Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Judy Dines, Flute: Jacksonville, Florida Masterclass 10 AM March 3; Recital 4 PM March 4, 2012

Leo Brouwer, Afro-Cuban Guitarist, Composer & Conductor Born March 1, 1939

[ABOVE: Leo Brouwer BELOW: Leo Brouwer: The String Quartets, The String Trio; Havana String Quartet; Zoho Records 201108 (2011)]

The Afro-Cuban composer, classical guitarist and conductor we now know as Leo Brouwer was named Juan Leovigildo Brouwer when he came into the world in Havana, Cuba on March 1, 1939. He is featured at His enormous influence on guitar music in particular and classical music in general is demonstrated by more than a hundred recordings on which he has played, composed or conducted. Brouwer's compositions reflect classical, Afro-Cuban, jazz and avant-garde influences. His many film scores have brought his music to the attention of a huge audience around the world. Brouwer's influence in his native country results in part from the important positions he has held in Cuban music institutions.

The sheet music of Leo Brouwer is available from Chester Novello, It is hugely popular with professional and amateur guitarists alike.

Leo Brouwer initiated the Havana String Quartet in 1980. It recorded Leo Brouwer: The String Quartets and String Trio on the ZOHO Music label as ZM 201108 (2011). As Leo Brouwer writes: “This recording won the LATIN GRAMMY for Best Classical Recording in November 2010!” The CD won a Latin Grammy Award for Best Classical Recording in November 2010, but was released to the public in August 2011. Jerry Rubins reviewed the recording for FANFARE Magazine, and concluded with these words: “This is a wonderful recording by an ensemble of superb players, one that I can strongly recommend.”

Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma,, provides us with his review of the recording:
“An initial contact with the music of Leo Brouwer (1939- ) is enough to convince any listener that this composer is quite distinct from his contemporaries. Most of the previously available recordings (there are many) offer new insights into the potentials of the guitar. But now we have yet another definition of contemporary music with this CD, Zoho Classix ZM 201 108 (2011) by the superb Cuarteto de Cuerdas de la Habana paying tribute to Brouwer's 70th year.

“The liner notes (English and Spanish) are substantial and properly laudatory, but there is no explanation why Au clair de la lune is quoted or those ghostly fragments culled from the past, why a percussion (wood block?) appears, as well as the players counting (in English), or those jazz moments. Maybe because of politics, we do not have evidence of the composer's relationship to his Cuban heritage. To identify some kinship to Bartók (to whom the first quartet is dedicated) does not diminish the works' originality. The intensity of introspection equates not only that of Bartók, but also late Beethoven. Here then is a valid stimulus for a monograph and most welcome addition to the repertoire.” William E. Thomas Seeks to Preserve Slave-Built Church as Venue for African American Music

[TOP: William Ethaniel Thomas MIDDLE: Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: Chamber Music; The Coleridge Ensemble; AFKA SK-543 (1998). BOTTOM: “Rev. L.H. McIntyre, retired pastor of First African Baptist Church, tells attendees at a reception Feb. 25 launching the First African Foundation about the history of the church, which traces its roots back to about 1790.” TOM EBLEN — Herald-Leader]

On May 27, 2008 AfriClassical posted: William E. Thomas Conducts Farewell Concert of Cambridge Community Chorus.”  Former Music Department Chair at Phillips Academy Andover, Thomas is now organizing an effort to buy a former church in Lexington, Kentucky built primarily by slaves, and convert it to a cultural center including a concert hall which would be a venue for African American music. While at Andover, William E. Thomas played important roles in two recordings of works by classical composers of African descent. One was Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: Chamber Music, on which he played the cello and for which he wrote the liner notes. Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) is featured at

Tom Eblen
“One of Lexington's most significant black-history landmarks would become a concert hall, a cultural center and a museum if a new non-profit foundation can raise several million dollars to buy, restore and operate it. The First African Foundation has reached a tentative agreement with Central Christian Church to buy the former First African Baptist Church building at the corner of Short and Deweese streets.” 

“William Thomas, a Lexington native who moved back in 2008 after retiring as music department chair at the prestigious Phillips Academy Andover in Massachusetts, said he was inspired to organize the effort after reading about the building's amazing history two years ago. The Italianate-style sanctuary, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is a handsome building. What makes it amazing is that most of the people who built and paid for it in the 1850s were slaves.

“First African Baptist Church and Historic Pleasant Green Missionary Baptist Church trace their roots to Peter Durrett, a slave who in 1790 started the first black church west of the Allegheny Mountains. Durrett died in 1823 and was succeeded by London Ferrill, a slave who gained his freedom and was widely respected by blacks and whites alike.” “Because slave families were often split up by sale, many walked miles each Sunday to attend services at First African Church — and have their only opportunity to see each other.”

“Architect Gregory Fitzsimons, who developed a renovation plan for the foundation, said the building is in good condition. Still, it would take about $4 million buy, renovate and enlarge the building for the foundation's proposed uses. Thomas also wants to raise several million more dollars to operate and endow the building and programs. The old sanctuary, now used as a gymnasium, would become a 400-seat concert hall. Thomas would like the proposed concert hall to host local musicians and visiting ensembles that highlight African-American music. One such group is the American Spiritual Ensemble, a Lexington-based international touring company founded by Everett McCorvey, director of the University of Kentucky's Opera Theatre program.

"'It's something we would certainly consider,' McCorvey said. 'I was very impressed with the potential of what that facility could become. The church has a wonderful history. It's certainly worth preserving.' Thomas, who taught at Phillips Andover for 36 years, spent three years as artistic director of Project STEP, a classical music academy for gifted minority students in Boston run by the Boston Symphony and the New England Conservatory of Music. Thomas would like to start a similar program here.

“'Fiscally, we're in tough shoes, but this building is a national treasure,' Thomas said of the foundation's ambitious fund-raising goal. 'To know that folks in bondage committed their resources, which were so limited, to build such a remarkable structure inspires us to do great things with it.'"

Comment by email:
William Thomas is immediately one of our major heroes: a splendid musician, teacher, administrator, and activist, much of whose work is veiled in modesty.  When this re-consecration takes place, his name should be remembered!  [Dominique-René de Lerma,]

African Music Publishers: 'poster attached is available for high resolution printout'

[African Musical Arts, Inc.]

Melanie Knolls of African Music Publishers writes to AfriClassical:

Good afternoon, Bill:
Thank you for helping to highlight our recent publications. Our Black History Month promotion was a tremendous success, and one more day to go! If you'd be so kind to share with your readers that the handsome poster attached is available for high resolution printout - actual size 24x36 or reduced sizes 8.5x11 and 11x17. Those interested may simply send email to us at

Melanie Knolls
Publicity & Representation
African Music Publishers
3547 Olive St., Suite 110
St Louis, MO 63103

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chicago Magazine, The 312: 'Black Composer Florence Price, Rediscovered Again'

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

By Whet Moser 
Posted Feb 28, 2012
“This was an unexpected pleasure: 'Classical Lost and Found: Florence B. Price Rediscovered,' from Bob McQuiston of NPR Classical (via Robert Loerzel and the Chicago Philharmonic), a brief piece about the Arkansas native and longtime Chicagoan who was the first black woman to have a symphony performed by a major orchestra: her Symphony in E Minor, which was premiered by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1933. McQuiston's writing on the occasion of the symphony's late-2011 recording by the New Black Music Repertory Ensemble of Columbia College.”

“I hear some Aaron Copland (who was also doubly an outsider, and who led his fairly conservative arrangements with catchy, hummable vernacular melodies). That should triangulate it for you: 'lushly romantic' symphonic music that uses folk rhythms and melodies to create a distinctively American landscape. I'm both surprised and not that she's not better known—her conservative sensibilities mean she's not as storied as her near-contemporaries, but they also make her comparatively accessible, and well worth a listen.”

[Florence B. Price (1887-1953) is profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works List by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma,] 'Tania León...fused the barbarous perplexity of early Stravinsky with Gershwin-esque swagger'

[Tania León]

The New York Times
February 28, 2012
Music Review
Tune-In Music Festival Salutes Philip Glass
Published: February 28, 2012 
In classical music, a landmark birthday for a composer of note is nearly always celebrated with a concert (more likely, concerts) stuffed full of significant works. Philip Glass, true to his status as an idiosyncratic maverick, adopted a different approach in helping to program the second annual Tune-In Music Festival, which ran from Thursday through Sunday at the Park Avenue Armory.”

“If reedy organ samples and insistent, repetitive rhythms suggested an inheritance from Mr. Glass, concision and a holistic integration of digital media indicated Mr. Muhly’s divergent path. And Tania León, playing piano alongside Samuel Torres, a percussionist, fused the barbarous perplexity of early Stravinsky with Gershwin-esque swagger and the salsa master Eddie Palmieri’s reckless brio in an original piece dedicated to Mr. Glass.” [The website of the Afro-Cuban composer and conductor Tania León (b.1943) is; she is also profiled at]

'Tune in...February 29 at 7:30 pm EST for a special broadcast of the Sphinx Competition Finals Concert!'

[Ade Williams, First Place Junior Laureate and Gabriel Cabezas, First Place Senior Laureate. (Photos: Glenn Triest)]

RSVP and watch at

15th Annual Sphinx Competition
Presented by

DTE Energy Foundation

Though we already know the outcome,
join us to witness the incredible journey!

Maestro Michael Morgan

Sphinx Symphony Orchestra

Catalyst Quartet

Senior Division Laureates
Francisco Vila, cello
Danielle Wiebe, viola
Rainel Joubert, violin
Gabriel Cabezas, cello

Junior Division First-place Laureate
Ade Williams, violin

Join the Facebook event!

D.S.O. Blog: 'Hale Smith is regarded as one of America’s finest composers.'

[Hale Smith]

The late African American composer Hale Smith (1925-2009) is profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works List by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma,

DETROIT, (Feb. 27, 2012) – The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) is proud to announce its annual Classical Roots Celebration will be dedicated to the late Dr. Arthur L. Johnson, who was the founder of the event and was recently made a lifetime board member of the DSO. This much-anticipated black tie celebration raises awareness about the contributions of African-Americans to classical music and supports increased opportunities through special programs, such as the DSO’s African-American Orchestral Fellowship Program, a mentoring opportunity for young professional musicians. The Classical Roots Concerts on Fri., Mar. 16 at 10:45 a.m. and Sat., Mar. 17 at 8 p.m. will also honor the late African-American composer Hale Smith.”

“About Hale Smith

Hale Smith is regarded as one of America’s finest composers. He also had a distinguished career as an arranger, editor, and educator. Born in Cleveland, Ohio on June 29, 1925, he began study of the piano at age seven, and his initial performance experience included both classical and jazz music. After military service (1943-45), he entered the Cleveland Institute of Music as a composition major, receiving a bachelor’s degree in 1950 and a master’s degree in 1952. His principal teachers were Ward Lewis in theory and Marcel Dick, his only teacher of composition.”

Monday, February 27, 2012

Dr. Barbara Baker Conducts '2012 African American Music Gala' of Houston Ebony Opera Guild March 3-4, 2012

[Dr. Barbara Wesley Baker]

March 3-4

A Concert of Works by Black Composers

“And Ye Shall Have A Song” is the inspiring title of the 2012 AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSIC GALA. The program for this popular annual concert will feature works by contemporary Black composers known for both their fresh approach to the Negro Spiritual and original compositions that reflect African American music traditions. The renowned Ebony Opera Guild Chorus and soloists will perform under the baton of Dr. Barbara Baker, an internationally acclaimed choral conductor based in Washington, D.C.

  • Fisk Jubilee Singers (Saturday only)
  • Winners of HEOG Encouragement Award for Opera and Concert Soloists (Sunday only)
Performances will be held at 7:00 p.m., Saturday, March 3 and 4 p.m., Sunday, March 4, 2012 at Christ Church Cathedral located at 1117 Texas Avenue at San Jacinto. Tickets required for admission. Parking is FREE in the Cathedral’s garage.”

“This concert is sponsored by Friends of Houston Ebony Opera Guild with the generous support of the Religion and Arts Council of Christ Church Cathedral. For additional information, please call Houston Ebony Opera Guild 713-335-3800.”

John Malveaux: WWFM's Radio Broadcast of Paragon Ragtime Orchestra's 'Treemonisha' CD 'was truly a milestone'

[Anita Johnson; Scott Joplin Treemonisha; The Paragon Ragtime Orchestra and Singers; Rick Benjamin, conductor; New World Records 80720 (2011)]

The Ragtime and Classical Music Composer Scott Joplin (c.1867-1917) is featured at On Feb. 25, 2012 AfriClassical posted: “John Malveaux: WWFM & NPR Air Paragon Ragtime Orchestra's CD 'Scott Joplin Treemonisha' 3-6 PM Eastern, Feb. 26.” Today John Malveaux posted a comment which we feel deserves to be a post on the blog:

“The 100th anniversary radio/internet broadcast on WWFM Classical Network's 'Sunday Opera' program of the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra's Scott Joplin's TREEMONISHA opera featuring Anita Johnson was truly a milestone and encouragement for greater participation in Opera.”
John Malveaux

William Grant Still's 'Kaintuck' for Two Pianos on 'Seta Karakashian: Rarely Performed Piano Works,' Romeo Records (2004)

[ABOVE: Seta Karakashian: Rarely Performed Piano Works; Romeo Records 7227 (2004) (68:44) BELOW: William Grant Still (Photo is the sole property of William Grant Still Music, and is used with permission)]

William Grant Still (1895-1978) is profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works List by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma, The entry for Kaintuck' describes the composition as a work for piano and orchestra. It was also arranged for two pianos. The work was commissioned by the League of Composers, and was dedicated to Verna Arvey:

Kaintuck'; Poem, for piano & orchestra (1935). Mission Viejo CA: WGS Music. 30p. Instrumentation: 3232 (p), 4331, timp, perc, strings. Commission: League of Composers. Duration: 14:00. Dedication: ´To my wife, Verna Arvey.' Library: Columbia (lead sheet, 1937), Lerma, Library of Congress (lead sheet, 1937), Yale (manuscript).”

This remarkable recital by renowned pianist Seta Karakashian brings together splendid performances of notable works by composers of the 19th and 20th centuries, from Franz Liszt (b. 1811) through Arno Babadjanian (b. 1921). Interestingly, all five composers whose works are played by Ms. Karakashian are especially known for their compositions for the piano.”

The liner notes tell us:

Kaintuck' (1935) was composed as a work for piano and orchestra and in an arrangement for two pianos heard on this recording. The work represents Still's reaction to his exposure to Bluegrass music from the state of Kentucky, a lovely piece that evokes the spirit of the music it pays tribute to. And yet, according to Still's daughter, Judith Anne Still, her father 'composed Kaintuck' while riding a train through Kentucky, and the sound of the locomotive is built into the music, [but] Kaintuck' is also a love poem for Verna Arvey,' the woman Still would marry in 1939.”

We agree that the works on this album are rarely performed. We have recordings by all of the five composers, with many discs by Still, Grieg and Bartók. None include Six Poetic Tones Pictures, Op. 3 of Edvard Grieg; the Burlesques or Rumanian Folk Dances of Bela Bartók; the Six Consolations, Six Pensées Poètiques of Franz Liszt; the Four Pictures of Arno Babadjanian; or Kaintuck' of William Grant Still.

The recording is one of many collection discs which include works of William Grant Still. For an inquisitive fan of classical music, it stands out for its lesser-known works of composers who are themselves relatively well known. Seta Kashkashian is joined on Kaintuck' by the late pianist Richard Fields, to whom the recording is dedicated. The time of this version is 11:13. It was performed before a live and appreciative audience. We have enjoyed listening to the CD for pleasure many times since receiving it. Disclosure: A review copy of this CD was provided by William Grant Still Music.

'Tribute to Charlotte Holloman' by University of the District of Columbia Friday, March 9 at 7:30 PM

[Charlotte Holloman]

UDC Music Department Presents Tribute to Honor Living Legend, Concert and Opera Vocalist Charlotte Holloman

Special Tribute Will Present Perfomances by UDC Students and Alumni and Raise Funds for Music Scholarship

University of the District of Columbia’s Music Program of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts will present a Tribute to Charlotte Holloman on Friday, March 9, 2012 at 7:30pm at UDC Van Ness Campus, University Auditorium (Bldg 46 East) located at 4200 Connecticut Avenue, Washington, DC.Description:

The program will feature special collaborative performances by UDC music department students, alumni and faculty in recognition of the great achievements of Holloman’s outstanding career in vocal performance. The event is also a fundraiser to support a special music scholarship.

