Monday, October 19, 2020

John Malveaux: The state of New York recognized JUNETEENTH as an official state holiday. MusicUNTOLD partnered with Long Beach to present JUNETEENTH


John Malveaux of writes:

The state of New York recognized JUNETEENTH as an official state holiday.   See MusicUNTOLD is a national leader in producing JUNETEENTH concert celebrations featuring headliners in multiple genres including jazz, symphony, opera, African, gospel, and popular music.

MusicUNTOLD partnered with City of Long Beach, Ca. Park Recreation & Marine Department to present free JUNETEENTH celebrations featuring Grammy winners Andrae Crouch in 2005 and Shirley Caesar in 2006.  After the City of Long Beach Parks Recreation & Marine Department discontinued City funding of JUNETEENTH, MusicUNTOLD presented the only JUNETEENTH Celebration in the nation held in a major downtown venue-The Long Beach Performing Arts Center- in 2010.  The concert featured the 2010 Best World Music artist, Salif Keita from Mali, Africa. MusicUNTOLD is devoted to presenting arts and educational programs that promote diversity and human dignity. See attachments of selected posters

Aaron Dworkin: Sharing my Ford Foundation Creative Futures essay!

Aaron P. Dworkin writes: 

"I use my voice to call for action, not understanding. I call for change, not contemplation. I call for immediate determination, not indeterminate obfuscation and delay. I call for commitment to a cause, not committees to review case studies. I call my fellow administrators in the arts to task, and not to form a task force."

I just wanted to share my essay "Sound of Silence" on diversity in the arts (especially American orchestras) as part of the Ford Foundation's Creative Futures initiative. I hope you are well and having a great Fall despite the unprecedented challenges that are facing us.

Enjoy, take care and stay safe!!


Sunday, October 18, 2020

Kelly Hall-Tompkins: I will be guest host on WQXR this Thursday evening at 7pm!

I hope this email finds you well and enjoying the beauty of fall.  I remain so very grateful that even in such challenging times I am flourishing with many meaningful and creative projects.  Among those, I am happy to share with you that I will be guest host on WQXR this Thursday evening at 7pm!   I will be sharing a program of some of my favorite works, artists and recordings, so I hope you'll tune in.  To listen live on their website, just go to or click the image above.
On a personal note, I must say it hit me hard that day. I sometimes practice my scales in front of the news, so I had my violin in my hands when the mirror reflection in front of me on the tv was a slight, affable young man also holding his violin. He was on tv because we were learning that a year before, he had been killed by the police, this gentle soul who apparently used to go to the local animal shelter and play for the kittens so they wouldn’t be lonely. Millions around the world have been affected by his untimely death and among those is my friend, composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. She called me deeply upset by this news and in shock and catharsis we’ve talked about it on several occasions. She wanted to do something in honor of him and the result is this piece. I’m deeply honored that Ellen wrote the piece for me and I premiered it on October 8th for the Eastman School of Music’s Virtual Event on Diversity and Inclusion. Ellen Taaffe Zwilich and I humbly offer this piece and performance in memory of Elijah McClain.  Please see below for the video.
I have a third premiere coming up on November 6th for a very exciting collaboration and a piece written by me!!  Please stay tuned!
It was a very unique experience for me to participate as a panelist for the Advertising Week Global Conference.  The panel was comprised of business leaders Beverly Johnson, Jecelyn Taylor and Courtney Arrington-Baldwin and myself, lead by Myrdith Leon-McCormack.  Video coming soon.
Also below are some other recent and upcoming appearances.  It's inspiring to be part of so many wonderful and creative endeavors which persevere in challenging times.  Let us all find inspiration wherever we can, stay positive and look to the future.
Thank you so much for your interest and warm regards,

New Premiere

"A Little Violin Music in Memory of Elijah McClain"

by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich

ICYMI: Recent Premiere

Recent Premiere for ACO

Inner Compás by Guy Mintus

Advertising Week

Global Conference
Panel Lead by Myrdith Leon-McCormack
Beverly Johnson
Jocelyn Taylor
Courtney Arrington-Baldwin
Kelly Hall-Tompkins

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Classic FM: How William Grant Still, the ‘Dean of Afro-American composers’, changed American classical music forever

William Grant Still. 
  Picture: Getty / International Opus       

Classic FM

16 October 2020

By Rosie Pentreath

William Grant Still was the first American to have an opera produced by New York City Opera, and the first African American composer to conduct a major US symphony orchestra – here’s everything you have to know about the ‘Dean’ of Black classical music.

