Monday, December 31, 2012

Calvin Lampley, Take Two – Juilliard, Carnegie Hall and Columbia Records

Cover photo: Calvin Lampley backstage at the 1957 Newport Festival.
Courtesy of Sony Music Archives.

On December 26, 2012 AfriClassical posted: "Martin Gladu Publishes Essay 'Odd Man Out' on Calvin Douglas Lampley (1924-2006), African American Classical Pianist and Composer."  The complete title is: Odd Man Out: A biographical essay on the life and career of Calvin Lampley. The first chapter is called Take One: Family, the North Carolina Years and the 364th.  Today we take a look at the second chapter.

Take Two: Juilliard, Carnegie Hall and Columbia Records

Thanks to the newly-enacted GI Bill, Lampley moved to New York City in 1946 to pursue his education at the Juilliard School of Music1. Assigned to the classes of Irwin Freundlich (piano) and Richard Franko Goldman (composition) - whom he credited for having “freed his mind musically”2 - he was to graduate three years later with an Artist Diploma in piano. In addition to his classical studies, he also sought the instruction of Stan Kenton’s musical director/arranger, William Russo3, whom he would later assist at the Peabody Conservatory. Although he most probably had to support himself through other means besides playing music - which also implied reducing expenses and rooming with clarinetist Alfred D Kohler and actor Richard Kiley - he was nevertheless to reach the zenith of his career as a concert pianist on March 30, 1951. That day, the doors of the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York City were opened to him. Lampley had just turned twenty-seven4.

The “strenuous program,” as it was dubbed in the Musical Courier’s review5, called for Lampley to play the first NY performance of Goldman’s Aubades in addition to a hearty collection of pieces that included Fantaisies by both Telemann and Karl Phillip Emanuel Bach, Mozart’s Piano Sonata No.16 in B-flat Major K.570, Mendelssohn’s Variations Sérieuses Op.54, Schumann’s Kinderszenen Op.15, Norman Dello Joio’s Suite for Piano (1940) , as well as works by Brahms and Debussy. A strenuous program indeed. Critic Herbert Livingston described the Goldman piece:

“These four short pieces - an andante in pastorale style, a twelve measure allegretto with a running melodic line, a moody adagio with a melody in parallel thirds, and a presto in two-voice texture - are traditional in form, rhythm and melodic content. The sonorities are familiar from the works of the polytonalists. (...) The music is thoroughly accessible both to performer and listener. The thematic material, however, lacks distinction and the treatment is not particularly imaginative.”6

Conversely, the Schumann and the Mozart all but lack distinction. A multipartite piece consisting of thirteen varied themes, Schumann’s Kinderszenen jumps through a myriad of different moods and sceneries. And the lively spirit of the first and last movements of Mozart’s Sonata bear all the elements one may attribute to Lampley’s own personality7.  Finally, Debussy’s impressionist style bring a welcomed contrast to Telemann and Brahms’ classicism.

Considering both the level and breadth of interpretative skills required to perform these canons of the pianistic literature, it is all the more surprising to note that he not only mastered the repertoire in roughly seven years, but that he catered to his career as a concertist while simultaneously working full-time as a music/tape editor at Masterworks.  That said, Lampley did build his artistry on the foundation of a superior pianistic lineage. That lineage - which goes back to Leschetizsky and Gabrilowitsch, Schnabel and the Lawsons (father R.A. Lawson and son W. Lawson) and crystallized under Freundlich’s tutelage (who himself had studied with James Friskin and Edward Steuermann) -, is one steeped in rigorous technical and musical acumen. To round it up, nation-wide tours in 1952 and 1953, concert appearances in Canada, as well as recitals with contralto Ruth Kisch-Arndt in 1954 were also part of his playing regimen. Interestingly, Kisch-Arndt was known as “one of the foremost Lieder singers on the European continent (...) and one of the finest and most sensitive contemporary interpreters of the German lieder (...)”8 Unfortunately, his career as a concertist proved insufficient to sustain him financially, hence his taking the job of “classical score-reading tape editor” in Columbia Masterworks’ editing department sometime in late 19499. Journalist Adah Jenkins wrote of the rather interesting turn of event which led to Lampley’s hiring at the label:

