Monday, May 20, 2019

AaronAsk: Weekly mentoring for a creative life: Be Uncomfortable!

Aaron P. Dworkin writes:

Greetings and welcome to this week's episode of AaronAsk, your weekly mentoring session to live a fulfilling creative life!  This week's episode is titled, Be Uncomfortable!  Enjoy, we wish you a creative day and see you for next week's session!

Sunday, May 19, 2019 Leo Brouwer's "The Book of Imaginary Beings" May 25, Stanton, NJ

Leo Brouwer

By Steve Siegel

May 16, 2019

It’s a safe bet that most folks don’t think of classical works when they hear the catch-all phrase “Latin Music.”

Well, let’s face it — Latin classical music is hot, and in fact, it always has been, from the steamy tangos of Argentinian Astor Piazzolla to the intimate chamber compositions of Brazilian Heitor Villa-Lobos, to the Cuban-infused piano works of Ernesto Lecuona.

Contemporary Latin-infused classical music has never been more alive and well. You’ll get to hear an entire evening of it Saturday, May 25 at the Stanton Reformed Church in Stanton, N.J., in the final concert of this year’s Raritan River Music Festival.

The renowned Newman & Oltman Guitar Duo will be joined by Brazilian musical wizards Clarice Assad, piano and voice, and João Luiz, guitar, in a program of new works from Brazil, Mexico, America, and Cuba.

This being the 30th anniversary of the Raritan Fest, Michael Newman and his wife, Laura Oltman, who together founded and direct the festival, wanted to do something special. As a guitar duo, you can’t get more special than having a work composed for you, especially when the composer is none other than Leo Brouwer, arguably the most significant Latin classical composer now living.

The featured work on the program will be the world premiere of Brouwer’s “El Libro de los Seres Imagniarios” (The Book of Imaginary Beings), dedicated to the Newman & Oltman Guitar Duo and commissioned by Raritan River Music, with the generous support of Jeffrey Nissim. The work will receive its New York premiere June 26, with Brouwer attending, as part of the New York Guitar Seminar presented by Mannes College.

Boston Pops: Rhiannon Giddens and Friends Rediscover the Incredible Black Composer

Rhiannon Giddens

Lara Downes

Symphony Hall

Boston, MA

Friday, May 24, 2019, 8 PM

Rhiannon Giddens curates this dynamic concert to rediscover the great Black composers who have been hiding in plain sight in every genre of symphonic music. From Samuel Coleridge-Taylor whose choral music once rivaled Handel’s Messiah to Billy Strayhorn, the genius behind Duke Ellington who wrote “Take the A-Train” and “Day Dream,” and Eubie Blake, composer of the groundbreaking Broadway musical Shuffle Along. We’ll also remember the ladies with Florence Price, the first black woman to have her symphony performed by a major orchestra, and Hazel Scott, the jazz and piano prodigy who became a Hollywood, Broadway and television star. Rhiannon will be joined by collaborators vocalist Darius DeHass (Broadway’s Shuffle Along) and pianist Lara Downes, whose playing has been described as “luscious, moody and dreamy” by the New York Times.

Chicago Sinfonietta: Experience The Essential Elements Saturday, June 1, 2019

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Oakland Public Conservatory Spring Concert honoring Victor McElhaney 3 pm May 19

Experience the full range of Oakland music with OPC students and faculty from our Black Girls Play program, OPC-SFJAZZ Academy, Saturday School Marimba Class, and more. There will be food, a raffle, and a chance to talk with OPC staff and teachers about new and upcoming programs.

This concert is dedicated to the memory of OPC alum and mentor Victor McElhaney, whose drumming genius was nurtured by, and in turn nurtured, our larger East Bay community. He embodied the power of music to bring people together, and we honor him and those who came before him who gave so much to move Oakland further into a future of joy and justice.

Schomburg Center: May 19 is Malcolm X's birthday. He'd be turning 94 if he was with us still

Malcolm X
(Ed Ford, World Telegram staff photographer 1964)

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Sunday, May 19 is Malcolm X's birthday. He'd be turning 94 if he was with us still.

While his life was tragically cut short, Malcolm X's legacy lives on through his words and his work. We want to hear from you as we approach the birthday of our "Black Shining Prince." In six words, tell us what Malcolm X means to you.

This year feels especially right for a celebration of Malcolm X and the indelible mark he made. As many of you know, last summer, the Schomburg Center acquired the manuscript of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, including unpublished fragments and the "lost" chapter titled "The Negro." We're proud to have brought home to Harlem this invaluable work, and to have made it freely accessible through our archives.

