Friday, September 15, 2017

JohnMalveaux: Gospel Music Hall of Fame, Dr. Rodena Preston, sister of Billy Preston, made her heavenly transition

Rodena Preston: If We May Never Pass This Way Again

John Malveaux of 


Gospel Music Hall of Fame, Dr. Rodena Preston, sister of Billy Preston, made her heavenly transition

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Fred Onovwerosuoke: New York Times: Halim El-Dabh, Composer of Martha Graham Ballets, Dies at 96

Halim El-Dabh in an undated photograph. Credit Bob Christy/Kent State University (New York Times)
Composer Fred Onovwerosuoke brings this obituary to our attention:
The New York Times
Mr. El-Dabh, who composed hundreds of pieces, including symphonies, concertos, chamber music and vocal works, was also known for compositions that combined Western instruments with Eastern ones, notably the darbuka, a goblet-shaped drum on which he was a skilled performer.
He was also in the vanguard of electronic composition, creating pieces in that medium as early as the 1940s.
Writing about Mr. El-Dabh in 1975, The Washington Post called him “a modern composer of stature and accomplishment.”
Mr. El-Dabh’s most famous composition is almost certainly the score for “Clytemnestra,” one of four ballets for which Ms. Graham commissioned him. The only full-evening-length dance she choreographed, it is widely considered her masterwork, spanning more than two hours and reworking the mythic Greek tragedy of murder and retribution.

Errollyn Wallen: This autumn sees premieres and performances of my work in bus depots, halls, chapels and harbours

Errollyn Wallen


Autumn Newsletter 

This autumn sees premieres and performances of my work in bus depots, halls, chapels and harbours


Cello Concerto
performed by Matthew Sharp opens this year's
Roman River Festival


PACE  for unaccompanied choir performed by BBC Singers
St Gabriel’s, Warwick Square, Pimlico, London SW1V 2AD

PACE is in the new anthology of carols — The Nativity Star — edited by David Wordsworth, published by Cadenza Music


The Negro Speaks of Rivers  *** WORLD PREMIERE (commissioned by Late Music)
Setting of Langston Hughes' acclaimed poem
performed by The Ebor Singers
Unitarian Chapel, St Saviourgate, York

10am — 5pm

St Andrew's University
Younger Hall
A performance workshop on the song cycle, ‘Are You Worried about the Rising Cost of Funerals?’ Student sopranos will work with Errollyn and a string quartet.
A Performance Ethnography: HARK recorded 40 St Andrews listeners’ responses to Errollyn Wallen’s Photography (for string orchestra). The listeners created rich, poetic images, pictures, stories, feelings and descriptions. HARK distilled these responses into a performance script which will be performed with the piece.
How do we listen? What do we say about what we hear? Come and hear for yourself, join us in this experiment in listening and bringing listeners’ voices together with the composer’s music in her presence. The HARK motto is that all responses to music are valid – period. No specialist musical knowledge is required to take part and enjoy this day of listening exploration.
Admission: FREE including buffet  lunch, all welcome!
Please register in advance by email: or by phone 01334 462226

at various times tbc
The Engine Room (pop up opera)
music and libretto by Errollyn Wallen
Sound Scotland


Concerto Grosso

After the rapturous reception of Chineke's bravura performance in May of Concerto Grosso at Classical: NEXT in Rotterdam, Chineke! perform the work again at Errollyn's alma mater, King's College, Cambridge.
King's College Chapel
King's College, King's Parade
Cambridge CB2 1ST
United Kingdom


Concerto Grosso

Commissioned by Orchestra of the Swan and published by Peters Edition, Concerto Grosso has been taken up by Chineke! who bring tremendous verve and virtuosity to the work qualities which brought the house down in their first performance of the work in Rotterdam at Classical:NEXT in May.
Turner Sims Concert Hall
University of Southampton
Southampton SO17 1BJ
023 8059 5151


Concerto Grosso
Chineke! continue their autumn tour of Errollyn Wallen's Concerto Grosso at
St Georges Bristol
Great George Street (off Park Street)
Bristol B51 5RR
0845 4024001

NOVEMBER 2017 — JAN 2018
Tour of opera ANON to outreach venues in Baltimore
Music and libretto by Errollyn Wallen
Peabody Opera
December 5th

Black Women Composers in Song
featuring works by Undine Smith Moore, Margaret Bonds, Errollyn Wallen and Margaret Price
performed by Nadine Benjamin, Siv Iren Misund, Allyson Devenish and Errollyn Wallen

Steinway Hall, London

All good wishes from Belize which has been mercifully spared hurricanes Irma, Katia, Jose and Harvey.


Copyright ©  Errollyn Wallen

Sphinx Recipients of 2018 Medals of Excellence: J'Nai Bridges, mezzo-soprano; Alexander Laing, clarinet and citizen artist; and Christine Lamprea, cello

On March 21, 2018, Sphinx will honor three artists of color who demonstrate the following qualities: artistic excellence, outstanding work ethic, a spirit of determination, and ongoing commitment to leadership.

These outstanding artists are the recipients of the 7th annual Sphinx Medals of Excellence. The awards will be bestowed at the official Sphinx Medals of Excellence luncheon at the The Kennedy Center and honorees will be celebrated at a black-tie private dinner in Washington, D.C. The three Medalists will also each receive a $50,000 artist grant to advance their career development. 


Mezzo-soprano J'Nai Bridges has performed in operas with the San Francisco Opera, the Los Angeles Opera, Vancouver Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and more. She also regularly performs as a soloist, including performances with Yo-Yo Ma and members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and with the L.A. Philharmonic and Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela under the baton of Gustavo Dudamel. In 2015, Bridges completed a three-year residency with the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago. She is a recipient of a 2016 Richard Tucker Career Grant and first prize winner of the 2016 Francisco Viñas International Competition.
 Alexander Laing

Alexander Laing, citizen artist and principal clarinet of the Phoenix Symphony, is a performing and teaching artist. He has completed fellowships with the Tanglewood Music Center, New World Symphony, Aspen Music Festival and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He serves on the board of directors for Arizona School for the Arts, on both the Artistic and Strategic Planning Committees for Gateways Music Festival, and co-chairs the Institutional Readiness task force for the League of American Orchestras' Diversity Forum. Laing recently started The Leading Tone, a nonprofit after school music program that brings music instruction to kids while exploring music as a context for youth development.

 Christine Lamprea 

Colombian-American cellist Christine Lamprea was the first place Laureate of the 2013 Sphinx Competition. She performs around the world as a soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician. In addition to performing at venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and the Costa Rica National Symphony, Lamprea is dedicated to teaching and outreach - she worked with Ecuadorian youth as part of a residency between The Juilliard School and "Sinfonia Por La Vida," a social inclusion program modeled after Venezuela's El Sistema program, and served as a Gluck Community Service Fellow at Juilliard, performing in hospitals and nursing homes in and around New York City. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Sergio A. Mims: Chineke! Orchestra 9/16 at Birmingham Orchestra Hall performs Coleridge-Taylor, Mendelssohn & Elgar. Roderick Cox conducts; Tai Murray is violinist

Chineke! Orchestra

 Roderick Cox

Tai Murray
Sergio A. Mims writes:
The Chineke! Orchestra will perform this Saturday at  Birmingham Orchestra Hall in a concert of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Mendelssohn and Elgar. Roderick Cox is conducting with violinist Tai Murray as soloist

Chineke! Orchestra - Coleridge-Taylor, Mendelssohn and Elgar




Chineke! Orchestra
Roderick Cox
Tai Murray


Coleridge-Taylor Ballade for Orchestra in A minor Op 33, 13’’
Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor Op 64, 26’ ’
Elgar Enigma Variations, 29’’
Classics by Elgar and Mendelssohn plus a magical British rediscovery, as Chineke! Orchestra makes its Birmingham debut. 

Everyone loves Nimrod, but there’s more to Elgar’s Enigma Variations than just an unforgettable musical portrait gallery of his Worcestershire friends. Mendelssohn’s popular Violin Concerto and the passionate, unfairly-neglected Ballade by Elgar’s friend Samuel Coleridge-Taylor complete a wonderfully warm-hearted concert.

John Malveaux: Civil rights anthem We Shall Overcome freed from copyright

Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr used elements of the song in his final sermon. Photograph: Agence France Presse/Getty Images

John Malveaux of 

The first verse of the civil rights anthem We Shall Overcome is no longer under copyright, a New York federal judge ruled on Friday.

Described as the “most powerful song of the 20th century” by the Library of Congress, the suit against the existing copyright holders was brought last year by the same legal team who had successfully disputed longstanding ownership claims over Happy Birthday to You.
Lawyers leading the class action against the Richmond Organization and Ludlow Music, claimed We Shall Overcome was an adaptation of an African American spiritual and therefore in the public domain and had only later been adopted by folk singer Pete Seeger, copyrighted, and established as an anthem of the 1940s labor protest movement.

They pointed to Seeger’s 1963 memoir in which he wrote that he’d been advised by his music publishers: “If you don’t copyright this now, some Hollywood types will have a version out next year like ‘Come on baby, we shall overcome tonight.’”