Saturday, April 10, 2021

International Florence Price Festival: Register Now for PriceFest 2021!

Florence B. Price (1887-1953)

We are excited to announce our registration page 
<
https://www.pricefest.org/register>

 is now open for PriceFest 2021 (August 20-23, 2021)!
 

Your registration will give you access to exclusive content including:

  • Green Room meetings with our featured artists
  • Live Zoom performances and presentations, and

  • Interactive chat rooms 
     

To register for PriceFest 2021, you must:

  • Fill out the registration form on pricefest.org/register

  • Click “Register” then click "Pay Registration Fee"

  • Select the appropriate registration fee, making sure the information on both forms matches.

    • Student Registration Fee: FREE (must include link to picture of Student ID)

    • Presenter Registration Fee: $25

    • General Registration Fee: $50

Registered attendees will receive an email with a link to our password-protected festival page later in the summer.

We at PriceFest work hard to keep the festival affordable. Please help us spread the word by sharing this flyer on social media and posting about your registration using the hashtag #newblackrenaissance or #PriceFest2021.

Friday, April 9, 2021

ParmaRecordings.com: "Eleanor Alberga explores the whole gamut of the human experience in WILD BLUE YONDER"

Album: WILD BLUE YONDER
Artist: Eleanor Alberga
Label: Navona Records
Release Date: April 23, 2021

"Eleanor Alberga explores the whole gamut of the human experience in  WILD BLUE YONDER, an equally diverse and coherent set of four contemporary chamber music pieces. While written over the course of twenty-two years, these pieces burst the limits of both space and time. No-Man’s-Land Lullaby reaches back over a century to World War I; Shining Gate of Morpheus enters the realm of the mystical; Succubus Moon explores the dark sides of the  human psyche; and The Wild Blue Yonder offers a glimpse into a world that is at once alien and  wonderful. Undauntedly, positively unsettling album; perfect listening for these unsettling times and a worthy addition to the much hailed album of Alberga's three string quartets from 2019."

Release Date: April 23, 2021

Catalog #: NV6346

Format: Physical & Digital

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=756U2qejQyU&t=4s


Thursday, April 8, 2021

TheHill.com - Opinion: Aaron Dworkin: Black and Latinx arts community still left behind after stimulus

Aaron P. Dworkin


While the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) received $135 million in the American Rescue Plan, arts organizations that depend on live audiences are still struggling with how to reopen following COVID-19. That is, if they survive at all. If America’s famed concert halls and theaters have suffered immense budget shortfalls and faced layoffs, imagine the state of hundreds of regional symphonies, operas, dance companies, playhouses and more. Around 2.7 million arts workers are still currently unemployed, with many forced to leave their fields of music, dance, poetry and more to make ends meet with other jobs.

Just as Black and Latinx people are being hit hardest by COVID-19 from the health toll to economic impact, it is these arts professionals, and the organizations who support them through scholarships, grants, education and performance opportunities, that are in the most financial distress. For organizations without strong endowments, wealthy boards and donors, the threat of permanent closure due to the pandemic is imminent.

Dove Award and NAACP Image Award Producer and Recording Artist Damien Sneed Returns to His Roots with Gospel-Soul Set ‘Damien Sneed UNPLUGGED’


(New York, NY – April 8, 2021) – Dove Award and NAACP Image Award producer and recording artist Damien Sneed returns to his Gospel roots with the release of his brand-new project, Damien Sneed UNPLUGGED on Friday, April 16, 2021, on his boutique label, LeChateau Earl Records. UNPLUGGED is a collection of soulful and inspirational songs, recorded in a free-form, spare studio setting with Sneed on piano and vocals alongside several noted vocalists, including Chenee Campbell, Linny Smith, Tiffany Stevenson, and Matia Washington.

To coincide with the release of UNPLUGGED, on April 16, the Washington Performing Arts’ Home Delivery Plus will broadcast Sneed as the headlining artist. The Home Delivery Plus concert will be recorded at Washington, D.C.’s historic Lincoln Theatre. Sneed will focus on the gospel side of his repertoire, leading a virtuosic ensemble of vocalists and instrumentalists with a special guest appearance by Stellar Gospel Music Award-winning artist Tasha Page-Lockhart, who has a string of Billboard chart-topping recordings to her credit. She is also a past winner of BET Network’s “Sunday Best,” a gospel-singing competition show. Sneed’s forthcoming album, UNPLUGGED, will be released on all digital retail and streaming platforms (click the link here). 
 