We invite you to take a moment to reflect on Malcolm X, whose legacy lives on at the Schomburg. In six words, tell us what Malcolm X means to you.

We are looking forward to seeing your responses. Thank you for continuing to be part of our home in Harlem.

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture Florence Price's Symphony No. 1 in Portland 7:30 PM May 21

Florence B. Price (1887-1953)

May 16, 2019

Brett Campbell

Classical music programs largely consist of endlessly recycled old classics by composers who are (a) European, (b) male, and (c) white. Florence Price is (e) none of the above. The 20th century African American composer does, however, abide by that other common requirement for appearing on classical programs — she’s (d) — dead.

But today, Price’s music is, against all odds, coming back to life, including Tuesday when Portland’s Metropolitan Youth Symphony performs one of her symphonies. 


Born in Arkansas in 1887, Price studied music at the prestigious New England Conservatory and went on to write hundreds of compositions. Premiered in 1933 by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, her Symphony No. 1 in E minor was the first symphony by an African-American woman ever to be performed by a major American orchestra. (Read Damien Geter’s ArtsWatch story about Price and other neglected African American composers.)

But Price’s music, like that of so many composers of color in her time, was ignored by most orchestras and seldom played after her death in 1953. When one of her former homes was remodeled in 2009, the attic yielded dozens of unpublished scores, and ignited an ongoing rediscovery of her music.


“It was this revelation,” [Maestro Raul] Gomez remembers. “Price’s symphony sounds truly American. In it you can hear the strong presence of Afro American rhythms and dances. You can hear influences of orchestral European music of the time, [such as] Dvorak’s New World Symphony, [but] she got that in a personal way. It was very shocking to me that her symphony is, as far as [her publisher] can tell is a US West Coast premiere.” 

The centerpiece of MYS’s May 21 concert, Price’s Symphony #1 fit Gomez’s programming for MYS: “to expose our students to the old well established masterworks of the symphonic catalog, but also to teach them that new music and music by minorities or other neglected composers are as valid as any pieces by the old masters,” he says. “We’re doing [Price’s symphony] from the starting point that it’s great music, not because it was written by a minority. We’re going to celebrate it and perform it. And while doing that, we’re giving voice to composers from other backgrounds that haven’t had the same exposure, for many reasons, historical and otherwise” as venerated white European masters. Gomez also thought Price would be an ideal unfamiliar American voice for the orchestra to showcase on its upcoming European tour.

After Gomez showed the MYS players a documentary film about Price and the challenges she and other composers of color faced, “the orchestra managers said they’d never seen a group of teenagers so quiet and attentive and focused, ever,” Gomez says. “So from the beginning of this process, we contextualized the work and students have been really receptive to it.” Polaris Piano Trio Presents "Jubilee!" 7:30 PM May 19, McLean, VA

Polaris Piano Trio
Laura Kobayashi, Violin; Kenneth Law, Cello; Francesca Hurst, Piano

Reston, Virginia

May 16, 2019

Celebrate women composers and composers of African descent

Local artists and members of Polaris Piano Trio: Laura Kobayashi, Violin Kenneth Law, Cello, Francesca Hurst, piano, present "Jubilee!" a musical celebration featuring works of David Baker, Clara Schumann and Joseph Haydn. Emerson Avenue Salon Series, Sunday, May 19, 7:30 p.m. performance, 8:30 pot-luck dinner. 1508 Emerson Ave., McLean. For more information, visit

Friday, May 17, 2019

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Violin Concerto Movements & Spiritual on YouTube

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912)
Violin Concerto Movement 2
John McLaughlin Williams, Violin
Phillips Academy Andover Orchestra
William Thomas, Conductor

John McLaughlin Williams writes:

Hello Bill,

I don't upload often to YouTube but I just put some Coleridge-Taylor up that you might like. I figured that the Concerto is still rare enough to warrant it. The conductor in the Concerto is the late and sorely missed William Thomas. "Keep Me From Sinking Down" is truly rare so I thought I'd make this performance available as well. 

I hope you enjoy this terrific music and that this note finds you well.

