Monday, September 24, 2018

Harlem Chamber Players: This Friday at 7 PM - Season Opening Concert

Season Opening Concert
Friday, September 28, 2018 at 7 PM

Broadway Presbyterian Church
601 West 114th Street
New York, NY 10025
114th Street and Broadway

Click here for directions.
Click here to view and print a flyer.

Tickets are $20 for general admission and $15 for students and seniors.

Purchase online now for discounted tickets.

Children 12 and under admitted for free!

Mozart Flute Quartet in C Major, K. 285b
Vaughan-Williams Phantasy Quintet
Brahms Sextet No. 1 in B-flat Major, Op.18

Julietta Curenton, Flute
Joyce Hammann, Violin
Claire Chan, Violin
Richard Brice, Viola
Aundrey Mitchell, Viola
Robert Burkhart, Cello
Caryl Paisner, Cello

Hosted by
Eric K. WashingtonIndependent historian whose upcoming book, Boss of the Grips: The Life of James H. Williams and the Red Caps of Grand Central Terminal, is slated for publication by Liveright in summer 2018   

John Malveaux: Arthur Mitchell Is Dead at 84; Showed the Way for Black Dancers

Arthur Mitchell in 1963. He was one of the most popular dancers with the New York City Ballet in the 1950s and ’60s. (New York Times)
(Jack Mitchell/Getty Images)

John Malveaux of 

Arthur Mitchell's death covered coast to coast

The New York Times

September 19, 2018

Arthur Mitchell, a charismatic dancer with New York City Ballet in the 1950s and ’60s and the founding director of the groundbreaking Dance Theater of Harlem, died on Wednesday in Manhattan. He was 84.

His death, at a hospital, was caused by complications of heart failure, said Juli Mills-Ross, a niece. He lived in Manhattan.

Mr. Mitchell, the first black ballet dancer to achieve international stardom, was one of the most popular dancers with New York City Ballet, where he danced from 1956 to 1968 and displayed a dazzling presence, superlative artistry and powerful sense of self.

That charisma served him well as the director of Dance Theater of Harlem, the nation’s first major black classical company, as it navigated its way through severe financial problems in recent decades and complex aesthetic questions about the relationship of black contemporary dancers to an 18th-century European art form.

When asked in an interview with The New York Times in January what he considered his greatest achievement, he said, “That I actually bucked society, and an art form that was three, four hundred years old, and brought black people into it.”

His dancing in just two roles created for him by George Balanchine ensured him a place in American ballet history.

In the first, in “Agon,” a trailblazing masterwork of 20th-century ballet that had its premiere in 1957, Mr. Mitchell embodied the edgy energy of the piece in a difficult, central pas de deux that Balanchine choreographed for him and Diana Adams.

In this duet, “Balanchine explored most fully the possibilities of linear design in two extraordinary supple and beautifully trained human bodies,” the dance historian and critic Lillian Moore wrote.

In the January interview, Mr. Mitchell described Balanchine’s challenge.

“Can you imagine the audacity to take an African-American and Diana Adams, the essence and purity of Caucasian dance, and to put them together on the stage?” he said. “Everybody was against him. He knew what he was going against, and he said, ‘You know my dear, this has got to be perfect.’ ”

Five years after “Agon,” Balanchine created the role of a lifetime for Mr. Mitchell as the high-flying, hard-dancing, naughty Puck in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” He danced the part, Walter Terry wrote, “as if he were Mercury subjected to a hotfoot.”
Mr. Mitchell would forever be identified with the role.

One of the last ballets Mr. Mitchell performed with City Ballet was Balanchine’s “Requiem Canticles,” a tribute to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. created shortly after he was killed in 1968.

Profoundly affected by the King assassination, Mr. Mitchell began to work toward establishing a school that would provide the children of Harlem with the kinds of opportunities he had had.

He founded the Dance Theater of Harlem the next year with Karel Shook, a friend and longtime mentor. In the early 2000s, the company, along with its dance school, faced mounting debt, and it was forced to go on hiatus in 2004. But it returned to performance in reduced form in 2012 and now tours regularly and performs at City Center. The school today has more than 300 students.

Mr. Mitchell became artistic director emeritus of Dance Theater in 2011.

He returned to the company in August to oversee a production of “Tones II,” a restaging of one of his older ballets. It is to be performed in April, to commemorate Dance Theater’s 50th anniversary.

AaronAsk: Weekly mentoring for a creative life: Mingling: Do You! (2:42)

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, Mingling: Do You!  Enjoy, we wish you a creative day and see you for next week's session!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Broadway World: Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia in Fela Sowande's Africa Suite

Fela Sowande (1905-1987)

The Africa Suite of Fela Sowande will be performed by the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia on Sunday, October 7 at 2:30 PM and Monday, October 8 at 7:30 PM, according to the COP website, 

Broadway World

The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia (COP) Season Opening Concert, AFRICA Begins Migrations Season

September 18, 2018

A founding resident company of The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia (COP) announces the opening of their 2018/2019 season Migrations with their season opening concert, AFRICA.

