Monday, June 30, 2008

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's Clarinet Quintet at BBC Proms 2008

In April, AfriClassical posted news of the performance of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's Clarinet Quintet at the BBC Proms 2008. Program specifics have now been announced:
Proms Chamber Concert 7: Nash Ensemble
Monday 1 September 2008 from 1:00 pm to approximately 2:00 pm at Cadogan Hall. “
Live on BBC Radio 3. Available as audio on demand for the following week.” “Mark Padmore makes his second Proms appearance this year, in Vaughan Williams’s moving On Wenlock Edge (see also Prom 51). The song-cycle’s six settings of words by A. E. Housman form a touching exploration of hope and loss.

“The Clarinet Quintet by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor – a fellow student of Vaughan Williams at the Royal College of Music – was written following a challenge to the composer by his teacher, Stanford, to write a work that would match up to Brahms’s famous Clarinet Quintet. He succeeded admirably, crafting a work of heartfelt lyricism and charm.
Coleridge-Taylor, Clarinet Quintet (35 mins); Vaughan Williams, On Wenlock Edge (23 mins). There will be no interval. Mark Padmore tenor; Nash Ensemble. Detailed notes about the music will be available one hour before the concert.” Full Post [Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) was an Afro-British composer and conductor who is profiled at]

Green Lake Festival of Music Presents Ritz Chamber Players July 12

Festival presents trio of concerts Beaver Dam, Wisconsin Daily Citizen
GREEN LAKE — The Green Lake Festival of Music will present three concerts at Thrasher Opera House July 8, 10 and 12. All three concerts are at 7:30 p.m., with pre-concert talks with the artists at 6:45. The concerts will be followed by meet-the artist receptions provided by the Friends of the Festival.”

The Ritz Chamber Players, July 12
The concert on Saturday, July 12 features the Ritz Chamber Players, the nation's first chamber music ensemble comprised solely of accomplished musicians from the African diaspora. The group includes some of the world's most accomplished musicians, who also play in such prestigious organizations as the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, and the London Symphony Orchestra. The Ritz Chamber Players made their Carnegie Hall debut in 2004, and their international radio debut with the BBC in 2005.

In addition to playing the standard chamber music repertoire, the Ritz Chamber Players highlight the works of contemporary African-American composers. Based in Jacksonville, Fla., they have also recently performed in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Madison. Performing in Green Lake will be clarinetist Terrance Patterson, violinist Kelly Hall-Tompkins, cellist Tahirah Whittington, and pianist Terrence Wilson. The varied program includes works by African-Americans David Baker and Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson, as well as the Sonata for Violin and Piano by Cesar Franck and Beethoven's well known 'Ghost' Piano Trio." [The African American composer Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson (1932-2004) is profiled at]

Occide Jeanty (1860-1936), Haitian Composer Honored With Stamp

[Occide Jeanty and the score from "1804", Marche Militaire, on a 1960 Haitian stamp.]

Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma is Professor of Music at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin and has written about Black classical music for four decades. He has generously made his research entry on Occide Jeanty available to It begins with the composer's birth in 1860: "The son of Occilius Jeanty, he was born in Port-au-Prince. His musical education in his native town was at the École Polymaththique de Coupeaud, the Lycée Pétion, and L’École Centrale de la Musique (founded by his father)..." "His teachers in Paris included Arban (Jeanty’s principal instrument was the valve cornet), pianist Antoine-François Marmontel, and Douillon." "In 1885 he left Paris to become music director to President Lysius Felicité Salomen writing musique du palais in Port-au-Prince, where a street was later named for him, and a stamp issued in centennial tribute in 1960."