UNPLUGGED reunites Sneed with singers whose careers he has seen grow over the years and with whom he has strong relationships. “I’m super proud of this album because all of the singers have grown up in the industry,” Sneed explains. “They all sing with major artists and they’re all artists in their own right.” Though most of the songs were previously recorded by Sneed, they were not previously rehearsed by the ensemble, and most are recorded in two parts to extend the improvisational feel. “We wanted people to just hear the raw execution of what just happened in the studio. We have never done that before. We just went in the studio saying, ‘No rehearsals whatsoever,’” says Sneed.
 
The project is the first studio album under Sneed’s name to be entirely within the gospel genre and bears similarities to his 2015 double-disc project, Broken To Minister: The Deluxe Edition. Sneed won both a 2020 Dove Award and a 2021 NAACP Image Award as a producer for the album’s title single, “Broken To Minister,” which was also recorded by The Clark Sisters’ on their award-winning project, The Return, released on March 13, 2020. 
 
Weaving their incredible voices into intuitive and wholly unrehearsed harmonies at New York’s AlJo Studios in Queens, Sneed and his singers infuse the traditional spiritual “Oh, Freedom” and previously recorded tunes like “Still Small Voice” and “Broken to Minister” with incandescent fervor. Sneed chose to record “Oh Freedom” as a direct response to the unjust killing of George Floyd and support of the Black Lives Matter movement. “In the Black church, gospel music was also big for protests and reconciliations, focused social chains,” he explains. “I was just bringing back the significance of what gospel and the church stood for in civil rights.”
 
While Sneed and his singers and musicians were nervous about the coronavirus, they stepped out on faith by recording together in a single room, thrilled at the opportunity to create once more after so many pandemic shutdowns stopped them from performing live. The joy of their collaboration is evident in every note. “We were a little scared,” Sneed admits, “but we trusted each other.”
 
As a multi-genre recording artist and instrumentalist, Damien Sneed is a pianist, vocalist, organist, composer, conductor, arranger, producer, and arts educator whose work spans multiple genres. He has also worked with jazz, classical, pop, and R&B legends, including the late Aretha Franklin and Jessye Norman, and is featured on Norman’s final recording, Bound For The Promised Land. He also worked with Wynton Marsalis, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Ashford & Simpson, J’Nai Bridges, Lawrence Brownlee, Brandie Inez Sutton, and many others. Sneed has served as music director for Grammy Award-winning gospel artists The Clark Sisters, Richard Smallwood, Donnie McClurkin, Hezekiah Walker, Marvin Sapp, Karen Clark Sheard, Dorinda Clark-Cole, and Kim Burrell, among others. 
 
Sneed is also the founder and artistic director of Chorale Le Chateau, which has gained a global reputation for its vivid interpretations of vocal literature, from Renaissance period pieces to art songs to jazz, spirituals, gospel, and avant-garde contemporary music. His other recordings include Classically Harlem (which commemorated the centennial of the Harlem Renaissance (1920-2020), Jazz in Manhattan (September 2019), and Damien Sneed: We Shall Overcome (January 2019), Broken to Minister: The Deluxe Edition (March 2015), Spiritual Sketches (June 2013), and Introspections LIVE (January 2010).
 
Sneed is featured in Aaron Dworkin’s new book, The Entrepreneurial Artist: Lessons from Highly Successful Creatives (December 4, 2019). The book also features Emmy Award-winning actor Jeff Daniels, Tony Award-winning choreographer Bill T. Jones, and Pulitzer Prize winners Wynton Marsalis and Lin-Manuel Miranda, among others. The Entrepreneurial Artist explores lessons of love, sacrifice, loss, despair, perseverance, and triumph.
 
The Sphinx Medal of Excellence recipient is also featured in the award-winning PBS documentary Everyone Has a Place, which stars Wynton Marsalis. The film captures Sneed’s journey as the musical conductor of the historic performance of Marsalis’ “Abyssinian Mass,” which was performed by the world-renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Sneed’s 70-piece Chorale LeChateau.
 
