Sunday, May 16, 2021

TheSPCO.org: "Songs of Sorrow, Songs of Hope" streams 9 PM CT May 22, 2021 with "Molto Adagio from String Quartet No. 1," "Lyric" of George Walker

George Walker (1922-2018)

Songs of Sorrow, Songs of Hope

Saturday, May 22, at 9:00 pm CT

Inspired by sacred music, this program looks toward a brighter tomorrow after a year filled with uncertainty. Stirring selections from Sergei Rachmaninoff’s piano compositions and George Walker’s First String Quartet lead the program, along with the world premiere performance of American Indian composer Brent Michael Davids’ new work for solo flute. We will conclude with Franz Joseph Haydn’s series of seven musical meditations on Christ’s final words.

We dedicate this program to the memory of George Floyd.

John Malveaux: LACO.org: Ellen Reid’s "Lumee’s Dream" spotlights internationally renowned soprano and native Californian Nicole Cabell in her LACO debut

Nicole Cabell

John Malveaux of NusicUNTOLD.com writes:

Ellen Reid’s Lumee’s Dream spotlights internationally renowned soprano and native Californian Nicole Cabell in her LACO debut.  See https://www.laco.org/events/shin-reid-britten/

 

Saturday, May 15, 2021

OperaSaratoga.org: Join Us For AMERICA SINGS Free Live Streamed Concerts Presented In Partnership With CAFFÈ LENA


 
AMERICA SINGS is a new concert series that amplifies the voices of BIPOC artists, who have historically been underrepresented on the concert stage. Each event will feature a wide array of classical, jazz, and popular music. AMERICA SINGS concerts will be live streamed to the public for free, but viewers are encouraged to contribute through a virtual tip jar during each event to support both Opera Saratoga and the featured artists. All “tips” made during each concert will be split equally between Opera Saratoga and the artists performing, providing vital support to artists who have been financially impacted by the shutdown of live opera across the country.

AMERICA SINGS is presented with generous leadership support from Greenberg Traurig, LLP, and hospitality sponsorship from The Hampton Inn & Suites, Saratoga Springs.


UPCOMING

FRIDAY, MAY 21, 2021 @ 7PM ET

Damien Sneed returns to Opera Saratoga in May with baritone Justin Austin - an alum of Opera Saratoga’s nationally acclaimed Young Artist Program. Justin and Damien’s program features a selection of songs all to texts by Langston Hughes.

Sergio A. Mims: The Chineke! Orchestra with Sheku Kanneh-Mason Returns to Royal Festival Hall May 25


Sergio A. Mims writes:

The Southbank Centre in London has announced that it is reopening the venue this summer for concerts and will be starting out with a return engagement of the Chineke! Orchestra in a special program entitled Fate Now Conquers.

The orchestra has performed a series of small limited concerts with members of the orchestra during the pandemic but this will be the first time the full orchestra has performed together since before the pandemic lockdown.

With triumphant energy, Carlos Simon's tribute to Beethoven opens the first concert of our new season, Summer Reunion.

A commission by the Boston Symphony Orchestra commemorating the composer's 250th birthday, its title derives from Beethoven's journal entry of 1815, quoting lines from the Iliad.

'But Fate now conquers; I am hers, and yet not she shall share / In my renown; that life is left to ev'ry noble spirit / And that some great deed shall beget that all lives shall inherit.'

Remnants for Poet and Orchestra by composer James B. Wilson and poet Yomi Ṣode is a lyrical response to London Black Lives Matter protests of 2020.

Narrated by Ṣode, this emotionally charged piece is inspired by the iconic Reuters image of Patrick Hutchinson lifting a counter-protester to safety.

Chineke! alumnus Sheku Kanneh-Mason last performed with Chineke! on the Royal Festival Hall stage in 2016, the same year he won the prestigious BBC Young Musician competition.

Now a confirmed superstar on the classical music scene, he performs with Chineke! Orchestra once more in the timeless Dvorák Cello Concerto.

Chineke! has long championed the work of Black British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, the gifted yet unjustly neglected contemporary of Holst and Vaughan Williams.

The program closes with the high drama of Coleridge-Taylor's majestic Othello Suite.

