Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dallas Symphony Orchestra Website For Youth Gives Wrong Name For 'Afro-American Symphony'

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

"The Dallas Symphony Orchestra's educational website for young people is DSO Kids. Composers are divided into chronological categories from “Renaissance 1450-1600” to “Modern 1920-Present”. One of the composers in the Modern section is William Grant Still (1895-1978). An audio excerpt of his most famous work, Symphony No. 1 (Afro-American) is provided. Unfortunately, the sound sample is labeled “American Symphony.” We sent an email to Kristin Carpenter, Youth Programs Coordinator of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, on Aug. 16, 2009:

“Dear Ms. Carpenter, The DSO Kids page on William Grant Still is appealing:
I would like to mention it on my website and blog on African Heritage in Classical Music. However, the audio excerpt from the Afro-American Symphony is incorrectly labeled "American Symphony." I hope you will correct this oversight so young people can fully benefit from this educational resource.”

A copy of the email was sent to the composer's daughter, Judith Anne Still. She operates William Grant Still Music and gives frequent presentations on her father's legacy. Judith Anne Still made this comment: “I am glad that you call people on their errors,...these mistakes are pivotal if left uncorrected.” As of this writing, the error remains at the website. [William Grant Still (1895 -1978) is profiled at AfriClassical.com, where a complete Works List by Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma is also found]

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