The Chamber Orchestra's Migrations season takes audiences on a journey through many regions from which Philadelphia residents and their ancestors originated. AFRICA features music of two major African composers: Nigerian Fela Sowande, whose beautiful and graceful melodies, many derived from sources from his native land, are the core of his African Suite; and Tunde Jegede, born in London of a Nigerian father, who traveled to The Gambia to study the griot tradition of native music and storytelling, which dates back to the 13th century.


Fela Sowande, the son of an Anglican minister in Lagos, studied church music as well as organ and piano in Nigeria, until, at the age of 19, he moved to London. There he made a name for himself as a jazz musician, founding a band, playing with Fats Waller, and performing as soloist for an early London performance of Rhapsody in Blue. He found a post as organist for the BBC, playing a wide variety of music. Eventually, he returned to Nigeria and became head of the music section of the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation, where his programming explored (among other things) traditional Yoruba music, mythology and culture. After teaching African studies in Nigeria and America, Sowande passed away in 1987.

The African Suite was composed in 1944, and frames traditional African folksongs in a more European idiom, while retaining their characteristic rhythms and pentatonic melodies. The melodies are accompanied by a variety of sounds that call to mind nature, African plucked instruments, lullabies, nostalgia, and lively dance episodes. The finale became well-known to Canadian audiences as the theme for a popular program, "Gilmour's Albums."

BroadwayWorld: BWW Review: Bullock's Back and the [Other] Met's Got Her

Julia Bullock
(Broadway World)

September 18, 2018

Julia Bullock is at the Met in New York this year--but not necessarily the one that comes to mind when you're thinking about performances by an opera singer. It's the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where the soprano kicked off her year as Artist-in-Residence (2018-2019) on Saturday night with "History's Persistent Voice," the first in a series of five concerts.

 Of course, soprano Bullock is not your average opera singer but a unique artist, as I found out last spring when she appeared at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall, singing everything from Schubert to the Blues. (She's yet to perform a full-length opera in New York, except during her time at Juilliard.) She was, in a word, "spectacular"--as I wrote about the Weill concert--not a description I throw around too often, but as appropriate then as it was at her concert this weekend, though her recent outing was in most ways as different in style as it was in content.

If she has any diva-worthy tendencies, they weren't on view at the Met, in an event inspired by the museum's current show, "History Refused to Die." Yes, she's passionate, but only in the service of her material, whether old or new, and those who helped bring her arresting content to life. There never seemed to be any emotions not called for in the material.

Her demeanor changed as she gave herself over to the songs, using her brilliant voice smartly, by turns low-key, angry, mournful and inspired, and adding hand-clapping, snapping fingers and other effects as called for. Her voice also morphed in the course of the concert, starting out with a decidedly mezzo-ish sound, then moving into full-fledged soprano and back again.

Of course, she not only performed but programmed the evening, proving that the intelligence she displayed in her Weill recital was no one-trick-pony. Saturday's "History's Persistent Voice" consisted of the world premieres of music by four African American women composers.

Some were new settings by Jessie Montgomery (also violinist in the ensemble) of five traditional slave songs chosen by Bullock from "Slave Songs of the United States: The Classic 1867 Anthology" while others were new works on the same theme by Courtney Bryan ("The Hard Way"), Allison Loggins-Hull ("Momma's Precious Little Thing") and Tania Leon ("Green Pastures"). Each of the composers had the sense to take a musical approach that, even when moving into modest discord, made sense with the words being sung. "triumphant night of Beethoven, Bernstein" conducted by Thomas Wilkins

Thomas Wilkins

Drew Neneman

September 22, 2018

Review: Omaha Symphony opens season with triumphant night of Beethoven, Bernstein

What fate destroys, faith renews.

This conflict and comfort were the center of the Omaha Symphony’s season-opening concert on Friday night at the Holland Center.

Almost 250 years after Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth, during the centenary year of Leonard Bernstein, the orchestra presented three works by the two composers meant to light up Omaha’s imagination on the topics of mortality, destiny and how art can express each. Music Director Thomas Wilkins conducted.

The evening opened with the overture to Beethoven’s only opera, “Fidelio.” Bleak at the beginning, the overture quickly becomes a high-energy trip along the border of romantic and classical era styles. The opera itself is still contested as a successful piece of drama. But like everything by Beethoven there is something worth treasuring within it, and this overture displays some of the finest attributes of the larger work. Tremendous texture and lively melody complement the early moments of dark foreshadowing.

The second feature of the program was Bernstein’s Symphony No. 2, “The Age of Anxiety.” Inspired by W.H. Auden’s 1947 poem of the same name, Bernstein’s 1949 symphonic work guides the listener along a single evening’s discussion of existence and purpose had by three men and a woman at a Manhattan bar.