Performers
Chineke! Orchetra
Conductor: TBA
Sheku Kanneh-Mason Cello
Yomi Sode Narrator

Works to be performed
Carlos Simon: Fate Now Conquers
James B. Wilson: Remnants
Dvorak: Cello Concerto
Coleridge-Taylor: Othello Suite Op. 79

Chineke! Orchestra: Fate Now Conquers
Friday 28 May, 2.30pm
Royal Festival Hall

Friday, May 14, 2021

ClassicFM.com: Some "of the best pieces of music by William Grant Still"


 We explore some of the best music by American composer William Grant Still. Picture: Getty / Novello / Leeds Music Corporation


by Rosie Pentreath

14 May 2021

We celebrate some of the finest musical masterpieces of the ‘Dean of Afro-American Composers’.

William Grant Still (1895- 1978), dubbed the ‘Dean of Afro-American Composers’, composed a rich range of symphonies, operas and other works – totalling over 150.

He made history as the first Black conductor of a major US orchestra, taking to the podium in front of the LA Phil on 23 July 1936 at the Hollywood Bowl, and was the first American to have an opera produced by New York City Opera.

Grant Still contributed prolifically to American music, arranging pop and film music, and playing in pit bands and for recordings. He received an honour for Outstanding Service to American Music from the National Association for American Composers and Conductors, and had a raft of honorary doctorates to his name.

Here’s where to start with his masterful music. 

1. ‘Afro-American’ Symphony No. 1

Representing one of many historic firsts William Grant Still instigated in his remarkable lifetime, his Symphony No. 1 was the first work by a Black composer to be played by a major US orchestra, when Rochester Philharmonic performed it in 1931.

Six years later saw the historic occasion on which Grant Still conducted the work himself at the Hollywood Bowl. The composer weaves influences from jazz and spirituals into a classical form to tell the history, experience and struggle of Black life in America, to powerful effect.



2. Africa

Africa is Grant Still’s three-movement symphonic tone poem from 1930. The movements are titled ‘Land of Peace’, ‘Land of Romance’ and ‘Land of Superstition’, and explore the composer’s race and cultural heritage in richly-scored, evocative melodies.


3. Suite for Violin and Piano

Like Africa (above), William Grant Still’s Violin and Piano Suite explores his heritage.

The first movement of three, ‘African Dancer’ features lively, syncopated rhythms and jazzy inflections, whilst ‘Mother and Child’ is lyrical and soulful. And the final movement, ‘Gamin’, picks up with energetic, driving melodies and interplay between the violin and piano once again.

4. Troubled Island

William Grant Still was a prolific opera composer. He wrote eight operas, and Troubled Island made history as the first by an American composer to be performed by the illustrious New York City Opera.

The work is set in 1791 Haiti and tells the story of Jean Jacques Dessalines leading the rebellion of a group of enslaved people against white aggressors. The libretto was started by poet Langston Hughes and completed by writer and pianist Verna Arvey, who Grant Still would later marry.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

TheBerkshireEdge.com: Sculptures "inspired composer William Grant Still to write his Suite for Violin and Piano"

Victor Romanul
(Courtesy Victor Romanul)

William Grant Still (1895-1978)
By Carl Van Vechten.
Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Romanul the Romantic: Profile of a BSO violinist


Posted on

BOSTON — Picture a music stand holding three items: sheet music, a metronome, and a photograph. The sheet music tells the performer what to play, the metronome how quickly. And the photograph keeps the performer in sync with the composer’s emotional state. That may sound a bit newfangled, even new-agey, but this is the kind of thing people were doing when the Romantic era was in full flower around the middle of the 19th century. Music was expected to be about more than itself. And when did that era end? It depends on whom you ask. 

But if you ask Boston Symphony Orchestra violinist Victor Romanul, he’ll tell you a story about preparing for a performance with the aid of sheet music and sculpture — that is, photographs of the sculptures that inspired composer William Grant Still to write his Suite for Violin and Piano, which Romanul performs with pianist Randall Hodgkinson in Episode 2 of the BSO’s streaming concert series “Pathways of Romanticism.” (Also, his amazing performance of the suite’s second movement, “Mother and Child,” is included in the Boston Pops’ streaming Mother’s Day show.)

Victor Romanul has been performing professionally since the age of seven. At 11, he made his Symphony Hall debut performing Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, and he is still in awe of the place, because he loves the history of the Boston Symphony. And he lives for opportunities to give performances of pieces like Still’s suite.

