Saturday, February 27, 2010

'Black Classical Musicians in Philadelphia' by Elaine Mack, Part I

[Leon Bates]

On Feb. 6, 2010 AfriClassical posted: “'Black Classical Musicians in Philadelphia' by Elaine Mack is Topic of WHYY Radio, Feb. 12, 11 AM.” Author Elaine Mack wrote, in part: “The product of 14 years of work, this book consists of personal interviews with Black musicians who were born, bred, educated, or made major contributions to the musical life of Philadelphia.” Her website is: Elaine Mack has made excerpts from her book available for publication on AfriClassical, to give readers a taste of the biographies she compiled and presented in her book. This excerpt is Part 1. It happens to pertain to a performer whose concerts have been featured in AfriClassical on numerous occasions, in part because he often plays the works of Composers of African Descent

Leon Bates, concert pianist
“I’m away from home about eight months out of the year. It’s a pretty substantial amount of time. Of course, this is the way it has to be if I’m going to have a career… The reality is that a lot of times one engagement directly follows another, so it means you’re running all over the place… Then there are the interrelated activities, like interviews or outreach programs, children’s concerts, or maybe a master class. You wind up getting very tired. At the end of that period you may have to fly off to another location and do a completely different kind of thing. It could be a solo recital, which requires a different kind of mental preparation and focus. This is the nature of concert life; it’s a constantly changing kind of situation.”

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