The classical guitarist Jean E. Saint-Eloi has recorded a CD entitled Music of the Haitian Masters, IFA Music Records 256 (1999). The music was composed for piano, but is performed on MIDI guitar. Among the works on the CD is a piece written by Occide Jeanty for solo piano, Invocation (5:00). Jean E. Saint-Eloi writes in the liner notes: "Occide Jeanty, Jr's greatest influence was found in the musique du palais (court music), especially in his military marches. Occide Jeanty elevated the musique du palais to such an extent that his music was rated first in the Caribbean and fourth in the American continent." Prof. De Lerma adds: "He was married to Lydia Robin. Their daughter, Lydia (born about 1910) was on the faculty of the Collège Louverture until her retirement in 1963, and served as Haiti’s ambassador to London for seven months in 1958." Occide Jeanty passed away in 1936.

AfriClassical Comments on Press-Telegram Article 'An overlooked sound in classical music'

[Amber Mercomes, soprano]

Yesterday was the day of the Music Without Borders concert in Long Beach, California,
and AfriClassical posted “Press-Telegram: 'An overlooked sound in classical music',
Carlos Chavez & William Grant Still”.
Among the comments made at the newspaper's
website on June 29, 2008 was this one: “
Dear Mr. Mellen, The title 'An overlooked
sound in classical music' gives rare recognition to the music of Hispanic composers and
composers of African descent. I have enjoyed the music of Carlos Chavez for many
years, and have a series of Mexican Classical Music CDs with several of his compositions.
For 30 years I knew only of White composers. Two Chandos CDs of William Grant Still,
William Levi Dawson and Duke Ellington, recorded by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in
1993, accidentally came to my attention two years later. Since then I have widened my
classical music horizons, and have created a website,
It honors
52 Black composers and musicians, from John Blanke, the Black trumpeter for King Henry
VIII to Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799), and to William Grant Still (1895-1978)
and Adolphus Hailstork, among others. Your article provides the perspective which your
readers need on Black and Hispanic composers. Sincerely, Bill Zick” John Malveaux, the
producer of the concert, has sent us this comment by E-mail: “Wow, you are quick with
your fingers and mind. Thanks for the comments in
the Press Telegram. I like the way
you work!!! Thanks, John Malveaux”

AfriClassical Joins 100 Music Education Bloggers

On June 10, 2008 AfriClassical posted “Only 39 Openings Left in 100 Music Education Bloggers by January of 2009”. It began with this explanation: “On Jan. 7, 2008 Joseph Pisano announced a campaign to recruit 100 people to blog about Music, Education and Technology by January 2009.” We urged those who care deeply about diversity in classical music to consider the opportunity. We also expressed our wish to join 100 ME Bloggers. Today we received a reply from Prof. Joseph M. Pisano, Assistant Chairman of Music and Fine Arts at Grove City College in Pennsylvania: “I like your site and will be adding you to the ME Blogger list shortly. Please check out the post at and double check what we are all about. Please let me know if I can help your efforts in any way. I will also be sending you your code for the free NAXOS music access very soon. Best regards, J. Pisano” AfriClassical looks forward to the creative collaboration of 100 Music Education Bloggers.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Gathering Note: “many disappointed singers” as “Cascade Festival of Music closes”

[The Firebird Suite; The Rite of Spring; Igor Stravinsky; James DePreist, Conductor; Delos DE 3278]

Cascade Festival of Music closes
June 28, 2008 by James Bash
After 27 years of successfully offering classical music in Bend, Oregon, the Cascade Festival of Music has decided to fold and file for bankruptcy. According to the Bend Bulletin newspaper, the festival ended last fall with $190,000 in debt and successfully reduced that to $93,000. You would think that with all of the new money in the Bend area, that this amount could be easily retired, but the board of the festival says that they cannot make that happen. The Portland Symphonic Choir, of which I am a member, was scheduled to sing
Carmina Burana at the festival at the end of August. I know that there are many disappointed singers who were looking forward to a last hurrah with Murry Sidlin, the artistic director of the festival. This was to have been his last year, and James DePreist was appointed to take over the reins next year.

Press-Telegram: “An overlooked sound in classical music”, Carlos Chavez & William Grant Still

[Africa: Piano Music of William Grant Still; Denver Oldham, piano; Koch 3 7084 2H1 (1991)]

An overlooked sound in classical music
By Greg Mellen Staff Writer, Press-Telegram, Long Beach CA
Article Launched: 06/28/2008 11:20:43 PM PDT

LONG BEACH - When John Malveaux first conceived of Music Untold, he wanted to find a way to expose listeners to the music of overlooked ethnic classical composers and have their works performed by similarly overlooked musicians. The first exhibit of that vision will be displayed at a free concert titled 'Music Without Borders' today at 3 p.m. at the Museum of Latin American Art, 628 Alamitos Ave. 'Persons of African and Mexican descent are often excluded from (classical) music textbooks and curricula,' Malveaux says.

Although the music is a primarily European art form, Malveaux notes, 'before Mozart there were significant contributions by people of color. We want to heighten the contributions to classical music beyond the standard well-known European contributors.' The composers featured will be trailblazers Carlos Chavez and William Grant Still.”

Still is called the 'dean' of African-American composers. He began his career as an arranger of jazz before turning to classical music. His 'Afro-American Symphony' became the first such piece performed in the U.S. by a major orchestra when the Rochester Philharmonic played it in 1931. Still reached another first in 1936 when he conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and became the first African-American to conduct a major American orchestra.

In 1949, his 'Troubled Island' was performed by the New York City Opera and was the first African-American opera put on by a major company. The music of Still and Chavez will be performed by The Angeles Players string quartet, an African-American group, with black soprano Amber Mercomes and pianist Evangeline Seward. In 1982, four classically trained musicians got together in the garage studio of Mark Cargill to form The Angeles Players. Although some of the players have changed, the group has performed in the Southland for more than 20 years, playing string quartet and chamber music at church functions and weddings, conventions and concerts. The group will play from Chavez's 'String Quartet No. 1' and Still's 'Dances of Panama.'

Mercomes is an emerging soprano who was recently accepted to perform at the Operafestival di Roma in Italy. Seward is a pianist, composer and chorale conductor who, among her credits, prepared the Compton College Choir for a performance with other colleges at Carnegie Hall in New York. Mercomes will sing Chavez's 'Nocturna Rosa' and Still's ' 'Tis Sunset in the Garden.' She will also perform 'The Breath of a Rose,' a 1924 Langston Hughes poem that Still set to music and the Negro spiritual 'Were You There.' In addition to accompanying Mercomes, Seward will play Still's 'Summerland.' For information, call 562-437-1689., 562-499-1291 Full Post [William Grant Still (1895-1978) was an African American composer, oboist, arranger and conductor who is profiled at]

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Roy Eaton Plays “Gershwin and Friends” at Bryant Park's “Music at 5 series” July 17, 2008

The African American pianist Roy F. Eaton sends us this announcement for Thursday, July 17, 2008, 5 PM: "Roy plays a program entitled 'Gershwin and Friends' as part of Bryant Park's 'Music at 5 series'. He will feature the Seven Gershwin Preludes along with selections by Scott Joplin, Ravel, Chopin & Bill Evans. Bryant Park is located behind the main New York Public Library branch at 42nd street. [The African American ragtime and classical composer Scott Joplin (1868-1917) is profiled at]

Grant Park Music Festival Celebrates William Grant Still's Role in 125 Years of American Music

[Afro-American Symphony; William Grant Still; Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Karl Kruger, conductor; Bridge 9086 (1999)]

Free concerts in Chicago make summer sizzle
Times Correspondent | Friday, June 27, 2008 |

With a world-class orchestra and chorus, one of the best sound systems for outdoor concerts and the Chicago skyline in full view, the Grant Park Music Festival regularly fills pavilion and lawn space.” “At 8 p.m. July 2 and 5, Bill McGlaughlin, host of WFMT's popular program 'Exploring Music,' will take audiences on an orchestral journey through 125 years of American classical music -- from George Chadwick, William Grant Still and Leonard Bernstein to John Adams and Chicago composers today. The performances are scheduled to be taped live for later, nationally syndicated broadcast.

