Monday, December 31, 2018

Errollyn Wallen: FOR AULD LANG SYNE

For Auld Lang Syne

Errollyn Wallen writes:
Dear Lovely All,

I am sending you my warmest wishes for the coming year.

I am very grateful for my personal highlights of 2018 —which include the thrill of a private audience at Cambridge's University Library with a book belonging to J.S Bach —  Elias Ammerbach’s Orgel oder Instrument Tabulatur, printed in Leipzig in 1571.

In 2018 I composed twelve new works ranging from chamber to orchestral works via choral and operatic ventures. It was a profound pleasure to hear about performances of my catalogue around the world including a performance of my Five Postcards by the Miller-Porfiris Duo in Smangus, an aboriginal village in Taiwan. 

The year was mostly a composing one though I performed for Hillary Clinton at her inauguration as Honorary Fellow at Mansfield College, Oxford. I composed and performed a song for the unforgettable PEN launch of The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela. Alongside Chi-chi Nwanoku (double bass) and Shalini Vijayan (violin) I performed (piano) my Concerto Grosso with conductor Anthony Parnther and Southeast Symphony in Los Angeles. The collection of songs composed this year, MAP — Songs for Children Everywhere (commissioned by Snape Music) had many international performances and I loved accompanying hundreds of schoolchildren at Snape Maltings' Big Sing in November. 

I am excited about the current commissions which include a work for mezzo soprano Catriona Morison (Cardiff Singer of the World 2017) and the National Orchestra of Wales. The work is called This Frame is Part of the Painting and is a homage to the painter Howard Hodgkin. I'm much enjoying composing this at the lighthouse now.

Details of my forthcoming concerts are on my website

I'm unable to announce everything just yet but am
honoured to be named in BBC 100 Women 2018.

Thank you for your continued support —
I couldn't do it without you!

Wishing you a Happy New Year


Sergio Mims: Composer Shirley Thompson to be awarded OBE by Queen Elizabeth

Dr. Shirley Thompson

Sergio A. Mims writes:

This is great news.

The British composer and conductor Shirley Thompson, who is also Reader and Head of Composition and Performance at the University of Westminster, received an OBE.  The OBE is The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry rewarding contributions by British citizens to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organisations, and public service 

Ms. Thompson has composed for opera, orchestra, contemporary dance, TV and film and in 1994 she set up the Shirley Thompson Ensemble and this became the main vehicle for her instrumental and vocal works that fused contemporary classical orchestrations with popular and world music styles. In 2015, her opera Sacred Mountain: Incidents in the Life of Queen Nanny of the Maroons was chosen to open London's Tete a Tete The Opera Festival 

Thompson was the first woman to compose and musically direct music for a major drama series at the BBC.  Having trained as a television program maker at the BBC and Carlton Television she directed the film Memories in Mind, which was broadcast by the BBC in 1998.
Thompson began to focus on full orchestral composition and in 2004 became the first woman in Europe in more than 40 years to have composed and conducted a symphony. New Nation Rising, A 21st Century Symphony was recorded by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to celebrate one thousand years of London's history.
In 2007 Thompson was commissioned to compose music for the opening of the Parliamentary exhibition The British Slave Trade: Abolition, Parliament and People, which marked the 250-year anniversary of legislation for the abolition of the transatlantic trade of enslaved African people. The Woman Who Refused to Dance, performed at the launch, is arranged for soprano spoken word artist and orchestra. Spirit of the Middle Passage for three solo singers, spoken-word artist and chamber orchestra was performed by The Philharmonia Orchestra  in the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre as part of the Freedom & Culture International Creative Forum.The work featured three heroines Nanny of the Maroons, Dido Elizabeth Belle, and The Woman Who Refused To Dance (on a ship with enslaved Africans).
In 2009 Thompson was commissioned by Southbank Centre to compose a piece to commemorate 100 days of Barack Obama's presidency. Voice of Change was performed in April 2009 at the Purcell Room Southbank Centre with performers including principals of the BBC Concert Orchestra  and soloists.
In 2010 Shirley Thompson was announced in the Evening Standard’s "Power List of Britain's 100 Most Influential Black People 2010" an accolade that would be repeated in subsequent years.
On 9 February 2013, extracts from her work Mandela Tales, inspired by the book Nelson Mandela’s Favourite African Folk Tales (2002), were included in the program performed by the Chamber Orchestra and Chamber Choir from the Gordonstoun School at the amphitheater at the V&A Waterfront Cape Town.
In April 2016 she was honored with the Luminary Award (presented to people of Caribbean heritage who have made significant, outstanding contributions on an international scale or have brought to prominence issues that affect the Caribbean region.