William Grant Still was an African American composer of over 200 works of classical music in the European tradition, an Oberlin student who kept one foot in the commercial music worlds of Broadway and Hollywood, even as he composed and conducted orchestral and operatic works for the concert hall. Throughout his career, he faced much the same skepticism from classical music’s old guard as Leonard Bernstein would face years later, with the Brahmin wunderkind attempting to foist memorable tunes on an audience often unreceptive to melody in contemporary music. 

This was not only because, like Bernstein, Grant Still was unable to keep himself from writing a good tune, but also because he was Black. (One venue allowed the composer to attend performances of his music only on “Negro Day.”) Despite this, the young composer made a name for himself as a purveyor of music that audiences enjoyed listening to, and this was fine for radio, film, theater, and the dance hall. But the classical music concert hall was a different matter. 

Nevertheless, at a time when conservatories were already championing the who-cares-if-you-listen ethos that would reach its zenith in the 1950s, Arthur Fiedler programmed, and the Boston Pops Orchestra performed, William Grant Still’s Symphony No. 1 in A-flat major, “Afro-American.” He enjoyed much popularity with concert audiences and became one of the most frequently performed composers — Black or otherwise — in his lifetime. William Grant Still may have been a Black Leonard Bernstein. But there is no white William Grant Still.

Outside the classical world, Grant Still arranged music for innumerable popular artists, including the father of stride piano, James P. Johnson

Grant Still wrote music that sounded good and also satisfied the conservatory crowd. 

GoSkagit.com: CFPA.WWU.edu: African and African Diaspora Piano Music, with Dr. William Chapman Nyaho, Virtual Experience Tuesday, May 18 at 3:30 PM PT

Dr. William Chapman Nyaho

By Skagit Valley Herald Staff

May 13, 2021


College of Fine and Performing Arts

Pianist and professor Dr. William Chapman Nyaho presents a lecture on African and African Diaspora piano music.

Dr. William Chapman Nyaho currently serves on the faculty at Pacific Lutheran University and runs his private piano studio in Seattle. Washington. He is also on the summer faculty of Interlochen Center for the Arts. As an active solo recitalist, a member of the Nyaho/Garcia Duo, a chamber musician and lecturer, his passion is advocating music by composers of African descent.

About Dr. William Chapman Nyaho

Register to join via Zoom

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

CutTime Productions, LLC: Enjoy our ONLINE concert Thursday May 13 7p-8 ET; in the highest quality video yet for CutTime Simfonica!


Hey You!

I hope this eblast finds you excited about warmer weather and getting out during a safer time, thanks to widespread vaccinations. Having a double-dose last month, I’m ecstatic to return to LIVE concerts this summer, with or without ventilation! Meanwhile, I have an exciting CutTime® feature online in two days to tell you about. But first a few updates.

We’ve gotten a lot of hits on our release in March of CutTime Simfonica’s debut of Let The Children Play! This was music I heard in reaction to the Sandy Hook Shooting of 2012. Regretfully, there is some confusion to the new work and I’ll have to introduce it very clearly. Many “give up” on the recording during “the long wait” when nothing seems to happen, because the aggrieved parents were experiencing their limits of SHOCK and numbness. Play it LOUDER after the tragic part, and maybe softer with the final Allegro. It’s got a great ending, which I plan to pick up and spinoff for a new composition this year.

I recently received some much-needed Pandemic Unemployment Assistance from the state and the federal stimulus from last year! I’m so indebted to Barbara VanDusen, who has seen me thru ALL of my years since leaving DSO in 2012. I started paying her back with another new composition the full CutTime Simfonica will be premiering this summer. Romance Indeed was inspired by Barbara telling me when she and her husband Richard first met and dated. He proposed on the 5th date! I thought, this was a romance indeed!

These are all new compositions from 2020 (so MIDI recordings only). The two longer ones are for full orchestra and the full string sextet with drummer of CutTime Simfonica. They are siblings split from the same grieving for the world with four descending notes, yet couldn’t be more different compositions. The smaller is titled Funeral March and will eventually be orchestrated. But the orchestral one is now officially my ESSAY NO. 2 “Never Forget,a major step toward a complete trio of essays as Samuel Barber managed. This comes roughly 20 years since my first Essay.

So you can see I have a lot of new music for the world and I could sure use your help spreading the word, giving me feedback and showing up for events! I expect to book several local shows this summer, so be ready to pounce if one pops up near you! Btw, the quartet plays BACKYARD CONCERTS now; just never in direct sunlight, or rain obviously. Email me for a quote.