Best regards,

Performances at League Conference feature new works, innovative programming

Two Concerts at League's National Conference, 
MUSIC CentriCITY, Highlight Orchestras' Commitment to Innovative Programming, Collective Action, and 
Topical New Works

Hannibal Lokumbe's Crucifixion Resurrection:
Nine Souls a-Traveling

Honors the Victims of the 2015 Mass Shooting at
Charleston's Mother Emanuel 
African Methodist Episcopal Church

Free Concert on June 4 at 
Nashville's Historic Downtown Presbyterian Church 
Preceded by Conference Delegate "Walk of Love"

Conference Hosts Nashville Symphony and 
Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero
 to Perform Multimedia Version of 
Carmina Burana with the Nashville Ballet;
Joan Tower's Sixth Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman;
Jonathan Leshnoff's Symphony No. 4, "Heichalos,"
June 3 at Schermerhorn Symphony Center 

New York, NY (May 16, 2019) – Two concerts taking place during the League of American Orchestras' 74th National Conference in Nashville (June 3-5) illustrate orchestras' increasingly innovative programming, including poignant new works based on topical events that edge towards social justice.
Written to honor the victims of the 2015 mass shooting at Charleston's Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Hannibal Lokumbe's Crucifixion Resurrection: Nine Souls a-Traveling will be performed by Intersection Contemporary Music Ensemble, with Artistic Director Kelly Corcoran conducting, in a free concert on June 4, 5:30-6:30pm, at Downtown Presbyterian Church, 154 5th Avenue North. Scored for jazz ensemble, chorus, narrators, and vocal soloists, the work honors the nine victims of the mass shooting at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC. 
This performance is sponsored by a generous gift from the CHG Charitable Trust, as recommended by Carole Haas Gravagno.
Envisioned by Lokumbe as an integral part of his piece, a meditative "Walk of Love" will precede the concert. At 5 p.m., Conference delegates will convene in the lobby of Omni Hotel with Nashville community members to participate in a silent walk to Downtown Presbyterian Church. Participants will hold banners commemorating the nine victims of the mass shooting; the twelve-minute reflective experience will serve as a prequel to the commemorative work.
Conference hosts Nashville Symphony and Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero will perform a rich program at Schermerhorn Symphony Center on June 3, including Jonathan Leshnoff's Symphony No. 4, "Heichalos," a work commissioned by the Nashville Symphony for the Violins of Hope, instruments played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust. Joan Tower's Sixth Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman and Barber's Adagio for Strings are also on the program; as well as an exciting new production of Orff's Carmina Burana featuring the Nashville Ballet and an original film by Duncan Copp. Tower is this year's recipient of the Gold Baton Award, the League's highest honor, which she'll receive on June 4.
Additional Performances:
June 3, 1-2:30pm:
During the Conference's Opening Plenary, students in Nashville Symphony's Accelerando initiative will premiere a new work by composer (and Nashville Symphony violist) Christopher Farrell. Accelerando is an intensive music education program designed to prepare gifted young students of diverse ethnic backgrounds to pursue music at the collegiate level and beyond, forming the next generation of orchestra musicians.
June 5, 1:30-3:00pm:
Time for Three—violinist Nicolas (Nick) Kendall, violinist Charles Yang, and double-bassist Ranaan Meyer—will close the Conference. Time for Three defies traditional genre classification; with an uncommon mix of virtuosity and showmanship, the American trio performs music from Bach to Brahms and beyond, giving world-premieres by Pulitzer Prize-winners William Bolcom and Jennifer Higdon, as well as playing originals and their own arrangements of everything from bluegrass and folk tunes to mash-ups of hits by the Beatles, Kanye West, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake, and more. Time for Three will play genre-bending works that demonstrate the way that classical musicians can easily cross between musical cultures.
About 1,000 orchestra stakeholders—managers, musicians, trustees, volunteers, and business partners—will attend the Conference, which will take place at the Omni Hotel and at the Nashville Symphony's concert hall, Schermerhorn Symphony Center, June 3-5. Visit for full details and to register. 

The League of American Orchestras leads, supports, and champions America's orchestras and the vitality of the music they perform. Its diverse membership of more than 2,000 organizations and individuals across North America runs the gamut from world-renowned orchestras to community groups, from summer festivals to student and youth ensembles, from conservatories to libraries, from businesses serving orchestras to individuals who love symphonic music. The only national organization dedicated solely to the orchestral experience, the League is a nexus of knowledge and innovation, advocacy, and leadership advancement. Its conferences and events, award-winning Symphony magazine, website, and other publications inform people around the world about orchestral activity and developments. Founded in 1942 and chartered by Congress in 1962, the League links a national network of thousands of instrumentalists, conductors, managers and administrators, board members, volunteers, and business partners. Visit