Wednesday, November 30, 2011 “Movements from William Grant Still's 'Christmas in the Western World'” at Susquehanna S.O. Dec. 3

[TOP: William Grant Still (Photo is the sole property of William Grant Still Music, and is used with permission BOTTOM: The Toledo Clarinets; Cambria CD1190 (2009)]

William Grant Still (1895-1978) is profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works List by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma, The Still work Christmas In The Western World (Las Pascuas) was recorded on the CD The Toledo Clarinets, Cambria CD1190 (2009).
November 30, 2011
The Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra presents its popular holiday concert Saturday, Dec. 3. This year, it's 'Holiday Melodies and Peanuts' — the Charles Schulz kind. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. at Bel Air High School, 100 Heighe St. in Bel Air. Tickets, $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and $10 for students, are available at Preston's and Music Land in Bel Air or at the door. Or visit and click on Ticket Leap.

“According to SSO founder and director Sheldon Bair, the concert will contain many surprises. 'The concert will start with local composer Theldon Myers' “Music for a Special Season,” filled with holiday tunes such as Coventry Carol, My Dancing Day and Wassail,' he said. 'The special guest soloist for this concert will be Harford Community College piano faculty member Joseph Satava. He will play movements from William Grant Still's “Christmas in the Western World” in its instrumentation for strings and piano. It uses Christmas melodies from both North and South America and is sure to delight the audience with both well-known carols and carols that should be better known.'

“Satava, who holds a bachelor's degree and doctorate from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University as well as a master's degree from the Julliard School, has been involved with music festivals in the U.S., Canada, France and Spain. He won second price in the 2008 Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition and was awarded a 2011 Maryland State Arts Council individual artist award in classical music and solo performance.

“He is featured in 'Peanuts Gallery' for piano and orchestra by American composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. 'Zwilich became friends with Peanuts creator Charles Schulz in the 1990s and decided to write a piece based on his famous Peanuts characters,' said Bair. 'Each character has his or her own movement. It is a fun-filled work that the audience is sure to enjoy.' Included are Schroeder's Beethoven Fantasy, Lullaby for Linus, Snoopy Does the Samba, Charlie Brown's Lament, Lucy Freaks Out, and Peppermint Patty & Marcie Lead the Parade.

'This Christmas with Imani Winds': 'holiday favorites reimagined for the wind quintet by Valerie Coleman and Jeff Scott'

[This Christmas with Imani Winds; Koch International Classics CD 7748 (2008)]

In its latest newsletter, Imani Winds calls attention to its 2008 release This Christmas with Imani Winds; Koch International Classics CD 7748:

“A collection of holiday favorites reimagined for the wind quintet by Valerie Coleman and Jeff Scott, 'This Christmas' is available on iTunes and”

Here is an excerpt from a review by Carol Swanson:
“Imani Winds is an unusual and outstanding NYC-based wind ensemble, one well known for its adventurous spirit, colorful musicality, and creative ability to incorporate African and Latin American influences into its art. In other words, This Christmas successfully marries classical with jazz and world influences, creating the most marvelous musical meld. Terrific!

“This seasonal album is generous (nearly an hour!), which means that each track, on average, runs four full minutes, allowing for meaningful development. The song selection ranges from the seriously sacred to the playfully secular, and all pieces are familiar favorites. Imani Winds attacks the gamut with ease, and all tracks shine.

“The quintet includes bright voices (flute, piccolo), mid-level winds (clarinet, French horn), and throaty, soulful sounds (oboe, bassoon). Imani Winds' guest musicians provide percussive rhythms, as well as piano and bass support. The album opens innocently enough with a solo flute playing the melody line of Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella; as the bars progress, other wind instruments join. By the second verse, the boppin' percussion and syncopated rhythms take over, and what initially appeared to be a simple, straightforward execution has in fact blossomed into sophisticated, world-class fun. Before it's over, the first track covers more than six minutes, bursting with shifting tempos and tones--and setting the standard for what is to come. Brilliant!”

Oakland East Bay Symphony: 'Let Us Break Bread Together: A Holiday Celebration Sunday, December 11, 4pm'

[Michael Morgan, Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, Joan Baez]

Paramount Theatre, Oakland
Michael Morgan, Conductor
Featuring: Oakland East Bay Symphony, Oakland Symphony Chorus, Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, Mt. Eden High School Choir, Klezmer band Kugelplex… and a special guest appearance by Joan Baez!


Let Us Break Bread Together
orchestral arrangement by Ellen Hoffman
choral arrangement by Terrance Kelly
Combined Choruses and Oakland East Bay Symphony

We Three Kings arranged by Dave Brubeck
"All My Hope" from To Hope: A Celebration Dave Brubeck
Oakland Symphony Chorus

Lux Aurumque Eric Whitacre
Mt. Eden High School Concert Choir

I Wonder as I Wander John Jacob Niles
arranged by Terrance Kelly
Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir

Fantasia on Greensleeves Ralph Vaughan Williams
Oakland East Bay Symphony

Los Guisados de la Berendjena
Jewish from Turkey, traditional

Jari Ya Hammouda Tunisian, traditional
arranged by Dan Cantrell
Joan Baez & Kugelplex

Battle Hymn of the Republic
arranged by Peter J. Wilhousky
lyrics by Julia Ward Howe
Mt. Eden High School Concert Choir &
Oakland East Bay Symphony


Sleigh Ride Leroy Anderson
Oakland East Bay Symphony

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
arranged by Mack Wilberg, lyrics by Robert Robinson
Mt. Eden High School Concert Choir & Oakland East Bay Symphony

Hodie Christus Natus Est Healey Willan
Mt. Eden High School Concert Choir

God is God Steve Earle
Joan Baez

Where Does Love Come From The Bluestein Family
Kugelplex & Jem Bluestein

Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah George Frederic Handel
Oakland Symphony Chorus & Oakland East Bay Symphony

O Holy Night Adolphe Adam
arranged by Terrance Kelly, lyrics by John Sullivan Dwight
Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir

For He is Great arranged by Terrance Kelly
Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir

Walk Together, Children Ellen Hoffman & Terrance Kelly
1st movement Chorus, piano, bass & drums
2nd movement Orchestra only
3rd movement Chorus, piano, bass & drums, Audience
4th movement Combined Choruses, orchestra, piano,
bass, drums, Audience

Joan Baez will also perform 2 additional pieces
(placement on program tbd): Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
and Salt of the Earth.

There’s no better way to get in the holiday spirit than by coming to Let Us Break Bread Together, now a beloved Bay Area seasonal tradition. Join us for inspiring performances of gospel music, classical selections, holiday favorites and sing-alongs.

This year’s concert will feature a special guest appearance by legendary folk singer Joan Baez, who is delighted to be able to join us after having to withdraw from last year’s concert due to an injury. Bring some friends, bring the family or come on your own – you’re sure to have a great time! As OIGC Artistic Director Terrance Kelly said in an interview last year, “This is the way Christmas is supposed to be: people coming together to celebrate one another.”

Tuesday, November 29, 2011 Carnegie Hall Premieres 'Homentage' for 100th Anniversary of Birth of Xavier Montsalvatge, 8 PM Nov. 30

[Tania Justina León]

Tania León (b. 1943) is an Afro-Cuban composer and conductor who is featured at Her own website is

“November 30, 2011
WORLD PREMIERE: Homentage (Homage). Pianist Adam Kent premieres Homentage at Carnegie Hall. León's piece celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of Xavier Montsalvatge (1912 - 2002), a Catalan composer greatly influenced by the music of Cuba. Commissioned by The Foundation for Iberian Music at The CUNY Graduate Center, the work will be presented as part of 'Spain in America,' a concert celebrating Spanish composers working in the U.S. or writing music inspired by the Americas. Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall, New York City. 8 p.m. 212-247-7800.”

Two Days to Release of 'Florence Price: Symphony No. 1 and Piano Concerto' Albany Records 1295

[Florence B. Price: Concerto in One Movement, Symphony in E Minor; Albany Records 1295 (2011)]

Florence Beatrice Smith Price (1887-1953) is profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works Lists by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma, The Center for Black Music Research at Columbia college Chicago is collaborating with Albany Records on the series Recorded Music of the African Diaspora. This is the third volume to be released. is still accepting advance orders.

Raymond Harvey Leads Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra in Handel's 'Messiah' (Christmas Part) Dec. 17, 8 PM

[Maestro Raymond Harvey (Photo Credit: Mitchell)]

Saturday, December 17, 2011 at 8pm
Chenery Auditorium

Conductor Raymond Harvey
will lead the
Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra
Handel's Messiah
(Christmas portion) joined by
Kalamazoo Singers.

Rachele Schmiege, Soprano
Elizabeth Mumford-Cowan, Alto
Benjamin Bunsold, Tenor
Mark Doss, Bass

HANDEL Messiah

Monday, November 28, 2011

University of Pennsylvania Library: Online Exhibit on Francis B. Johnson (1792-1844), African American Musician

In April 2008 The University of Pennsylvania opened an exhibit entitled: "Francis Johnson: Music Master of Early Philadelphia," in the Eugene Ormandy Gallery on the 4th floor of the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library. An informative new Online Exhibit was posted November 22, 2011.

Francis B. "Frank" Johnson was an African American bugler, bandleader and composer who is featured at He was born on June 16, 1792, according to an Online Exhibit of the University of Pennsylvania Library:

The Online Exhibit includes the above picture of Francis B. Johnson, a copy of his baptismal record, and a copy of his entry in McElroy's Philadelphia Directory for 1837 as "Francis Johnson, musician" residing at "154 Pine Street."

Professor Dominique-René de Lerma,, has made his research on Francis B. Johnson available to along with the complete Works List for him. Prof. De Lerma begins: "Francis (or Frank) Johnson was the first major bandmaster in the U.S. It has long been thought he was born in Martinique, but it is now believed he was born in Philadelphia, known there as a professional musician by 1812, probably as a violinist."

The CD 'I Play For Peace' by Roy F. Eaton is both thematic and eclectic musically

[Roy Eaton, Piano: I Play For Peace; RHAHM Music, Inc. (2011)]

The pianist Roy F. Eaton,, has been featured on AfriClassical for years. On Nov. 24, 2011 posted: “'I Play For Peace,' New Roy Eaton CD '25% off Black Friday only at'” The recording was made from June 29 to October 12, 2011 at L Brown Recording. The front cover sketch is by LeRoy Nieman. Two things make the CD a family affair. A rainbow sketch on the inside of the back cover of the CD is by Ari Eaton, one of Roy's twin sons, who are about 8 years old. Track 4 is Roy Eaton's piano composition RaviAri, whose title combines the names of the boys. Roy is a proud resident of Roosevelt Island in New York City.

I Play For Peace is at once thematic and eclectic. The pianist finds a commonality among works of very different times and styles, including both J.S. Bach, born in 1685 in what is now Germany, and Arvo Pärt, an Estonian born in 1935 and now known for his “new compositional voice”. Jazz great Bill Evans is represented, as is the eccentric but influential French composer Erik Satie. Busoni, Ravel, Gershwin, Chopin and Liszt are also heard on this program.

The liner notes point out:
“Roy Eaton first performed in Carnegie Hall on Thursday, June 17, 1937 as a Gold Medallist in a competition sponsored by the Music Education League of New York.” “I PLAY FOR PEACE continues his lifelong exploration of the spiritual dimension of music.” Eaton is also a Scott Joplin specialist whose Joplin: Piano Rags recording is part of the Sony Essential Classics series. The new recording is available online at:
Disclosure: A review copy of this CD was provided by the record label.

Primous Fountain International Committee: 'Eastern European Tour of the Symphonies of Primous Fountain'

[Primous Fountain]

On Oct. 8, 2011 AfriClassical posted: “Hear Primous Fountain, Composer & Pianist, in Second Symphony with Lugansk Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine.” Magda Wojdyla of The Primous Fountain International Committee sends this news:

“Dear Bill Zick,
An Eastern European Tour consisting exclusively of the five Symphonies and other orchestral works of Primous Fountain has been arranged for this season, performed by ten leading orchestras of Eastern Europe and Russia.

“We are having a fundraiser online Now through December 16 at There are also two videos of Fountain there as well speaking about the Tour and little history of his work as composer. Direct link to Fountain's Fundraising page there is:

“This is a important and historic Tour. In your next reference to websites of Fountain do mention our major website as well,

Magda Wojdyla

Friday, November 25, 2011

Pianist André Watts in 'All-Liszt Performance' for 'Liszt Bicentennial' at Duke University 8 PM Dec. 3

[André Watts]

André Watts, Piano
Duke University
Saturday, December 3, 2011 | 8:00 pm
Page Auditorium
$46 • $38 • $22 • $5 Duke students
André Watts was born just after the second world war to an American father and a Hungarian mother, the latter of whom famously used stories of Liszt’s work ethic to inspire Watts to practice as a child. It paid off handsomely when he filled in for Glenn Gould with the New York Philharmonic in 1963, where his preternatural command of Liszt’s first concerto brought down the house and launched a distinguished career. In Durham, the Avery Fisher Prize recipient trains his finely honed expertise on an all-Liszt program in honor of the master’s bicentennial, including the Sonata in B Minor — that deathless ode to Schumann — and the sublimely darkening later work Nuages Gris.

LISZT: Étude de Concert No. 3, “Un Sospiro”
LISZT: Les Jeux d'eau a la Villa d'Este
LISZT: Piano Sonata in B Minor
LISZT: Bagatelle ohne Tonart
LISZT: Nuages Gris
LISZT: En Rêve
LISZT: La Lugubre Gondola No. 2
LISZT: Schlaflos, Frage und Antwort
LISZT: Étude No. 5, “La Chasse,” from Six Grand Études de Paganini
LISZT: Transcendental Étude No. 10 in F Minor
LISZT: Hungarian Rhapsody No. 13 in A Minor

Imani Winds Performs Wayne Shorter's 'Terra Incognita' Nov. 26 at Salle Athena de l'Acropolis, Nice, France

[Imani Winds: Terra Incognita; E1 Music CD 7782 (2010)]

Imani Winds has a European tour date tomorrow, at a huge festival in Nice, France:

Salle Athena de l'Acropolis
November 26, 2011
6:00 PM


Scherzo from A Midsummer Night's Dream - Mendelssohn/Gabler

Terra Incognita - Wayne Shorter

Le Sacre du Printemps - Stravinsky/Russell

Klezmer Suite - Gene Kavadlo

Ulysses Kay: 'The interplay of these musical materials is what led me to call the piece 'Fantasy Variations.'

[ABOVE: Norman Dello Joio: New York Profiles; Citadel 88124 (1997) BELOW: Ulysses S. Kay]

The prolific composer Ulysses Simpson Kay (1917-1995) composed Fantasy Variations (15:00), which is Track 9 on the CD Norman Dello Joio: New York Profiles; Citadel 88124 (1997). The original recording is an LP made by the Oslo Philharmonic and conductor Arthur Bennett Lipkin, in 1963. Ulysses S. Kay is profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works List by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma, Here is the entry for Fantasy Variations:

“Fantasy variations, W89, for orchestra (1963). New York: MCA Music, 1966 (#11093-044). 76p. Commission: Arthur Bennett Lipkin and the Portland (ME) Symphony Orchestra. Instrumentation: 2222 (p), 4331, timp, perc, strings. Première: 1963/XI/19; Portland [ME]; Portland Symphony Orchestra; Arthur Bennett Lipkin, conductor. Duration: 15:00.
LP: Oslo Philharmonic: Arthur Bennett Lipkin, conductor. Remington Musirama R-199-173 (1963).
LP: Oslo Philharmonic: Arthur Bennett Lipkin, conductor. CRI SD-209 (1963).”

The liner notes for Citadel 88124 (1997) tell us, in part:
“Ulysses Kay (1917-1995) came from his native Tucson, Arizona, after graduation from the University of Arizona, to study at the Eastman School of Music. He also worked at the Tanglewood Berkshire Music Center, Yale and Columbia University – and the roster of his teachers has included Bernard Rogers, Howard Hanson, Paul Hindemith, and Otto Luening.

“Following completion of wartime service in the Navy, Kay over the following years garnered just about every fellowship and award available to an up-and-coming young American composer – these including the Columbia University Alice M. Ditson Award, the Broadcast Music, Inc. Award, the Prix de Rome, a Fulbright Grant to Italy, and an American Academy/Institute of Arts and Letters grant.”

The liner notes also quote Ulysses Kay:
“Over the years musical ideas or materials occur to a composer as he works from day to day.Most often these ideas are fragmentary motives, distinctive rhythms, or merely relationships between notes. In themselves the import of these ideas is negligible, but they are important for the composer, for they are the raw material out of which a composition grows.

“Just such an experience happened to me, beginning in 1958, with the materials used in my Fantasy Variations. The opening horn motive was jotted down then in my sketchbook, and other related ideas came to me from time to time. Though I had no idea what kind of piece these ideas night make, they stayed on my mind until Mr. Lipkin commissioned an orchestral piece from me. Then their purpose became clear, and I wrote the work between March and July of 1963.

“The piece consists of an introduction and thirteen variations, followed by the theme. Motivic ideas are stated in the introduction and fused for development in the succeeding variations. Then specific elements from this material are unified to form the theme, which, I feel, provides a noble and fitting conclusion to the work. The interplay of these musical materials is what led me to call the piece Fantasy Variations.”

The liner notes add: “Conductor Arthur Bennett Lipkin premiered the work on November 19, 1963 with the Portland, Maine, Symphony Orchestra." We have been able to purchase this CD from for $8.99 plus shipping.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

'I Play For Peace,' New Roy Eaton CD '25% off Black Friday only at'

[Roy Eaton, Piano: I Play For Peace]

Pianist Roy F. Eaton tells AfriClassical of a one-day special price on his new CD I Play For Peace:

“Now Only $15.00!!! Black Friday Only. Order Xmas Quantities Now!!!

“This music is for those seeking to find their spiritual center. The place where everything is ONE. The place where Peace and Love reign. The music chosen for this CD offers a gateway to the personal experience of this magic place. NEW CD buy now online at or in Roosevelt Island Video Store Till Xmas.

I Play For Peace
1) Peace Piece: Bill Evans (7:39)
2) Prelude and Fugue in Eb minor from the Well Tempered Clavier: J. S. Bach (9:17)
3) Gymnopedie #1: Erik Satie (3:22)
4) RaviAri: Roy Eaton (2:36)
5) Organ Choral Prelude “Now Comes the Gentiles Savior”: Bach-Busoni (4:45)
6) 2nd Movement Concerto in G Major: Maurice Ravel (7:05)
7) Prelude in Ab Major(Melody #17): George Gershwin(2:02)
8) Prelude #17 in Ab Major: Frederic Chopin (4:09)
9) Mazurka Opus 68 #4 in f minor: Frederic Chiopin (5:34)
10) Berceuse Opus 57 in Db Major: Frederic Chopin (5:00)
11) En Reve – Nocturne: Franz Liszt (2:09)
12) Fur Alina: Arvo Part (3:27)

Myron Moss: American Wind Symphony 'afforded Nelson his greatest opportunities in concert-music composition.'

[TOP: Out of the Depths: Music by African-American Composers; Keystone Wind Ensemble; Jack Stamp, Conductor; Citadel 88143 (2002)] BOTTOM: Oliver Nelson (]

Many music websites do not carry Out of the Depths, but we have been able to obtain it from one source,, for $8.99 plus shipping. Oliver Nelson is composer of the final two tracks on Out of the Depths: Music by African-American Composers, Fugue (3:41) and Bossa (4:03). Dr. Myron D. Moss tells us in the liner notes:

“This recording concludes with Oliver Nelson's Fugue and Bossa. Nelson (1932-1975) is well known as a jazz saxophonist and composer whose 'Blues and the Abstract Truth' album is commonly included on lists of all-time best jazz recordings. Robert Boudreau, the enterprising creator of the American Wind Symphony, commissioned a wide range of composers to write for the ensemble, and it is Boudreau who afforded Nelson his greatest opportunities in concert-music composition. (Boudreau also commissioned black composers J. J. Johnson, Ulysses Kay, T. J. Anderson, and Hale Smith, all of whom responded with substantial pieces.) Nelson's pieces for the Wind Symphony included a study in 5/4 which featured Dizzy Gillespie, a Concerto for Percussion, Complex City, and the Fugue and Bossa recorded here.

“The fugue is Contrapunctus 1 from Bach's 'Art of Fugue.' Nelson's sensitive scoring is for double reeds, flute, trumpet, horn, and organ, and includes some discrete doublings and octave couplings. The overall sonority is a new one for the much-played fugue. For a second movement, Nelson writes an original Bossa-Nova to which he adds Bach's 'Art of the Fugue' theme in inversion as a countermelody in lower woodwinds. If jazzing Bach had been done often by the time this was written in 1973, Nelson has nonetheless added both a thoughtful transcription and a fiery original piece to the genre. The jazz solos, improvised at the recording session, reflect Nelson's own practice when playing with Boudreau's Wind Symphony. Without any explicit indication on the score, he simply improvised over the form of the piece. The opening of the saxophone solo on this recording, with its reworkings of Nelson's theme, is especially effective.” [Ulysses Simpson Kay (1917-1995) and Hale Smith (1925-2009) are profiled at, which features comprehensive Works Lists by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma]

'Take A Chance' is a Recorded Work of Hale Smith, Who Passed Away Nov. 24, 2009

[Hale Smith; Out of the Depths: Music by African-American Composers; Keystone Wind Ensemble; Jack Stamp, Conductor; Citadel 88143 (2002)]

Today, Nov. 24, 2011, is the second anniversary of the passing of the innovative composer Hale Smith (1925-2009), who is featured at, which presents his complete Works List as compiled by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma, Hale Smith contributed richly to both Jazz and Classical Music. This seems an appropriate occasion to discuss Take A Chance (10:54), the composition of Hale Smith on the recording Out of the Depths: Music by African-American Composers. Dr. Myron Moss writes the liner notes:

“Hale Smith's music puts a less-expressionist, more human face on atonal composition. Born in Cleveland in 1925, he earned Bachelor's and Master's degrees at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He had a single composition teacher, Marcel Dick, whom he credits with evoking the individuality of his students (including Gardner Read and Donald Erb), while conveying the range of twelve-tone and atonal approaches to composition. Smith has focused on songs and choral pieces from early in his career, including the widely-praised In Memoriam Beryl Rubinstein (1953). His orchestral pieces Contours, Ritual and Incantations, and Innerflexions have all been recorded.

“Smith began writing band music while working as an editor at Frank Music for Arnold Broido. In the early 1960s Broido wanted to start a series bringing contemporary compositional techniques to school-music compositions. This 'Adventures in Form' series ultimately included Vaclav Nelhybel's Prelude and Fugue and Don Gillis' Instant Music. Broido had Smith start the series with Somersault, a twelve-tone piece, and Take A Chance, a piece with aleatoric elements. Take A Chance consists of five long statements ('variations') all based on the same warm-sounding but atonal harmonic structure. Variation I may be taken as the initial theme, Smith calls it 'a passionate song.' Variation II is a light-hearted march. Variations III and IV allow individual improvisation on prescribed notes; improvisation is especially necessary in Variation IV, where it provides the only melody. Smith's notes on the score also propose that the performing ensemble combine any two variations simultaneously, and experiment with varying the instrumentation within variations. In the performance recorded here, conductor/composer Jack Stamp has responded to Smith's invitation. His scheme for this performance consists of Variation I, Variation V, Variation II, Variations I and II together, the Variation IV (featuring improvising soloists on flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, and trumpet), and finally the combination of Variations I and V. (These segments sometimes follow each other without pause. It may assist listeners in keeping track of the form to know that each segment is about 1:50 long.) What is recorded here is but one realization of a work that reflects not only high craftmanship with atonal materials, but also high confidence, characteristic of the sixties, in the artistic capacity of our youth in public schools.

Izola Collins: Galveston Heritage Chorale is 'singing the original spirituals arranged by noted composers.'

[Glenn Burleigh]

Izola Collins tells AfriClassical:

“My Galveston Heritage Chorale has a focus purpose of singing the original spirituals arranged by noted composers. This concert will include two of my own arrangements of Christmas spirituals. The professional who is singing with us, and also adding her support group, called 'A Chosen Few' is Barbara Johnson Tucker. She has always been a great fan of recently deceased Glenn Burleigh. Her group will be singing selections from 'Born to Die', the Christmas Oratorio Glenn Burleigh wrote just a few years before his death. He conducted choirs in the Houston area, performing this well-received oratorio. Our two choirs will conclude the program with his 'Magnificat', which is challenging but well done.

This concert will be December 4, Sunday, at 6:00P.M. at the largest church in Galveston, Moody Memorial First Methodist Church, 53rd and Avenue U. Also, my choir, GHC, will do a Christmas selection written from the dial tones of friends by Kene' Arnold, who was a prolific composer who died in his forties. It is called 'Tiny Child.'
Izola Collins”

SUNY Orange: 'Symphonic Band to Hold Holiday Concert Dec. 10' at Paramount Theatre

[Kevin Scott, conductor, SUNY Orange Symphonic Band]

Kevin Scott is conductor of the SUNY Orange Symphonic Band. He sends news of the ensemble's Holiday Concert for 2011:

“Hello, folks! If you were able to make my last concert, great! And if not, we have another one geared for the holiday season.

“So...if you want to come up to Middletown on December 10th, the SUNY Orange Symphonic Band is going to offer some wonderful seasonal selections, as well as some very interesting pieces. Beacon-based composer Joseph Bertolozzi, renowned for his best-selling CD Bridge Music, will be represented by Trances & Visions, a sublime meditation for horn and concert band, with Christine Sacchi, the band's principal horn, as soloist.

“Also on the roster is Robert Longfield's retelling of the origins of Longfellow's poem The Bells of Christmas, narrated by Frances Backofen, who has been a member of the band since 2006. Our performance of this work will be dedicated to the memory of her husband George, who performed it with me back in December of 2006.”

“The program will also include the following: Larry Clark’s symphonic selections of Albert Hague and Eugene Poddany’s music from the classic 1966 TV cartoon version of Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”; Alfred Reed’s arrangement of the English folksong “Greensleeves”; Larry Kerchner’s adaptation of Michael Praetorius’ “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming”; Tom Wallace’s orchestration of John Jacob Niles’s “I Wonder as I Wander”; the spiritual “Go Tell It On the Mountain” in a stirring arrangement by Jay Dawson; and additional selections by Hawley Ades, Steve Knight and Hugh M. Stuart.”

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

'Three Silhouettes for Piano, Op. 38' of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Uploaded to International Music Score Project

[Samuel Coleridge-Taylor at 23]

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) was an Afro-British composer and conductor featured at The Centennial of his death will be in 2012. Major observances are being planned by organizations including the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Foundation,

The International Music Score Project (IMSLP), Petrucci Library, describes its mission as “Sharing the World's Public Domain Music.” On Sept. 23, 2011, AfriClassical posted: “Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's 'Life and Death' and 'A King There Lived in Thule' Uploaded to IMSLP.” We have since learned of another recent upload by Adam Ramet on November 16, 2011:

General Information
Work Title: 3 Silhouettes for piano, Op. 38
Composer: Coleridge-Taylor, Samuel
Opus/Catalogue Number: Op. 38

Movements/Sections: 3 pieces
1. Tambourine
2. Lament
3. Valse

First Publication: 1904
Piece Style: Romantic
Instrumentation: Piano

The IMSLP maintains a Category Page on Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, including 45 pages beginning with these:
African Suite, Op. 35
Five and Twenty Sailormen
The Atonement

Opus 118 Harlem School of Music & The Harlem Chamber Players Winter Holiday Concert Dec. 10, 6 PM

St. Mary's Episcopal Church
521 West 126th Street
New York, NY 10027
Between Broadway and Amsterdam

Arcangelo Corelli Concerto Grosso in G minor, Op. 6, No. 8 "Christmas Concerto"
Georg Philipp Telemann Sinfonia
Johann Sebastian Bach Peasant Cantata
Karl Jenkins Palladio
Johann Sebastian Bach Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor (1st movement)
Dmitry Kabalevsky Kleiner Walzer for Two Violins
Franz Schubert String Quartet No. 12 "Quartetsatz" in C Minor
George Frideric Handel/Johan Halvorsen Passacaglia for Violin and Cello

Christmas Carols
Joshua Kail, Amanda Negron, Nshiyra Korankyi, solo violinists from Opus 118 Harlem School of Music
Monica Davis, Cecelia Hobbs Gardner, Jessie Montgomery, violins; Adam Hill, viola; Lawrence Zoernig, cello from The Harlem Chamber Players
with violin ensembles + faculty from Opus 118 Harlem School of Music

$15 General Admission $10 Seniors/Students

Florida Times-Union: Adolphus Hailstork's 'The Gift of the Magi' is 'choral ballet,' Tells O. Henry Short Story Dec. 4, 3 PM

[Adolphus C. Hailstork]

Adolphus C. Hailstork (b. 1941) is featured at and is one of the most successful African American composers writing today. His composition The Gift of the Magi enables an unconventional ensemble to retell the heart-warming Christmas story by the legendary writer of short stories, O. Henry:

Florida Times-Union
“Sun, Dec 4, 2011 at 3 p.m.
Choral Ballet for Orchestra
Michael Butterman, conductor
Dancers from Jacksonville University
Fleming Island High School Women's Chorale Capture the holiday spirit with O. Henry's beloved short story, as a 'choral ballet' with dancers, orchestra and youth chorus.”

The Gift of the Magi was premiered in 2009 with 22 members of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra led by JoAnn Falletta, conductor. Teresa Annas wrote about the composition's creation and premiere in The Virginian-Pilot:

By Teresa Annas
© December 11, 2009
“Perhaps a decade ago, a friend gave Carol Thomas Downing a book, O. Henry's 'The Gift of the Magi.' The story of a poor young couple sacrificing to buy each other a Christmas present moved her. Every year she rereads it. 'I was sitting there one Christmas looking through this book, and suddenly the whole vision descended into my brain," said Downing, founder and artistic director of the Virginia Children's Chorus. It was one of those moments where I could just see the story expressed through dance and through a children's choir singing with chamber orchestra.'"

“The 24-minute piece was composed by Adolphus Hailstork of Virginia Beach, who has top national credits and whose work she loves. Downing's group commissioned Hailstork, and at the composer's suggestion she wrote the lyrics.”
“JoAnn Falletta, Virginia Symphony's music director...emphasized the importance of presenting new music by Hailstork. 'Sometimes we take Adolphus for granted. He's a neighbor. But this is a very big deal for us. He's the real deal. He's a very famous and extraordinarily gifted composer." Falletta stressed that it's been an effective collaboration, resulting in an unusual form. 'The story is acted out, partly through dance and partly through singing. No one tells the story from beginning to end, and yet the story is very clear.'

“The composition includes a suite of four songs. As he wrote, Hailstork referred to a storyboard provided by Rosenlieb and Downing. To get the sound he wanted, Hailstork blended romantic instruments, such as harp and strings, with 'antique' ones, including double reeds and flutes. 'One of my favorite moments is the embrace,' Hailstork said. That's when Jim first sees that Della has cut off her gorgeous long hair, having sold it to buy a watch fob for him. Meanwhile, he has sold his watch to buy jeweled hair combs for her. 'He pauses, walks around her, “What's going on here?” She's kinda scared about his reaction. Then he relaxes and embraces her. I love that.'"

“Hailstork is an unpretentious interviewee. Regarding his own music, he said, 'You gotta like pretty tunes. If you like pretty tunes, you'll like it.' He said writing music to lyrics comes easily to him. 'As soon as I read the words, I hear the melody. That is just a habit. I won't say a gift. I'll just say a habit.'"

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ritz Chamber Players: 'Leon Bates, Piano, Sunday, December 4, 2011 4 p.m.' Jacksonville, FL

[Leon Bates]

Recital Series

Friday Musicale

Friday Musicale 645 Oak Street
Jacksonville, Florida 32204

Sergei Rachmaninoff
Maurice Ravel
Sergei Prokofiev

As one of America’s leading pianists, Leon Bates has earned for himself a place on the international concert circuit. His performance schedule has included dates across the United States, in Canada, Italy, France, Austria, Ireland, England as well as Africa. He is invited to perform on the major concert stages around the world and audiences and critics find his musical spirit to possess all the elements of greatness.

Mr. Bates has performed with many of the major U.S. symphonies such as the Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Detroit Symphony and the Boston Symphony. In Europe, he has performed with the Vienna Symphony, the Basel Symphony, the Radio-Orchestra of Dublin, the Strasbourg Symphony, Orchestra Sinfonica dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Czech National Symphony Orchestra, Malmo Symphony of Sweden and more. Whether in recital or as a soloist with orchestra, his praises are enumerated in many different languages — but they all agree that Leon Bates is a major artist and one of America’s best.

William Grant Still Symphonies Nos. 2 & 3, 'Wood Notes' by Fort Smith Symphony, on Naxos 8.559676

[TOP: William Grant Still (Photo is the sole property of William Grant Still Music, and is used with permission BOTTOM: William Grant Still Symphonies Nos. 2 & 3, 'Wood Notes' on Naxos 8.559676]

William Grant Still (1895-1978) is profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works List by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma, The composer's recordings, sheet music and books are available from William Grant Still Music, operated by his daughter Judith Anne Still, at

Availability dates may vary among retailers, but John Jeter, conductor of the Fort Smith Symphony, has confirmed that he has received copies of the new CD and is sending one to me. Plans have been made for AfriClassical to interview Maestro Jeter about the new CD in the near future. The liner notes by David Ciucevich, Jr. are well written as usual. One small thing which caught our eye was the statement that the father of William Grant Still "died when William was three." My Life, My Words: The Autobiography of William Grant Still includes a Still Family Tree which indicates William Grant Still, Sr. died in 1895, the year of his son's birth. That supports our understanding that the child was only three months old when his father died.

STILL, W.S.: Symphonies Nos. 2, "Song of a New Race" and 3, "The Sunday Symphony" / Wood Notes (Fort Smith Symphony, Jeter)

Still, William Grant

Wood Notes
1. I. Singing River: Moderately slow 00:06:46
2. II. Autumn Night: Lightly 00:02:49
3. III. Moon Dusk: Slowly and expressively 00:04:27
4. IV. Whippoorwill's Shoes: Humorously 00:02:30

Symphony No. 2 in G minor, “Song of a New Race”
5. I. Slowly 00:08:56
6. II. Slowly and deeply expressive 00:07:19
7. III. Moderately fast 00:03:37
8. IV. Moderately slow 00:07:13

Symphony No. 3, “The Sunday Symphony”
9. I. The Awakening: Moderately fast 00:03:48
10. II. Prayer: Very Slowly 00:06:34
11. III. Relaxation: Gaily 00:02:30
12. IV. Day's End and a New Beginning: Resolutely 00:05:09

Total Playing Time: 01:01:38

About This Recording
William Grant Still (1895–1978)
Wood Notes • Symphony No. 2 ‘Song of a New Race’ • Symphony No. 3 ‘The Sunday Symphony’
David Ciucevich, Jr.

Wood Notes
“The orchestral suite Wood Notes (receiving its world premiere recording here) was originally cast in five movements but the publisher chose to delete the final movement, creating the four-movement version recorded here. The work takes its inspiration from the American Southern poet J. Mitchell Pilcher. The four movements are entitled: I. Singing River (Moderately slow), II. Autumn Night (Lightly), III. Moon Dusk (Slowly and expressively), and IV. Whippoorwill’s Shoes (Humorously). The premiere by the eminent conductor Arthur Rodziński and the Chicago Symphony took place on April 22, 1948. Contemporary reviewers took note of the work’s 'pleasantness' and 'personality'. Wood Notes is dedicated to one of Still’s Oberlin instructors, F.J. Lehmann. It is scored for full or reduced orchestra. The 'Dvořákian' colors (use of the woodwind choir with pentatonic melodic figures) reinforce and enhance the pastoral mood, along with Still’s impressionistic textures.”

Symphony No. 2 in G Minor ‘Song of a New Race’
“In the early 1920s, Still envisioned a trilogy of works depicting the African-American experience: the symphonic poem Africa representing their roots, the Symphony No. 1 ‘Afro-American’ (life in America to emancipation) (both works recorded on Naxos 8.559174), and the Symphony No. 2 in G Minor ‘Song of a New Race’ (a vision of an integrated society). Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra premiered the Symphony No. 2 on December 10, 1937 to rapturous reviews. Contemporary reviewers found it 'of absorbing interest, unmistakably racial in thematic materials and rhythms, and triumphantly articulate in expressions of moods, ranging from the exuberance of jazz to brooding wistfulness.' Still’s typically luminous string writing is, throughout the work, very moving.”

Symphony No. 3 ‘The Sunday Symphony’
“The Symphony No. 3 ‘The Sunday Symphony’ is the only one of the five Still symphonies never performed in his lifetime. It was premiered by Carlton Woods and the North Arkansas Symphony on February 12, 1984 and is dedicated to Still’s fellow composer and friend Christian Dupriez. This symphony was written to replace the original Symphony No. 3 which was revised in 1958 as the Symphony No. 5 ‘Western Hemisphere’. The Third Symphony expresses the spiritual 'day in the life' of a devout worshiper.”