Friday, February 28, 2014 Sphinx Symphony Orchestra will be orchestra in residence for the Napa Valley Festival del Sole July 11-20, 2014

Sphinx Symphony Orchestra (YouTube)

Sneak Peeks at 2014 Festival del Sole

February 26, 2014 7:51 pm  • 

Napa Valley Festival del Sole, returning for its ninth season from July 11-20, has announced that The Sphinx Symphony Orchestra, the only all Black and Latino orchestra in the world, will play its first West Coast performances as the festival's orchestra in residence for the 2014 season.

The Sphinx Symphony Orchestra is from the progressive Sphinx Organization, a nonprofit founded in 1996 by MacArthur Fellow and violinist Dr. Aaron Dworkin, a member of the Obama National Arts Policy Committee and President Obama's First Appointee to the National Council on the Arts. It reaches more than 20,000 young people and 2 million more through its educational and artistic programming.

Retweeted by:
Michel Filippi @FilippiMichel
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To 1124 followers.

Empire Opera: Celeste Mann, mezzo-soprano & Gary Madison, pianist in 'El Tesoro' Sunday, March 9, 2014 at 4 PM, 349 West End Avenue, New York, NY

Celeste Mann has a warm, rich voice and a personality to match! Celeste will be presented in recital along with pianist Gary Madison performing a recital she created, El Tesoro; Songs from Spain and... the Americas. She first performed this recital in 2013 in Freehold, NJ and now in New York with Empire Opera.

Celeste has performed with Empire singing the roles of Frugola in Puccini's il tabarro, and Waitress in Saavedra's new opera, The Great Supper. She has also performed for Empire's Soiree and was a soloist in the master class with vocal coach, Joan Krueger.

El Tesoro will be presented on Sunday, March 9 at 4PM
349 West End Ave
New York

The suggested donation for the recital is $15 and will be followed by a reception. Mark your calendars and join us for an afternoon of español! Hear Deborah Nansteel as the FOREIGN WOMAN in Gian Carlo Menotti’s 'The Consul' (0:34) SoundCloud

Deborah Nansteel 

Seattle Opera Blog
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Meet Our Singers: DEBORAH NANSTEEL, the Foreign Woman
Posted by Jonathan Dean
Mezzo soprano Deborah Nansteel made an incredible first impression on the opera-goers of Seattle last spring, when she sang at the “Viva Verdi!” celebration with our Young Artists Program. She appeared on the mainstage a month later in Puccini’s Suor Angelica, and returns now as the unnamed “Foreign Woman” in The Consul. I checked in with her the other day about being the only character in an English-language opera who sings in Italian...and about how this role has tested her boundaries. 'Exclusive: Listen to Breaking Bad — Ozymandias the opera,' Two Arias Sung by Puerto Rican Baritone José Pietri-Coimbre

Good morning Bill,
How are you? I'd like to share some exciting news. "UK's favourite classical station" Classic FM is presenting an exclusive listen of Jose Pietri-Coimbre performing the critically-acclaimed world premiere performances of Sung Jin Hong's Breaking Bad - Ozymandias. I'd be grateful if you are able to share it on AfriClassical and have the attachment be linked to the specific Classic FM page:

Listen to two arias from the Breaking Bad opera by Sung Jin Hong, premiered in New York City last month.

Composer Sung Jin Hong is so addicted to Breaking Bad, he decided to write an opera about it. After the success of the cult TV series, it's not surprising the opera itself attracted a mass audience, with lovers of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman queuing round the block to catch a glimpse of the musical spectacle.
After interviewing Sung Jin Hong ahead of the performance, we couldn't resist having a listen to the finished product.
Sung Jin Hong's opera "Breaking Bad — Ozymandias" is inspired by the award-winning drama conceived and created by Vince Gilligan and the sonnet by Percy Bysshe Shelley. The libretto is compiled and arranged by Sung Jin Hong. "The Moment" aria is inspired by season 3, episode 10, "Fly," written by Sam Catlin and Moira Walley-Beckett. 

Breaking Bad - Ozymandias: The Moment (2:39)
That was the moment
that night
I should have never left home
Maybe things would have...
I was at home watching tv
Skyler and Holly were in another room
She was singing a lullaby
If I had just lived right up to that moment and not one second more
That would have been perfect

With its spiky string melodies and eerie harmonies, 'Chemistry' gradually grows into an all-consuming orchestral movement with percussion and dissonant brass chords.

Breaking Bad - Ozymandias: Chemistry (3:22)
Sung Jin Hong: from "Chemistry" and "The Moment"  Breaking Bad — Ozymandias (2014)
One World Symphony
Sung Jin Hong, Composer-Conductor
Jose Pietri-Coimbre, Walt/Heisenberg/Ozymandias

from live world premiere performance, January 2014, New York City 

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Comment by email:
Hi Bill, I endorse  José Pietri-Coimbre’s comments on his vocal range as I hear on the aria ‘The Moment’. I felt that the tessitura is a little below that of a dramatic tenor? However, most importantly I must also add that the fragment I heard was really beautifully sung and that entices me to hear more!  Kind regards Mike [Michael S. Wright] 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Composer Richard Thompson In Studio Interview with leading Classical Music Radio Host, Jim Svejda, KUSC-FM, Tuesday, March 4, 9-11pm Pacific Time

Richard Thompson calls himself a Pianist/Composer at his website.  A major composition we have previously featured is the two-hour opera The Mask in the Mirror, which deals with the courtship and marriage of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore.

For Immediate Release
February 27, 2014

Composer Richard Thompson In Studio Interview with leading Classical Music Radio Host, Jim Svejda, KUSC-FM, March 4 9-11pm

Who: Composer, Richard Thompson
What: In Studio Interview with nationally renown Classical Music Radio host, Jim Svejda, KUSC-FM
Where: Tuesday, March 4, 2014 9:00-11:00pm West Coast time *Live Streaming worldwide*

Contact: Bill Doggett email:

As strategic marketer and rep for composer, Richard Thompson, I am pleased to announce that Mr. Thompson is showcased in an engaging interview with KUSC-FM’s Jim Svejda, a nationally renown Classical Musical Radio Host and creator of the decades long syndicated show, The Record Shelf.

KUSC-FM is the premiere Classical Music Radio station on The West Coast. Like the equally prominent Chicago and New York City based WFMT-FM and WQXR-FM, KUSC-FM is a beacon of important and innovative programming in classical music and the musicians and composers who create the music.

Mr. Thompson’s interview will explore his musical roots in Scotland, the development of his unique compositional voice, the intersection of jazz, Negro spirituals and classical music, his signature art songs, solo piano music and discussion about his new works. Mr Thompson's interview follows in the august footsteps of interviews with George Walker and Adolphus Hailstork in previous years.

Cds of the interview will be available for those unable to live stream on The East Coast due to the time zone difference.

For more information about Composer, Richard Thompson and the world of Contemporary Black Composers visit: and Richard Thompson:

Pianist Richard C. Alston and Baritone Kenneth Overton Perform 4 Spirituals on 'Performing Arts Showcase at Essex County College' on YouTube

Prof. Richard C. Alston, pianist and Kenneth Overton, baritone

Richard C. Alston writes:

Hello Bill,
I am very excited to send you the 4th installment of my cable television show "Performing Arts Showcase at Essex County College." The 4th installment features Kenneth Overton, baritone. Kenneth's first CD "Been In De Storm Too Long: Songs My Father's Taught Me" has just been released. He sings 4 selections from the CD! Kenneth has performed operas and concerts throughout the world. Click the links to view each segment.

