Friday, September 14, 2007

Marvin V. Curtis, African American Composer

Dr. Marvin V. Curtis is an African American composer and college administrator whose works include "The City On The Hill", commissioned for the 1993 Inauguration of President Clinton. A Chicago native, Dr. Curtis is Assistant Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Choral Director, at Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He previously held the post of Chairman of the Department of Performing and Fine Arts.

Dr. Curtis earned a Bachelor of Music from North Park University in Chicago; Master of Arts from The Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Stockton, California; and Doctor of Education from The University of the Pacific, also in Stockton, where he studied composition with Ron Caviani and Stan Beckler. He undertook graduate studies at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, and at The Juilliard School of Music in New York. He was a 1993 Ford Foundation Fellow to the National Council for Black Studies Conference in Accra, Ghana. He also studied at the University of Ghana at Lagon.

Further details on the career of Marvin V. Curtis are excerpted from his bio:

Marvin V. Curtis is the first African American composer commissioned to write a work for a Presidential Inauguration. His composition, The City On the Hill, was premiered at the 1993 Inauguration of President William Clinton and was performed by the Philander Smith Collegiate Choir of Little Rock, Arkansas and the United States Marine Band. He has 33 choral works published by the Mark Foster Music Company, Music 70/80 and Coronet Press; and a woodwind quintet and work for voice/flute/piano published by International Opus. He has received commissions from the Hampton Ministers Conference in Hampton, Virginia; Morris Brown College in Atlanta, Georgia; North Carolina A&T; Clark Atlanta University; Benedict College; San Joaquin Community College of Stockton, California; the All City Performing Ensembles of Chicago for their 25th Anniversary; Rejoice Ensemble of New York City; Grand Prairie High School in Texas; Ebony Chorale of West Palm Beach, Florida; Wooten Choral Ensemble of Chicago; Brandon High School in Tampa, Florida; Lodi High School in California; the 1996 Interfaith Olympic Committee in Atlanta; North Park College; New York State Women’s Honor Chorus; VIDEMUS; and most recently for the 150th anniversary of the City of Rock Hill, South Carolina. His orchestral works have been commissioned by California State University, Stanislaus in Turlock, California, for their tour of the Soviet Union; and from Booker T. Washington High School of the Performing Arts in Dallas. His orchestral works have been performed by the Stanislaus Symphony, Richmond Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, and Petersburg Symphony.

Dr. Curtis was co-choral director for four years at the Virginia Governor’s School for the Humanities and the Performing Arts. During the summer of 1998, he was a guest pianist in Caux, Switzerland for the Moral Re-Armament International Conference. During the summer of 2000 he performed for the Women’s International Club and at the residence of the American Ambassador to the European Union, both in Brussels, Belgium.

He is published in scholarly journals and continues to serve as guest conductor at numerous choral festivals. He led the FSU choirs on their first European Tour to Paris and Belgium in May of 1998. He returned to Belgium and France, by invitation of Transmusical International, for an all-expense paid tour with the Fayetteville State University Chamber Singers during December of 1999. He conducted the Fayetteville State University Concert Choir with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in Vancouver, B.C. in 2003 and at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. in April of 2004.

Dr. Curtis is the recipient of the 2004-05 University of North Carolina Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching Award, was named the 2003-04 FSU Teacher of the Year, received the 2002 BC Powder Excellence in Teaching Finalist Award from GlaxoWellcome, and received the Teacher of the Year Award for the year 2000 from the Department of Performing and Fine Arts and the College of Arts and Sciences of Fayetteville State University. Other awards include: The Minority Enterprise Development Education and Cultural Development award from the Cumberland Regional Improvement Corporation, the Noah Ryder Composer Award from the Norfolk Chapter of Norfolk State University; the 1997 Outstanding Junior Faculty Award from the College of Arts and Sciences of Fayetteville State University; the 1992 Research Achievement Award from NAFEO; Key to the City of Savannah, Georgia; Medallion of the City of Richmond, Virginia; and Distinguished Alumnus Award from North Park College and the University of the Pacific.

Curtis is listed in the 2000 and 2002 editions of Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, the 1999 and 2002 editions of Who’s Who in America and the 8th edition of Who’s Who in Black America. His choral work for President Clinton is housed in the Smithsonian Institute’s National African American Project Archives. Dr. Curtis served as Guest Conductor/Artistic Director for the In-Harmony Series sponsored by the Richmond Symphony.

He is the current host of The Classical Sampler on public radio station WFSS, 91.9 FM, on Sundays from 11a.m.-3 p.m.; Past-President of the Board of Directors of the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra (2003-05); Member of the Board of Directors of the Fayetteville/Cumberland County Arts Council; Member of the North Carolina Humanities Council.; and Director of the Sanctuary Choir at John Wesley United Methodist Church.

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