Monday, October 3, 2011

John Malveaux: Southeast Symphony opens '64th season on a high and promising note with guest conductor'

[TOP: John Wineglass (b. 1972) at Emmy® Awards BOTTOM: Dr. Marian L Harrison (b. 1974)]

On Oct. 2, 2011 AfriClassical posted: “Southeast Symphony & Anthony Parnther, Guest Conductor, Open Season 3 PM 10/2 in Works of Wineglass & Harrison.” John Malveaux of reviews the opening concert of the 2011-2012 season of the Southeast Symphony of Los Angeles:

Southeast Symphony, oldest predominantly African American orchestra in the world, (per President and CEO Sheryl Harris) opened their 64th season on a high and promising note with guest conductor.

On Sunday, October 2, 2011 at Trinity Baptist Church, a reconfigured Southeast Symphony under the baton of Anthony Parnther thrilled an inquisitive audience of several hundred. Guest conductor Parnther skillfully planned and adroitly executed a program consisting of standard repertoire, two (2) West Coast premieres by African American composers, a young African American bassoon soloist, and charismatic comments from the podium.

The first half included 20-year-old Andrew Brady's performance of Bassoon Concerto in B flat major, K 191 by Mozart. The first half concluded with the West Coast premiere of John Wineglass (b.1972) Portraits of a Theme-Overture No 1 for Orchestra (2010). “The work is based around themes from the television show Smallville, which John wrote for. So, if it reminds you a little of Superman, it should”. (from program notes) Wineglass arrived after the performance due to late plane arrival and we did not hear comments from him.

The second half started with Out of Kilter: Scenes from Black America preceded by an explanatory talk from composer Dr. Marian L Harrison (b. 1974). She characterized the piece “modern art music”. “Out of Kilter explores the subject of racial disparity in the African-American race, as it ‘scores’ five paintings by Atlanta-area artist, Chase Campbell". (from program notes)

The Southeast Symphony season opener underlines the potential of Southeast Symphony to become a major United States force in heightening awareness of composers of color within a mix of appropriate standard repertoire. If Black youth don’t see/hear classical composers of color and they are uneducated about, how can we NOT expect them and others to view classical music as WHITE MUSIC? Southeast Symphony could choose to perform and preserve a treasure of great works by composers of African descent, exposure new works by living and working composers, motivate and multiply future composers. Just performing standard repertoire will NEVER be enough to convince a significant percentage of youth and the general public that people of color are EQUAL in classical music and have been significant contributors since the beginning of the genre. The words, pictures, and performances must match.

Where will Southeast Symphony go from here?
John Malveaux

No comments: