Saturday, December 31, 2011 Tribute to Black Composers Includes Still's 'Symphony No. 3' & Dett's 'Cinnamon Grove'

[Kwanzaa Observance]

Marvin Rosen of aired his annual Kwanzaa Tribute to Black Classical Composers today, Dec. 31, 2011 on WPRB Radio in Princeton, New Jersey. Recent releases included William Grant Still's Symphony No. 3 (The Sunday Symphony) recorded by the Fort Smith Symphony on Naxos and R. Nathaniel Dett's Cinnamon Grove suite for piano by Phoenix Park-Kim, piano and Merwin Siu, violin on the album Deep River from MSR Classics:

Bonds, Margaret
Troubled Water
Helen Walker-Hill, Piano
Leonarda - LE 339

Khumalo, Mzilikazi
Five African folk songs
National Symphony Orchestra of the South African Broadcasting Corporation, Richard Cock, conductor
Marco Polo – 8.223832

Anon 18th Century Peru
The Congo
La Chimera
Naive – E8931

Williams, Julius P.
Myths of History
Louise Toppin, Soprano, Dvorak Symphony Orchestra, Julius P. Williams, conductor
Albany Records – TROY1314

Price, Florence
Three Negro Dances
Northern Arizona University Wind Symphony, Dr. Patricia J. Hoy, conductor
Northern Arizona University Wind Symphony - NAUWS 003

Thompson, Shirley J.
New Nation Rising (A 21st Century Symphony)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Westminster Voices, Newham Academy Choir, Westminster Voices, Mark De-Liser, Maria Awa, Nicholas Sherwood, Vocalists, Shirley J. Thompson, Conductor
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - RPO SP 001

Dett, R. Nathaniel
Cinnamon Grove - Suite for Piano
Phoenix Park-Kim, Piano
MSR Classics - MS 1372 – (M*06)

Perkinson, Coleridge-Taylor
Sinfonietta No. 1 for Strings
Chicago Sinfonietta, Paul Freeman, conductor
Cedille -CDR 90000 087

Jegede, Tunde
Members of the London Sinfonietta
Triciom Records -TriCD 1001

Roumain, Daniel Bernard (DBR)
Lecolion Loops
Lecolion Washington, Bassoon, Carina Nyberg Washington, Clarinet, Mark Ensley, Piano
Albany Records - TROY 1038

Perry, Julia
By the Sea
Sebronette Barnes, Soprano, Elise Auerbach, Piano
Senrab Records – SRR7988

Still, William Grant
Symphony No. 3 "The Sunday Symphony"
Fort Smith Symphony, John Jeter, Conductor
Naxos – 8.559676

Coleman, Valerie
Suite: Portraits of Josephine
Imani Winds
Koch International Classics – KIC-CD-7696

Still, William Grant
Song for the Lonely
Lecolion Washinton, Bassoon, Mark Ensley, Piano
Albany Records - TROY 1038

Juanita Smith: 'Schoenberg's New World: The American Years' by Sabine Feisst refers to Hale Smith's 'Evocations' (1961)

[Schoenberg's New World: The American Years; Sabine Feisst; Oxford University Press (2011)]

HaleSmith (1925-2009) is profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works List by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma, On Dec. 29, 2011 AfriClassical posted: “'Deep River: Merwin Siu and Phoenix Park-Kim Play S. Coleridge-Taylor, R.N.Dett, H. Swanson, H. Smith & D. Baker.” Juanita Smith, widow of the late Hale Smith, has made a comment which we also present as a post of its own:

Comment by email:
Hi, you might want to check out the new book by Sabine Feisst entitled Schoenberg's New World: The American Years. There is a tiny reference to Hale as one of the American composers using Schoenberg's method in Hale's "dodecaphonic” piano work "Evocations" (1961). The book is hefty in content and I am sure that I am missing a lot by not being a musician, but the over all is intriguing and informative. Thanks for keeping me apprised of musical events, Happy New Year!  Juanita  [Juanita Smith] to release 'Bolga Sonata' and other instrumental works by J.H. Kwabena Nketia

[Coming Soon: Bolga Sonata and other instrumental works by J.H. Kwabena Nketia]

December 28, 2011
“Dear Friends:
As we celebrate the New Year, thoughts often turn to giving back, to sharing good fortune with those around us, with our community, and perhaps, with the world. It’s a time to consider how to bring a bit of joy to others.

As a friend of Sankusem, you know that part of our mission is to bring the music experience of the African village to the concert hall utilizing traditional and classical instruments, in order to share the music and arts of Africa with new audiences. As you are making decisions on your charitable giving, we ask you to please put Sankusem on your list of contributions. As a non-profit organization, all donations will go to expanding Sankusem’s ability to educate and to stimulate through the power of performance.

In 2011, Sankusem toured the Pacific Northwest, performing with internationally renowned artists including Rachel Barton Pine, Obbo Addy and Kofi Anang before audiences at Whitman College, Icicle Creek Music Center, Seattle Pacific University and the University of Washington. With your help, the New Year can truly be a monumental one for the group. Sankusem’s first CD is about to be released, the group is making connections with the Smithsonian as it develops its new African-American museum and is working on a Composer’s Competition which should bring international attention as well as exciting performances as new works are premiered.

Through our 501C3 fiscal partner NIA Production Company, Sankusem can now take tax-deductible donations, by check or cash.” “Your assistance will help us spread this music across the world—and the members of Sankusem thank you for your generosity.”
George Francois

Dr. George Francois
Executive Director, Sankusem

Comment by email:
I eagerly await this! The Bolga Sonata, for a start, is the sort of work that could, in my view, become a very popular access point. There is something about Nketia’s music that always makes me smile!  [Michael S. Wright]

Friday, December 30, 2011

Kelly Hall-Tompkins, Founder of Music Kitchen: 'Still Shopping for a last minute tax deduction?'

[Kelly Hall-Tompkins, Founder of]


Consider Giving to Music Kitchen,
which is making a difference
in real people's lives

"The Music Kitchen Concerts did have a great influence
on some of us girls, me in particular.
I remember you playing a piece by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,
it inspired me to want and seek more out of life.
The Music Kitchen is essential
especially to people like me who lost everything
and needs that extra push of confidence to try again." -Kewani

Former Shelter Client/Music Kitchen Listener,
now working and living on her own.

Only a Few Days Left!


Claim a Charitable Tax Deduction for 2011!

Countertenor Darryl Taylor sings 'Vivi, tiranno!' from Handel's opera 'Rodelinda' on YouTube

[Darryl Taylor, countertenor]

Countertenor Dr. Darryl Taylor is a longtime associate of ours. He has a website at which includes space for The African-American Art Song Alliance. The Alliance also has a Video Channel,

Sergio Mims is a Classical Music host of radio station WHPK-FM in Chicago. He writes:
"I know that you've mentioned countertenor Darryl Taylor before on your website but have you seen this? I came across this by coincidence. It's of Taylor singing 'Vivi, tiranno!' from Handel's opera Rodelinda,
Sergio Mims"

Comments by email:
Hi Bill,  Thanks for the promo!  Happy 2012!  Darryl  [Darryl Taylor]

I had not known of Darryl Taylor. As a voice fan--especially of tenors and countertenors--I ordered one of his CDs. Thank you for all the goodies, of which I can partake very few--and enjoy the knowledge.  Gwen  [Gwendoline Y. Fortune]

Nice ….. but I then explored a bit and was totally bowled out by the arrangement of Amazing Grace arr by the late Hale Smith (despite poor sound on you tube) and Sence you Went Away (arr by Leslie Adams) and then I went on to the others.. Could not help being moved to tears. It is my oversight that I have previously only heard Darryl’s performances as tenor.. What an oversight! The CD ‘Love Rejoices’ is now on order from Amazon!!!  [Michael S. Wright]

Leslie's Sence you went away is a really great contribution to the literature.  I think I've said this before.  This may not be my last time.  [Dominique-René de Lerma]

Dear Sergio, et al.  Thanks so much for the positive commentary on my switch to countertenor.  I did this about 5 years ago and am full-time dedicated to the fach.  I've recorded a CD of spirituals for Albany Records in this voice type. You can hear three clips from it on youtube by going here: I hope you enjoy!  All best wishes for a safe and prosperous 2012!  Darryl  [Darryl Taylor]

Good news all around.  HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY!!!!!!!  S  [Sergio Mims] 'Firebrand performs music of Haiti in memory of earthquake'

[Justin Elie (Cover photo of sheet music for Nostalgie)]

The Haitian classical composer Justin Elie (1883-1931) is profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works List by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma, Other Haitian composers featured at the website are Occide Jeanty, Ludovic Lamothe and Julio Racine:

The following was submitted by Firebrand Concert Series:
On January 7th at 8 p.m., the Firebrand Concert Series will present rarely performed classical music of Haitian composers in recognition of the hardships Haiti has faced and in honor of Greater Boston’s Haitian community. The concert will begin with Haiti’s national anthem performed by young Haitian cellists, who will share their experiences during and since the earthquake. Cellist Diana Golden and pianist Synthia Sture will then perform Haitian compositions from the 1850s to the present by Louis Moreau Gottschalk, Justin Elie, Frantz Casseus, Daniel Bernard Roumain, and Jean Perrault, as well as traditional folk songs.