In 2019, Sneed joined the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music, where he teaches graduate-level courses in conducting, African American Music History, a singer/songwriter ensemble, a gospel music ensemble, and private lessons in piano, voice, and composition. A graduate of John S. Davidson Fine Arts School in his hometown of Augusta, GA., Sneed studied at some of the finest conservatories and universities, including Howard University, where he earned a Bachelor of Music – Piano Performance; the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University; New York University, where he earned a Master of Music in Music Technology: Scoring for Film and Multimedia; and the Manhattan School of Music. Sneed will graduate with his doctorate in Orchestral Conducting from USC in 2021. Sneed was a member of the faculty at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and Nyack College.
 
His other professional affiliations have included The Juilliard School as a staff accompanist, Jazz at Lincoln Center as an artistic consultant, and the City University of New York (CUNY) as a professor of music. In 2015, Sneed established the Damien Sneed Performing Arts Institute, a division of the Damien Sneed Foundation.
 
In 2019 and 2020, Sneed embarked on two 40-city North American tours, “We Shall Overcome: A Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., featuring Damien Sneed.” In honor of Dr. King, Sneed delivered his brand of classical, jazz, and sanctified soul to venues across the country during MLK’s holiday, Black History Month, and Women’s History Month. 
 
For more information on Damien Sneed and LeChateau Earl Records, go to www.damiensneed.com and www.lechateauearl.com.

Parma Recordings: Demondrae Thurman's New Digital Album "Sound & Light" Displays the Euphonium's Range and Tone

Demondrae Thurman

Sound & Light
Demondrae Thurman, Euphonium
Kathryn Fouse, Piano
Navona Records
Release Date: March 26, 2021
Catalog #: NV6339
Format: Digital

Parma Recordings writes:

"Last month we released Demondrae Thurman's album SOUND & LIGHT, an excellent addition to the world of euphonium. Thurman is a powerful performer, with a long career in the music world, including performances with The Temptations to conducting full orchestras.

"Currently, Thurman is Professor of Music at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. The position was created for him to utilize his specific skills and expertise in euphonium and brass chamber music. He also serves on the faculty of Samford University and has given masterclasses and clinics at many of the world's leading colleges and universities for low brass."

"For more than a century, the euphonium went underutilized as a solo instrument, with generations of composers overlooking its surprising range and rich, room-filling tone. In the latter half of the 20th century however, classical composers took interest in the formidable instrument and it evolved from a band staple to a stand-alone tool of artistic expression.

"On SOUND AND LIGHT, Demondrae Thurman wields the euphonium to further expand its repertoire and cement its graceful power into the minds of composers of solos and orchestral works alike. Playing works written by five close friends, Thurman wholly dedicates himself to unlocking the musical mysteries of every measure and fully exploring the instrument’s potential. 

"SOUND AND LIGHT features accompaniment by pianist Kathryn Fouse and new works by Barbara York, Doug Bristol, Anne Victorino d'Almeida, Patrick Schulz, and Anthony Barfield.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

OperaWire.com: Tulsa Opera Adds Performance of ‘Greenwood Overcomes’ on May 2, 2021 at 2:30 p.m. CT


OperaWire

David Salazar

April 7, 2021

Tulsa Opera has announced an additional performance of its “Greenwood Overcomes” program on May 2, 2021 at 2:30 p.m. CT.

The program is also being performed on Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. That first showcase will be streamed on the company’s official website. In a press release, the company cited “high demand” as the reason for adding its second performance.

The showcase, which aims to commemorate the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre, was curated by Met Opera pianist and Assistant Conductor Howard Watkins and Tulsa Opera Artistic Director Tobias Picker and features music by 23 Black composers performed by Black artists. Among the performers are mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves, soprano Leah Hawkins, soprano Leona Mitchell, tenor Issachah Savage, tenor Noah Stewart, mezzo-soprano Krysty Swann, bass Kevin Thompson, and bass-baritone Davóne Tines.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Rebeca Omordia "Ekele" Concert Review by Clive Rubin, Cape Town, Republic of South Africa

Rebeca Omordia

Eni Fashanu sends this review:

In appreciation: The African Concert Series - "EKELE: Piano Music by African Composers" with Rebeca Omordia 