“During his last year at Juilliard, Lampley was attending a ‘farewell’ supper when a complete stranger came over to his table and inquired if he would be interested in a position at CBS recording and upon his assent, gave him the address. Lampley was not too impressed and promptly forgot the matter. Sometime later he was seated in the square near Juilliard when the same stranger walked up and inquired as to his success in the job and asked him to try it. Feeling that Fate, in the person of this stranger, was with him, Mr. Lampley went immediately to CBS studios. After an audition, he got the position
in the studio (...)”10

Indeed, having seized what resulted in a rather fortuitous opportunity, Lampley joined the team of technicians co-led by Vin Liebler (one of the engineers responsible for the invention of the LP) and Howard Scott11. He could not have landed in better company. Scott, an esteemed classical music record producer, had just perfected a technique along with engineer Paul Gordon that allowed the transfer of short “takes” to long-playing masters12. Keen on banking on the latest invention (eg: the LP), Columbia desperately needed dexterous staffers, and Lampley was the right man for the job. He was to stay at the diskery until the fall of 1958, working on the recordings of Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Victor Borges, Robert Casadeus, Zeno Francescetti, Mahalia Jackson, the Metropolitan Opera, Liberace, Patachou, Johnny Mathis, Dave Brubeck, Judy Garland, Doris Day, Erroll Garner, Sir Thomas Beecham, Guiomar Novaes and J.J.Johnson among others. Having noticed either his career as a concert pianist, or more logically, his editing work at Masterworks, renowned Columbia producer Georges Avakian appointed him Assistant Recording Director, Pop Albums in May 195413, then A&R Music Editor in November of the same year14. He finally upped him to Recording Director, Pop Albums A&R in April 195715. A year later, Billboard magazine announced Columbia’s new executive structure that saw Lampley, Robert Prince and Ernie Altschuler now reporting to Irving Townsend (whom had just been promoted to Executive Director of Popular Albums)16. Though nothing is known of his rapport with Townsend - nor with Mitch Miller who by then reigned as the label’s head of A&R - Lampley had nevertheless found a mentor in Avakian (who was also responsible for bringing Prince and Teo Macero to Columbia.)  As a matter of fact, it is rather interesting to note the similarities shared by those three executives.

'Two Etudes' of Courtney Bryan on February 3, 2013 Program at National Gallery of Art

This Little Light of Mine; Courtney Bryan;
"a collection of re-compositions of Negro Spirituals with improvised performances by this amazing ensemble of New Orleans musicians... These spirituals suggest the themes of Justice, Rebellion, Redemption, and Hope."

Courtney Bryan

Composer Jeffrey Mumford adds that the February 3, 2013 concert at The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. will also include a composition of Courtney Bryan:

BTW, on the Feb 3rd concert, there will also be a performance of a work by former student of mine named Courtney Bryan, a young and very talented African-American composer/pianist, currently completing her Doctorate at Columbia University with George Lewis.

Her work, for solo piano, is entitled "Two Etudes"



Jeffrey Mumford is Composer in Residence, National Gallery of Art, in February 2013

Jeffrey Mumford
(Photo: Al Fuchs, Courtesy of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music)

The website of composer Jeffrey Mumford,, tells us:

"Born in Washington, D.C. in 1955, composer Jeffrey Mumford has received numerous fellowships, grants, awards and commissions."

Composer Jeffrey Mumford announces his Residency at The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., in February 2013:

National Gallery of Art New Music Ensemble
February 3 at 6:30
Music by Brahms, Bryan, Carter, and Mumford
First concert with Jeffrey Mumford, composer-in-residence
Presented in honor of African American History Month

National Gallery of Art Chamber Players
with Miranda Cuckson, violinist, and Julia Bruskin, cellist
February 10 at 6:30
Music by Mumford
Presented in honor of African American History Month

Avalon String Quartet
with Winston Choi, pianist
February 17 at 6:30
Music by Mumford
Presented in honor of African American History Month

Participants in these concerts include:

Winston Choi, piano (

the Avalon Quartet (

Miranda Cuckson, violin (

Julia Bruskin, 'cello ('cellist with the Clairmont Trio -

National Gallery New Music Ensemble, Steve Antosca, Artistic Director:
harp solo: Jacqueline Pollauf
flute: Lisa Cella
alto sax: Noah Getz
marimba: John Kilkenny
violins: Courtney Orlando, Lina Bahn (solo)
viola: Katherine Murdock
'cello: Tobias Werner
double bass: Shawn Alger
piano: Lura Johnson
members of the National Gallery Orchestra

NGA contact:  Stephen Ackert, Head of the Music Department
National Gallery of Art

In addition to the concerts, there will be various outreach activities in area schools and  universities.

works of mine featured: 

in soft echoes . . . a world waits (2008) (violin, viola, 'cello)
tango-variations (2001) solo piano
tango variations (orchestrated version) (2001, rev. 2012) (premiere)
(harp solo, flute, alto sax, marimba, violin, 'cello, bass)
an expanding distance of multiple voices (2005) (solo violin)
National Gallery New Music Ensemble
National Gallery of Art
Washington, D.C.
February 3, 2013

an expanding distance of multiple voices (2005) (solo violin)
linear cycles vii (cambiamenti ii) (1979, rev. 1993) (solo violin)
eight musings  .  .  . revisiting memories (2005) (solo violin)
eight aspects of appreciation II (arr. for violin & ‘cello) (1996 arr. 2012) (premiere)
two rhapsodies for ‘cello & strings (arr. for ‘cello & string septet)
Miranda Cuckson, violin
Julia Bruskin,‘cello
Members of the National Gallery Orchestra
National Gallery of Art
Washington, D.C.
February 10, 2013

toward the deepening stillness beyond visible light (2004) (piano & string quartet)
a landscape of interior resonances (2001) solo piano
in forests of evaporating dawns (1996) string quartet
a celebration of Elliott (2006) solo piano
for Elliott (1983-84) solo piano
         Winston Choi, piano
Avalon Quartet
National Gallery of Art
Washington, D.C.
February 17, 2013

Comment by email:

This looks a very interesting programme. I believe that I have heard one or two of these eclectic works on Mumford’s CD quite a while back.  
Kind regards, Mike
[Michael S. Wright]

'Wishing you a Happy New Year 2013' from Ensemble Du Monde and Marlon Daniel, Music Director

Maestro Marlon Daniel of
Ensemble Du Monde

Happy New Year!!!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

'Shuffle Along Overture' co-written by Eubie Blake (1887-1983) & Will Vodery, last performed in 1923, 'blazes back to life' on this CD

Eubie Blake
by Al Rose
Hardcover, 230 pages
Macmillan USA (1979)

New World Records
Paragon Ragtime Orchestra
Rick Benjamin, Director

Eubie Blake was a major American musician—a pianist, songwriter, and composer for the black musical stage. His long and eventful life has received extensive attention, including at least one full-length biography. Thus this entry will be limited to commentary on the Blake music presented on this recording. James Hubert Blake was a Baltimore-born and raised musician, and as such, his style was quite distinct from those of New York, Chicago, Saint Louis, or New Orleans. Blake’s first contribution to Black Manhattan was by mail: in 1914 he submitted his manuscript for “Fizz Water” (track 19) to a New York publisher. Its acceptance marked the first of Blake’s nearly seventy years’ worth of publications.

“Fizz Water” is a one-step, a type of syncopated dance music written in 2/4 time featuring a melody written in eighth notes with strong tied and over-the-bar accents. Pitted against this is a powerful alternating bass note-after beat “oompah” accompaniment, also in eighth notes. This combination, played together at a quick tempo results in a hard-charging, highly extroverted sound. The one-step was all the rage in American ballrooms from 1913 to about 1920, and “Fizz Water” is a top-notch example, both of the form and of Blake’s unique style. This is not a rag. But it is not jazz either. The one-step was its own, distinct instrumental genre, and deserves to be appreciated as such.

Blake moved to New York in 1916 and joined James Reese Europe’s new Tempo Club in Harlem. Gaining the older musician’s confidence, he replaced Ford Dabney as Europe’s partner in the society-orchestra business. At that time Europe’s top “strategic initiative” was to put black musicals back on Broadway. But this effort was interrupted by a larger “strategic initiative”—the First World War—and ended by his death not long afterwards.

