Thursday, December 24, 2009

3 From University of Central Oklahoma Play on Naxos CD of William Grant Still

[William Grant Still Symphonies Nos. 4 and 5; Poem for Orchestra; Fort Smith Symphony; John Jeter, Conductor; Cover Art: Currier & Ives; Naxos 8.559603 (2009)]
Dec. 16, 2009
Three musicians from the University of Central Oklahoma are among the performers who played on a recently released CD featuring symphonies by groundbreaking African-American composer William Grant Still. All three students, two of who have now graduated from UCO, performed with the Fort Smith Symphony in Arkansas when it recorded the CD last spring at The Arkansas Best Corporation Performing Arts Center.

"The CD of Still's Symphonies No. 4, No. 5 and 'Poem for Orchestra' was internationally released in late October and is available where classical music is sold. The Central musicians who played on the CD are Curtis Hansen, a senior who plays the viola and is majoring in music education; Timothy Hsu, who graduated with a bachelor's degree from the School of Music last December and is currently pursuing a master's degree in violin performance at the Peabody Institute of John Hopkins University; and Viktoria Matheson, who earned her master's degree in viola performance from Central last May and is teaching string fundamentals at the university as well as in a local school system.

"Hsu said what he enjoyed most was the opportunity to record such unique work. 'I had a blast. The music itself was very fun. It's not traditional. Very original writing,' Hsu said. Still was born in Mississippi in 1895, but grew up in Little Rock, Ark. 'He broke the black/white barrier in classical music,' said Becky Yates, director of marketing for the Fort Smith Symphony. 'Symphonies 4 and 5 had never been recorded so they were on the verge of being lost forever. It is very historically significant,' Yates said." "'I've become an avid fan of William Grant Still,' Hansen said." "The CD was produced by Naxos, which is based in Hong Kong and bills itself as the largest classical music label in the world." [William Grant Still (1895-1978) is profiled at, where a complete Works List by Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma is found.]

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