AaronAsk: Weekly mentoring for a creative life: Showcase: Prepare!

Aaron P. Dworkin writes:

Greetings and welcome to this week's episode of AaronAsk, your weekly mentoring session to live a fulfilling creative life!  This week's episode is titled, Showcase: Prepare!  Enjoy, we wish you a creative day and see you for next week's session!

Comment by email:
Thanks so much Bill and Happy New Year!!!!  Aaron [Aaron P. Dworkin]

Sunday, December 30, 2018

NANM Holiday Edition 2018

Message from National President
Byron J. Smith

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” A time when we can reflect on the memories and exciting activities of the ending year and look forward to the future.  This year, NANM has been fortunate to host an informative and entertaining 99th Annual Convention in Las Vegas, NV and countless music events in our respective branches throughout the country.

The year 2019 promises to be just as exciting as we look forward to our 100th Anniversary celebration in Chicago.  The National Board and the Centennial Planning Committee have been tirelessly working to bring to our membership and the world an historic event worthy of this great organization.  I am personally excited about the premiere of our commissioned work, the “Shine Symphony” by William Banfield.  This endeavor was made possible by the members of the Centennial Club, whose names will be published on the score in perpetuity. Thanks for your kind donations and it is not too late to join the Club or complete your donation pledges.

The Chicago convention will debut more than commissioned works. We will present a wonderful professional development opportunity called the NANM Institute.  These concurrent workshops will allow music educators to receive professional development credit in instrumental and vocal music education.  The institute is open to our membership and hopefully encourages participation from local music educators.

We will also continue with Phase II of our Branch Constitution and Bylaws Update.  Second Vice President, Sylvia Hollifield will be asking branches to submit an update their Policies and Procedures. Phase III will conclude with a Re-Chartering Ceremony during our 100th Anniversary Convention.

As I come to the end of my tenure as President of this great organization, I want to thank the members of the National Board and the local Branch Presidents for their hard work and willingness to help build a stronger NANM.  It has been my desire to help prepare NANM for its next century and I feel we are headed in a positive direction.  Most importantly, I would like to thank YOU, the NANM membership for your many volunteer hours and dedicated service in making music possible in our local communities. Your love for NANM is priceless!

The holiday season can be overwhelming for most musicians. As we put our Messiah scores back on the shelf, light our Kwanzaa Candles and review the words to “Auld Lang Syne” let's take a moment to reflect on how blessed we are. I look forward to seeing what the future has in store for NANM and our musical lives in general. For I truly believe that “every round goes higher and higher!”

Here’s wishing you and your family a Happy Holiday and a Prosperous New Year!

Harmoniously Yours,

Byron J. Smith     

National adult dues increase to 
$60 per person on January 1

Looking for the professional 
development opportunities 
over the summer?

For the first time, NANM will offer 
a full range of 
professional development 
opportunities for instrumental 
and vocal music instructors at 
the 2019 summer convention, 
July 14-19, 2019.

Cutting edge information and 
top-notch musicians from around 
the country will present 
information that will be 
useful for classrooms, vocal/
instrumental studios and 
community music programs. 
NANM Institute provides 
educators with relevant 
instruction for instrumental 
and vocal educators. Instructors 
can earn up to 12 hours of 
credit during the week-long 
convention. Instructors are 
encouraged to choose a track 
of study (i.e., vocal, 
instrumental), but can receive 
credit for both.