Ms. Golden’s cello students, who immigrated to Boston from Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, attend Open Access to Music Education (OAMEC) in Hyde Park, which is dedicated to engaging at-risk youth in music as a means of expression to cope with trauma. Any donations received for this concert will go toward the students’ music center. All of the Firebrand concerts are at St. Paul’s Episcopal Parish at 26 Washington Street in Malden. Tickets may be purchased for $12 from the Firebrand website or for $15 at the door. For audience members 14 years and under, tickets are $5 at the door.

VocalEssence: Composer Hannibal Lokumbe Premieres 'In the Spirit of Being' at WITNESS Concert, Saint Paul, Feb. 19

[Hannibal Lokumbe]

This release is from

Joyce Awards-winning composer brings premiere piece to the annual VocalEssence WITNESS concert

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (December 15, 2011) – Hannibal Lokumbe, 2011 Joyce Awards winner, will premiere In the Spirit of Being at the annual VocalEssence WITNESS Concert on February 19, 2012 (4 pm), at Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in Saint Paul. VocalEssence commissioned Lokumbe (Dear Mrs. Parks, WITNESS 2007) to write In the Spirit of Being, a four-movement piece scored for mixed chorus, children’s chorus, jazz quartet and female soloist Tonia Hughes. In the Spirit of Being artfully presents the stages of the human experience — birth, struggle, forgiveness/resolution, and peace — as seen through the eyes of the composer. For more information and to order tickets, call 651-224-4222 or visit

The African continent is rich in musical sounds for voices and drums. VocalEssence opens this year’s WITNESS concert by celebrating some of these sounds with music from South Africa, Kenya, Cameroon and Ghana: a wonderful combination of songs about work, praise, and animals sung in the dialects of Luo, Xhosa, Zulu, Kamba and Cameroon. Joining the VocalEssence Chorus and conductor Philip Brunelle will be the percussion ensemble from Macalester College and their director, Sowah Mensah. Don’t miss the opening procession with the seldom-seen royal drums of Ghana!

In 1991, VocalEssence created WITNESS to celebrate the artistic contributions of African Americans to the fine arts and to our common cultural heritage. By commissioning new works and programming rarely heard works by African American composers, we help broaden ideas about African American musical expression and introduce important new voices to our audiences through concerts, recordings and radio broadcasts.

Hannibal Lokumbe is a composer and jazz trumpeter whose career spans more than forty years. After moving to New York in 1970, he spent the next 25 years there playing trumpet and recording with legends such as Gil Evans, Pharoah Sanders, and Elvin Jones. Lokumbe eventually formed his own Sunrise Orchestra, which has toured the world playing in every major music festival from Istanbul to China. He has composed more than 150 works, many of which have historical subjects such as John Brown, Anne Frank, and Rosa Parks. He is the recipient of numerous awards from the Bessie, the National Endowment for the Arts, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
Soloist Tonia Hughes is a Twin Cities recording artist and actress. She has garnered critical acclaim for her leading roles in musical and theatrical productions including Encounters (2002), Southern Theater; Black Nativity (2003 – present), Penumbra Theater; Caroline or Change (2009), Guthrie Theater; Loves Covers (2010), Women’s Club of Minneapolis; Mahalia (2011), Fellowship Baptist Church; and Cinderella (2011), Ordway Center for the Performing Arts.

Afro-Cuban Composer José White Born Dec. 31, 1835; 'Etude No. 6' on 'Capricho Latino' by Rachel Barton Pine on Cedille

[TOP: Capricho Latino; Rachel Barton Pine, violinist; Cedille 90000 124 (2011) BOTTOM: José White - Shown here after he received the 1st prize for violin at the Conservatoire de Paris in 1856. Bibliothèque Nationale de France; Wikipedia]

José Silvestre White, aka José Silvestre White y Lafitte (1835-1918) was an Afro-Cuban composer, violinist and professor who is profiled at, where his works are listed by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma, His mother was Afro-Cuban and his father Spanish. Josephine Wright, Professor of Music at the College of Wooster, in Wooster, Ohio published an article Violinist José White in Paris, 1855-1875, in Black Music Research Journal, Vol. 10, No. 2, Fall 1990. The article tells of José White's success at the Paris Conservatory, as evidenced by his First Grand Prize in Violin, the occasion for the above photograph:

Thriving in such an enriching, stimulating environment, José White excelled. After just one year of study, he won the Paris Conservatory's highest award in violin, the coveted First Grand Prize. That competition took place on July 29, 1856, and was reviewed by Le Pays on August 5:

'The competition for violin [at the Conservatory] has offered a beautiful spectacle this year, being the most brilliant struggle. The first grand prize was conceded to Mr. White, pupil of Alard, and the second [prize] to Mr. [Aimé] Gros, from the same class... Mr. White showed himself [so] superior that there should have been created a grand exceptional prize in his favor. He performed with an extraordinary animation, not like a pupil but as a great artist who commands his audience. The jury itself was electrified" (Ramirez 1891, 178).'

This year saw the release by Cedille Records of Rachel Barton Pine's Capricho Latino, Cedille 90000 124 (2011) which includes the world premiere recording of White's Etude No. 6 (5:11), dedicated to one of his teachers, Secundino Arango. An earlier recording of the music of José White is Violin Concertos By Black Composers of the 18th and 19th Centuries, Cedille 90000 035 (1997), which includes his Violin Concerto in F-sharp Minor (21:34) performed by Rachel Barton, violin and the Encore Chamber Orchestra led by Daniel Hege, Conductor. The recording received a maximum rating of 10/10 from Classics Today, was praised by The New York Times, and remains in print today.

On Aug. 6, 2011 AfriClassical posted: 'CamerataRomeu' Performs Music of Afro-Cuban Composer José White at'Credomatic Festival,' Costa Rica.” Camerata Romeu is a women's string orchestra from Cuba. It took part in the 21st Credomatic Music Festival.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Deep River: Merwin Siu and Phoenix Park-Kim Play S. Coleridge-Taylor, R. N. Dett, H. Swanson, H. Smith & D. Baker

[Deep River: Music for Violin and Piano by Composers of African Descent; Merwin Siu, violin; Phoenix Park-Kim, piano; MSR Classics MS 1372 (2011)]

On Dec. 21, 2011 AfriClassical posted: “Deep River: Music for Violinand Piano by Composers of African Descent” by Phoenix Park-Kim &Merwin Siu.” Deep River presents works of three composers who are featured at Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, R. Nathaniel Dett and Hale Smith.

The complete works of R. Nathaniel Dett and Hale Smith have been compiled by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma,, and are found at The recording also includes music of David Baker, Howard Swanson and Ellis L. Marsalis, Jr.

Following the initial post, we have had an opportunity to become well acquainted with the MSR Classics release Deep River. The CD has considerable breadth, and is a notable contribution by the performers to the recorded repertoire of Composers of African Descent. .

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) composed the title work, Deep River for violin and piano, Op. 59, No. 10 (5:25). This work was transcribed by the American violinist Maud Powell. The liner notes tell us: “Coleridge-Taylor's chamber music arrangement of the spiritual Deep River shows his affinity to the late Romantic style and Negro spirituals. He said, 'What Brahms has done for the Hungarian folk music, Dvorak for the Bohemian, and Grieg for the Norwegian, I have tried to do for these Negro Melodies.'”

R. Nathaniel Dett (1882-1943) wrote Cinnamon Grove, Suite for piano (15:28) in 1928, yet the work did not receive its world premiere until this release. The world is indebted to violinist Merwin Siu and pianist Phoenix Park-Kim for rescuing this delightful piece of late Romantic music from undeserved oblivion some eight decades after it was published. We read in the liner notes “Dett was a romanticist who composed in small forms with lyrical melodies and consistently used extra-musical ideas. Such ideas are reflected in Cinnamon Grove where Dett demonstrates his knowledge and love of poetry as well as African American folk song. Each movement of the suite is inspired by poetry: the first on lines from The Dream by John Donne; the second on lines from Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore; the third on lines from Epimetheus by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; and the fourth and final on lines from a song in the collection Religious Folk Songs of the Negro.

Howard Swanson (1907-1978) is represented on the disc by Nocturne for violin and piano (4:15), which he composed in 1951. As the liner notes say, “His Nocturne is an excellent example of his distinctive lyrical gift, expressed through the utmost economy of means.”

Hale Smith (1925-2009) wrote Epicedial Variations for violin and piano (13:48) in 1979. The liner notes tell us: “When Hale Smith passed away in 2009, he left behind a legacy as a revered educator and distinguished New York-based jazz pianist who had worked with artists ranging from Dizzy Gillespie to the poet Langston Hughes. However, Smith is equally renowned as a formal composer, and he owed much of his training to his principal theory teacher, Ward Lewis at the Cleveland Institute of Music. The Epicedial Variations were dedicated to memory of his teacher. Elegiac in character, the variations begin with a declarative statement from the violin before presenting the main theme, based in part on an anagram of Ward Lewis' name. The variations are highlighted by two solo cadenzas before returning to a subdued conclusion that combines the introductory material and main theme.”