“Developed through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to the WFMT Radio Network, 'Exploring Music' airs at 7 p.m., Monday-Friday. McGlaughlin offers interesting and understandable musical and historical insights in an engaging fireside manner to introduce and occasionally follow recordings built around program themes. Since 1980, McGlaughlin has served as host of the public radio program 'St. Paul Sunday' (7-8 a.m., Sundays on WBEZ, 91.5 FM). He also has performed as a trombonist with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Pittsburgh Symphony and conducted various orchestras.” [The African American composer William Grant Still (1895-1978) is profiled at] Full Post

Cascade Music Festival Canceled; James DePreist Says “I was shocked and still am reeling.”

Cascade Festival of Music cancels season
by David Stabler, The Oregonian
Thursday June 26, 2008, 3:28 PM
“The news out of Bend, the wealthy central Oregon town, isn't good. On Thursday, musicians at the Cascade Festival of Music began hearing that the festival had canceled its season and could be filing for bankruptcy. The eight-day festival, which plays in Drake Park each August, had scheduled pianist James Tocco, Blues Women of Portland, Asleep at the Wheel, Tiller's Folly and 'Carmina Burana,' among others.
The festival didn't return calls Thursday afternoon, but its Web site continues to list concerts and dates. Murry Sidlin is the artistic director. James DePreist, the Oregon Symphony's conductor emeritus (1980-2003) was to take over from Sidlin in the summer of 2009.” “DePreist was just as shocked, he said. 'The Cascade news came to me day before yesterday in a phone call from the board president and general manager. To call it a surprise is an understatement. I was shocked and still am reeling. There has never been the slightest suggestion of a potential disaster. 'Ginette and I were planning to be in Bend before the festival and a schedule of lunches, meetings and cocktail parties had been scheduled as recently as 2 weeks ago. Yes, this was a complete and total shock. I was waiting to receive recent repertoire information before planning the 09 season. All my conversations have been with the GM Kathleen Cody with whom I was looking forward to working.'” [The African American conductor James DePreist (b. 1936) is profiled at] Full Post

Friday, June 27, 2008

African American Soprano Amber Mercomes Sings Music of Carlos Chavez and William Grant Still

Amber Mercomes is paying her dues in a busy opera world
By Greg Mellen, Staff Writer, Long Beach Press-Telegram
Article Launched: 06/26/2008 07:39:29 PM PDT

“Amber Mercomes is doing three things at once - patting her hair after a shower, negotiating on a telephone conference call and answering a knock at the door of her Long Beach apartment. Life can be like that for an itinerant opera singer.
Whether she is preparing for the next gig, chatting up donors or art groups for special projects or finding time to talk with the press, Mercomes, 24, is happiest when she's on the go.

Two years removed from a music degree at Pepperdine University, where the Kansas City native was transformed from a would-be rhythm-and-blues singer to an emerging opera soprano, Mercomes is seeking to make her stamp in the entertainment world.” “On Sunday, Mercomes will be the featured vocalist at the Museum of Latin American Art, where she will sing as part of a show presented by Long Beach-based Music Without Borders.

Mercomes will sing 'Nocturna Rosa,' with music by Carlos Chavez, from a poem by Xavier Villaurrutia. The poem will be read in Spanish and English before the performance. She will also do a pair of selections by African-American classical composer William Grant Still, including 'The Breath of a Rose,' from a poem by Langston Hughes, and a couple of Negro spirituals.

Later this year, she will sing at Lincoln Center in New York as part of a tribute to Anderson, who helped blaze the trail for women such as herself. The singer recently earned a callback for an audition to sing in Hong Kong Disneyland's 'Lion King' show.” Full Post

Comment on William Grant Still and Television Theme for “Perry Mason”

[Africa: Piano Music of William Grant Still; Denver Oldham, piano; Koch 3 7084 2H1 (1991)]

Earlier today, AfriClassical posted “Works of William Grant Still and Carlos Chavez Presented in Long Beach on Sunday, June 29”. The concert program includes this statement: “Some other notable achievements include two Guggenheim Fellowships (1944, 1961), the theme song for New York’s World Fair (1939), and the themes for television’s Perry Mason and Gunsmoke.” The composer's daughter, Judith Anne Still, preserves his legacy with a business called William Grant Still Music as well as a website, She comments: “Thanks for the newest blog. Did it say that WGS composed the theme for PERRY MASON? He didn't compose the theme--only a great deal of the background music.”

