Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Sphinx Organization, Inc.: Announcing the 24th Annual Sphinx Competition Junior and Senior Division Finalists

The Sphinx Competition is the national competition offering young Black and Latinx classical string players the chance to perform under the guidance of an internationally renowned panel of judges and compete for prizes ranging from $3,000 to the first place $50,000 Robert Frederick Smith Prize.

2021 Senior Division Finalists
  • Christian Gray, bass (Boston University)
  • Luiz Fernando Venturelli, cello (Northwestern University)
  • Samuel Abraham Vargas Teixeira, violin (Columbus State University)

2021 Junior Division Finalists
  • Amaryn Olmeda, violin (Homeschooled)
  • Jonathan Okseniuk, violin (Arete Preparatory Academy)
  • Dillon P. Scott, viola (North Penn High School)

In partnership with the DTE Energy Foundation, join us on Saturday, January 30th at 7:00 pm ET to watch them compete during the broadcast of the Junior and Senior Division Finals.


The Finals concert will be available to stream on
our Facebook, YouTube, or website.

Before the Finals concert, join us at SphinxConnect 2021: UNITY, the annual epicenter where artists and leaders in diversity meet from January 28 to 30! Register now.

Sphinx Organization

John Malveaux: Dr. Michael Cooper's discoveries of works by Margaret Bonds is shown in "Margaret Bonds, Langston Hughes, and the 'Note on Commercial Theater'"

Dr. Michael Cooper

John Malveaux of MusicUNTOLD.com writes:

Dr. Michael Cooper's invaluable research and discoveries of previously unknown compositions by African American composer Margaret Bonds is demonstrated in his recent writing  titled Margaret Bonds, Langston Hughes, and the Note on Commercial Theater https://cooperm55.wixsite.com/jmc3/post/yes-it-ll-be-me

Monday, January 18, 2021

Longy School of Music of Bard College is currently accepting applications for a position in the Composition and Theory Department

Longy School of Music of Bard College

Job Posting

Longy's commitment to racial equity is ensuring access, amplification, and power-shifting. As leaders, teachers, learners, and music-makers we are co-conspirators dismantling racism in music and higher education, thereby confronting racist power in society.  The Longy School of Music of Bard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts is currently accepting applications for a position in the Composition and Theory Department. Longy's mission is to prepare musicians to make a difference in the world. We are a degree-granting conservatory in Cambridge, MA and a Master of Arts in Teaching campus in Los Angeles, CA, the nation's first one-year, El Sistema-inspired degree programs. We've turned education on its head with our innovative Catalyst Curriculum, which pairs musical excellence with the skills needed to become a professional musician in a rapidly changing musical landscape. Our faculty prepares students to become exceptional musicians who can engage new audiences inside and outside the concert hall, teach anyone, anywhere, and use their artistry to change lives in communities around the world. Our culture encourages leadership, collaboration, entrepreneurial spirit, critical thinking skills, and the incubation of great musicians, dreams, and ideas. We value the transformational power of music, the art of teaching, a diverse and supportive community, dynamic interaction with the larger world, creative thought and innovation, and advocacy for our art. Join us, and become the musician, educator, and leader the world needs you to be. A link to the job posting and more information about Longy is listed below. 

Job Posting: 

Composition and Theory Department:

DC Metro HBCU Alumni Alliance, Inc.: Honoring Dr. King's Legacy

Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'

- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Copyright © 2021 Washington, DC Metro HBCU Alumni Alliance, All rights reserved. 

Eric Conway: Morgan State University Choir Sings Charles Dickerson's "I Have a Dream" during Spring 2012 Concert

Maestro Charles Dickerson
Conductor and Composer

Eric Conway writes:

Hello all,

On this day, when our country celebrates the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I am reminded of an extraordinary composition by Charles Dickerson that the Morgan choir sang many years ago.  The words of Dr. King's iconic “I Have a Dream” speech were masterfully set to music by Dickerson.  When the Morgan choir sang this piece in other countries like Brazil or Australia,  the audience would tear-up, get emotional, and stand-up in a rousing ovation at the end of our performances.  I believe they reacted not so much because they liked our performance, but more in support of Dr. King's vision in his speech.  His speech is known world-wide!  America is perhaps the first country to articulate the proposition of a democratic republic in our constitution.  Many other nations have subsequently tried to recreate the extraordinary system of government we enjoy in our country.

If you get a chance, please listen to our 2012 performance of Dickerson’s “I Have a Dream”.  I believe listening to this rousing composition will re-connect you with the still inspiring words of Dr. King’s speech in a way never before experienced.


Link to Morgan Choir performance of Charles Dickerson’s I Have a Dream”:

We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. - Aristotle
Eric Conway, D.M.A.
Fine and Performing Arts Department, Chair
Morgan State University

Adolphus Hailstork Fanfare on “Amazing Grace” transcribed by MGySgt Donald Patterson, Member, U.S. Marine Band, The President's Own, Inaugural Prelude Jan. 20

Adolphus Hailstork

Adolphus Hailstork writes:

Hi folks,

Thought you might want to know. The program begins at 10 am and is subject to change.  Fingers still crossed.

Best to all. Stay well.

Adolphus Hailstork


Sunday, January 17, 2021

Arts Engines: Aaron Dworkin Interviews Trey Devey, President of Interlochen Center for the Arts

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 Interlochen Center for the Arts and our guest is Trey Devey, President of Interlochen.  Enjoy... and have a creative week!

John Malveaux: Music researcher and professor Dr. Michael Cooper shared a paper about Margaret Bonds' composition NO MAN HAS SEEN HIS FACE

Dr. Michael Cooper

John Malveaux of MusicUNTOLD.com writes:

Music researcher and professor Dr. Michael Cooper shared a paper about Margaret Bonds' composition



About the Composer

Margaret Allison Bonds (1913-72) stands as one of the more remarkable composers in twentieth-century music – woman or man, Black or White. [1]  Her mother was a musician who studied at Chicago Musical College; her father, a doctor who also authored one of the first published books for Black children and the lexicon Noted Negro Women: Their Triumphs and Activities (Jackson, Tennessee, 1893). She grew up in a home that, while on the segregated Black south side of Chicago, was relatively affluent and a cultural mecca for musicians and other artists of color. By the age of eight she had been taking piano lessons for several years and written her first composition, and by the time she entered Northwestern University in 1929 she had studied piano and perhaps composition with Theodore Taylor of the Coleridge-Taylor Music School, as well as Florence Price. She earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Northwestern University, where she had to study in the basement of the library because of her race. She earned a reputation for her social-justice activities on behalf of African Americans, and her later interviews also emphasize the deeply sexist nature of her world. In a 1964 interview with The Washington Post, she proclaimed: “I am a musician and a humanitarian. . . . People don’t really think a woman can compete in this field [of concert music]. . . . Women are expected to be wives, mothers and do all the nasty things in the community (Oh, I do them), and if a woman is cursed with talent, too, then she keeps apologizing for it.”[2]  By 1967 her renown was so great that Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley proclaimed January 31 of that year as the city’s official Margaret Bonds Day. Having traveled between New York City and  Los Angeles for many years for her career, she decided to relocate to Los Angeles after the death of her longtime friend and collaborator Langston Hughes in 1967. She remained based there, composing, collaborating, and concertizing, until her death in 1972.


About the Work

No Man Has Seen His Face is one of two short sacred choruses and two sacred songs on the same texts that Bonds composed in March, 1968. The words were written by Janice Lovoos (1903 – 2007), herself a multifaceted artist, critic, and librettist, and a frequent collaborator of Bonds. The autograph for the choral version of No Man Has Seen His Face is dated March 21, 1968, and on that same day Bonds also wrote two versions of the work for solo voice with piano (high key and medium key).[3] Like Touch the Hem of His Garment [...], this work reflects Bonds’s lifelong involvement with church singers and church choirs, offering high-quality music that does not exceed the technical abilities of proficient amateurs. It is also a consciously simple profession of abiding faith – an admonition and reminder that God’s presence is everywhere, and that because believers see that presence they must never doubt His existence or, more importantly, His love. Bonds’s music is largely diatonic, with plentiful major-seventh chords that reflect the influence of popular song of the 1960s. Its unaffected style cohabitates with other features that subtly bespeak her talents in the concert-music traditions – for example, the treatment of the end of the B section as an intensification of throbbing repeated chords that resolves with the return to the tonic in m. 31, and the return of this heightened emotion at the mention of divine mercy freely given (mm. 40ff). This combination of musical quality with technical accessibility explains the respect Bonds commanded in the musical world – despite her sex and her race –from the late 1930s until her death.


About the Edition

This edition generally presents Bonds’s music as she wrote it, differentiating between authorial and editorial information. Editorial slurs are perforated, and editorial dynamics, expressive markings, and tempos are presented in Roman font with brackets. Editorial extensions of dynamic and expressive markings are perforated and hooked at each end.