Each track can earn up to 12 
credit hours. Some 
workshop sessions include 
A Highlight of Chicago 
Composers, Vocal Health 
Care, Workshop of 
Composition Techniques, 
Teaching Instrumental 
Music to High School 
 Students, Conducting for 
Instrumental and Vocal 
Music, Music Strategies for 
K12 Teachers.
Dates: July 14-19, 2019
Location: Chicago, IL
Cost: $485
(includes NANM Institute and 
convention registration)
Registration Available 
Online:  January 30
Registration Deadline: 
May 30

Introducing the Shine
A work commissioned to 
commemorate 100 Years of 
NANM funded by members 
of the Centennial Club

"I remember seeing you lift 
your beautiful black head, 
stand squarely on your feet, 
your lips trembling as the 
melodious words 'Over my 
head, I see freedom in the 
air' came forth with an 
urgency and a pain that 
brought out a sense of 
intense renewal and 
commitment of liberation. 
And when the call came to 
protest the jailings, you 
were up front. You led the 
line. Your feet hit the 
dirty pavement with a 
 sureness of direction. You 
walked proudly onward 
singing 'this little light of 
mine, 'and the people 
echoed, 'shine, shine, 
James Foreman writing 
about Bernice Johnson 
Shine Symphony…..
( Chicago, 2019...)

The NANM committee 
approached me about 
having a work that 
incorporated a full 
trajectory of Black 
cultural and artistic 
life, pulling from the 
 Spirituals, poetry 
traditions, and the 
streams of our 
contemporary experiences. 
I wanted poetry that was full 
of meaning, ripe with 
pictures and experiences, 
and yet people could 
leave the room singing 
melodies and phrases that 
stick because they were 
both delightful, moved 
people right and meant 
something.  I loved the 
Abia Smith poems, they 
moved me righty.

I knew I’d have the ear of 
“my musical people” on 
this too, and I wanted 
to have a musical 
symphony we could all 
enjoy together as a 
conversation experience 
in music.
My Shine Symphony is 
intended to "..weave a 
quilted musical tapestry.." 
of Black music together, 
that attempts to mirror 
the cultural sounds of our 
artistic journeys. We are a 
people that never get tired, 
as we've come so far on a 
faith that pushes and leans 
in forward.
I’m honored to get the 
chance to share back and 
forth in this way with 
the organization, all 
the musicians who are 
making this work possible 
with their brilliant gifts 
so we can all SHINE 
together and glow, after 
William Banfield

NANM100 Convention
July 14-19, 2019
Palmer House Hilton 
(Chicago, IL)

Preliminary Schedule of 

Sunday, July 14
Opening Mass Meeting
National Scholarship 

Monday, July 15
Scholarship Masterclass
Local Artists Night Concert

Tuesday, July 16
Members Recital
Former NANM Contestants
/Collegiate/Young Artists 

Wednesday, July 17
NANM Legacy Concert

Thursday, July 18
Juniors Concert
Awards Banquet

Friday, July 19
Youth Concert
Shine Symphony


Kelly Hall-Tompkins: Make Your 2018 Year End Gift to Music Kitchen

Please click here to make your 2018 year end gift

Kelly Hall-Tompkins writes:
Did you know that the average cost of each Music Kitchen concert is around $1,150?  Special large or complex works, or piano services can push that number to as much as $3,490, for an annual concert only total of $27,890. The generosity of our artists and their dedication for such modest honoraria and the generosity of you our supporter is what makes it possible to reach an estimated 17,000 shelter clients in New York City and coast to coast.  For this particularly special season, we need to raise an additional $15,000 (total of $42,840) for a particularly special project.  Among 300 supporters, that's just $142.80 per donation!  But imagine if all of our several thousand supporters wanted to be part of this exciting year!  I hope you will consider making a year end gift of any amount today and share this campaign with your friends and family to help us make 2019, leading into the 15th season, the best year ever!
You make this all possible and I am so very grateful for your support!
Warmest Regards,

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Sphinx's 2018: Our Year in Photos

SphinxConnect 2018: Participants ask questions 
during a session (Photo: Kevin Kennedy)