Produced by the faculty of the Music Program, this Tribute seeks to recognize the great attributes of one of our own, Professor Charlotte Holloman, Director of Vocal Program, Music Department, Howard University, and Professor of Voice, University of the District of Columbia who will be honored in a Music Tribute and Scholarship Fundraiser. Dr. Marjorie Holloman Parker, former Chairman of the UDC Board of Trustees, was her sister-in-law.

The fundraiser program will spotlight the spectacular variety of talents of its music students and faculty who will perform in a wide-spectrum of musical genres to include, voice, piano, instrumental ensembles, classical, rhythm and blues, and jazz, as Professor Holloman has sung with and/or taught in all of the above genres with prominent artists.

Tickets are available at the Performing Arts Bldg., 46 West, Music Program, Room A05-C, UDC Van Ness Campus, 4200 Connecticut Avenue, NW. Ticket prices are $20 (general admission), $15 (senior) and $10 (student). Tickets will also be available at the University Auditorium door on the night of the performance.

The University Auditorium (Bldg. 46 East) is conveniently located on Metro’s Red Line at the Van Ness-UDC stop. For more information, contact Dr. Marva Cooper at 202-274-5801 or

Sunday, February 26, 2012

'George Walker: Great American Orchestral Works, Vol. 3' Continues Successful Series on Albany

[ABOVE: Dr. Rochelle Sennet, Pianist BELOW: George Walker: Great American Orchestral Works, Vol. 3; Albany Records 1334 (2012) (Cover Photo: Frank Schramm) (56:13)]

On Feb. 16, 2012 AfriClassical posted: “Albany Records: 'The series of George Walker's orchestral music continues!' on Vol. 3, Albany 1334 (2012).” The works on this diverse program were composed by George Walker over a period of 34 years, from 1975 to 2009, illustrating his compositional style during a significant period of his successful career in music. 

The Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign says of Dr. Rochelle Sennet, “Sennet’s recitals showcase her versatility through works by Bach, Beethoven, and African American composers such as H. Leslie Adams, Adolphus Hailstork, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer George Walker.”

Icarus in Orbit (3:27) is the first of five works on the CD. The liner notes tell us: “This score was commissioned by the New Jersey Youth Orchestra for its 25th Anniversary Gala Concert in 2004 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, New Jersey. It encapsulates the principal aspects of the myth of Icarus.” The Sinfonia da Camera is conducted by Ian Hobson, who founded the ensemble in 1984, we learn from the liner notes. The notes continue: “Sinfonia, the resident chamber orchestra at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is composed of musicians from the university and throughout the Midwest.

Concerto for Piano and Orchestra is a work in three movements, and according to the liner notes “was composed in 1975 for the late Natalie Hinderas, a brilliantly gifted pianist.” The pianist on this recording is Dr. Rochelle Sennet, Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois. The notes say of the orchestra: “Sinfonia Varsovia originated in 1972 as the Polish Chamber Orchestra...” The conductor is again Ian Hobson.” “The official premiere of the concerto was given by Ms. Hinderas in 1976 with the Minneapolis Symphony with Paul Freeman conducting. It was recorded for the historic Black Composers Series of Columbia Records with the Detroit Symphony.” The length of Movement I is 11:55; Movement II is 5:57; Movement III is 6:10. The notes indicate “The first movement begins with an orchestral introduction,” “The second movement begins with a Duke Ellington song,” and the third movement has an “orchestral introduction.”

Abu for Narrators and Chamber Ensemble (6:19) “was commissioned by the Network for New Music, a contemporary music ensemble in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The premiere was given in May of 2004. The text of Abu is the well-known poem, Abu Ben Adhem, by the English poet, James Henry Leigh Hunt.” The narrators are Richard Herrera and Yvonne Gonzales Redman. The instrumentalista are Sherban Lupu, violin; Brandon Vamso, cello; and Rochelle Sennet, piano. Ian Hobson is conductor.

Dialogus for Cello and Orchestra (12:15) “was commissioned by Lorin Maazel and the Cleveland Orchestra for the Bicentennial of 1976. It is a work in one movement that was begun by George Walker during a residency at the Villa Serbelloni, a Rockefeller Foundation site in Bellagio, Italy.” Dmitri Kouzov is on cello, and Ian Hobson conducts the Sinfonia Varsovia.