By Clive Rubin, Cape Town, RSA

It was a real pleasure to be able to listen in, despite the prospect of disturbing and worrisome news, that never stops yet fortunately couldn’t interrupt or delay this recital. Thank you for allowing us all to be, briefly, transported and elevated to a higher plane, and concentrate on something altogether more surprising ; the beauty and precision of Rebeca Omordia’s concert pianist's hands. Rebeca Omordia’s hands interpreted and in turn lent grace, poise, levity, dexterity and intensity to works that I have never heard before. In the soundest tradition of inherited culture, that can never be allowed to disappear, Ms Omordia brought back the music of Ayodele Bankole, quite literally, back to life and it was live too. Ms Omordia's concentration and performing without sheet music also had me transfixed and in awe. There were no distractions, not even the rapid turning of the score, all my attention was drawn to Ms Omordia, her perfect memory and her power of interpretation and transposition, delivered via the piano through all ten strong, enamel painted fingers that channelled and coursed up and down releasing as improbable as it may sound, triumphant, at turns baleful, pure, melodic, at other times, loud, alarming and complex composition, ideas and thoughts. If only we could have added the one absent feature A standing ovation. Bravo.
 
Please accept my thanks for introducing and providing a respite and allowing us to tune in to a concert that was a premiere and truly, for most and even the seasoned, a first.

 

John Malveaux: Duke Ellington: "Echoes of Harlem" – Ryan Anthony, trumpet & Arthur Houle, piano

Arthur Houle

John Malveaux of MusicUNTOLD.com writes:

Duke Ellington: Echoes of Harlem – Ryan Anthony, trumpet & Arthur Houle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVAxIeABEYg.  See pic Arthur Houle

Monday, April 5, 2021

American Lyric Theater Announces Expansion of the Composer Librettist Development Program (CLDP) to Address Issues of Access and Equity


 2021-22 Program Open to Artists Across the Country
 
Program to be Delivered through a Combination of Virtual Workshops and In-Person Residencies in New York City with Travel and Housing Provided
 
Each Artist Accepted into the Program to Receive a $20,000 Stipend
 
Applications Open Now Through April 30, 2021

NEW YORK, NY – March 18, 2021 – Today, American Lyric Theater (ALT) announced significant changes to its flagship Composer Librettist Development Program (CLDP), the only full-time, multi-year professional mentorship initiative for opera composers, librettists and dramaturgs in the country. The application period for the 2021-22 season of the CLDP is now open, with applications being accepted online through April 30th.  Three composers and three librettists will be accepted to the new cycle of the CLDP, which begins in September 2021. There is no fee to apply for the program.  Accepted artists will be announced in June.
 
Through the CLDP, ALT offers a unique combination of training and direct financial support as artists develop their unique voices as writers for the opera stage. To increase access to the program for artists from across the country, ALT will be offering the CLDP this season through a combination of virtual classes and workshops, and four in-person residency periods in New York City for which ALT will provide travel and housing. In addition, to further address issues of racial equity and access, ALT will provide a $20,000 stipend to each artist accepted into the program to assist with their expenses during the 2021-22 season; and all artists who complete the first year of the CLDP core-curriculum will be commissioned by ALT to write an opera under the auspices of the program, with increased commission fees paid to each artist as their works are developed in partnerships between ALT and other opera companies across the country. Application information and additional details about the CLDP may be found at www.altnyc.org/composer-librettist-development-program
 
The CLDP embraces musical storytellers from diverse backgrounds and features a unique curriculum of classroom training and hands-on workshops with some of the country’s leading working artists. Under the direction of ALT’s Founder and stage director Lawrence Edelson and recently appointed Associate Artistic Director and conductor Kelly Kuo, principal faculty mentors for the new cycle of the CLDP, will include Edelson and Kuo, as well as composer/librettist Mark Adamo, librettist Mark Campbell, composer Anthony Davis, dramaturg Cori Ellison, and a host of internationally acclaimed guest artists.  
 
As a part of the company’s ongoing commitment to building a new body of operatic repertoire that reflects the racial diversity of contemporary American society, ALT is particularly invested in fostering talented artists whose perspective has been historically underrepresented in opera. To codify and continue that commitment, American Lyric Theater this year launched the Opera Writers Diversity and Representation Initiative (OWDARI), a strategic framework adopted by ALT to address racial justice in its contributions to the opera field and increase participation by artists of diverse racial and artistic backgrounds in the CLDP.
 