SphinxConnect 2018: Members of EXIGENCE 
Vocal Ensemble, led by Eugene Rogers, close 
the conference with a performance of John 
Legend's Glory (Photo: Kevin Kennedy)

21st annual Sphinx Competition: Senior 
Division First Place Laureate & Robert 
Frederick Smith Prize Winner Rubén 
Rengel performs at the Finals Concert 
(Photo: Kevin Kennedy)

21st annual Sphinx Competition: Junior Division 
First Place Laureate Levi Powe takes in applause 
after his performance with the Sphinx Symphony 
Orchestra led by Maestro Carlos Prieto (Photo: 
Kevin Kennedy)

Sphinx Medals of Excellence 2018: Medalists 
J'Nai Bridges, Alexander Laing, and Christine 
Lamprea pose after receiving their medals at 
the Kennedy Center (Photo: Kevin Kennedy)

Sphinx Overture: Students perform a recital in 
Detroit's Beacon Park
(Photo: Jacqueline Jove)

Sphinx Overture: Students have fun in class 
with guest artists (Photo: Jacqueline Jove)

National Alliance for Audition Support: 
Musicians connect at the inaugural audition 
intensive workshop at New World Center 
(Photo courtesy of New World Symphony)

Sphinx Performance Academy: Students 
practice together at Curtis Institute of Music 
(Photo: Mariela Lemus)

Sphinx Performance Academy: A student 
quartet poses at Curtis Institute of Music
(Photo: Pete Checchia)

Sphinx Performance Academy: Students 
receive coaching at Cleveland Institute of 
Music (Photo: Mariela Lemus)

Sphinx Virtuosi 2018 National Tour: The 
ensemble opens the tour to a packed house 
at New World Center (Photo: Scott Jackson)

Sphinx Virtuosi at Carnegie Hall: Cellist 
Sterling Elliott performs as a featured 
soloist (Photo: Nan Melville)

EXIGENCE: Led by Eugene Rogers, the 
vocal ensemble makes their New York 
City debut at Carnegie Hall (Photo: Nan 

Thank you for an amazing 
We look forward to another 
year of transforming lives with 
your support in 2019. 

John Malveaux: L.A. Phil premieres Adolphus Hailstork's "Still Holding On" 2 PM, Feb 17

Adolphus Hailstork

Annelle Kazumi Gregory

John Malveaux of 

The Los Angeles Philharmonic will premiere Adolphus Hailstork's STILL HOLDING ON 2:00 PM, Sunday Feb 17, 2019 Disney Concert Hall. January 14, 2017, I attended Santa Monica Symphony annual MLK Jr program under Guido Lamell that included Composer Adolphus Hailstork's: Epitaph for a Man Who Dreamed. Violin soloist Annelle Kazumi Gregory performed Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto on same program. 

Friday, December 28, 2018

Chicago Sinfonietta: This is What Leadership Sounds Like

Kyle Dickson

A Project Inclusion Alum Looks Back on His Experience...and Forward to Our Signature MLK Tribute Concert  

"Kellen Gray, Kedrick Armstrong, and I are so honored to be a part of this historic MLK Tribute Concert. As former fellows, we don’t think that Maestro Freeman could have even imagined this moment occurring in his wildest dreams.
For me, this concert is so special. I am literally on stage because of his vision to create a program to combat institutional bias in the field. Project Inclusion is a professional development fellowship that develops diverse and emerging musicians, conductors, and administrators on and off-stage. This fellowship has been life-changing for me. Everyone involved is invested in my professional and personal growth, which is unlike any program I've ever been a part of. This fellowship taught me that in order to be a successful (and healthy!) musician, you must be well-rounded and develop skills outside of performing like entrepreneurial and leadership skills. The Sinfonietta goes much further than any other fellowship by being a support system well after the program ends.
Everyone feels like family and I know I am home whenever I am with Chicago Sinfonietta. Kellen, Kedrick, and I are lucky to embody and continue Maestro Freeman’s incredible legacy.
Thank you for supporting Project Inclusion. Your gift helps to pave a path for a new generation of innovators that are committed to continuing Maestro Freeman’s work."

Kyle Dickson,