Meanwhile, enjoy our ONLINE concert Thursday May 13 7p-8 EST; in the highest quality video yet for CutTime Simfonica!
ProMusica of Detroit is graciously featuring local composers of color and we performed at their annual dinner a few years back. This short program will be hosted by WRCJ 90.9 FM radio host Cecelia Sharpe, a former student. We actually played cello-bass duets together 10 years ago. It should be a fun interview with a few probing questions. Expect critical backstory, fumbling and surprises Thursday!

This same A-team of CutTime Simfonica features Michigan Opera Theater Concertmaster Eliot Heaton, who has taken over Detroit in his 5 years. And then he trades melodies most with Musique Noire violist Leslie DeShazor. Mike List is a versatile hand-drummer light enough to balance with strings. And Daniel Winnick on 2nd violin is our solid supporter this time around. The picture up top is our recent collaboration with artist Timothy Orikri. I volunteer for him, but he pays the other players for LIVE Facebook shows!

Let me know what you think maybe by email. I'm brewing big plans to record my popular music and want to know who would be interested. Or leave us a comment on our Facebook pages or Twitter.
Thanks!

- Rick Robinson
Artistic Director, CutTime Productions




NYTimes.com: "The Metropolitan Opera will perform" "in Queens on Sunday" "6 and 8:30 p.m." in work of Terence Blanchard; with Angel Blue & Eric Owens

Angel Blue

Eric Owens


By Julia Jacobs

May 12, 2021

The Metropolitan Opera will perform again for a live audience, 430 days after the coronavirus shut down its theater.

Members of the company’s orchestra and chorus, joined by prominent soloists and led by its music director, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, will give two concerts at the Knockdown Center in Queens on Sunday, the Met announced on Wednesday. The concerts will go on despite continuing labor tensions at the Met, which have threatened the intended reopening of its Lincoln Center home in September.

Scheduled for 6 and 8:30  p.m. on Sunday, the program, called “A Concert for New York,” includes selections by Mozart, Verdi and Terence Blanchard, whose “Fire Shut Up in My Bones” is planned to reopen the Met on Sept. 27 and will be the company’s first opera by a Black composer. The soloists for the Queens performances will be Angel Blue, Stephen Costello, Justin Austin and Eric Owens; 12 Met choristers and 20 orchestra musicians will take part.



 

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The Harlem Chamber Players: Upcoming Performances in May Outdoors and Online


 The Harlem Chamber Players join the New York Philharmonic's Bandwagon 2.0 this Sunday at 3:30 PM in Marcus Garvey Park! Hope you will join us!



Left to right are Laquita Mitchell, Wayne Smith, Claire Chan, Ashley Horne, and Amadi Azikiwe. The photo on the right was taken by Steven Pisano.


MARCUS GARVEY PARK, HARLEM, NEW YORK
Sunday, May 16, 2021 at 3:30 PM ET
South End of Oval Lawn (Closest Park Entrance at Madison Ave / E 123rd St)
Click here for the Google Map link.

A concert featuring soprano Laquita Mitchell and members of The Harlem Chamber Players. They will perform music by Florence Price, Margaret Bonds, Antonín Dvořák, Giacomo Puccini, and Harold Arlen.

ALSO IN QUEENS
Saturday, May 29, 2021 at 6:30 PM
Sunday, May 30, 2021 at 7:30 PM
The Harlem Chamber Players will perform again with members of the New York Philharmonic and soprano Laquita Mitchell in St. Albans Park in Queens.



In celebration of Dr. Adolphus Hailstork’s 80th birthday, which was April 17th, we invite you to this concert of some of our favorite chamber works by this legendary composer. This program is presented by The Greene Space at WQXR/WNYC. We are also working on our first album — all music by Hailstork — and this online event is a preview of what will be on this debut album.

Click here to learn more.

Save the date — Saturday, May 22, 2021 at 7
PM. WQXR will feature members of The Harlem 
Chamber Players in a program featuring 
violinist Claire Chan in an interview and a 
performance of the George Walker String 
Quartet No. 1 as part of its Underground 
series. Details to come soon.

The photo above was taken by Steven 
Pisano in the Catacombs at the 
historic Green-Wood Cemetery in 
Brooklyn, NYU.
Listen to WQXR, New York City's only 
classical music radio station live now at 
105.9 FM and wqxr.org, and sign up 
for the WQXR e-newsletter for weekly 
highlights, links to web streams, on-
demand concerts, videos, events from 
The Greene Space and more.