Bernstein wrote the larger musical work for much the same reason Auden composed the poem: The 20th century had changed the way multiple generations experienced God, faith and purpose in the wake of two world wars, a global economic transformation and the onset of the nuclear age. After a tortured opening theme, the characters debate, dream about, grieve, celebrate and ultimately renew their belief in humanity’s purpose.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Grasping Water: Three Songs by Maria Thompson Corley (YouTube 5:01)

Maria Thompson Corley

Published on Sep 17, 2018

1. My Heart is Awake 
2. Drop Your Mask 
3. Jumbo's Revenge: A Love Poem 

Kristin Sims, soprano 
Maria Thompson Corley, piano 

Words and music by Maria Thompson Corley, Jumbo's Revenge music by Camille Saint-Saens, arr. Maria Thompson Corley

Heart Riddle 2 (Tango) by Maria Thompson Corley (YouTube 3:23)

Maria Thompson Corley

Published September 18, 2018

From Three Heart Riddles' 
Words and music by Maria Thompson Corley 
Kristin Sims, soprano; Maria Thompson Corley, piano Overture to Treemonisha (Scott Joplin opera), at U. of Connecticut, Dec. 6

Scott Joplin

Overture to Treemonisha (Scott Joplin opera, orchestrated by T. J. Anderson), at University of Connecticut, Dec. 6


Dec 6 2018 - 8:00pm
The University of Connecticut Orchestra, with Dr. Paul McShee, director, will perform Scott Joplin's Treemonisha Overture, as orchestrated by T. J. Anderson, on December 6th at von der Mehden Recital Hall (link is external), University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT. This concert also features the winners of the 2018 UConn Concerto Compeitition and Mississippi River Suite by Florence Price. The University of Connecticut Symphony Orchestra is made up of approximately 75 student musicians–undergraduate and graduate. 

Friday, September 21, 2018

Start the season with the CSO's African American Network

Sheila A. Jones writes:

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra African American Network enters its third year in the 2018/19 season!
This season, the CSOA commemorates the centenary of the Armistice that ended World War I with its theme “A Time for Reflection—A Message of Peace.” This season for peace presents many occasions to reflect and connect with others through music, and throughout 2018/19, the AAN will present complementary educational seminars, recitals and artistic experiences, as well as opportunities for AAN members, friends and their families to attend incredible CSO and Symphony Center Presents Jazz concerts.
With the personal encouragement of Riccardo Muti, the CSOA family seeks to empower the African American community to embrace Symphony Center and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as their “home away from home” for cultural experiences. To support this crucial initiative, I am thrilled to announce my new full-time position as Director of Community Stewardship for the African American Network. 
Here are some of the AAN’s 2017/2018 season highlights:
  • The AAN hosted its second Black History Month celebration on February 24, 2018, titled “The Identity of Color: Black Composers in New Music,” which featured a screening of the 1927 silent film "The Scar of Shame" with new music by acclaimed composer, conductor and violist Renée Baker. After the film, the audience participated in a Q&A hosted by CSOA President Jeff Alexander and Baker.
  • On April 12, 2018, the AAN presented a recital and lecture by pianist, music teacher and scholar Samantha Ege: “A Celebration of Women in Music: Composing the Black Chicago Renaissance.” The event explored the contributions of African American composers Florence Price and Margaret Bonds.
  • Once again, the AAN collaborated with the Gene Siskel Film Center as an official partner for its annual Black Harvest Film Festival.
  • On June 11, 2018, AAN members co-sponsored the League of the CSOA’s annual Corporate Night, which featured Gregory Porter in concert with the CSO.
I eagerly anticipate another season of uplifting events! Here are just a few of the AAN programs scheduled for 2018/2019:
  • On Friday, November 2, 2018, the Symphony Center Presents Jazz series presents a concert featuring the Branford Marsalis Quartet with special guest Roy Hargrove, as well as a world-premiere SCP commission showcasing AAN member and contemporary ragtime pianist Reginald R. Robinson. This commission celebrates James Reese Europe, whose “Hellfighters” regiment first brought black American music to France during the Great War. Join us before the concert for a Q&A with Robinson in Grainger Ballroom!
  • The AAN’s third annual Black History Month celebration will take place on Saturday, February 16, 2019! This event, titled “The Baldwin Chronicles: Midnight Ramble,” will feature Renée Baker’s NEOpera ensemble and guest vocalists.
  • On Sunday, May 4, 2019, we will celebrate the life of George Walker with a recital of the legendary composer’s works.
Visit our website at for more details about CSO performances, including special ticket offers reserved exclusively for African American Network supporters and friends. Our site is updated regularly and also includes information about additional events, open rehearsals and free community concerts—be sure to check back often! If you’re on Facebook, please click here to join the AAN Facebook group.
Feel free to contact me directly at or by phone at 312-294-3045. I look forward to your participation and feedback. Thank you for your support of the CSO African American Network. You are proof of an expanding sense of joy, creativity and musical community that knows no limits!
Joyfully yours,

Sheila A. Jones
Director of Community Stewardship,
African American Network