Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Chicago Sinfonietta: "Hear Me Roar" Concert Includes "Dances in the Canebrakes" by Chicago-based Composer Florence B. Price, March 11 and 12

March 11, 2018 | 3:00PM
Wentz Concert Hall

March 12, 2018 | 7:30PM
Symphony Center

This celebration of women features an all-female program of composers under the baton of the beloved conductor Mei-Ann Chen leading the esteemed orchestra in the premiere of two new commissioned works from our Project W initiative. 
Mei-Ann Chen
 Dances in the Canebrakes
Higdon Dance Card** 
Esmail #metoo*
Symphony in F sharp minor, Op. 41**
* World premiere
** Chicago premiere
 Part of Chicago Sinfonietta's Project W:Commissions by Women Composers                         

Art of Élan presents Branford Marsalis in "Highways & Byways" with Kontras Quartet at 7PM on April 8, 2018 at the Music Box in Downtown San Diego

Art of Élan is excited to announce the jazz and classical collaboration "Highways & Byways" as a part of Season 11: Musical Pathways.  This one-night only special presentation will feature the world premiere of an exciting work for saxophone and string quartet, written by acclaimed composer Dan Visconti, and performed by the Chicago-based Kontras Quartet with legendary jazz artist Branford Marsalis

The music will continue throughout the evening with performances by members of Art of Élan, the Kontras Quartet, and guest Marsalis. This special collaborative concert includes pieces that are rooted in various folk traditions, tying together the old and new, the familiar and less-traveled, the classical and jazz/blues traditions.

This unique event will take place on April 8, 2018 at the Music Box, the premiere concert venue in downtown San Diego. 
April 8th, 2018, Doors/Show: 6:00/7:00pm

Facebook Event Page
$50 General Admission seat
$25 Standing Room

Ages 21+
For Table Reservations/ VIP:  (619) 836-1847

Art of Élan Concert Series at The San Diego Museum of Art
All concerts at 7pm
March 27, 2018
May 15, 2018
More info at

Charleston Gospel Choir Spring Performance 5 PM Saturday, March 24 Honors Civil Rights Icon James Weldon Johnson

Charleston Gospel Choir Spring 2018 Performance

James Weldon Johnson HIStory & Words Saturday, March 24

Charleston SC—The Charleston Gospel Choir is pleased to present its 2018 spring performance entitled James Weldon Johnson HIStory & Words Saturday, March 24, 5 p.m. at Charity Missionary Baptist Church, 1544 East Montague Avenue, North Charleston, under the musical direction of Dr. Lester S. Green, Jr., guest conductor.

Through song and narration, the performance showcases and honors the remarkable life and work of Renaissance man James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938), an African-American author, educator, lawyer, diplomat, songwriter, and civil rights activist best remembered for his early leadership of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and his musical works including his poetic lyrics of Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing, now considered the "Negro National Anthem.” 

The internationally acclaimed Choir will perform moving gospel and spiritual standards including Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing along with gospel greats including All We Ask by Donnie McClurkin, Aretha Franklin’s arrangement of How I Got Over, Charleston Gospel Choir’s arrangement of Amazing Grace, Edwin Hawkins’ Grammy award-winning Oh Happy Day, and many others.

“I have always been fascinated by James Walden Johnson’s story and felt many do not know his legacy beyond his poem Lift Ev’ry Voice. HIStory chronicles his path that paved the way for many civil rights successes, including the landmark 1954 Supreme Court case Brown vs. Board of Education,” said Lee Pringle, Choir President and event producer.

“I am delighted to help tell this musical story of such an iconic contributor to black history with this amazing group of community singers and Associate Director Jennifer Ancrum,” added Dr. Lester S. Green Jr., guest conductor.

Tickets and Information
Charleston Gospel Choir | James Weldon Johnson HIStory & Words
Saturday, March 24, 2018 • 5 p.m.
Charity Missionary Baptist Church, 1544 East Montague Avenue, North Charleston, SC

General Admission Tickets
$21 adults; $11 children/students with ID
or at door (cash or check only) up to one half hour before event

About the Charleston Gospel Choir
Now in its eighteen year, the Charleston Gospel Choir celebrates and performs gospel, spirituals and sacred music for annual concert events including a Palm Saturday weekend performance, Charleston Gospel Christmas, Piccolo Spoleto, and regional events throughout the southeast with numerous international engagements including Paris, London, Rome, Prague and Ghana, West Africa.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Musical Society of Nigeria: Pianist Rebeca Omordia Performs Sunday, March 4th, 2018 at Agip Recital Hall of the MUSON Centre, 6:00 PM

Feb 26

Some say she's daring, others say she is fluid. What would you say about a female virtuoso concert pianist who has Nigerian roots? Come see for yourself, could you be thrilled by her musical prowess? This Sunday, Agip Recital Hall of the

The Harlem Chamber Players & Opus 118 Harlem School of Music Present A Spring Concert Saturday, March 24, 2018 at 4 PM, St. Mary's Episcopal Church

Spring Concert with the String Students of
Opus 118 Harlem School of Music
Saturday, March 24, 2018 at 4 PM

St. Mary's Episcopal Church
521 West 126th Street
New York, NY 10027
Between Broadway and Amsterdam.
Click here for directions.
Click here to view and print a flyer. 
Hear the highly acclaimed students from Opus 118 and meet the legendary founder and master teacher Roberta Guaspari, the inspiration behind the award-winning documentary "Small Wonders" and Miramax's film, "Music of the Heart," starring Meryl Streep.

$15 General Admission and $10 for Students/Seniors when you buy online in advance.
$20 General Admission and $15 for Students/Seniors at the door.

Music by Chevalier de Saint-George, Mozart, and more!

Amadi Azikiwe, Violin
Charlene Bishop, Violin
Tia Allen, Viola
Clay Ruede, Cello
The sensational violin students of Opus 118 Harlem School of Music

Also Coming Soon

Monday, February 26, 2018

CHICAGO Welcomes Valerie Simpson ('Mama Morton') & Chaz Lamar Shepherd ('Billy Flynn') on Monday, March 12

Valerie Simpson

Now Celebrating 21 Years
Broadway’s Tony Award-Winning,
Record-Breaking Hit Musical

Welcomes Legendary Singer-Songwriter
Making Her Broadway Debut as
“Matron “Mama” Morton”
Beginning Monday, March 12, 2018

Joins Simpson as “Billy Flynn”

Broadway’s Longest Running American Musical
Playing at the Ambassador Theatre
Tickets on Sale at

The Broadway company of the Tony Award-winning, record-breaking hit musical Chicago, which recently celebrated its 21st anniversary, will welcome legendary singer-songwriter Valerie Simpson making her Broadway debut in the role of “Matron “Mama” Morton” starting Monday, March 12, 2018 at the Ambassador Theatre (219 W. 49th St.). Joining Ms. Simpson is Chaz Lamar Shepherd (original Broadway production of The Color Purple; Dreamgirls national tour) as “Billy Flynn.” 

A songwriter and performer, Valerie Simpson, along with Nick Ashford, has penned such classics as “Ain't No Mountain High Enough,” “Reach Out and Touch Somebody's Hand,” “I'm Every Woman,” and “Solid.” Four of her songs are features in Motown the Musical on tour. A Board member of the ASCAP Foundation, Valerie recently guest toured with Dave Koz and Paul Shaffer.

Chicago currently stars Bianca Marroquín as Roxie Hart, Amra-Faye Wright as Velma Kelly, Tom Hewitt as Billy Flynn, Evan Harrington as Amos Hart, Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, actress & TV sensation Kandi Burruss as Matron “Mama” Morton (final performance is Sunday, March 11) and R. Lowe as Mary Sunshine.

With a legendary book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb, Chicago is now the #1 longest-running American musical in Broadway history.

Produced by Barry and Fran Weissler, Chicago is the winner of six 1997 Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival and the Grammy Award for Best Musical Cast Recording.

Directed by Tony Award winner Walter Bobbie and choreographed by Tony Award winner Ann Reinking, Chicago features set design by John Lee Beatty, costume design by Tony Award winner William Ivey Long, lighting design by Tony Award winner Ken Billington, sound design by Scott Lehrer and casting by Stewart/Whitley.

Set amidst the razzle-dazzle decadence of the 1920s, Chicago is the story of Roxie Hart, a housewife and nightclub dancer who murders her on-the-side lover after he threatens to walk out on her. Desperate to avoid conviction, she dupes the public, the media and her rival cellmate, Velma Kelly, by hiring Chicago’s slickest criminal lawyer to transform her malicious crime into a barrage of sensational headlines, the likes of which might just as easily be ripped from today's tabloids.

Tickets for Chicago are available through, by calling 212-239-6200, and in-person at the Ambassador Theatre (219 W. 49th St.; New York, NY) box office. Regular box office hours are 10 am to 8 pm Monday through Saturday, and Noon to 7:00 pm Sunday.

·       Monday at 8 PM
·       Tuesday at 8 PM
·       (no performances on Wednesday)
·       Thursday at 8 PM
·       Friday at 8 PM
·       Saturday at 2:30 PM matinee and 8 PM
·       Sunday at 2:30 PM matinee and 7 PM early evening

# # #

Visit for more information.
Follow Chicago on Twitter: @ChicagoMusical, Facebook & Instagram.

Ritz Chamber Players: "Creative Collaborators" with The Lawson Ensemble Thursday, March 1, 7:30 PM, Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church, Jacksonville, FL

Brahms - O'Connor - Wallen - Mozart

John Malveaux: Soprano Angel Blue will debut in TURANDOT with San Diego Opera beginning February 27, 2018

Angel Blue

John Malveaux of 

Soprano Angel Blue will debut in TURANDOT with San Diego Opera beginning February 27, 2018.  TURANDOT is the first opera Angel Blue experienced as a 4 yrs old. Her father taught her the aria/song "Signore Ascolta" when she was 16 years old and her mother recorded the piano accompaniment so she could practice the song. 

AaronAsk: Weekly mentoring for a creative life: In Pursuit of Happiness? (3:40)

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, In Pursuit of Happiness?  Enjoy, we wish you a creative day and see you for next week's session!

Comment by email:
Thanks so much Bill! [Aaron P. Dworkin]

Sunday, February 25, 2018 Portland Piano Trio Performs Work of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor in Jewett Auditorium in Augusta, Maine at 7:30 PM on March 2

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912)

[University of Maine at Augusta's] Professor of Music Richard Nelson talks about March 2 concert in Jewett Auditorium.

Lucky Clark on Music

February 22, 2018

If classical music is your cup of tea, then you should head over to Jewett Auditorium for a performance at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 2. The Portland Piano Trio will be the featured performers and their program will consist of four pieces that span centuries of classical music with works by Beethoven, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Amy Beach and UMA’s own Richard Nelson.

In a recent telephone interview, the professor of music talked about the concert’s musical selections, the group performing them and the intent of the program titled “Classical Constellations.”

Q: Looking at the program for the performance and seeing Beethoven, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Amy Beach, and yourself represented by works composed from the early 1800s through to 2017, this concert certainly spans the centuries of this genre.

Nelson: Yeah, I think that one of the really distinctive things about this concert, particularly for the Augusta region, is that it is an opportunity, with this common element of the piano-trio format, to see the way classical music has manifested over time. From the solid work of Beethoven grounding things, Amy Beach is a terrific American composer who I don’t think we hear enough about. Her music sort of merges late romanticism and impressionism in a very beautiful way. Coleridge-Taylor’s work represents the late 19th-century/early 20th-century style and, in this case, manifesting his fascination engagement with the African-American spiritual tradition. And then my piece really landing us in the 21st century. As you said, quite a span with a fascinating chain of continuity to get us from Beethoven to the present. Each piece will engage the audience distinctly even as they combine to kind of create this sense of continuity over the centuries — a journey through a musical time and space. The Africans Who Called Tudor England Home [John Blanke, Royal Trumpeter]

A scene from the Westminster Tournament Roll, showing John Blanke, an African trumpeter who worked for Henry VIII. College of Arms MS Westminster Tournament Roll. Reproduced by permission of the Kings, Heralds and Pursuivants of Arms.

Atlas Obscura

Hundreds of Africans lived freely during the reign of Henrys VII and VIII.

John Malveaux: Before Quincy Jones studied composition with Nadia Boulanger, he baby sat for Robert "Bumps" Blackwell of the "Bumps Big Band"

Bumps Blackwell

John Malveaux of 

Standing on the shoulders of Giants is a phrase often repeated during African American Heritage Month. In an blog of February 23, 2018, I asserted that Quincy Jones is the GREATEST of ALL TIMES producer in multiple genres and he studied classical composition with Nadia Boulanger in France. Quincy’s foundation began much earlier as a teen. “Q” baby sat for Robert “Bumps” Blackwell in exchange for the opportunity to study “Bumps” Big Band charts. “Bumps” Big Band backed Billie Holiday and other notable jazz artists. “Bumps” later became the architect of Little Richard’s career. Thereafter, he produced, perhaps, the most significant record in Pop music history during the period of segregated radio air play called “Race Music”.  Seeking to transition Sam Cooke from gospel to poplar music, “Bumps” was fired by the head of Specialty Records for using strings and “White” background singers during a recording session of “YOU SEND ME”. His idea/concept was antithetical to existing practices and accepted logic. “Bumps” committed belief in integrating or blending separate and unequal music concepts led him to purchase the master recording from Art Rupe by assigning future royalty income from Little Richard record sales to Rupe. “Bumps” recording of Sam Cooke ‘YOU SEND ME” eventually became the first recording in music history to cross over from segregated (Black) radio stations to achieve No. 1 POP radio (White).

