Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Valerie Capers (b. 1935), African American Jazz & Classical Composer & Pianist

[Wagner Takes The A Train; Valerie Capers, piano; Elysium (1999)]

The website of Jazz at Lincoln Center says of Valerie Capers:

“She served on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music, and from 1987 to 1995 was chair of the Department of Music and Art at Bronx Community College of the City University of New York (CUNY), where she is now professor emeritus.“

This Biography is found at the website of Dr. Capers:

Valerie Capers was born in New York City and received her early schooling at the New York Institute for the Education of the Blind. She went on to obtain both her Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the Juilliard School of Music.

Three of Dr. Capers' most noted extended compositions are Sing About Love, the critically acclaimed Christmas cantata produced by George Wein at Carnegie Hall; Sojourner, an operatorio based on the life of Sojourner Truth, performed and staged by the Opera Ebony Company of New York; and Song of the Season, a song cycle for voice, piano and cello that was premiered in Washington, D.C., at the invitation of the Smithsonian Institute, and recently performed at Weill Recital Hall in New York City.

Dr. Capers has appeared with her trio and ensemble at colleges, universities, jazz festivals, clubs and concert halls throughout the country, including a series at Weill Recital Hall and the 2001 Rendez-vous de l'Erdre in Nantes, France. Her trio's performances at the International Grande Parade du Jazz Festival in The Hague received rave reviews. The group has also participated in the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Mellon Jazz Festival, and New York's Kool, JVC and Downtown jazz festivals. As a jazz artist, she is most often heard in New York City at the Knickerbocker in Greenwich Village. As a classical soloist, she has also performed Mozart's Concerto for Piano & Orchestra, No. 23 at the Pepperdine University Center for the Arts in Malibu, California.

Throughout her career, Dr. Capers has appeared on numerous radio and television programs, including Marian McPartlands' Piano Jazz and Branford Marsalis' JazzSet. and Adventures of Wagner in Jazz, a special program created by Provo, Utah's KBYU-FM -- all on National Public Radio. She has also performed with a roster of outstanding artists, such as Dizzy Gillespie, Wynton Marsalis, Ray Brown, Mongo Santamaria, Tito Puente, Slide Hampton, Max Roach, James Moody and Paquito D'Rivera, among others.

Dr. Capers has recorded five albums: Portrait of Soul (Atlantic, 1967), Affirmation (KMA Arts, 1982), Come On Home (Columbia/Sony, 1995), Wagner Takes the A Train (Elysium, 1999), and her most recent, Limited Edition (VALCAP Records, 2001). Her book of intermediate-level piano pieces, Portraits in Jazz, was published by Oxford University Press in 2000.

Valerie+Capers" rel="tag">Valerie Capers
classical+pianist" rel="tag">classical pianist
jazz+composer" rel="tag">jazz composer
African+American" rel="tag">African American
Music+Professor" rel="tag">Music Professor
piano+workbook" rel="tag">piano workbook

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