David Baker (b. 1931) gives us Ethnic Variations On A Theme Of Paganini for violin and piano (10:40), a 1976 composition. The nine variations include Bebop, Swing and Funky Groove. The liner notes indicate: “Baker composed Ethnic Variations in 1976 on a commission from violinist Ruggiero Ricci. On the theme of Paganini's 24th Caprice, Baker fused elements of jazz and classical music through his nine variations.”

Ellis L. Marsalis, Jr. (b. 1934) composed The Fourth Autumn for piano (5:33) about 1985. We read in the liner notes: “Since 1989, Marsalis has headed the jazz department at the University of New Orleans and has influenced the careers of countless musicians. In 2008, he was inducted into The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. The Fourth Autumn, a ballad written as a wedding anniversary present for his friend, demonstrates a blend of the Romantic tradition and modern jazz harmonies.”

Disclaimer: A review copy of this CD was provided by the performers.

Comment by email:
Hi, you might want to check out the new book by Sabine Feisst entitled Schoenberg's New World: The American Years. There is a tiny reference to Hale as one of the American composers using Schoenberg's method in Hales "dodecaphonic piano work "Evocations" (1961).   The book is hefty in content and I am sure that I am missing a lot by not being a musician, but the over all is intriguing and informative. Thanks for keeping  me apprised of musical events, Happy New Year! Juanita [Juanita Smith] 

The Church for all Nations presents Waundell Saavedra in recital with Mark Cogley, pianist Jan. 21 8 PM

[Waundell Saavedra, Empire Opera]

Patrick D. McCoy on Terri Allen: 'Life, love and laughter: Arts advocate honored with a 60th birthday gala'

[Arts Advocate Terri Allen was honored with a holiday gala on the occasion of her 60th birthday.  Credits: Patrick D. McCoy]

DC Performing Arts Examiner

December 28, 2011
When your birthday is so close to Christmas, what exactly do you do? Will your friends and loved ones count all of your gifts as in the same. Do you celebrate at all? For Terri Allen, who serves as the Executive Director of the arts advocacy organization, Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts it never was a big deal. “I never really celebrated my birthday because it is so close to Christmas and didn’t want to inconvenience anybody.” she explained.

"Turning 60 is a big deal and a gala honoring this milestone made up for all the birthday celebrations she did not have. Allen’s daughter, the soprano Pamela Simonson, along with her brother, pianist Victor Simonson spearheaded a lavish evening gala celebration for their mother held on Friday, December 23, 2011 at the National Golf Club. The event was a mirror image reflection of the elegance that radiates from their mother. Guests arrived in their holiday festive formal attire, with bursts of red, gold and crème glistening throughout the room.

"Themed Terri Allen: 60 years of Life, Love and Laughter, the gala program celebrated the arts advocate through music, scripture and song. Mistress of Ceremonies for the occasion was her cousin, Benita Dallas. The program not only celebrated Allen for her birthday, but for the joy that she brings to others as a friend, sister, daughter, wife, community leader and mother. Entering the room to a musical fanfare, Allen was elegant in a black floor length gown, glamorously radiant in sparkling jewels. Later in the evening, she changed into a sassy, shimmering dress, with long flowing hair, channeling full diva. She was joined by her supportive husband, Dale Allen.”

American Museum of Natural History: KWANZAA 2011 Dec. 31, 12 PM - 4 PM

[Kwanzaa in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life AMNH/R. Mickens]

AmericanMuseum of Natural History
December 31, 2011 | 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Milstein Hall of Ocean Life, First Floor

KWANZAA 2011! is a vibrant celebration that honors the seven principles of Kwanzaa with performances of song, dance, and spoken word and an international marketplace. This year’s event will feature storyteller Linda Humes as master of ceremonies, The Brooklyn Steppers, Restoration Dance Theatre Company, ADLIB Steel Orchestra, and Something Positive, Inc.

Noon–4 pm Marketplace

Performances, Main Stage

1 pm Linda Humes, Host
Welcome by master storyteller and actress Linda Humes

1:15 pm The Brooklyn Steppers
The Brooklyn Steppers, the high-energy stars of President Obama’s inauguration parade and a featured ensemble on “Law & Order,” energize with a universal call for unity and world peace. This dynamic student marching band—famous for its intricate drum solos, unbelievable moves, and “Brooklyn Attitude”—dazzles.