Works of John Mohapeloa & Mzilikazi Khumalo To Be Performed at S.A. National Arts Festival

We are pleased to see that South African composer and choral director Mokale Koapeng is giving voice to African Choralism at South Africa's National Arts Festival: Mail & Guardian “A marvellous mix of Mzansi and Mozart JEFF BRUKMAN - Jun 26 2008 10:04 “The vacuum created by the demise of Michael Blake's New Music Indaba has prompted this year's arrival at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown of exciting intercultural compositions as well as a plethora of South African works. The focus upon South African creativity and musicianship represents a maturing recognition of our own talents and abilities in the art music sphere.” “Cantus Africana director Mokale Koapeng brings African choralism to the fore with a tribute to the music of Southern African composer John Mohapeloa, as well as a programme devoted to a wide range of South African choral styles incorporating the works of Kevin Volans, Stanley Glasser and Mzilikazi Khumalo, among others. “Koapeng's two programmes are designed to highlight the depth of creativity within the African choral genre; a style of music-making that is integral to the musical expression of many within the broader South African community.” Full Post

Works of William Grant Still and Carlos Chavez Presented in Long Beach on Sunday, June 29

[William Grant Still (Photo is the sole property of William Grant Still Music, and is used with permission.)]

We have previously posted information on the “Music Without Borders Concert”, including this article from Without Borders Concert Date: June 29, 2008 Time: 3:00 PM - 4:15 PM Location: Museum of Latin American Art 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach, 90802 Phone: (562) 437-1689 Description: chamber music featuring compositions of African American William Grant Still and Mexican Carlos Chavez performed by The Angeles Players (String Quartet), soprano Amber Mercomes, and pianist Evangeline Seward.”

John Malveaux of the Long Beach Central Area Association has provided us with the contents of the concert program, including this overview of William Grant Still's career: “William Grant Still, Composer (1895-1978). Born in Woodville, Mississippi, William Grant Still achieved acclaim as the 'Dean of African American Composers.' Receiving his early training at home, Still later attended Wilberforce University, Oberlin Conservatory of Music and the New England Conservatory. Arranging for jazz artists like W.C. Handy early in his career, he later turned towards a classical style. In 1931,William Grant Still was the first African-American in the United States to have a symphony, Symphony #1 ('The Afro-American Symphony') performed by a major symphony orchestra. He was the first to conduct a major symphony orchestra in the United States, when in 1936, he directed the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra in his compositions at the Hollywood Bowl. In 1949, he was the first to have an opera produced by a major company in the United States when Troubled Island was done at the City Center of Music and Drama in New York City. He was the first to have an opera, A Bayou Legend, televised over a national network. Some other notable achievements include two Guggenheim Fellowships (1944, 1961), the theme song for New York’s World Fair (1939), and the themes for television’s Perry Mason and Gunsmoke.”

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mokale Koapeng's “Khutsho, Chant for Peace”, on CD “Simunye”, is Used in Church Service

Mokale Koapeng (b. 1963) is a South African choral director and composer of choral works. He is also one of two Music Directors of the 20th Yearly Massed Choir Competition in November 2008. AfriClassical recently invited Mokale to comment on his activities. Here is his reply: “I am currently studying for a Master's degree in composition and my research project will be a self-reflective study of my composition. I will gladly give you some information as time progresses. Keep well, Mokale” AfriClassical has previously written of the CD Simunye, a joint project of the SDASA Chorale, of which Mokale Koapeng is Music Director, and the British vocal group I Fagiolini. One of Mokale's compositions on the CD was recently played by the Rev. Johann Vanderbijl at a church service, which was reported in a blog called Prydain on May 12, 2008. Mokale made this comment on May 20, 2008: “Dear Rev Vanderbijl, My name is Mokale Koapeng, the composer of 'Khutsho, Chant for Peace'. I am greatly humble to realise that my little piece for peace is touching many lives. Thank you for spreading the message of peace. South Africa needs peace more than ever before. Mokale Koapeng”

Wednesday, June 25, 2008 Aaron Dworkin is “Bringing Diversity to the World of Classical Music”

[Diverse: Diversifying the World of Classical Music, Sphinx Organization allows minority musicians to showcase talent]

Bringing Diversity to the World of Classical Music
by Carla DeFord
Jun 26, 2008, 14:42
"The Sphinx Organization provides opportunities for young musicians of color to showcase their talents. As a young Black violinist growing up on the East Coast, it did not escape Aaron Dworkin that no performers and very few audience members at classical music concerts looked like him. So as a 25-year-old graduate student in music at the University of Michigan, he had an idea that could help bring diversity to the world of classical music: a competition that would attract the most gifted and accomplished young minority string players in the country.

"Dworkin's brainchild has since become the Sphinx Organization, which in addition to sponsoring its unique competition has distributed over $1 million in prize money and scholarships to promising classical musicians of color since its founding in 1996. Today, with an annual budget of about $3 million, Sphinx also offers a wide range of professional development and music-education programs to performers and audiences in the Detroit area and beyond.

"This small empire sprang from the Sphinx Competition, which is now entering its 12th year and will be held again Jan. 28-Feb. 1, 2009, in Detroit. Most of the applicants are encouraged to participate in the competition by their music teachers, who are aware of its reputation and prestige. Once audition recordings of the competitors have been received, a screening committee chooses a group of semifinalists in the junior and senior divisions. From this group, three finalists (laureates) are chosen by a panel of distinguished judges." Full Post [Aaron P. Dworkin (b. 1970), Founder/President of the Sphinx Organization, is profiled at] “We Can't Stand Still” at William Grant Still Center

[Africa: Piano Music of William Grant Still; Denver Oldham, piano; Koch 3 7084 2H1 (1991)]

Dance With Me, A New Festival of Musicals Closes on 7/13
Wednesday, June 25, 2008; Posted 1:16 PM - by BWW News Desk

The Festival of New American Musicals which officially launched throughout Southern California on May 1 will officially end on July 10-13th with a staged reading of the new musical, DANCE WITH ME, based on the lives and romance of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. The Festival has included 158 performances of 43 musical theater events in 36 theaters stretching from Santa Barbara to San Diego, reaching an estimated 122,000 theatergoers.”

“WE CAN'T STAND STILL (William Grant Still Center). Concerts and master classes were also given at Orange County Performing Arts Center, Citrus College and Pepperdine University by Stephen Schwartz, Jerry Herman, and Jason Robert Brown.

“Seligson and Klein are Co-Executive Producers of the festival and Linda Shusett is Producer. Rich Schraier directs educational outreach. The festival is presented by The Bank of New York Mellon and sponsors include Los Angeles County, The ASCAP Foundation, The Jewish Community Foundation, Greenberg & Glusker, KUSC, BACKSTAGE, and the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.” Full Post [William Grant Still (1895-1978) was an African American composer, oboist, arranger and conductor who is profiled at] Guest Book Post on Fiona Carr and Pianos for Uganda

A post in the Guest Book of yesterday involves Fiona Carr of Pianos for Uganda: “I am so excited to learn about your organization. I was actually trying to find a way to connect with Mrs. Fiona Carr of Pianos for Uganda when I followed your link. Please keep me updated with what is going on with your wonderful organization and if you know how I can contact Mrs. Fiona Carr, please let me know. Kind regards, Edward Wilson”

In November, 2007 AfriClassical posted “From Pianos for Uganda to Kampala Music School”. Here is an excerpt: Fiona Carr was among the people involved in Pianos for Uganda, so we invited her to comment on the program: “Yes, I helped start the scheme in 1999, as after 20 years of war Uganda had no reasonable pianos and a LOT of talent! I decided only to teach Ugandan talent and when the students took their International ABRSM exams they caught the eye of the examiner and he helped Simon Yiga and me get the scheme off the ground. Availability of pianos very soon made the talent explode and so raising funds and opening Kampala Music School became the next un-avoidable move! KMS opened in 2001 and within a very short time has become a centre of excellence. The web site which is currently being up-dated will fill you in on where it has now got to. After some 80 pianos had been sent to and put around Uganda we closed the scheme as such, as money seemed more urgently needed for a new purpose built Music School.” is the school's website, which indicates that Fiona Carr may be reached by Email:

Second Comment on Jonathan Cambry Post

On April 24, 2008 AfriClassical posted: “Jonathan Cambry (b. 1982), African American Pianist in Chicago, Performs on YouTube”. A very favorable comment was made 5 days later, and was posted on AfriClassical. Yesterday a second comment was received from Lorena Garcés, a Journalism student at the Universidad de Playa Ancha, Valparaiso, Chile: “Great music. Congratulations from Chile. Great interpretations.”

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Missouri Valley College Joins Heritage Project at Scott Joplin House State Historic Site

[Piano Rags; Roy Eaton, piano; Sony SBK 833 (1995)]

Marshall Democrat-News, Marshall, Missouri
MVC to participate in Scott Joplin heritage project
Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Missouri Valley College announced that it is joining several partners -- The Missouri Division of State Parks, GEAR-UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) St. Louis and University of Missouri-St. Louis -- to conduct a six-year heritage project at the Scott Joplin House State Historic Site in St. Louis.

This heritage site was the home of musician Scott Joplin, the 'King of Ragtime,' from 1900 to 1903, according to a news release from MVC.” “In 2005, the Scott Joplin Heritage Project was established to redevelop and redefine this historic site's interpretation, expanding to broad lines of social history that connects the past to the present.

This project has included the creation of a community committee that meets regularly to discuss the historical interpretation and how this site can help the living community through economic revitalization, performing arts and education.” “The mission of GEAR-UP is to increase the readiness and success of students that attend post-secondary education from St. Louis area school districts. The Scott Joplin House State Historic Site will be the focus of a historical archaeology GEAR-UP program that utilizes this historic site as a laboratory for learning.” [Scott Joplin (1868-1917) was an African American pianist who composed both ragtime and classical music, including the opera Treemonisha. He is profiled at] Full Post

Performances of The Still Waters Youth Sinfo-Nia Orchestra and Dance Company

The Still Waters Youth Sinfo-Nia Orchestra and Dance Company, founded in 1990 as the William Grant Still Memorial Youth Orchestra, will hold its 19th Annual Summer Academy July 7-18, 2008 at Morris Brown College. Sinfo-Nia will perform at Ruben Studdard’s music camp in Birmingham, AL on Wednesday, July 16 and at the National Black Arts Festival “Children’s Village” on Thursday and Friday, July 17 and 18. Sinfo-Nia will travel to take part in the National Association of Negro Musicians (NANM) Conference at the Downtown Marriott in Chattanooga, TN July 26-30.

Young musicians from middle school through college are invited to take part in the NANM Conference ( July 26 through Aug. 1, 2008. Musicians would rehearse and perform as a part of the Conference’s D. Jerlene Harding Memorial/National Association of Negro Musicians Orchestra under the direction of David E. Robinson, III who lives in Atlanta. Strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion players are needed. The Orchestra is also looking for dancers highly experienced in ballet and modern dance. Sinfo-Nia is under the direction of David and Alycia Robinson. For more information, call them at (404) 328-0840 or send an e-mail to The website is Students that live out-of-town are certainly invited to take part if they have relatives in metro Atlanta that they can stay with.

“A Vision of Ludovic Lamothe” by the Haitian Composer Can Be Downloaded at

[A Vision of Ludovic Lamothe; Charles P. Phillips, piano; IFA Music Records (2001) (55:00)]

An MP3 version of
A Vision of Ludovic Lamothe; Charles P. Phillips, piano; IFA Music Records (2001) (55:00) is now available for download at the price of $8.88 from Ludovic Lamothe (1882-1953) is one of Haiti's most renowned classical composers. He was born in Port-au-Prince, his country's capital, on May 12, 1882. The CD features piano works performed by Charles P. Phillips, a concert pianist. The CD is a project of the Cultural Enlightenment Association of Ife. The 12 pieces include Ballade in A Minor (Scenes de Carnaval #2) (6:17), Danza No. 1 (La Habanera) (3:27), Evocation (5:46), and Danse Espagnole No. 4 (5:15).

Dominique-René de Lerma is Professor of Music at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. He has generously made his research entry on Ludovic Lamothe available to “He studied the piano and clarinet at the Institution St. Louis de Gonzague, moving to Paris for study with Louis Diemer at the Conservatory.” “He was known as the 'Black Chopin' in acknowledgment of his performances of that composer’s works.” Lamothe became Chief of Music of the Republic of Haiti. His life ended on April 4, 1953. His family subsequently compiled his sheet music in a book, Musique de Ludovic Lamothe, which was published in Port-au-Prince in 1955.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Endorsement of Buskaid Soweto String Project

[BUSKAID: Helping Young Black Musicians in South African Townships]

In December 2007 AfriClassical wrote of an Atlanta group whose name is a reference to William Grant Still: "Still Waters Youth Sinfo-Nia & Dance Company Tours Ghana, Togo & Benin".
Its website is The Director is David E. Robinson, III, who recently sent us this message: “I always want to mention that there is an outstanding orchestra music program in Soweto, South Africa called the Buskaid Soweto String Project. It is under the direction of British viola player, Rosemary Nalden. I have all of their CDs. They are fantastic. My goal is to have my youth orchestra (Still Waters Youth Sinfo-Nia of Metropolitan Atlanta Orchestra and Dance Company) meet up with them on our proposed trip to South Africa in June 2009. In putting this trip together, I will call on other young musicians from the U.S. to be a part of this tour. Here is their website: By all means, when you get time and space in your publication (maybe the fall is a good time), please do a story on this outstanding group. Sincerely, David E. Robinson, III”

Last year, Mike Wright reviewed the performance of the Buskaid Soweto String Project at the Prom Concerts for AfriClassical in a post entitled “Congratulations to All Performers at Prom Concert on 15 July 2007”:This is where I move on to the Buskaid Soweto Ensemble which I have been aware of for some time now from CD recordings published. They are so frighteningly good that they could put many established string bands into the shade.” Buskaid's website says the group's mission is: (1) “To give children from impoverished backgrounds in the townships of South Africa the opportunity to learn classical stringed instruments to the highest possible standards.” (2) “To encourage the most talented of these students to form their own professional orchestra, unique for its playing style and repertoire.” (3) “To train a select number of its students to become professional string teachers.” (4) “To set up and staff its own instrument repair workshop, offering employment opportunities to local youth, with the secondary aim of producing Buskaid's own hand-made violins, violas and cellos.”

New Comment on Black Classical Music Presentation

[Coleridge-Taylor: Violin Concerto; Lorraine McAslan, violin; London Philharmonic Orchestra; Nicholas Braithwaite, conductor; Lyrita SRCD.317 (2007)]

On June 20 AfriClassical published “Southampton Recorded Music Society Presents Black Classical Music July 4”. Annamarie Ewing made a comment which was posted the following day. A new comment was received today from Mike S. Wright, Chair, International Society of African to American Music: “I am really glad to see this. In the past, I have done presentations (all very well received) at Guidford (3 times for composers of African origin and descent plus one for Latino composers) also presentations at Godalming, Esher and Thames Ditton, Eastbourne and Warrington. I am considering doing more soon when I move to Devon as I am convinced that this is a good way to get music heard.”