“William Grant Still will conduct two of his own works.”

With that, The Los Angeles Times’ music and dance critic, Isabel Morse Jones, nonchalantly tabulated one of the most momentous occasions in American classical music history – that on 23 July 1936, at Hollywood Bowl, a Black conductor would lead a major US orchestra in concert, for the very first time.

When William Grant Still took to the podium at the helm of the LA Philharmonic, he was just ticking off a “first” of the many “firsts” that defined his career. Still was also the first American composer to have an opera performed by the New York City Opera and the first African American composer to have an opera performed by a major company; the first African American to have a symphony performed by a major US orchestra; and the first to have an opera performed on National TV.

Dubbed ‘The Dean of African American Composers’, Still composed more than 150 works, including five symphonies – his first of which was the most-performed symphony of any American for a long time – eight operas, and numerous other works. He was also a conductor, arranger and oboist.

Read more: 9 Black composers who changed the course of music history >

LA Phil: SOUND/STAGE: William Grant Still's "Sorrow"


Who was William Grant Still?

William Grant Still was born on 11 May in 1895. His mother, Carrie Lena Fambro, and his father, William Grant Still Sr, were both teachers.

His father died when Still was young, and music came from his stepfather, who encouraged him from a young age. Still took violin lessons from 15, and also taught himself to play the clarinet, saxophone, oboe, bass, cello and viola.

At his mother’s encouragement, Still studied medicine at university, but never completed the course. While at university, he stayed heavily involved with music, playing in university orchestras and bands, and he eventually got to Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio to further his musical studies.

His composer credentials come from a teacher lineage that includes French revolutionary Edgard Varèse among others, and Still combined this classical clout with his passion for folk- and jazz-inspired styles. 

Portrait of William Grant Still. 
  Picture: Getty 

Depicting the African American experience through orchestral music

Grant Still incorporated the blues, spirituals, jazz, and other ethnic American music into his orchestral and operatic compositions.

His orchestral piece, Wood Notes, depicts Still’s love of nature. And works like his ‘Afro-American’ Symphony No. 1, Symphony No. 2, the symphonic tone poem Africa, and his ballet Sahdji all “depict the African American experience” and “present the vision of an integrated American society.”

William Grant Still is very much considered part of the ‘Harlem Renaissance’ movement, which highlighted and celebrated African American intellectual, social, and artistic contributions to American cultural life, fanning out from Harlem in New York.

His works were performed internationally by the best orchestras in the world, including the Berlin Phil, the London Symphony Orchestra and Tokyo Philharmonic. 


Still died on 3 December 1978 in LA.

Hear William Grant Still’s music played by Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE, the founder of the Chineke! Foundation, on Chi-chi’s Classical Champions, and during other programmes on Classic FM.

Sergio A. Mims: Jonathon Heyward Conducts Second Movement of Dvorak's 9th Symphony with the London Symphony Orchestra

Dvorak Symphony No. 9, 'From the New World' (2nd mvt) // London Symphony Orchestra & Jonathon Heyward

Jonathon Heyward

Sergio A. Mims writes:

YouTube as part of their YouTube Sunday series of music programs has posted this video of the second movement of Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 (From the New World) conducted by Jonathon Heyward

It was recorded at LSO St Luke's on Wednesday 30 September 2020.

Arts Engines: Aaron Dworkin Interviews Entrepreneur & Maestro Roderick Cox!

Arts Engines

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 Aspen Music Festival & School and our guest is Conductor and Social Entrepreneur, Roderick Cox.  Enjoy... and have a creative week!

