Tuesday, September 1, 2009

White Pine Music Records 'From the Diary of Sally Hemings,' by Sandra Seaton & William Bolcom

[Sandra Seaton]

On May 17, 2008 AfriClassical posted: “CMU to help celebrate African-American culture, history during Idlewild weekend.” The former African American resort town of Idlewild, Michigan was the scene of a performance of Professor emerita Sandra Seaton's play “The Will”, along with events celebrating diversity in classical music.

The Copland Fund for Music is devoted to contemporary American music. It recently announced a 2009 grant of $9,000 to White Pine Music, the record label of the Department of Music of Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan for “From the Diary of Sally Hemings,” a song cycle by composer William Bolcom. AfriClassical interviewed Scott Burgess, Audio Production Manager at White Pine Music, by phone on Sept. 1, 2009.

He said he has been in his present position for 10 years and in the music business for 22 years, since graduating from Cleveland Institute of Music. He notes: “I was a bassoon performance and audio recording major there.” White Pine Music was founded in 2004. “I'm most of the show,” he says. Scott has an assistant and says the label also involves “Art faculty and students, Public Relations, Broadcasting and Cinematic Arts people.” He adds, “We work a lot with the Office of Research as far as grant-writing and that sort of thing.”
Sandra Seaton's website gives this summary: “Sandra Seaton’s recent work, From The Diary Of Sally Hemings, is a collaboration with composer William Bolcom, who set Seaton’s text to music. A song cycle, the work recreates the thoughts and feelings of Sally Hemings throughout her long relationship with Thomas Jefferson by means of fictional diary entries.” Composer William Bolcom's website says the composition is a 2000 work for voice and piano.

Scott says of William Bolcom, “It was great working with him. He was up here for the session. We've already recorded that one.” “We had a good time with that. Our soprano on that one is Alyson Cambridge, an up-and-coming singer at the Met, and one of the Met's pianists, Lydia Brown.” “We recorded that in July and we're bringing that one out in February.” [Part II of the interview with White Pine Music will appear shortly]

1 comment:

Sandra Seaton said...

Hi Bill,
Great to see your interview with Scott Burgess. Bill Bolcom and I are eagerly awaiting the debut recording of “From The Diary of Sally Hemings” with soprano Alyson Cambridge and pianist Lydia Brown. Bill and I had a very productive week recording up in Mt. Pleasant with Alyson and Lydia, two wonderfully talented artists. Kudos and thanks to our gracious host, White Pine’s Audio Production Manager Scott Burgess, whose recording expertise makes it possible to share the world of Sally Hemings with a wide audience.

Take care,
Sandra (Seaton)