Recording of Elgar's Cello Concerto Makes UK Album Chart history

Sheku 
Kanneh-Mason
Elgar
London Symphony Orchestra
Sir Simon Rattle

Sergio A. Mims writes:

This weekend Gramophone Magazine announced that Sheku Kanneh-Mason's new Decca recording of the Elgar Cello Concerto with London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Simon Rattle earned a place in the Top 10 of the UK Official Album Charts  it premised last week as No 8 on the charts and not since  Nigel Kennedy's recording of Vivaldi's Four Seasons in 1989 has a British classical musician earned a place in the Top 10 of the UK Official Album Charts album  The album also, not unsurprisingly, also landed as No 1 in the Specialist Classical Chart.

Friday, January 17, 2020

LATimes.com: Santa Monica Symphony Performs William Grant Still's "Afro-American Symphony" 2 PM Saturday Jan. 18

Civil rights leader Martin Luther King is remembered with concerts, a parade and other events this holiday weekend.
Los Angeles Times
AFP/Getty Images

He had a dream

Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra’s annual MLK holiday concert remembers the civil-rights leader with a program that features Aaron Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait” narrated by KUSC’s Rich Capparela, as well as William Grant Still’s Symphony No. 1, “Afro-American.” SGI Auditorium, 525 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica. 2 p.m. Saturday Free. smsymphony.org

The Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles performs inspirational music including an orchestral and choral setting of King’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., L.A. 7 p.m. Saturday. Free; reservations recommended. (310) 440-4500. skirball.org

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Lara Downes Music: What's new in the New Year!



LOOKING BACK

 

2019... it was a year of milestones and marvels. Some high points:

 

My first No. 1 on the Billboard Chart!!
My album For Love of You debuted with two weeks at #1, and brought the music of Clara and Robert Schumann to so many ears and hearts - more in the NY Times and Boston Globe...

 

I hosted NPR's From the Top with a cast of ridiculously talented young musicians who are also spectacular human beings. Listen to the show! (I'm hosting again in May, stay tuned...)

 

My album Holes in the Sky brought me the miraculous gift of collaboration with artists including Judy Collins, Rhiannon Giddens, Simone Dinnerstein, Leyla McCalla... check out the constellation of goddesses HERE

 


I played with the Boston Pops, at Tanglewood, Washington Performing Arts, Ravinia, National Sawdust, Joe's Pub, and here and there and everywhere, and during my last trip of 2019, my trusty red suitcase gave up the ghost.



LOOKING AHEAD

 

2020 starts with a series of recordings dropping TODAY! I am so happy to share with you these world-premiere releases of the piano works of Florence Price, whose music has enthralled me for many years. Ms. Price's story is a complicated one, as American stories usually are. She was a trailblazing, fearless, tireless, phenomenal woman who accomplished extraordinary things and wrote extraordinary music. Get my recording of her Fantasie Negre No. 4 today, and you can sign up HERE to be notified when new EPs drop later this month.

 

My album SOME OF THESE DAYS is coming in April. This project has been a long time coming in my heart and soul, and I can't wait for you to hear it.

 

I'm beyond thrilled to be making my debut this summer with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, playing Price's fabulous Piano Concerto (in its premiere performance with this iconic orchestra) as well as a world premiere of Paola Prestini's new concerto Let Me See the Sun, commissioned for me by the Ravinia Festival, the Louisville Orchestra and the Oregon Bach Festival.




Where you'll find me...

2020 is bound to be a year of change, and I hope that brighter, more peaceful days are in store for all of us.

In the meantime, let the music play...

You can find my schedule HERE, and I hope to see all of you soon on my travels.

To all of you, my warmest wishes for everything good in this New Year!
xox

Many thanks to

My family - the phenomenal women of Holes in the Sky - My team at Cadenza Artists - Bonnie Barrett and Yamaha Artist Services - Sony Masterworks - Naxos of America - John Michael Cooper - Adam Abeshouse - Tad Wheeler/Tenderdyn Arts - 8va Music Consultancy - Noelle Panepento - Austere Visuals - The New York Times - The Boston Globe - WQXR - The San Francisco Ballet Orchestra - Washington Performing Arts - Ravinia - Oregon Bach Festival - The Louisville Orchestra - From the Top - Mondavi Center - Sphinx Organization - - and all my friends and colleagues who are fighting the good fight.