Da Camera for Piano Trio, Harp, Celesta, String Orchestra and Percussion (10:05) features Rochelle Sennet, piano; Sherban Lupu, violin; Brandon Vamos, cello; and the Sinfonia da Camera under the direction of Ian Hobson, conductor. “Da Camera is a work in one movement composed in 2009. The title is a contraction of Musica da Camera. The music incorporates an infusion of disparate voices. Quotes from a Broadway musical, a spiritual and two jazz standards appear in the parts for the piano trio. The second jazz tune is restated by the sting orchestra. The piano is used primarily in a soloistic configuration.”
[George Walker (b. 1922) is a composer and pianist whose website is, and who is featured at  The website also features Adolphus C. Hailstork and H. Leslie Adams.]  Disclosure: A review copy of this CD was provided by the record label.

Drexel Concert Band Performs Valerie Coleman's 'Roma' and 'Umoja' at Kimmel Center 7 PM Feb. 29

[Valerie Coleman]

On Feb. 5, 2012 AfriClassical posted: “ Drexel ConcertBand at Kimmel Center 7 PM Feb. 29 in Bonds, Coleman, Dickerson,Hailstork, Nelson & C.C. White.” Drexel University provides additional details of the event:

Drexel University

When: Wed, February 29, 8 pm
Where: Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center


The University Concert Band will take the stage at the Kimmel Center for an evening dedicated to a wide range of African American composers in honor of Black History Month. Dr. Mike Moss, Music Program Director, has devoted his scholarship to this little-known repertoire, and he will conduct the Concert Band on Wednesday, February 29th at 8 PM in a concert at the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater (300 S Broad St). At 7 PM a pre-concert discussion will be held by Stanford Thompson and Jeri Lynn Johnson.  Admission is $5 with a Drexel ID and $10 for the general public. 

"The Coleman commissions involve a consortium of 25 university bands, including Yale, Clemson, Morgan State, and Auburn, and were initiated by Dr. Moss and our University.”

Dr. Myron D. Moss has provided AfriClassical with this program:

Music of African American Composers

Umoja - Valerie Coleman

Essay for Band - Roger Dickerson

His Song - R. Nathaniel Dett,
Arranged by William L. Dawson

Triumphal March - Clarence Cameron White
Orchestration by Jack Stamp

Roma - Valerie Coleman


Troubled Water - Margaret Bonds
Tim Ribchester, Piano

Minstrel Man - Margaret Bonds
Dream Variation - Margaret Bonds
Perry Brisbon, Tenor; Tim Ribchester, Piano

New “Wade ‘N Water” - Adolphus Hailstork

Fugue and Bossa - Oliver Nelson

Look to This Day - Adolphus Hailstork
With the Drexel University Choru

[Adolphus Cunningham Hailstork (b. 1941) and Margaret Allison Bonds (1913-1978) are profiled at, which features a comprehensive works list for Margaret Bonds by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma,] Adrienne Danrich sings 'art songs by...Margaret Bonds, and...William Grant Still' in Milwaukee

[Adrienne Danrich]

Soprano Adrienne Danrich recently performed in the Vocal Arts Series of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. Margaret A. Bonds and William Grant Still are profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works List for each composer by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma,
February 26th, 2012
By Tom Strini

An echo of not only the sounds but also the excitement of the Harlem Renaissance electrified the Peck School of the Arts Recital Hall Saturday.

“Adrienne Danrich, a world-class soprano with blues in her soul, put on her Evening in the Harlem Renaissance on UWM’s Vocal Arts Series. I talked with Danrich Thursday, but didn’t realize the scope of her show until I experienced it. She brought along Will Johnson, a spectacular bass-baritone with international credits, to give a spine-tingling account of Old Man River, among other numbers.”

Danrich, who wrote this show, shines as its sun, and not just because of her gorgeous singing. Her passion for that admirable group of black Harlem artists and intellectuals, some famous and some forgotten, came through in her body language and in every word and note. She read the poetry of Langston Hughes, whose work is at the heart of her show, as brilliantly as she sang them. She wrote a punchy, efficient script; she gives us the facts of Harlem life quickly.” “Danrich made clear the great achievement of a small group who set out, in the 1920s and 1930s, to create an African-American high art with techniques borrowed from Europe but an essence rooted in black experience and tradition.”

