Monday, February 25, 2013 'The Choral Mix with Kent Tritle: African American Choral Composers'

William Grant Still 
(Photo is the sole property of William Grant Still Music, and is used with permission)

William Grant Still (1895-1978) and Ulysses S. Kay, Jr. (1917-1995) are profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works List for each by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma, 

An hour of choral music of African American composers may be heard via the following link:

WQXR New York City

African American Choral Composers

Sunday, February 24, 2013

On this edition of The Choral Mix, Kent Tritle explores compositions of contemporary African Americans.  
Ulysses Kay was originally encouraged to pursue composition by William Grant Still, and composed for chorus receiving particular praise for his works. He taught for two decades in the city at Lehman College. Featured on this episode is his sacred triptych called, A New Song-3 Psalms for Chorus. They are a capella settings of portions of Psalms 149, 103 and 117. The Choir of Trinity Church Wall Street sings this version under the direction of Larry King.

Philip Brunelle and his Minnesota group Vocalessence are champions of African American composition. We play selections sung by the midwestern group composed by two leading women -- Undine Smith Moore and Evelyn Simpson-Curenton.

This episode would not be complete without a contribution from the great William Grant Still. Grant Still was a prolific composer and man of many firsts -- the first African-American to conduct a major American symphony orchestra, the first to have a symphony (his first symphony) performed by a leading orchestra, the first to have an opera performed by a major opera company, and the first to have an opera performed on national television. These are all testaments to the great quality of work.  We feature his dramatic work, Wailing Woman. It's scored for Chorus, Orchestra and soloist.  We play a version featuring more of Vocalessence, with soloist Yolanda Williams led by Philip Brunelle.

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