“It is essential that we provide a platform for BIPOC artists to create new works and help them tell stories that are meaningful to them,” says composer Jorge Sosa, a CLDP Alum, OWDARI Advisory Council Member, and 2021 CLDP Guest Lecturer. “Relevance in the arts will be directly linked to diversity and equity in years to come. It is an exciting time for the art form as it expands its color palette. The CLDP provides not only training but a meeting place for artists that share the same goals. It has provided me with great opportunities, contacts, and access to collaborators who have in many cases become lifelong artistic partners.”
 
Addressing the changes to the CLDP this season, ALT’s Founder, Artistic and General Director Lawrence Edelson explains that “the OWDARI was the catalyst for us creating our free online Opera Writers Symposium this winter, and the response to that program has been overwhelming. Over 400 composers and librettists from across the country have participated in these seminars to date, making it clear to us that there are not only writers from diverse backgrounds living coast to coast who are interested in opera as a way to tell their stories through music, but also a real hunger for what we offer at ALT. We decided to adapt the CLDP into a hybrid program for the upcoming season – combining online classes and workshops with in-person residency periods in New York City –  to open up this opportunity for artists regardless of where they live.”
 
“The increased stipend this season is another concrete action we have taken to increase access to the program,” added Associate Artistic Director Kelly Kuo. “The CLDP is a significant time commitment, and meaningful financial support makes it possible for artists to dedicate more time to their writing and their art.”
 
For those considering applying to the CLDP or interested in learning more about writing for the opera stage, registration is still available for ALT’s free, CLDP Opera Writers Symposium open now through April 24. Upcoming Symposium seminars include Opera, Technology and Innovation, led by composers Kamala Sankaram and Jorge Sosa; From Erased to Self-Empowered: Celebrating BIPOC Opera Composers and Librettists led by Kelly Kuo; How to Have a Happy Marriage: Collaboration Best Practices, led by Lawrence Edelson and Cori Ellison; and Writing Opera and the Law, led by entertainment lawyer James Kendrick.  Upcoming speakers during the symposium include CLDP guest faculty including composers Missy Mazzoli, Daniel Bernard Roumain, Huang Ruo and Errollyn Wallen; and librettists Stephanie Fleischmann, David Henry Hwang, Andrea Davis Pinkney, and Royce Vavrek
 
The Composer Librettist Development Program at American Lyric Theater is made possible with generous leadership support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Challenge the Stats Team: RHYTHM OF THE ROOTS 2021 Concert to Honor BIPOC Artists Saturday, April 10, 8 PM ET


Angelica Hairston writes:

The highly-anticipated Challenge the Stats (CTS) RHYTHM OF THE ROOTS 2021 virtual concert will stream on Saturday, April 10, 2021 at 8 p.m. ET. Rhythm of the Roots will honor BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) legacy makers, and amplify the need for racial justice through engaging chamber music, dance and activism. "After what has been such a difficult year, we look forward to celebrating artists of color and using our voices and our music in the resounding call for justice," says Angelica Hairston. Angelica is the executive director of Challenge the Stats, an organization she founded to empower classical artists of color. 

Concert highlights include: An all-female string quartet performing the compositions of Atlanta Symphony Orchestra musician Juan Ramirez and Atlanta native Joel Thompson; Verena Anders, co-founder of Conductors for Change, performing the piano works of Navajo composer Connor Chee; Harpist Angelica Hairston and Hornist Marie Douglas performing a tribute to George Floyd in “Listen to the Cry of Your Fellow Man,” composed by Charles Overton and Gus Sebring; flutist Tara Byrdsong performing Atlanta native Carlos Simon’s “Move It,” a piece written during the COVID 19 pandemic; Verena Anders, Tara Byrdsong and Ricky Saucedo performing the works of Black female composer Valerie Coleman; Poet Niani Braxton recites poems of Langston Hughes; Dancer Michael Morris Jr. performs Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come,” arranged for string quartet by Atlanta native composer Joel Thompson. Rhythm of the Roots is co-presented by Challenge the Stats and Concerts @ First as part of Challenge the Stats in Residence at First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta. For more information visit www.challengethestats.org or