Richard Alston

#4 "Performing Arts Showcase at Essex County College"
Kenneth Overton, baritone & Richard Alston, pianist

Part 1 "My Good Lord's Done Been Here" arr. Moses Hogan

Part 2 "Sence You Went Away"
James Weldon Johnson  H. Leslie Adams
Part 3 "God Is A God" arr. Wendell Whalum

Conclusion "Ride On Jesus" arr. R. Nathaniel Dett

[R. Nathaniel Dett (1882-1943) and H. Leslie Adams (b. 1932) are profiled at, which features a Works List and a Bibliography for each by Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma,]

Hazel Singer at Blog: 'read about the rich history of oratory and debate that African Americans have contributed to our society'

Joseph C. Price 1890

BUDL at the White House, 2013

Hazel Singer writes: 

Hello friends,
Please check out the new post at Blog and read about the rich history of oratory and debate that African Americans have contributed to our society. Please share with friends.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014 Kathleen Battle Stars in 36th Annual Detroit Symphony Orchestra 'Classical Roots' Celebration

Kathleen Battle

James Lee III

Jonathan Bailey Holland

James Lee III, D.M.A. is Associate Professor of Composition and Theory at Morgan State University in Baltimore.  He writes:

Hello Bill,

Leonard Slatkin and Detroit Symphony Orchestra will perform "Chuphshah! Harriet's Drive to Canaan" on March 8, 2014. This will be part of a concert that features Kathleen Battle's Underground Railroad program.

Thanks for your time!

“The Classical Roots Celebration may only happen once a year, but the spirit behind it is something we want to work toward recognizing year-round,” said Celebration Co-Chair Ellen Hill Zeringue. “Kicking off festivities in February during Black History Month is a great way to make strides toward that goal.”

On Sunday, March 9, following the concert and celebration, Classical Roots festivities will continue with an Earshot reading session. Five young African American composers, chosen from a national candidate pool, are Marion L. Harrison of Atlanta, GA; Jonathan Bailey Holland of Boston, MA; Erica Lindsay of Rosendale, NY; Kevin Scott of New York, NY, and Matthew Evan Taylor of Miami, FL. Each composer’s symphonic work will be workshopped and read by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra led by DSO Music Director Leonard Slatkin at Orchestra Hall on March 9 at 7 p.m. During the readings, the participating composers will meet and work with mentor composers Bright Sheng, Gabriela Lena Frank (DSO Composer in Residence,) Derek Bermel, and Carman Moore, as well as receive feedback from Leonard Slatkin and key orchestra members. The reading sessions are free and open to the public, but require RSVP on

Education outreach activities began in mid-January with a full-orchestra performance at Detroit’s Marin Luther King High School, and will continue through mid-April with small ensemble performances at Martin Luther King High School, Renaissance High School, Cass Technical High School, Spain Elementary and Middle School, and Munger Elementary School. Other performances in partnership withthe Sphinx Organization are planned at Detroit Community School, Gompers Elementary School and Maybury Elementary School.

The black-tie Classical Roots Celebration was founded to celebrate and raise 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 Concert will take place on Sat., Mar. 8 at 8 p.m. The Classical Roots Celebration is presented by JPMorgan Chase.

Leonard Slatkin, conductor; Kathleen Battle, soprano; Brazeal Dennard Chorale
Sat. Mar. 8 at 8 p.m.
JOHNSON Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing
JAMES LEE, III Chuphshah, Harriet’s Drive to Canaan    
TRADITIONAL “Lord, How Come Me Here?”
DAWSON “Soon Ah Will Be Done”
TRADITIONAL “Mary Had a Baby”
TRADITIONAL “Over My Head, Two Wings”
TRADITIONAL “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot/Ride Up in the Chariot”
TRADITIONAL “Balm in Gilead”    
TRADITIONAL “Don’t Feel No Ways Tired”
TRADITIONAL “Let Us Break Bread Together”
TRADITIONAL “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”
Max M. Fisher Music Center
Sponsored by JPMorgan Chase
Sat., Mar. 8, 2014

5:30 p.m. Reception and Strolling Dinner
8 p.m. Classical Roots Concert
10:30 p.m. Dessert & Dancing Afterglow

Black Tie Event

Gustavo Dudamel's Venezuelan orchestra performed alongside members of Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (YOLA) within the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angeles

John Malveaux of writes:

Tuesday evening February 25, 2014, I journeyed by MTA train from Long Beach to attend a free Concert (Tchaikovsky Fest) featuring Gustavo Dudamel's Venezuelan orchestra performing alongside members of Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (YOLA) within the magnificent Cathedral of our Lady of the Angeles. 
"The musicians of the Simon Bolvar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela grew up through the extraordinary music education program El Sistema and generously teach and mentor the young musicians of YOLA whenever they are in Los Angeles. YOLA students strive to create a Los Angeles version of El Sistema in South L.A., the Rampart District, and in the Eastern portion of the County through their dedication of 15 hours each week to learning their instruments, playing in the orchestra, and contributing to the creation of an artful and compassionate community".
The concert was more than a superb performance by ethnically diverse trained youth. I sensed a prevailing hope and confidence for future generations and the power of music to help solve global problems. I said a prayer for continued success and expansion of El  Sistema to Africa.
John Malveaux

Noel Pointer Foundation: 'musicians from 26 different NYC schools their string instruments for each other in FIDDLEFEST!' April 5, 2014, 2-4 PM

An army of young NPF musicians from 26 different NYC schools will come together, for ONE DAY ONLYto play their string instruments for each other in FIDDLEFEST!

DATE: April 5th
TIME: 2pm-4pm
TICKETS: $7 (General) / $5 (Children under 12)

John Malveaux: Judith Anne Still, daughter of composer William Grant Still, graduated 'magna cum laude' from the University of Southern California 50 years ago

Judith Anne Still and William Grant Still

John Malveaux of sends this link:

Judith Still, daughter of composer William Grant Still, graduted magna cum laude from USC 50 years ago. See


Still Life

Judith Anne Still '64 has devoted herself to rescuing the forgotten legacy of her composer father, William Grant Still.

By Susan Bell
January 4, 2013

[Judith Anne] Still won a full scholarship offered by USC to academically gifted students of color and majored in English in USC Dornsife.
“USC was thinking out of the box in offering these wonderful opportunities,” she said, referring to some of the nation’s first minority programs.
The Still family already had close connections with USC. Still had given talks at the university, where he had many friends. Students and faculty were familiar with his music from the concerts he gave at nearby Exposition Park.
While attending USC Dornsife, Judith Anne was active in honor societies Phi Kappa Phi and Phi Beta Kappa. She also fondly remembers evenings spent playing the card game bid whist and reciting poetry with friends at the Trojan Grill, then a popular eatery in the basement of the student union.
Judith Anne met her future husband, Larry Allyn Headlee ’65 at USC, while he was studying for his master’s in marine geology in USC Dornsife. The couple married in 1962 and had four children, the second of whom, Lisa, was born seven days after Judith Anne graduated magna cum laude.

Kelly Hall-Tompkins 'Imagination' Official DVD Disc Release Event Monday, March 17, 2014, 7 PM at Pranna Bar and Lounge, New York City

You Are Invited to 
 ~ The Imagination Official DVD Disc Release Event ~
Imagination Music Video Album
Over 18,000 Total Views on You Tube in the First Week!

Come to the Official DVD Disc Release Event
Monday Evening March 17
7pm at
Pranna Bar and Lounge
Madison Avenue at 28th Street

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

James Lee III: 'Alas! Babylon's Final Sunset' Hopkins Symphony Orchestra Commission and World-Premiere, Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 8 pm

James Lee III

Johns Hopkins University

Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 8 pm

Symphonic Concert · Jed Gaylin, conductor
Shriver Hall
Free pre-concert talk at 7 pm

James Lee III: Alas! Babylon's Final Sunset
HSO Commission and world-premiere

Ferde Grofé: Grand Canyon Suite

Modest Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition

Cedille Records Free Download of the Week Features Sanford Allen on Violin in I. Plain Blue/s from 'Blue/s Forms for Solo Violin'

Cedille Records CDR 90000 087 (2005)