John Malveaux: Lara Downes and NPR Music Announce Amplify With Lara Downes, A New Video Conversation Series With Leading Black Musicians

The bi-weekly series, created and hosted by Downes, will offer intimate, personal
conversations with visionary artists of color making art that is both in, and of,
this time of transformation, turmoil, representation and reflection
Guests to include Rhiannon Giddens, Anthony McGill, Helga Davis,
Davóne Tines, and Sheku Kanneh-Mason and family
Series premieres Saturday, October 17 on NPR
and NPR’s YouTube and social media platforms

OCTOBER 16, 2020 - NPR Music and Lara Downes announce the launch of AMPLIFY With
Lara Downes, a new bi-weekly series of intimate and deeply personal video conversations with
visionary Black musicians who are shaping the present and future of the art form, premiering
Saturday, October 17 on, YouTube, and social media platforms.
Created and hosted by pianist and artist/citizen Lara Downes, and co-produced by NPR Music’s
Tom Huizenga, this series invites viewers to experience raw, revealing, and open-hearted
conversations reflecting on how artists are responding and creating in this time of profound
challenge and change. Downes and her guests—initially including MacArthur Fellow vocalist
and multi-instrumentalist Rhiannon Giddens, 2020 Avery Fisher Prize-winning clarinetist
Anthony McGill, multidisciplinary artist Helga Davis, and boundary-breaking vocalist Davóne
Tines, with other guests such as Sheku Kanneh-Mason and family to follow—connect and
reflect on highly relevant themes ranging from music and mission, legacy and lineage, to
transformation and change.

Says Downes of the series: “In this time of our collective reckoning about historical inequities in
American life and art, I’m excited to amplify the voices of extraordinary artists of color, shining a
bright light on a diverse and rich future that is, in the words of James Weldon Johnson, ‘full of
the hope that the present has brought us.’”

Pianist Lara Downes has been called “an explorer whose imagination is fired by bringing notice
to the underrepresented and forgotten” (The Log Journal). An iconoclast and trailblazer, her
dynamic work as a sought-after performer, a Billboard Chart-topping recording artist, a
producer, curator, activist and arts advocate positions her as a cultural visionary on the national
arts scene.
Downes’ musical roadmap seeks inspiration from the legacies of history, family, and collective
memory, excavating the broad landscape of American music to create a series of acclaimed
performance and recording projects that serve as gathering spaces for her listeners to find
common ground and shared experience.
Downes is the inaugural Artist Citizen in Residence for the Manhattan School of Music, as well
as a Fellow of the Loghaven Artist Residency. Her work has been supported by the Mellon
Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Sphinx Organization, the Classical
Recording Foundation Award, the University of California Innovator of the Year Award, and the
Center for Cultural Innovation, among others.
Downes’ artistry has been called “a musical ray of hope” by NBC News, "luscious, moody and
dreamy” by The New York Times, and "addicting" by The Huffington Post. She is equally at
home on major stages including the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Boston
Symphony Hall, the Ravinia Festival, Tanglewood, and Washington Performing Arts, and clubs
and intimate venues including Joe’s Pub, National Sawdust, Yoshi’s, and Le Poisson Rouge.
Downes’ fierce commitment to activism and advocacy see her working with organizations
including Feeding America, the ACLU, the Lower Eastside Girls Club, the Sphinx Organization,
and Watts Learning Center. She is an Artist Ambassador for Headcount, a non-partisan
organization that uses the power of music to register voters and promote participation in

For more than a decade, NPR Music's robust music journalism and award-winning original video
programming has delighted millions of music fans from all genres. NPR Music collaborates with
NPR's news magazines, public radio Member stations and the passionate listener community to
celebrate exceptional music and discover emerging artists. Visit to find the
complete Tiny Desk concert series, music feature stories, extensive archives of performances,
interviews and music reviews. Connect with NPR Music on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

AMPLIFY With Lara Downes
Every other Saturday on, YouTube, and social media platforms

Schedule of Initial Guests

October 17:
Rhiannon Giddens—singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, Artistic Director of
the Silk Road Ensemble