The fulfillment of Jim Europe’s Broadway dream then fell to Blake and mutual friend Noble Sissle (1889–1975). Their 1921 show—Shuffle Along—was a spectacular success, and for many decades has been a glittering chapter in American theater mythology. 

[William Grant Still (1895-1978) played the oboe in the pit band of Shuffle Along for a significant period of its production.  Still is profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works List by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma, Recordings, sheet music and books of William Grant Still are available at, which is operated by the composer's daughter Judith Anne Still]

'From Bach to Gershwin' opens 40th Anniversary Concert Series of Ottley Music School, College Park, MD 4 PM Jan. 13, 2013

Nevilla E. Ottley, Founder/Principal, Ottley Music School, writes:


Ottley Music School opens its 40th Anniversary Concert Series with 


by our woodwinds specialist, MARK PIPES, saxophonist, with pianists Karen Hinkle and Naoko Maeda.  Special appearance of alumnus, David Griffiths, a prolific composer, accomplished pianist and powerful baritone singer, and popular gospel artist, Monique Steele.  Also appearing are Kianna Kelly-Futch, treble singer and the Ottley Music School Singers.

This concert takes place on Sunday, January 13, 2013 at 4:00 pm at Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center's Gildenhorn Recital Hall.   See attached flier.

Tickets available at the Ottley Music School from January 2, 2013, 301-454-0991 M-Th 10:00 am - 7:30 pm, or at Clarice Smith Box Office 301-405-ARTS (2787).  


Nevilla E. Ottley, B.Mus. Ed., M.A., M.Mus.
6525 Belcrest Road, Suite G-20
Hyattsville, MD 20782

Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra in Hailstork's 'Three Spirituals for Orchestra' and 'Fanfare on Amazing Grace' 3:30PM Jan. 20, 2013

Adolphus C. Hailstork

Adolphus C. Hailstork is a prolific African American composer whose vocal and instrumental works are performed with great frequency. He was born on April 17, 1941 and is featured at

John Malveaux of writes:

The Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra January 20, 2013 Martin Luther King Holiday Concert include two (2) works by Adolphus Hailstork. See

John Malveaux

Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra

Sunday, January 20th, 2013, 3:30 pm

Martin Luther King Holiday Concert

SGI Auditorium
525 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica

Guido Lamell, conductor

Concert Program
Copland: Fanfare for the Common Man
Lee Hoiby: "I Have A Dream" for Baritone and Orchestra
Hailstork: Three Spirituals for Orchestra
Hailstork: Fanfare on Amazing Grace

Dvorak: Symphony No. 9 "From the New World"

Review of Upper Swabian Chamber Orchestra in Germany: 'highlight of the concert was the African Suite for string orchestra and harp'

Fela Sowande (1905-1987) is featured at

"The Upper Swabian Chamber Orchestra gave a successful concert in the Concert Hall"  

(Photo: Private)

Marcus Hartmann writes today:

Dear Mr. Zick,
We had our concert in Ravensburg - it was a great success.  The people came and we had no more chairs for them!  They had to stand or sit in front of the windowboard!!  It was great.

I send you the newspaper report of the concert - it's written that Sowande was the highlight.  My daughter played the harp and I changed one thing: the violin solo was played by my wife on flute.  I think it was so much more colourful.

Sorry - the newspaper report is only in German language.  Thank you for everything.  I wish you a Happy New Year.

Marcus Hartmann

The newspaper headlines were:

Chamber Orchestra offers a thoroughly enjoyable concert
Ravensburger Schwörsaal was sold out - highlight of the concert was 
the African Suite for string orchestra and harp

Comment by email:
Great to hear this news. I hope that this work gets recorded again soon. Mike
[Michael S. Wright]

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Phyllis Fleming: 'Equally admirable is the distinguished career of his sister, Frances Walker-Slocum, a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music'

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: 24 Negro Melodies
Frances Walker-Slocum, Pianist
Orion 83105 (2006)
Marquis Classics Distribution

A Miraculous Journey
Frances Walker-Slocum
AuthorHouse (2006)

Frances Walker-Slocum

We published a post on George Walker, who is featured at, on December 27, 2012: " 'George Walker: Prominent Composer & Washingtonian Grew Up on Sherman Avenue'"

Phyllis Fleming writes in response:

Dear Bill,
It's been another busy holiday season.  I'm finally catching up on emails.  As always, I'm grateful to you and your work on the AfriClassical website for providing invaluable information.
I have admired George Walker for many years.  I was honored to have participated in a masterclass at Levine School of Music many years ago, when my string quartet performed his "Lyric for Strings".
Equally admirable is the distinguished career of his sister, Frances Walker- Slocum, a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.  She was on the faculty at Oberlin from 1976, until her retirement in 1991.  Please see the following link from the Oberlin College Archives:
Happy New Year to You and Yours!

On October 5, 2011 AfriClassical posted: "George Walker: 'Missing from the list of outstanding black women pianists is Frances Walker Slocum.'

Comments by email:

Thank you very much, Bill.  
Best wishes for the New Year.  George  [George Walker]

Hi Bill,  Thank you so much for posting this additional information.  Frances is still living in Oberlin and doing well.  She will be pleased to see this posting. 'Warm wishes to you and yours for a Happy New Year!  Phyllis  [Phyllis Fleming]

John Malveaux: '150th Anniversary Emancipation Proclamation Concert broadcast date and time'

Latonia Moore & Donnie Ray Albert

John Malveaux of writes:

Visit and click on picture of Latonia Moore and Donnie Ray Albert and you are directed to another page with description of broadcast.

Community MusicWorks: Help us celebrate 2012 and build a successful 2013 by making a donation

Community MusicWorks

Celebrating 2012
As 2012 draws to a close, we take this moment to share with you highlights from a year of transformative musical events and to ask for your continuing participation. Help us celebrate 2012 and build a successful 2013 by
making a donation.

Sphinx Organization: 'Give the gift of music today and help us transform the lives of artists like Adé Williams'

“I had always dreamed of soloing with orchestras around the country and after winning First Place in the junior division of the 2012 Sphinx Competition, my dreams started to become a reality. When I was first introduced to Sphinx, I never could have imagined that it would grow to become such an important part of my life. Sphinx has helped to make my hopes and dreams possible and has grown my aspirations for the future.” Adé Williams, violinist

Because of your support, Adé has performed on the magnificent stage of Carnegie Hall, shared her musical talent with students in schools across the nation and has toured as the youngest member of the Sphinx Virtuosi, who were described as “exciting and virtually flawless” from The Washington Post.

As you enjoy the holiday season, 
and help us transform the lives of artists like Adé Williams.

[The Sphinx Organization was founded by Aaron P. Dworkin, who is featured at]

Kelly Hall-Tompkins: You can still give to Music Kitchen today and claim your charitable tax deduction for 2012!

Cliff or No Cliff, Vote Yourself a Tax Deduction!
Despite what Congress decides to do (or not do!), you can still give to Music Kitchen today and claim your charitable tax deduction for 2012!

on Music Kitchen website or Checks may be sent to the following address:
Music Kitchen
c/o Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
3 West 65th Street
New York, NY 10023

Music Kitchen is making a difference in the lives of many people. 
Read what the listeners are saying:
Music to me is life.  It’s like the air I breathe.  I love how music can inspire, influence and transform us in so many amazing ways.  Music is beautiful, filled with emotion, experience. Music represents so many facets, so many positive aspects of life.  Listening to classical music allows me to think clearly; [it’s] positive pedagogical.    Classical music enables me to freely express myself, it inspires me to succeed in all my endeavors and help others as well...  Listening to such wonderful classic pieces expands horizons.  Listening to music transcends cultural boundaries and time.  I love the fact that classical music is just that, classical, meaning it seamlessly overlaps and adds harmony to any music genre.  Classical and jazz music (and music period) demonstrates how resilient we are as people.  Classical music survived during times of war and unity. Classical music is soothing.  It makes me feel energized, confident, assured.  I truly love how it can completely change your mood and make you feel ecstatic.  Music represents so many positive aspects of life.  Music is art.  It’s language. Culture.  Music is love.  It’s freedom, awakening.  Music is universal.  Music unites us all.  It expands our horizons.  Listening to you perform tonight reminds me of Nelson Mandela’s quote, where he mentions something to the extent of never feeling afraid to be brilliant.  It helps me be cognizant of the fact that I am brilliant, resilient, loving yet strong, a person with conviction. 
Classical music enables you to discover yourself."      -Aria

MusicWeb-International on Marcus Eley, clarinet & Lucerne DeSa, piano: 'together they have created a disc of pure unalloyed joy'

But Not Forgotten – Music by African-American composers for Clarinet & Piano
Marcus Eley (clarinet), Lucerne DeSa (piano)

rec. at Endler Concert Hall, University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch, South Africa, July 13, 2009
Recording, Editing & Mixing Engineer: Gerhard Roux, Mastering Engineer: Jay Frigoletto.

Sono Luminus DSL-92156 [50:02]

...together they have created a disc of pure unalloyed joy.”

When I select which discs I wish to review I choose either music by composers I know and admire, trying to choose music I don’t know or don’t know well or I choose music by composers I don’t know at all to try and extend my musical knowledge. Therefore, when I spotted a disc in the list entitled Music by African-American Composers for Clarinet & Piano I was intrigued because I knew that it must contain music by composers I didn’t know. In the event of the 10 composers here I knew of only two, William Grant Still and Scott Joplin. Just as I was stupefied to learn just how many women composers there were I have also been similarly surprised to learn how many African-American composers there are as conventional “wisdom” has led us to believe that “serious” music is the province mainly of the white western male. How refreshing it is, therefore, to have our preconceptions challenged and often wrought asunder! 
This disc should certainly help in this process and, incidentally, apart perhaps from Joplin’s contribution, no one would guess the background of any of these composers solely by the music itself. So, ten composers and ten works; I feel like a contestant on the long-running British radio panel game “Just a minute” which requires talking for a minute on a subject without hesitation, deviation or repetition because I’m going to be hard pressed to avoid repetition. Why?, because the music is all uniformly excellent and I don’t know enough superlatives to choose different words each time. The disc opens with a short chamber work Night Fantasy by Dorothy Rudd Moore and it is one of the more “modern” works on the disc. It is a wonderfully evocative work conjuring up the spirit world as the clarinet first of all weaves a beautifully simple tune in the first movement, Largo, and then, with spiky rhythms, dances Puck-like in the second effusive and sparkling Allegro. The composer was yet another student of that doyen of music teachers Nadia Boulanger. 
The second short piece is taken from a larger chamber work and was arranged by the composer for clarinet and piano. It is very much in the spirit of the first work and could almost be a third movement of that and is a wonderfully playful piece in which both the clarinet and piano duet, almost mirroring each other in every note. New Orleans native Batiste was principally known and respected as an avant-garde jazz clarinettist who famously played with the likes of Ornette Coleman and ‘Cannonball’ Adderley and that will also be a surprise to any who may believe that jazz and classical music composers cannot exist side by side. Clarence Cameron White’s Basque Folk Song is a wonderfully descriptive piece with a simple beauty that is enchanting. A professor at Virginia State University for 40 years Undine Smith Moore’s Introduction and Allegro is another delightful work that, like the others, though short in length, makes up for it in the wealth of ideas within its brief span with a real dialogue between the two instruments that end their conversation in the middle of a “sentence”. 
The beautiful piece Pastorale from Scenes for Nigeria is by Samuel Akpabot, who, strictly speaking was not an ‘African-American’ composer but rather an African composer who spent a great deal of time pursuing a career in the USA. Be that as it may this extract from a longer work shows him to have been an extremely sensitive composer and this short piece is very emotive and quite melancholy in its treatment of the hymn like melody; a hymn to his native country. A complete change of tempo comes next with Quincy Hilliard’s Coty which is in three short movements, the first of which Daybreak, is a frenetic race for both clarinet and piano to reach its end before the other whilst the calm second entitled Sunset is relaxed and lyrical. The piece ends with Dance which is a jerky sounding duo. William Grant Still is a name I'm sure most listeners will be familiar with as he is probably the best known of all African-American composers and his Romance justifies that position as it is a gorgeous song without words that allows the clarinet to fully exploit its most attractive notes with a lovely piano accompaniment. Scott Joplin, whose rag The Entertainer made its composer famous through its use in the 1973 hit film The Sting with Robert Redford, Paul Newman and Robert Shaw and lead to its achieving hit status for its arranger and huge interest in Joplin’s music (at last!), composed Weeping Willow. It is a charming two-step that convincingly describes a swaying willow in that winning way that Joplin naturally possessed. 
Soul Bird by Todd Cochran is a beautifully soulful tune that perfectly captures the nature of a bird as the clarinet awakes and flies around against the background of the piano before finally resuming its sleep. Todd Cochran is yet another composer whose career has included a period in which he embraced jazz and he played piano with the great jazz multi instrumentalist Rashaan Roland Kirk, not that you’d guess from this lovely uncomplicated tune. The final piece on the disc is a really attractive arrangement of Amazing Grace attributed to H. Stevenson about whom nothing is written in the notes and about whom I could find nothing anywhere. The arrangement brings out the best elements of the tune and allows you to hear it afresh in a charming display of the attributes of the wonderful instrument that the clarinet is. Marcus Eley has done a great service to African-American composers and is a brilliantly talented advocate for his instrument who successfully exploits everything a clarinet can do while Lucerne DeSa is an extremely sympathetic partner and together they have created a disc of pure unalloyed joy. I sincerely hope that there will be more in the pipeline as he suggests this is only the tip of a musical iceberg in terms of similar works by other unknown composers.
Steve Arloff
[Samuel Akpabot, Scott Joplin and William Grant Still are profiled at, which features a complete Works List for William Grant Still by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma,]

Friday, December 28, 2012

Rick Robinson: 'This last year has just been wonderful for CutTime, especially ending as it did with standing-room-only crowds'

Classical Revolution Detroit Brahms Clarinet Reading

CutTime News
Dec. 27, 2012


I hope your holiday has been a happy and safe one. Having survived the Mayan Apocalypse with you, in the coming year I hope we can all appreciate life a little more.  

This last year has just been wonderful for CutTime, especially ending as it did with standing-room-only crowds for CutTime Players' Russian program at the Detroit Institute of Arts, two breakthrough Classical Revolution Detroit (CRD) events, and a couple of private affairs that let me bid see you later to my DSO family. 

This being my last week (technically) as a DSO member, I hit the ground running an 8:30 per mile pace and I've already dropped 20 lbs.!  I'll be in New York City Jan. 9-21 attending the big APAP, ISPA and CMA presenters' conferences for networking, workshops and booking opportunities. Then I slingshot to Chicago to work with top freelancers for a Simfonica concert in Battle Creek, MI Jan. 27.

I subbed with Grand Rapids Symphony recently and a few musicians asked about doing another Classical Revolution with CutTime music like we did in late July. So I set it up for Jan. 30 when I return for a week of subbing. 

I also set up the next CRD event for Feb. 5, just before the end of a crowd-funding campaign at USA Projects to professionalize and EXPAND the series. USA Projects is "making America's finest artistic visions into realities" and is available only to artists who have won major fellowships like the Kresge I won two years ago. It offers online showcases and a crowd-funding platform with consultations, a 75% success rate and 5% matching funds to its artists. 

Like, crowd-funding raises money and awareness for worthy projects over a set period of time from anyone with internet access and a credit card. Unlike Kickstarter, contributions through USA Projects are tax-deductible up to the fair market value of any perks selected... at least for 2012. The campaign must make its goal to fund the project by the end of Feb. 6, 2013. Please make a generous gift before the year end to ensure lowering your tax bill while connecting new audiences with classical music! 

The Classical Revolution movement has proven to be an excellent vehicle for developing effective engagement with curious music lovers and using CutTime music in bars, clubs, restaurants and cafes where many already comfortably discover other music they like. It is a social enterprise serving a much wider segment of our communities with love, respect and food for the soul. Who doesn't deserve the beauty and potential for meaning with classical music that is warm and inclusive? Please help CutTime and Classical Revolution Detroit make that difference. Here is the link to this project. 

Peace to you.

- Rick

Comment by email:

Thanks much Bill!  Happy New One!  - Rick  [Rick Robinson]