Four sources for No Man Has Seen His Face survive, all in the James Weldon Johnson Collection of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University (shelfmark JWJ MSS 151 Box 7, folder 36):[4]

AS 1: Autograph full score, 7 pp., headed “NO MAN HAS SEEN HIS FACE / SATB with piano accompaniment / and Sop[rano] or Tenor Solo / Words by Janice Lovoos [space] Music by Margaret Bonds.” At the end it bears the autograph inscription “March 21, 1968 / Home of Thor and Janice Lovoos / Hollywood, Cal.” This manuscript includes autograph pencil cues to pages 3-14 of another manuscript – suggesting, since AS 1 is only seven pages long, that there is also another manuscript (now lost) of the work that is either scored for larger ensemble or written on paper of a different format – both situations that would require more paper for the same music. AS 1 also contains autograph pencil corrections that are not incorporated into the other manuscripts, suggesting that it postdates them.

CS 1: Transfer-paper copy of autograph full score, 7 pp. Although this manuscript concurs with AS 1 in most regards, it includes some subtle variants (noted in the Critical Notes below).

CS 2: Version for high voice and piano, 4 pp.[5]

CS 3: Version for medium voice and piano, 4 pp., transposed to E-flat major.[6]

Critical Notes: This edition takes source AS 1 as its copy-text. The tempo and style designation “Andantino – cantabile” is lacking in both AS 1 and CS 1 and is adopted here from CS 2 and CS 3. Notes: Mm. 30-31, S/T solo:  b1 in CS1, CS 2, and CS 3, originally b1 in AS1, but crossed out and changed to d2 in pencil; m. 39, beat 4, T, B, Pf: f lacking in CS 1; m. 40 Pf: LH slur lacking in CS 1; 43-44 , A, T, B: slur lacking in CS 1 in 43, but completion included after the system break to m. 44.


First and foremost, I thank the family of Margaret Bonds for their permission to publish these materials. Thanks are also due to the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University for granting access to the autographs used for this edition. I also thank Elinor Armsby and Nancy Hale at Hildegard Publishing Company for their interest in this project and for shepherding it through the publishing process. Finally, I thank my family for their patience and support unending.

– Michael Cooper

            [1] There is still no book-length biography of Bonds. By far the best study currently available is Helen Walker-Hill’s chapter in her From Spirituals to Symphonies: African-American Women Composers and Their Music (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2007), pp. 140-88.

[2] Christina Demaitre, “She Has a Musical Mission: Developing Racial Harmony; Heritage Motivates Composing Career,” The Washington Post 87, no. 253 (14 August 1964).

[3] See Margaret Bonds: Three Sacred Songs, ed. John Michael Cooper (Bryn Mawr: Hildegard Publishing, 2021). 

[4] This folder also includes Touch the Hem of His Garment in versions for chorus and piano and solo voice with piano, as well as autograph scores for three other works: Will There Be Enough?, Go Back to Leanna, and the “novelty song” The Animal Rock ’n’ Roll.

[5] A copy of this manuscript from the collection of Charlotte Holloman is in the possession of Dr. Louise Toppin and will soon be published by Videmus Editions (Ann Arbor, Michigan).

[6] The solo versions are published in Margaret Bonds: Three Sacred Songs, ed. John Michael Cooper (Bryn Mawr: Hildegard Publishing, 2021).  

HeraldTribune.com: enSRQ presents Ulysses Kay's "Fugitive Songs" and Quinn Mason's "The 19th Amendment" online for free 8 PM EST Monday, Jan. 18

Quinn Mason
(Provided by ENSRQ)

Ulysses Kay (1917-1995)

Jay Handelman

Jan. 15, 2021

George Nickson and Samantha Bennett are trying to focus on the silver linings of the coronavirus pandemic, which has shut down performing arts companies around the world and forced some to close permanently.

For the first fall concert, their contemporary classical music group ensembleNEWSRQ reached far more people online than they ever would have in a one-night performance in front of a live audience.


“Now we can show a whole concert,” Bennett said. “Before we were allowed to post certain pieces. This exponentially increases awareness of our organizations and the composers we present.”

They are reuniting with some composing and performing friends as they introduce more music to Sarasota audiences with their season’s second program, “Solitude and Suffrage,” a title they say has taken on greater meaning since it was announced months ago.

“It’s a confluence of different themes and ideas but the principal one is the idea of solitude and reflecting on the early parts of the pandemic and how a lot of people are still dealing with that,” Nickson said.

The concert also offers a belated tribute to the first century of women winning the right to vote with Quinn Mason’s 2019 piece “The 19th Amendment,” which Bennett will play with Bharat Chandra, principal clarinet of Sarasota Orchestra, and pianist Jesse Martins, music director of the Sarasota Youth Opera.

“He introduced himself and said I’m a composer,” Nickson recalled. “And now we’re able to perform his music in Sarasota and because it’s online, he’ll get to watch and everyone he knows can.” 


The concert at 8 p.m. Monday will be streamed live from enSRQ’s usual home at First Congregational Church in Sarasota with help of a video package the organization purchased. A total of seven musicians will be featured and because there is no audience on site, they are able to arrange performers in a socially distanced manner that allows for greater community and safety.

The program also includes Mark-Anthony Turnage’s “An Invention on ‘Solitude’” (1999), with Chandra, Bennett and Mia Laity, violins, Rachel Halvorson, viola and Natalie Helm, cello. [Soprano Thea] Lobo and [Pianist] Jesse Martins will perform three selections from Ulysses Kay’s 1950 “Fugitive Songs.”

‘Solitude and Suffrage’

Presented by ensembleNEWSRQ at 8 p.m. Monday. Available for free online at ensrq.org

The Cleveland Orchestra: The 41st Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration is Now Streaming Free, Including Music of Cleveland Native Leslie Adams

The Cleveland Orchestra

The Cleveland Orchestra will present its 41st annual celebration honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., virtually this year, with free video performances through our Adella streaming service; radio and TV broadcasts with our partners at WVIZ PBS ideastream; and three weeks of daily video presentations on our social media networks (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter).

The celebration begins with a free streaming performance of the Orchestra’s 2018 MLK Concert led by Music Director Franz Welser-Möst available for viewing free through the Orchestra's Adella streaming service (www.adella.live) beginning on Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. until Wednesday, April 14, 2021.

The 2018 concert featured classical selections by Beethoven, Respighi, and George Walker, as well as traditional hymns and spirituals such as “Down by the Riverside,” “Precious Lord,” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” The Cleveland Orchestra was joined for this performance by:

  • Narrator James Pickens Jr., a Cleveland native who is best known as Dr. Richard Webber on Grey’s Anatomy and Deputy Director Alvin Kersh on The X-Files;
  • Guest soloist Ryan Speedo Green, called “a show stopper” by The New York Times; and
  • The Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Chorus — an all-Cleveland community volunteer chorus — directed by Dr. William Henry Caldwell.

Continue the Community Celebration on Social Media!

Starting on January 18, 2021, and presented daily through February 8, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration will include videos released on the Orchestra’s social media channels (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter).

Florence Price (portrait by G. Nelidoff, University of Arkansas Libraries), Leslie Adams, Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson (Center for Black Music Research Records, Columbia College Chicago Archives & Special Collections)

Members of The Cleveland Orchestra will perform music by Black American composers Florence Price, Leslie Adams, and Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson in new video recordings filmed at Severance Hall.

  • A composer, pianist, and organist, Florence Price became the first Black American woman to have one of her compositions performed by a major American orchestra. Over the course of her career, she composed more than 300 works and found inspiration in jazz, spirituals, church music, and European art music.
  • Leslie Adams was born in Cleveland and received his bachelor of music degree from Oberlin College. His classical works, which incorporate elements of traditional African-American music, have been performed throughout Ohio and across the U.S., including a 1994 commission from The Cleveland Orchestra titled Western Adventure.
  • Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson’s music career spanned the genres and mediums of pop, jazz, film, TV, and classical music. In addition to serving as music director for Jerome Robbins’s American Theater Lab and The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Perkinson wrote arrangements for Marvin Gaye, Harry Belafonte, and Max Roach, among others. His innovative compositions feature hints of Baroque counterpoint, American Romanticism, blues, and Black folk music.

Community partners from across Northeast Ohio join the Orchestra in this Community Celebration, presenting music, theatre, and dance performances honoring Dr. King’s life and legacy. Partners include:

  • Karamu House
  • Inlet Dance Theatre performing to Maya Angelou’s beloved poem, “Still I Rise.”
  • Djapo Cultural Arts Institute
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Chorus in collaboration with Cuyahoga Community College's (Tri-C) Vocal Arts Mastery Program, both led by Dr. William Henry Caldwell
  • Cleveland School of the Arts/Cleveland Metropolitan School District
  • Musicians from the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra
  • Cuyahoga Community College, Dominick Farinacci with Shenel Johns

Documentary-style videos highlighting Dr. King’s life, his connections to Cleveland, some of his most powerful speeches, and local individuals, such as Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge and YWCA Greater Cleveland CEO Margaret Mitchell, among others, who continue his legacy today appear throughout the multi-week celebration.

The Celebration concludes in early February with the MLK Community Service Awards, which this year recognize several Northeast Ohio organizations who have made extraordinary efforts to serve our community in this extraordinary year of COVID-19 and racial reckoning. 

Find the full 41st Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Schedule HERE: