Friday, June 27, 2008

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.”

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