2 pm Restoration Dance Theatre Company
Restoration Dance Theatre Company, dressed in beautiful costumes, performs African, Caribbean, jazz, and modern dances. This multi-disciplinary arts training program in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn inspires thousands of young people toward self-determination, empowerment, and responsibility.

2:30 pm ADLIB Steel Orchestra
Rooted in the musical traditions of Trinidad and Tobago, the ADLIB Steel Orchestra offers a diversity of rich styles including calypso, jazz, pop, rhythm and blues, and soca. This award-winning ensemble boasting some of New York’s most talented and versatile young musicians has been known even to funkify Beethoven’s music.

3:20 pm Something Positive, Inc.
Something Positive, Inc., founded by Cheryl Byron, traces the ancestral origins of African-American musical, oral, and dance traditions from the motherland of Africa to the Caribbean beaches and onward to North America. This inspirational and highly interactive performance incorporates dance, music, song, and storytelling.

3:55 pm Closing Ceremony
Throughout the day, special Kwanzaa foods will be sold in the Museum Food Court, Lower Level.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review: 'I found many reasons why Still's music still speaks to us today.'

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

Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review

Wednesday, December 21, 2011
In this third volume of the orchestral music of William Grant Still (1895-1978)  by John Jeter and the Fort Smith Symphony (Naxos 8.559676) I found many reasons why Still's music still speaks to us today. As the most prominent Afro-American classical composer of his generation, he does not simply fit into a ready-made category. Listen to the three works on this set and you get Still the melodist, the impressive orchestrator, the impressionist-romantic-Americana voice of originality.

“The marvelously evocative 'Wood Notes' (1947) (here in its world premiere recording) puts four pastoral vignettes together that draw on the tonality of traditional black America as well as the rural invocation of nature. It is a delight. The two symphonies represented here (No. 2 from 1937; No. 3 from 1958) similarly evoke folk-ethnic-natural imagery through tone painting of a high order.

"This is music that will breathe fresh air into the cobwebs of your typical listening patterns. It is performed with balance and care by Jeter and the Fort Smith Symphony. Recommended.” Posted by Grego Applegate Edwards
[WilliamGrant Still (1895-1978) is profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works List by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma,]

Comment by email:
This is a very good review--I like it!  And all so true. [Judith Anne Still]

Festival Concert Programs Written by Prof. Michelle Garnier-Panafieu, Laid Out by Catherine Pizon

[International Week of the Saint-Georges Festival in Guadeloupe 2011]

Prof. Michelle Garnier-Panafieu, author of Un contemporain atypique de Mozart, writes a comment in French, which we have translated. It has been added to the post "Afro-French Composer Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Born Dec. 25, 1745, Honored With Festival in 2011." We feel the comment deserves to be made a post as well:

Thank you for your initiative and your comments. To provide complete information to your readers, I suggest adding the two concerts given during the International Week of the Saint-Georges Festival. Programs were written by me, laid out by Catherine Pizon and edited by CCSBT. Here are the two programs:

- April 29, 2011, 8 p.m., Basse-Terre Cathedral: Saint-Georges, Symphony in G Major, Opus 11, 1779; Bortnynansky, Hymn of the Cherubim; Fauré Requiem, Opus 48, 1888. Festival Orchestra and Choir: Marlon Daniel, conductor; Luigi Greco, conductor; Magali Léger, soprano; Paul Gigue, baritone; Koh Gabriel Kameda, violin.

- April 30, 2011, 8:30 p.m., Art'Chipel, From Saint-Georges to Mozart: Lyric Theatre and Instrumental Music. Saint-Georges, extracts from L'Amant anonyme (The Anonymous Lover) and Concerto for Violin, Opus 2, No. 2, 1773; Mozart: Aria for soprano (accompanied by strings, two oboes and two horns): 'Voi avete un cor fedele' K. 217, 1775, and Symphony No. 29 K. 201/186a, 1774. Festival Orchestra conducted by Marlon Daniel; Magali Léger, soprano; Koh Gabriel Kameda, violin.”

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Death of Tom Jones, Former Clarinetist and Conductor of Afro-American Chamber Music Society Orchestra

[Tom Jones]

Janise White is a Professor of Music at West Los Angeles College, and is Founder and Conductor of the Afro-American Chamber Music Society Orchestra. She tells AfriClassical of the passing of the former clarinetist and conductor of the Orchestra, Tom Jones:

Dear Friends,

We are deeply saddened to announce the sudden and tragic passing of our former clarinetist and conductor of the Afro-American Chamber Music Society Orchestra, Tom Jones.

Tom Jones shared his expertise in orchestrating and performance with the orchestra consistently for over two decades replacing the late, Bill Green and Marcus Eley, clarinetists. He was a consummate music historian and clarinetist as a graduate of Indiana University (M.M.). From New Orleans he became the young clarinet student of Robert Marcellus, and later furthered his clarinet studies at the Cleveland Institute (B.M.) with Bernard Portnoy and Ron DeKant. Tom studied conducting with James Levine of the Metropolitan Opera at the Curtis Institute.

During his music career, Tom performed with the New Orleans Symphony, American Wind Symphony, Boston Symphony, Inglewood Philharmonic, Los Angeles Repertory Orchestra, New Valley Symphony and the Middle Eastern Orchestra of Culver City. In October of 1993, Tom introduced the AACMS orchestra to Professor John Price of Tuskegee University who quickly forwarded the orchestra score and parts for Scherzo For Clarinet. This resulted in a west coast premiere of the work performed by Tom Jones. Tom served as conductor of AACMS from 2006 to 2009. He concurrently pursued a successful career as a Computer Programmer for Boeing in El Segundo, California.

I will announce the day of the funeral on which I hope everyone will come out and support his daughter, Gina, my former voice student at West Los Angeles College. I am asking that we prepare a performance of Danse Nègre by Samuel Coleridge Taylor, a piece Tom enjoyed conducting and also a piece which he fully orchestrated along with Dwayne Smith.”

Dr. William Chapman Nyaho, Pianist of Ghanaian Heritage, Born in Washington, D.C. Dec. 28, 1958

[ASA: Piano Music by Composers of African Descent; William Chapman Nyaho, piano; MSR Classics MS 1242 (2008)]

Dr. William Chapman Nyaho (b. 1958) is a pianist of Ghanaian Heritage who is featured at His performance website is; his teaching website is; and he has a Facebook Page. William Chapman Nyaho is also a member of the Nyaho/Garcia Duo, with pianist Susanna Garcia. The Duo recorded Aaron Copland: Music for Two Pianos; Centaur CRC 2405 (1998).

William Chapman Nyaho has recorded 2 CDs of music of the African diaspora. The first was Senku: Piano Music by Composers of African Descent, MSR Classics MS 1091 (2003). It was followed by ASA: Piano Music by Composers of African Descent; MSR Classics MS 1242 (2008).

The Oxford University Press has published his 5-volume graded sheet music series Piano Music of Africa and the African Diaspora. This landmark resource has made many piano works of the African Diaspora available in print for the first time. It was a massive undertaking and a unique contribution to the legacy of African Heritage in Classical Music.

The Texas A&M Department of Performance Studies presented a concert of piano music by Dr. William Chapman Nyaho at Rudder Theatre on April 6, 2011. The press release for the program noted: 

“Chapman Nyaho is a Ghanaian American and resident of Seattle that has studied piano all around the world. He has earned degrees from Oxford University in England, the Eastman School of Music in at the University of Rochester (N.Y.), and the University of Texas-Austin. 

“His performances have taken him to Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, as well as his current home of North America. He has played at the Kennedy Center, with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra and the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra and been featured on radio and television broadcasts from Ghana to Switzerland to National Public Radio in the U.S.

“'Nyaho is a superb musician and a rare talent who specializes in the performance of Classical music from several Western and non-Western cultures,' said faculty host Dr. David Wilborn. 'His piano performances are intriguing and engaging. No one should ever miss an opportunity to hear and watch him in performance.'

 Chapman Nyaho, who also spent time studying in Switzerland and as a four-year visiting artist at North Carolina, is a regular guest clinician giving lectures and recitals that advocate music by composers of African heritage.”

Patrick D. McCoy Contributes First Piece to 'Arts and Culture for CBS Washington'

[Patrick D. McCoy]

Patrick D. McCoy
The African American Voice in Classical Music
is pleased to share his first piece as a contributor to
Arts and Culture for CBS Washington

Monday, December 26, 2011

Afro-French Composer Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Born Dec. 25, 1745, Honored With Festival in 2011

[Maestro Marlon Daniel; Un contemporain atypique de Mozart: Le Chevalier de Saint-George; Michelle Garnier-Panafieu; YP Éditions (2011)]

The life, fencing and music of Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799) are presented at On Dec. 25, 1745, a slave on a Caribbean plantation gave birth to a boy whose father was a French nobleman who owned the plantation. Many children were born on plantations in such circumstances, but young Joseph de Bologne was taken to France and given the education of an aristocrat.  

His boarding school combined academics with first-class training in fencing, and he attended from ages 13 to 19. Joseph showed exceptional talent in fencing, and for a time was considered the best fencer in France. As a young adult he turned to music, first as a violinist and soon after as a composer and conductor as well.

On April 26, 2011 AfriClassical announced the debut of Un contemporain atypique de Mozart (An Atypical Contemporary of Mozart): Le Chevalier de Saint-George, written by Michelle Garnier-Panafieu. The book received its debut on April 27, 2011 as part of the International Saint-Georges Festival in Guadeloupe, where Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges was born. Professor Michelle Garnier-Panafieu is a Musicologist at Université Rennes II.

We were keenly aware of the author's specialized knowledge of the music of Saint-George and his contemporaries. She had written, for example, the lengthy and scholarly liner notes for the Avenira release, Le Chevalier de Saint-George: The Complete Symphonies Concertantes On 2 CDs. We invited Prof. Garnieer-Panafieu to summarize her findings for inclusion on the Saint-Georges page at She graciously did so. The longtime French translator of the Saint-Georges page, Daniel Marciano, offered to translate the summary into English, with the assistance of his American-born wife Carol. The summary can be found at No. 51 in the Table of Contents of the Saint-Georges Biography page.

AfriClassical learned of Un contemporain atypique de Mozart from Jean-Claude Halley, a Guadeloupe resident and blogger who is President of the Saint-Georges Association. It was he who first provided us with access to a lavishly illustrated catalog for an exhibition on Saint-Georges in Guadeloupe. Monsieur Halley has been an invaluable resource ever since. 

The first International Saint-Georges Festival in Guadeloupe was established under applicable law by Jean-Claude Halley, President of the Festival Association, and Catherine Pizon, its Executive Director. Daniel Marciano says of Catherine Pizon: “She is a theatre and music lover and a very efficient artistic director.” Madame Pizon's involvement in theatrical fencing has continued after the Festival.

The American conductor Marlon Daniel was responsible for the music at the Festival. Maestro Daniel was warmly received by those in attendance, including the local press. He is already working on plans for a 2012 Festival.

Violinist and author Gabriel Banat is author of The Chevalier de Saint-Georges: Virtuoso of the Sword and the Bow (2006), which we regard as the most authoritative English-language biography of Saint-Georges. This year he launched his own website, as we wrote on Oct. 16, 2011: 

Here are links to some of the other top Saint-Georges stories of 2011:

Jean-Claude Halley announced the book of Prof. Michelle Garnier-Panafieu on April 26, 2011:

A post on April 30, 2011 told of the first performance of OperaCréole, founded in New Orleans by Givonna Joseph:

For many years, the author, writer, playwright and former Professor Daniel Marciano has generously donated translations to the Saint-Georges Biography page and several other pages of On May 15, 2011 we posted about the fencing program at the Festival, which he directed:

We received several press clippings about Maestro Marlon Daniel, as we posted May 14, 2011:

Marlon Daniel was 'Fabulous!' at opening concert of International Saint-Georges Festival April 30

Prof. Michelle Garnier-Panafieu, author of Un contemporain atypique de Mozart, writes a comment in French, which we translate as follows:
Thank you for your initiative and your comments. To provide complete information to your readers, I suggest adding the two concerts given during the International Week of the Saint-Georges Festival. Programs were written by me, laid out by Catherine Pizon and edited by CCSBT.  Here are the two programs:

- April 29, 2011, 8 p.m., Basse-Terre Cathedral: Saint-Georges, Symphony in G Major, Opus 11, 1779; Bortnynansky, Hymn of the Cherubim; Fauré Requiem, Opus 48, 1888. Festival Orchestra and Choir: Marlon Daniel, conductor; Luigi Greco, conductor; Magali Léger, soprano; Paul Gigue, baritone; Koh Gabriel Kameda, violin.

- April 30, 2011, 8:30 p.m., Art'Chipel, From Saint-Georges to Mozart: Lyric Theatre and Instrumental Music. Saint-Georges, extracts from L'Amant anonyme (The Anonymous Lover) and Concerto for Violin, Opus 2, No. 2, 1773; Mozart: Aria for soprano (accompanied by strings, two oboes and two horns): 'Voi avete un cor fedele' K. 217, 1775, and Symphony No. 29 K. 201/186a, 1774. Festival Orchestra conducted by Marlon Daniel; Magali Léger, soprano; Koh Gabriel Kameda, violin.”