Friday, September 30, 2016

Sphinx Monthly Headlines: Sphinx Founder Aaron Dworkin named one of Crain's 100 Innovators, Disruptors, and Change-Makers in Business

Join hundreds of musicians, industry leaders, students, diversity advocates, and more for a weekend of networking and inspiration focused on diversity in the arts! Apply now to receive transportation and/or housing assistance to attend this important convening!   

Learn More at

Help support Sphinx's programs and treat yourself to an elegant evening of artistic excellence! View the e-invitation for details on box seat tickets and gala level sponsorships. For general admission tickets, visit

The 20th Annual Sphinx Competition takes place in Detroit, MI from February 8-12, 2017. Sphinx invites 18 of the most talented Black and Latino string musicians (violin, viola, cello, and string bass). Applicants up to age 30 are now eligible to apply.

The Sphinx Competition features two exciting concerts of our Junior and Senior division laureates. In addition, the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra welcomes the University of Michigan Men's Glee Club and Maestro Eugene Rogers as they perform a newly composed work titled "Seven Last Words of the Unarmed." A powerful, multi-movement work by Atlanta-based composer Joel Thompson, the song uses the last words of black male victims of police violence as its emotional centerpiece.
Sphinx is participating in the 
#QLYouthChallenge, a promotion 
for youth-based charities in Detroit 
to raise funds and compete for 
additional prize grants.

Congrats to Sphinx alum who were invited as part of 
Chicago Sinfonietta's Project Inclusion fellowship 
Chauntee Ross (violinist, Milwaukee, Wisconsin) 
and Danielle Taylor (violist, Chicago, Illinois) who 
will be joining returning fellows Titilayo Ayangade 
(cellist, Chicago, Illinois) and Kyle Dickson (violinist, 
Detroit, Michigan).

The Royal College of Music has announced the 
appointment of Juan-Miguel Hernandez as 
professor of viola, starting immediately. 

Violinist Samuel Nebyu Named Prizewinner of Mozarteum Saltzburg Festival Competition
Samuel Nebyu placed first among more 
than 1,000 violinists at the annual Mozarteum 
Saltzburger Festspiele in Salzburg, Austria.

The Canales Project is a new not-for-profit 
organization that has been created to give 
voice to issues of identity and culture through 
 the arts and conversation.  
Read More at 

Comment by email: 
Fantastic, thanks so much Bill!  Aaron  
[Aaron P. Dworkin]   

Pianist Roy F. Eaton completes tour of Japan, performing in Kyoto and Tokyo, joined in both cities by performer on a musical saw

Pianist Roy F. Eaton,, toured Japan in July, 2016, with performances in Kyoto and Tokyo.  In both cities, a musician also performed on a musical saw.  We congratulate Roy on yet another ambitious musical recital in an exotic locale.

Eric Conway: Theatre Morgan will present an evening of One-Act plays: Dutchman by Imanu Baraka and The Last Revolutionary by Levy Lee Simon, from Sept. 30

Eric Conway writes on September 29, 2016:

Hello everyone,

Theatre Morgan will present an evening of One-Act plays:  Dutchman by Imanu Baraka and The Last Revolutionary by Levy Lee Simon.  Tomorrow, Friday, September 30, 2016 will be the opening night of these two one-act dramas beginning at 7:30 p.m.  The productions will be presented in Murphy Fine Art Center’s Turpin-Lamb Theatre.  Please read the attached the official flyer which includes a short synopsis of both plays and the performance schedule.  The production will run thru October 9, 2016.  Please come out and support Theatre Morgan!


John Malveaux: For the past twenty-five years, Danellen was part of the Watts Tower Arts Center. I was surprised and deeply moved to see a memorial [9-24-16]

John Malveaux of 

When I attended The Watts Tower Day of the Drum Festival (9-24-16) and Jazz Festival (9-25-16) I did not expect to see Danellen Joseph because she transitioned  September 13, 2016. Although Danellen and I met and became friends through the Georgia Laster Branch of NANM promoting the performance and preservation of classical music by composers of African descent, we both shared an appreciation of Jazz. Danellen had been present at every previous Festival i attended at Watts Tower. The Watts Tower Jazz Festival is the oldest Jazz festival in Los Angeles. George Wein attended the Watts Tower Jazz Festival the year before he founded the Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl. In addition to teaching instrumental and choral music in the Los Angeles Unified School District, Danellen worked with the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Dept for over fifteen years as Co-founder and Assistant Coordinator of the Jazz Mentorship Program which brings legendary jazz greats to secondary schools and youth authority facilities. For the past twenty-five years, Danellen was part of the Watts Tower Arts Center.  I was surprised and deeply moved to see a memorial for Danellen exhibited in the Charles Mingus Gallery-see photo. Rosie Lee Hooks, Director of Watts Tower Campus, shared with the Festival audience that Danellen was one of three being honored during the 2016 Festival and her bio was included in a commemorative book. The book was distributed after the memorial service at Holman United Methodist Church the next day. Rosie Lee Hooks also presented a book mark in honor of Danellen. See pic 

Thursday, September 29, 2016 Plymouth [MA] Philharmonic is launching its 101st season at 8 p.m. Oct. 1 with a program featuring Florence Price's Symphony No. 3

Florence Beatrice Smith Price (1887-1953) is profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works Lists by Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma,

Wicked Local Halifax

Monday, September 26, 2016

PLYMOUTH – Think of a tour of the south through the 1890s into the 1930s, and then rocketing off for a visit to seven planets.

The Plymouth Philharmonic, affectionately known as “The Phil,” is launching its 101st season at 8 p.m. Oct. 1 with a program featuring Florence Price’s “Symphony No. 3” and crowned by the universe with Gustav Holst’s “The Planets.”

Directed by Lisa Graham, the Wellesley College Chorus will help deliver the cosmic crescendo.

Commissioned by the Works Progress Administration's Federal Music Project during the height of the Great Depression, “Symphony No. 3” seems like a tribute to Americana and a history of a nation at once torn and united behind ideals of freedom. It is the first symphony written by an African-American woman to be performed by a major symphony. Price was also the first African-American woman to be recognized as a symphonic composer. The music conjures images of the south, the heart-wrenching clashes, triumphs and joys of America from the roaring 90s to the economic collapse of the 1930s.

From Price, the orchestra will rocket into the mysterious, mythic and other-worldly melodies and rhythms of Holst’s “The Planets.”

By Shauna L. Howard (@ShaunaLHoward)

Alison Buchanan: Songs of Diversity and Social Justice, October 6, 2016, 7:30 PM, St. Francis Xavier College Church, 3628 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, MO

National Black MBA Association® and National Society of Black Engineers Establish Monumental Partnership to Promote Leadership in S.T.E.M. Careers

Karl W. Reid, Ed.D, Executive Director, The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) on left
Jesse J. Tyson, President & CEO, The National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) on right

ATLANTA (September 27, 2016) – The National Black MBA Association® (NBMBAA®) announces its partnership with the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). The strategic alliance will provide S.T.E.M. professionals with enhanced leadership development and access to the country’s top corporations with interest in recruiting management level professionals with experience in science and technology disciplines.
“The number of African Americans graduating with Master’s degrees in science and technology has increased in recent years, but still pales in comparison to the graduation rates of other ethnicities,” said Jesse Tyson, president & CEO, National Black MBA Association®. “We are optimistic that this partnership will increase S.T.E.M. engagement among African Americans in graduate programs and will help more students and professionals in science, technology engineering, and math achieve advanced degrees and management careers.”
The three-year partnership will provide members of both organizations with exclusive offers that will include membership discounts, continuing education programs, professional development, and other joint local chapter engagement initiatives.
“Today’s job market has shifted and many executives in science and technology fields need advanced degrees in business to secure leadership roles at top companies,” said Karl W. Reid, Ed.D, executive director, National Society of Black Engineers. “Our partnership with the National Black MBA Association® will reinforce our commitment to developing and grooming our members to be able to compete globally.”
This announcement comes only weeks before the kickoff of the NBMBAA® 38TH Annual Conference and Exposition being held in New Orleans, Oct. 11-15. The conference theme, “The Q Factor: Quality, a Leadership Paradigm,” highlights the importance of quality leadership and how it can be used to inspire, disrupt and transform the business landscape. Attendees can expect to learn more about marketing, business and leadership from the various workshops and events offered, including the Leadership Institute®, an executive development program that offers cutting edge seminars facilitated by highly credentialed faculty, and the Entrepreneurial Institute®, a day long series of business development workshops.
Conference participants can also expect to connect with onsite recruiters from industry giants like Nationwide, Marriott International, PepsiCo, Facebook and many others. To learn more about the conference, visit

## Sphinx Virtuosi celebrates diversity in classical music – Wiggins [Chamber Music Raleigh hosts Sphinx Virtuosi residency Oct. 9-11, 2016]

News & Observer: From left, East Millbrook Middle School students Taylin Fleming, Justin Trinh and Skyler Wechsberg rehearse classical music.

George Walker (b. 1922)

Michael Abels

News & Observer

Read more here:

Read more here: & Observer

New Republic: The PHILOSOPHER and HER CAMERA: Ava DuVernay made history with Selma. Now, in two new films, she’s taking on America’s prison system

New Republic

Aaron P. Dworkin Tweets: Honored to be named one of Crain's 100 Innovators! Congrats to others including Elon Musk, LeBron James, Steve Wynn, Jeff Bezos and others!

Aaron P. Dworkin Tweets:

Honored to be named one of Crain's 100 Innovators! Congrats to others including Elon Musk, LeBron James, Steve Wynn, Jeff Bezos and others!

Aaron P. Dworkin is Paul Boylan Collegiate Professor of Music
and Dean of the School of Music, Theatre & Dance
at the University of Michigan.

He is also Founder, The Sphinx Organization,
and Member, National Council on the Arts.

Aaron P. Dworkin is also featured as an outstanding Musician of African Descent at

Comment by email:
Thanks so much Bill... greatly appreciated as always!  Aaron  [Aaron P. Dworkin]

John Malveaux: some years ago around 1995, I booked Los Angeles performances of the South African production titled Umabatha (Macbeth) as part of a North American tour

John Malveaux of 

A friend invited me to the October 8, 2016 Los Angeles Opera production of Macbeth. I am reminded some years ago around 1995, i booked Los Angeles performances of the South African production titled Umabatha (Macbeth) as part of a North American tour. I was very disappointed when the national promoter of the tour cancelled because enough dates were not sold in North American cities. The story of Umabatha and similarities with Macbeth is very interesting. See

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

John Malveaux: Danellen Mabry Joseph memorial service was September 26, 2016, Holman United Methodist Church, Los Angeles.

John Malveaux with Danellen Mabry Joseph following 2016 commemorative concert in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

John Malveaux of 

Danellen Mabry Joseph memorial service was September 26, 2016, Holman United Methodist Church, Los Angeles. She was childhood actor, percussionist, retired choral & instrumental music teacher (secondary level); LA Jazz Mentorship coordinator; lifetime member NANM Georgia Laster Branch, founding member Los Angeles Delta Choraliers, etc etc. To date I have not seen a complete detailed bio of her lifetime accomplishments.

An annual concert in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr featuring Alpha Kappa Alpha Chorus, United Male Chorus of Los Angeles and the Delta Choraliers was a favorite of mine. Danellen was a co-choral director until last year when the baton was passed to a fellow soror. I recall her standing to applaud her replacement.

After tributes, resolutions, heartfelt recollections, and soulful musical performances,the MLK, Jr Commemorative Choir, with Dr. Hansonia Caldwell directing, started the song "City Called Heaven". Almost immediately, the voices penetrated me and I saw the church roof rolled back and Danellen's body ascended into the sky. The roof returned during the applause and the memorial service continued to completion. Internment and a repast followed the service.  

John Malveaux

Monday, September 26, 2016

Sergio A. Mims: New York Times: "Aaron Diehl played an animated and uncommonly sensitive account of Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F"

The pianist Aaron Diehl playing Gershwin at the New York Philharmonic concert on Wednesday. Credit Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

Sergio A. Mims forwards this article:

The New York Times 



Then the acclaimed jazz pianist and composer Aaron Diehl played an animated and uncommonly sensitive account of Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F. The New York Symphony Society, which merged with the Philharmonic in 1928, gave the premiere of this concerto in 1925 with Gershwin at the piano, so, officially the orchestra can claim premiership. 

Making his Philharmonic debut the day before his 31st birthday, Mr. Diehl played magnificently. He had brilliance when called for during jazz-tinged passages of Lisztian runs and octaves. The roomy freedom of Mr. Diehl’s playing in bluesy episodes was especially affecting. He also folded short improvised sections into the score, and it’s hard to imagine that Gershwin would not have been impressed. The audience was: It gave Mr. Diehl an enthusiastic ovation. He must be invited back.

Eric Conway: September 25, 2016, we sang in a festival called Freedom Sounds assembled by the Smithsonian to celebrate the opening weekend of the NMAAHC

Eric Conway writes:

Hello all,

What another great Morgan State University Choir Engagement!  Yesterday, September 25, 2016, we sang in a festival called Freedom Sounds assembled by the Smithsonian to celebrate the opening weekend of the National Museum of African American History & Culture.  We sang at 4PM on the Gil Scott-Heron stage in the Silvan National Theatre on the grounds of the Washington Monument.

We fortunately had a picture-perfect day for our forty-five minute presentation. Although there were many other acts present this weekend, the Morgan State University choir was the only college choir asked to participate - what an honor! When we arrived, we all received talent badges for the event.  I also arranged for each member of the choir to get one free pass into the museum.  As the Washington Monument grounds is a vast area, we walked a great deal around the property to find our performance space. As we walked we noticed several food stands of typically African American Cuisine including Southern Barbeque, Kenyan Curries, Carribean Jerk, & PO Boys to mention a few.   

Surprisingly, all the previous acts performed precisely on time, almost to the minute.  We were scheduled to begin singing at 4PM and 4:01 we were on the stage scheduled to end at 4:45 p.m.  Although it is relatively difficult to guess the actual number who heard us, given the powerful loud speakers, I would say that at least one thousand persons were on the grounds conservatively to hear our presentation. As I looked out, I saw many proud Morganites, including Alumni Association President Jackee Lawson, with her husband Art. I also saw my first cousin Tracy Lofty who I asked to take photos of the group while we were performing!  Many persons after our short concert commented on how much they very much enjoyed our ensemble.

Immediately, after the concert we walked to the National Museum of African American History & Culture to try to get a glimpse of this much anticipated museum.  On the way to the museum, we took a group photo in front of the immediately-iconic building.  We all noticed that although virtually every building in Washington is adorned in Italian white marble, this building was cast in a conspicuously beautiful bronze color (real bronze was material for exterior) , reassembling the beautiful bronze hue of the African-American skin.  As I received the tickets, I was reminded by the event manager that these tickets were very valuable, as one could only enter the museum via a free ticket that must be arranged ahead of time.  The museum will not be fully open to the public, until the 2017.

Because we all had talent passes, we did not have to wait in lines like the masses, but could immediately go into the museum via the stage entrance.  A friend alerted me to the fact that the exhibits on music and culture were on the fourth floor, so I led everyone immediately to the fourth floor, where we saw wonderful Music exhibits from African American history and culture.  The fourth floor included exhibits on Music, Entertainment Industry, Visual Arts and Cultural Expressions:  The third floor included African-American exhibits of the Military Experience and our lives in the Sports arena.  The second floor was closed to the public for classes, workshops, and research events.  The 1st floor included exhibits on African-American Slavery where I was told you could descend into a space that resembled a slave ship!  The first floor also featured an Oprah Winfrey Theater, Special Exhibitions Gallery, and a restaurant featuring typically African American Cuisine - High-End Soul Food! Needless to say, our quick tour only wet our appetites to return and spend the entire day!

After leaving the museum, given that all of the dining halls on campus were closed, I took the choir out to dinner at a local buffet restaurant.   At the end of the day, we reflected on another extraordinary experience.  How fortunate we were to be able to share our music in such important events that we have enjoyed over the years!  Although most of us have been to Washington, many times before, I still marvel at the beauty of the city!  See pics below of our day at the Washington Mall and the Freedom Sounds festival, the concert, scans at some postcards given to the first visitors to this museum, and some first photos inside of the new museum in the Smithsonian collection - the National Museum of African American History & Culture!