We celebrate Black History Month on this week’s Cedille Chicago Presents (heard on 98.7 FM in Chicago and everywhere, Wednesday nights, 10 pm Central time) with selections from many of the Cedille recordings that feature or include music by composers of African descent, including our 3-volume African Heritage Symphonic Series. Our Free Download of the Week comes from a disc that was an outgrowth of that series: Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson: A Celebration (our CD of the Week: 25% OFF the regular price). The disc is a retrospective of 50 years of composition by this fascinating figure who lived from 1932 to 2004. The free download track is the first movement of Perkinson’s distillation of the blues for solo violin titled Blue/s Forms. It’s played by its dedicatee, Sanford Allen, who premiered the piece in Carnegie Hall and who was, in 1962, the first African-American to become a regular member of the New York Philharmonic (making this a particularly appropriate track for Black History Month).

This week's CD OF THE WEEK:
(25% OFF the regular price)
Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson: A Celebration
Various Artists


...Please remember that the download code is FREEDWNLD
(It's the same every week!)

[Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson (1932-2004) is profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works List and a Bibliography by Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma,]

Sphinx Competition: Double Bassist Xavier Foley wins 1st Place in Senior Division and Cellist Sterling Elliott wins 1st Place in Junior Division

Xavier Foley (Glenn Triest)

Sterling Elliott (Glenn Triest)

First Place Junior Division Laureate, cellist Sterling Elliott and First Place Senior Division Laureate, double-bassist Xavier Foley featured above, during the 17th Annual Sphinx Competition.

The Finals Concert for the 17th Annual Sphinx Competition presented by the DTE Energy Foundation took place on February 23rd, 2014, hosted by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra at the Max. M. Fisher Music Center in Detroit, Michigan.

19-year-old double-bassist Xavier Foley (Curtis Institute) gave a stunning performance and was awarded First Place in the Senior Division by the internationally acclaimed Jury panel, comprising Paul Katz, Ida Kavafian, Charles Letourneau, Donald McInnes, Melissa White, Kathleen Winkler and Sonia Vega. Foley made history by becoming the Sphinx Competition’s first double-bassist to be named First Place Laureate.  He will receive a $50,000 scholarship award, a prize from Tempo Cases, and have the opportunity to be featured with Sphinx Soloist Program partners.  Foley was also the recipient of Sphinx’s Audience Choice Award sponsored by Mercedes Benz Financial Services. Second Place in the Senior Division of the Sphinx Competition went to violinist Clayton Penrose-Whitmore who will receive a $20,000 scholarship award, while cellist Nicholas Mariscal won Third Place and will receive a $10,000 scholarship award.

14 year-old cellist Sterling Elliott, from Newport News, VA, won First Place in the Junior Division and made history by becoming the first alumnus from the Sphinx Performance Academy (Sphinx’s intensive summer solo and chamber music program), to win the Sphinx Competition.  Sterling will also receive a $10,000 scholarship award, a prize from Tempo Cases, and have the opportunity to be featured with Sphinx Soloist Program partners.  

The Laureates performed with the professional all Black and Latino Sphinx Symphony Orchestra. Featured Guest Artist Simon Shaheen dazzled the audiences with his virtuosic account of the Finale of his Oud Concerto in C Minor.  

Complete Concert Broadcast
Monday, March 24th at 10:00PM
Sunday, March 30th at 2:00PM
on Detroit Public Television, Channel 56.1

Broadcast will be available on demand at

Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Max M. Fisher Music Center: 
Key artistic partner and exclusive home of the 2014 Sphinx Competition 
Detroit, Michigan

Sergio Mims: Detroit Free Press: 'Leonard Slatkin: How African Americans changed classical music'

Awadagin Pratt (V. Richard Haro)

Sergio Mims sends this link:

Leonard Slatkin
Guest Writer
February 22, 2014

I have been working on a new chapter of a book about the challenges faced by the classical music industry. 

In their time, Beethoven and Haydn were both described as Moors. The former wrote some of his most significant music for the black violinist George Bridgetower. Before that, Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges was France’s most prominent black composer. And in England, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor had considerable success with a work he wrote entitled “Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast.”
As classical music began to establish roots in America, more and more black musicians began to explore alternative styles and genres in which to express their individuality. Scott Joplin, William L. Dawson and Ulysses Kay were among the pioneers in the compositional world. Performers such as Dean Dixon, Leo Brouwer and Paul Freeman became role models for the young black musicians who would follow in their path-breaking mold.
Today, we can find more and more African-American musicians working in the classical music arena. Denyce Graves, James Lee III, Awadagin Pratt and Eric Owens are among those whose names grace the stages of the most prestigious musical institutions throughout the world. American conservatories continue to be beacons of inclusiveness, and one can see diversity in action at the Juilliard School in New York, Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia or Colburn School in Los Angeles.
For 35 years, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra has paid tribute to the contributions of African Americans in what might be termed non-ephemeral music. Classical Roots celebrates a variety of styles and genres that are a shared musical experience.  It has been my honor to lead several of these concerts. The DSO will welcome that most distinguished of artists, Kathleen Battle, who will be the featured soloist in selections of songs and spirituals. 

Leonard Slatkin is the conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Lyric Soprano Jennifer Lindsay Sings 'Come Scoglio' from 'The Magic Flute' and 'Ah, je veux vivre' from 'Romeo & Juliet' at Bellflower Symphony Orchestra Concert

John Malveaux and Jennifer Lindsay

John Malveaux of writes:

Jennifer Lindsay is lyric soprano and concert master of Bellflower Symphony Orchestra. On February 1, 2014, the Bellflower Symphony Orchestra offered a NIGHT AT THE OPERA. Jennifer contributed Come Scoglio from "The Magic Flute" and Ah, je veux vivre from "Romeo & Juliet". 

John Malveaux

John Malveaux: William Chapman Nyaho Performs Piano Music of Composers of African Descent at Magnet Middle School in Raleigh, North Carolina

Dr. William Chapman Nyaho (b. 1958) is featured at

John Malveaux of writes:

Pianist William Chapman Nyaho posted this picture on Facebook of a fun school assembly performance of music by composers of African descent.
John W. Ligon GT Magnet Middle School is a public magnet middle school in the Wake County Public School System located in the Chavis Heights neighborhood of Raleigh, North Carolina. Ligon was founded in 1954, right after the US Supreme Court's ruling on the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education as an all African-American high school though it has since been integrated. After the racial integration period, Ligon heavily promoted diversity, which is still part of its goal

Sergio A. Mims: Slipped Disc: 'A flaming tendon prompts surprise replacement' of Vadim Repin by Tai Murray

Tai Murray

Sergio A. Mims sends this link from Slipped Disc of Norman Lebrecht:

The star violinist Vadim Repin has pulled out of a Liverpool concert with an excruciating tendonitis of the shoulder.
The concerto he was due to play this Thursday was Andrzej Panufnik’s. Not many soloists, outside Poland, know it off pat.
Amazingly, the US violinist Tai Murray does. She flies in for a Merseyside debut amid cheers of relief.

Theatre Morgan's production of Shakespeare's 'Much Ado About Nothing' Fri., Feb. 28, 7:30 PM; Sat, Mar. 1, 2 PM & 7:30 PM; and Sun., Mar. 2, 3 PM

Eric Conway, D.M.A., Fine and Performing Arts Department Chairperson

of Morgan State University:

Hello everyone,

Last evening, I attended Theatre Morgan's production of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. It was excellent.  I especially appreciated the delivery of dialogue by our Morgan thespians which sounded much more contemporary and uniquely intelligible in presentation than any other Shakespearean production that I could remember.  With the 1920's theme to the costumes and the very colorful set with an almost psychedelic painted stage, there was a visual feast for the eyes.  I especially liked the period jazz music diced into the production to give a reprise from the Old English prose.  To see our students spewing out Shakespeare is something to behold.  Shirley Basfield-Dunlap has done a masterful job in directing our students in this production.  If you get a chance, please stop by to see the remaining performances next weekend on Friday, February 28, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 1, 2:00 & & 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 2, at 3:00 pm. See photos attached from the production. Hope to see you there.

Eric Conway