Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Kevin Scott: African American Classical Music has been neglected too long; Conductors Kazem Abdullah, Brandon Keith Brown & Kevin John Edusei Thrive in Germany

Kevin Scott

Tuesday, July 12, 2016, AfriClassical posted a statement by Maestro Kevin Scott:

Today, Wednesday, July 13, 2016, Kevin Scott wrote:

Hello, Bill!

Hope all is well and that you're doing fine. Here is the original rant I posted on my Facebook page;

Kevin Scott:

July 8 at 5:15 am

In the 72 hours since the incidents in Little Rock, Arkansas and Falcon Heights, Minnesota, the events in Dallas are making things worse.
I don't know what else to say. I think my only statement in this matter is to continue posting the works of African-American concert composers, music that I consider African-American Classical Music, because this is a legacy that has been neglected, ignored and shunned for far too long, not only by the white establishment of classical musicians, but by many blacks as well.

Black audiences cry for role models, the ones that the young can look up to and fashion themselves after. They see the sports athlete, the entrepreneur, the pop star and the civil rights activists who are out in the field spreading the word that we must not go gentle into that good night.

But what we're not taught are those who have established themselves in the arts. Acting, directing, painting, writing plays, composing serious concert works, performing opera and ballet. No. Those aren't our legacy. That's for white folks only. No honorable black man or woman should be performing Beethoven, or acting in Shakespeare. And then when you want to create something of substance, that you get the call to be a part of the arts profession, you get derided by your peers, you get chastised by your elders who have suffered the pain of rejection past, and you have parents and members of your family that look at you as if you have three eyes and five legs and think you belong in some sort of insane asylum.

I have been through all of this, and I do my damndest to survive, to persevere, and I am not the only one. Yes, there are those who have come from families that nurtured and supported the dream of those who aspire to make something of themselves and contribute to the rich legacy that no school will teach you, no teacher can guide you to, no mentor to stand out in front of you, because you have to seek them out for yourself, and then there are those who simply have to find themselves in the face of negation because one happens to think outside the box and not be part of the status quo imposed on one, part of the stereotypical system that drags one into the degradation of a dead-end street.

And now that we have men and women who continue to be subjected to the violence in a place where it is the land of the free and the home of the brave, men and women who still aspire to grab onto that ring and keep their eye on the prize and succeed in a land of adversity, men and women who simply want to be seen as the equals in the eyes of all who have come before them and those that seek that better tomorrow.
The music of Black American composers, as well as the performers of color, be they a conductor or a contralto, a tenor or a tubist, a soprano or a pianist, do matter, for it is our life, our legacy, our justice to survive and our just right to be known to the general public. These are black lives that do matter, and this legacy should never be shoved into a closet, swept under a rug or locked away in a desk drawer. These lives and their contributions to society do matter. Don't let anyone, not even your brethren, say anything different. Educate and exalt them, and let them see the riches for themselves.

And here was the follow-up:

Kevin Scott
July 9 at 5:23 pm
A thought came to my head over the past several days: How is it that Germany has always appreciated conductors of color, but this country seems to take those same conductors for granted? As of now, three black conductors have major reputations in the birth land of the Three B's - the Americans Kazem Abdullah and Brandon Keith Brown, and the German Kevin John Edusei. All three are superlative conductors who have been feted and lauded for their insightful interpretations of the... masters, and have been defenders of new and exciting composers. These defenders of the faith should be welcomed in this country, and even though we have a dearth of Black American conductors, some of whom are music directors of excellent orchestras (Andre Raphel, William Eddins and Michael Morgan), those same conductors seem not to get the plum gigs these days leading the Big Six in subscription concerts.

At a time when this nation is suffering from racial divide, both from the outside and within, perhaps we heed to look at the arts a bit more closely and see a microcosm of what we're viewing on the national front. In short, music is indeed the healing power to bring everyone together and be seen as musicians first, and to give those who excel at their craft the chance to be seen and heard. But if we keep perpetuating the stereotype, we keep ourselves down on the farm and away from the whole of society.

Just sayin...

You might want to post these as well...

Thanks, and will keep you posted on any events that are happening!


CommentS by email:

1) Great thoughts, Kevin, and we're all glad that you are giving voice to what we all are thinking. Glad to see your words getting broad exposure, for they will surely stimulate the national conversation. 

Thanks for your kind words about my Cayman thing! Means the world coming from you. I want you to hook up with Sabee sometime; his setup can make recording your works a more reasonable financial venture. It would be more expensive than Eastern Europe, but the results will be noticeably better. 

I completely agree with you about the new Ben Hur. It looks like a huge digital mess, and the music is unremarkable.  Your Ben Hur is fantastic!

Have to get back to it, but wanted to take s minute just to say thanks. For all you do. 

JMW  [John McLaughlin Williams]

2) Germany? I am not so sure!
Mike  [Michael S. Wright] 

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