Saturday, May 20, 2017

John Malveaux: May 11 Southeast Symphony "Serenades & Symphonies": 4 living American composers (George Walker, Byron Adams, Chanda Dancy & John Adams)

Chanda Dancy & Husband
 Southeast Symphony Chorus

Ridge Davis, Flute & Piccolo

Parents of Ridge Davis, Flutist

John Malveaux of 

May 11, 2017 Southeast Symphony concert titled SERENADES and SYMPHONIES featured four (4) living American composers (George Walker, Byron Adams, Chanda Dancy, and John Adams).  Composers Bryan Adams and Chanda Dancy were present and shared insights about their compositions. An early arrival and intermission permitted opportunities to chat and learn from others. I did not meet anyone who was familiar with the music of composer George Walker. Additionally, when Music Director Anthony Parnther introduced TANGEANTS by George Walker to open the concert, he indicated Walker's use of jazz themes from Ellington and one other jazz legend in the piece. The audience seemed dissuaded about Walker because they were surprisingly unaware of the brevity of the piece and their inability to identify or recognize jazz influences. TANGEANTS as an isolated introduction to an audience unfamiliar with George Walker was not a contribution to the legacy of the foremost living and working American composer. Southeast Symphony could have made an impacting awareness of George Walker with a second piece to show the range of his commissions.

Byron Adams SERENADE FOR NINE INSTRUMENTS (4 movements) closed the first half with considerable fanfare. John Adams CHAMBER SYMPHONY (3 movements) closed the program with the greatest audience appreciation. Southeast Symphony musicians adroitly performed every piece on the program. The Southeast Symphony 69th season did not or will ever move the barometer for Byron Adams or John Adams but their 70th season could bring greater awareness to the Parthenon seat of George Theophilus Walker. American classical institutions and mainstream media will not crown him until he is dead.

Music Director, Anthony Parnther mirrored the growing awareness by LA Master Chorale and other mainstream institutions of the potential by women composers to bring new sensitivities and audiences to the concert hall. The debut of multi-talented USC film scoring graduate and owner of Cyd Post Chanda Dancy’s composition CENTRIFUGE: OR THE POWERS THAT SEPARATE US included the surprising debut of the Southeast Symphony Chorus. The piece was in part inspired by the recent Women’s March. The emotionally penetrating composition left me wanting more and suggested an oratorio. With tears for the past, we look forward with gleaming hope for composer Chanda Dancy and more. See pic1 Chanda Dancy & husband (administrative law judge); pic2 SES & Chorus; pic3 Ridge Davis (Piccolo and Flute); pic4 parents of Ridge Davis.


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