October 31:
Anthony McGill—principal clarinet of the New York Philharmonic, 2020 Avery
Fisher Prize winner, and activist 

November 14: Helga Davismultidisciplinary artist, actress, singer, composer, and host of
WNYC’s “Helga” podcast

November 28: Davóne Tines—bass-baritone, innovator, composer, co-creator of The Black

Friday, October 16, 2020

John Malveaux: Master cellist Kristen Yeon-Ji Yun performed three movements of Adolphus Hailstork Sonata for Solo Cello October 14, 2020

Kristen Yeon-Ji Yun

John Malveaux of writes:

Master cellist Kristen  Yeon-Ji Yun performed three movements (approximately 19 minutes) of Adolphus Hailstork Sonata for Solo Cello during a noon concert October 14, 2020 at The First United Methodist Church, Grand Junction, Colorado. See

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Broadway World: LA Opera Kicks Off 'On Now' Platform With Stream Of THE ANONYMOUS LOVER [Joseph Bologne, Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges]

Broadway World

By BWW News Desk

Oct. 14, 2020

On November 14, 2020, LA Opera will present the company premiere of The Anonymous Lover (L'Amant Anonyme), a 1780 opera by Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799), who is widely regarded as the first Black classical composer known to history.

Conducted by James Conlon, the company's Richard Seaver Music Director, and directed by Bruce Lemon, Jr., in a socially distanced stage setting at the Colburn School, the performance will be streamed online for free to reach a wide audience.

The Anonymous Lover will be the inaugural presentation of the company's new LA Opera On Now platform. After becoming the first major American Opera Company to respond to stay-at-home orders by launching an acclaimed series of unique LA Opera At Home online offerings, the company is now making streaming a permanent part of its programming. Under the On Now banner, the company will shine the spotlight on new and innovative interpretations of opera that viewers in Los Angeles and beyond can enjoy on screens, even after stay-at-home recommendations are lifted. To date, the company reports more than 750,000 views of its online programming since its launch on March 17, 2020, demonstrating a clear demand for such content.

According to Christopher Koelsch, the company's Sebastian Paul and Marybelle Musco President and CEO, "This presentation of The Anonymous Lover gives us many reasons for celebration. An unjustly neglected piece long overdue for a return to the opera stage, the opera reminds us that artists of color have created, performed and worked in the field of classical music for centuries, too often facing insurmountable odds. I'm thrilled to work with stage director Bruce Lemon, Jr., for the first time, in our efforts to help bring this remarkable work back to its rightful place in the repertoire."


The Anonymous Lover is produced and streamed in partnership with the Colburn School, which will concurrently and collaboratively engage in a performance-based exploration of the works and legacy of Joseph Bologne.

Free digital tickets for The Anonymous Lover are now available at The stream will premiere at 5pm on Saturday, November 14.

Sergio A. Mims: MusicWeek: Decca Classics signs 24-year-old violinist Randall Goosby

Randall Goosby

Sergio A. Mims writes:

Violinist Randall Goosby has signed to Decca Classics 

The 24-year-old is the protégé of Itzhak Perlman, one of the globe's most acclaimed musicians, and was the youngest ever winner in the junior division of the Sphinx Competition.

“I’m so thrilled to be working with the Decca Classics team for the release of my debut album," declared Goosby.

October 14th 2020

Violinist Randall Goosby has signed to Decca Classics.

The 24-year-old is the protégé of Itzhak Perlman, one of the globe's most acclaimed musicians, and was the youngest ever winner in the junior division of the Sphinx Competition.

“I’m so thrilled to be working with the Decca Classics team for the release of my debut album," declared Goosby.

"It’s a record label that has been home to some of my favourite artists and musical role models, and I’m delighted to be joining such an esteemed roster. For me, music has always been a way to inspire others. It’s part of my quest as an artist to amplify black voices in classical music, bringing heightened recognition to this incredible music.”

Dominic Fyfe, label director of Decca Classics, welcomed the American violinist to the label, explaining he had been looking to sign him for over a year.

By Paul Stokes