“And brother, can Adrienne Danrich sing. Her richness and clarity, her seamless tonal quality throughout the range, her deft articulation and emotional commitment to the sentiments of the music dazzled at every turn. She brought out the big, operatic guns for Alexander von Zemlinsky’s setting of Hughes’ Misery (Zemlinsky! Who knew?), art songs by the nearly forgotten but compelling Margaret Bonds, and the still-current William Grant Still. She hit her operatic peak in My Man’s Gone Now, from Porgy and Bess. You can’t have a champagne reception for this singer; that voice would break all the glasses.”

Pianists William Chapman Nyaho & Nicole Kim at Lake Washington Music Teachers Concert on YouTube (9:59)

[William Chapman Nyaho]

Dr. William Chapman Nyaho (b. 1958) is an accomplished pianist of Ghanaian Heritage who is featured at His performance website is and he has a Facebook Page. His performance with pianist Nicole Kim has been uploaded to YouTube (9:59):

Uploaded on Feb 20, 2012

“Lake Washington Music Teachers Association Annual Concert. Nicole Kim and William Chapman Nyaho play Mozart Concerto K488, 3rd Movement; Nyaho plays Ginastera Sonata no. 1. ip. 22, 1st; Kim plays Toccatina from Grand Etude, op. 40 no. 3 by N. Kapustin.” Curtis Richardson Directs Choir in Music of R. Nathaniel Dett & Moses Hogan in Westborough, MA Feb. 26, 4 PM

[Curtis Richardson; Choir Photo from website of The Congregational Church of Westborough, Massachusetts]

R. Nathaniel Dett (1882-1943)  is profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works list by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma,
GateHouse News Service
Framingham, Massachusetts

Posted Feb 25, 2012
“Every February, Curtis Richardson, choir director and organist at the Congregational Church of Westborough, gathers a joint choir from churches in Westborough, including St. Stephen’s Episcopal, St. Luke the Evangelist, and the Congregational Church, along with his home church, the Pleasant Street Seventh Day Adventist Church in Worcester, for a Black History Month concert. Wesley United Methodist Church in Worcester and Northborough Seventh Day Adventist church also have some of their choir members participate.

“The concert will feature spirituals important during the days of the Underground Railroad, when slaves listened for songs that indicated by their words either the opportunity to flee or the success of those who made it. 'Peter, Go Ring Dem Bells' was sung in the fields when a slave escaped to freedom, according to Richardson.” “Richardson, a native of Trinidad, studied piano at Atlantic Union College in Lancaster after winning a local talent contest in his teens. 'I majored in piano but I always had a love for spirituals. Spirituals are based in pain but founded in hope,' Richardson said.

“'The more I did church choral music, the more gems I came across in spirituals and classical music,' Richardson said. 'I wanted to find more music that showcased African American composers who aren’t recognized.'” “'One of my favorite arrangers of spirituals, Moses Hogan, died young but produced some gems. We’re doing “Abide With Me” and “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel”, both arranged by him.”

“'Nathaniel Dett, another unknown African American composer wrote “Listen to the Lambs” in the early twentieth century,' said Richardson. 'It’s one of the most poignant, moving spirituals I’ve come across. Nathaniel Dett received a bachelor’s in piano from Oberlin College, toured as a concert pianist and was the first black director of the Hampton Institute in Virginia. He introduced spirituals in the classical style.'”

Saturday, February 25, 2012

John Malveaux: 'Soprano Nicole Cabell sings Langston Hughes' on YouTube

[Nicole Cabell (Devon Cass)]

John Malveaux of sends us this link to soprano Nicole Cabell's YouTube performance of a poem by Langston Hughes:

Kid in the Park
by Langston Hughes

Lonely little question mark
on a bench in the park:

See the people passing by?
See the airplanes in the sky?
See the birds
flying home

Home's just around
the corner
but not really

John Malveaux: “Soprano Nicole Cabell will sing in Jacobs Masterworks 'Fauré's Requiem' with San Diego Symphony” 3/30-31, 4/1

[Nicole Cabell (Devon Cass)]

John Malveaux of tells AfriClassical:

“Soprano Nicole Cabell will sing in Jacobs Masterworks FAURE'S REQUIEM with San Diego Symphony on March 30, 31, and April 1 at Copley Symphony Hall