American composer Roy Harris also studied with Nadia Boulanger in France. “Bumps” temporarily lived in the home of Roy Harris as a guest and provided some music services while Roy Harris was composing his 10th Symphony. Approximately two years ago or less, I contacted “Q” and asked if he remembered when I introduced him to Johana Harris (wife of Roy Harris) at “Bumps” funeral in Los Angeles. “Q” said he did not attend “Bumps” funeral. Although I was certain of his attendance and the introduction to Johana, I later contacted “Bumps” daughter, Kelly, in New Orleans and she confirmed that “Q” attended “Bumps” funeral. Apparently “Q” memory has understandably declined but his achievements are recorded for posterity. “Q” is standing on the shoulders of "Bumps", Nadia Boulanger, Frank Sinatra, and others. I am also standing on the shoulders of “Bumps” Roy Harris and others and share with you “Bumps” important message  “Blacks in All Music” instead of the limited misconception of “Black Music”.   

Saturday, February 24, 2018 TCC [Tacoma Community College] Orchestra to feature works by African American composers, Friday, March 2 at 7:30 PM

Dr. Nse Ekpo will be a guest conductor of Scott Joplin’s classical ragtime compositions when the TCC Orchestra performs works by a trio of African American composers on March 2. Photo courtesy of Nse Ekpo

Tacoma Weekly

By Dave Davison

February 23, 2018

The Tacoma Community College Orchestra, conducted by Dr. John Falskow and Dr. Nse Ekpo, is slated to perform a concert March 2 at 7:30 p.m. The program, featuring music by African-American composers, is called “American Expressions.”
On the schedule for the evening are three of Scott Joplin’s ragtime compositions, from “The Red Back Book;” George Walker’s “Lyric for Strings” and Florence Price’s “Symphony No. 1.”

Price is especially interesting. She was an African American composer who was based in Chicago. Born in Little Rock, Ark. in 1887, she died in 1953 and her music was largely neglected during her lifetime, though she did receive some national attention and some of her works were performed by the Chicago Symphony.

Joplin (1868-1917), the “King of Ragtime,” wrote 44 ragtime pieces, one ragtime ballet and two operas over the span of his career. Joplin refined the ragtime music of honky-tonk piano players and combined Afro-American music’s syncopation with 19th-century European romanticism to elevate the form.

Walker, who is still with us, is the first African American composer to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music, which was awarded for “Lilacs” in 1996. “Lyric for Strings,” the piece to be played by the TCC Orchestra, was written in 1946 after the death of Walker’s grandmother. It was composed while Walker was a graduate student at the Curtis Institute of Music. After a brief introduction, the principal theme is stated by the first violins with imitations appearing in the other instruments. The linear nature of the material alternates with static moments of harmony.  After the second of two climaxes, the work concludes with reposeful cadences that were presented earlier.

Chicago Tribune: Rare are the classical singers who use their celebrity cachet to help generate new repertory. One shining example is Lawrence Brownlee

Tenor Lawrence Brownlee's "Cycles of My Being" touches on matters of hate, religious faith, black consciousness and, ultimately, hope and unity. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)

Chicago Tribune
 Contact Reporter

February 23, 2018

Rare are the classical singers who use their celebrity cachet to help generate new repertory. One shining example is Lawrence Brownlee, who regards the commissioning of music by living composers and sharing it with audiences around the world an essential part of who he is as a performing artist.

Even so, his involvement with “Cycles of My Being,” the new song cycle he included in his recital Thursday night at the DuSable Museum of African American History, was motivated by something much deeper, something much more personal: Brownlee and his collaborators, composer Tyshawn Sorey and poet Terrance Hayes, wanted to express their feelings, and, crucially, how they are perceived, as African-American men living in a racially divided America.

There can be no denying the worth or pertinence of such an undertaking at a time when black men face acts of violence, incarceration and death on a seemingly day-to-day basis. Classical music has been remiss in addressing themes associated with the Black Lives Matter movement, certainly to the extent that artists working in film, theater, literature and visual art are doing.

And there was no denying the palpable commitment that Brownlee, and his finely supportive accompanist, pianist Myra Huang, brought to this Chicago premiere of “Cycles of My Being.” The duo had taken part in the world premiere Tuesday in Philadelphia, where it was presented with a slightly larger instrumental accompaniment. Opera Philadelphia, where the singer is artistic adviser, co-commissioned the work along with Carnegie Hall and Lyric Unlimited, which sponsored Thursday’s performance.

The cycle of six songs, some to rewritten sonnets by Hayes, a 2014 MacArthur Fellow, and poems by Brownlee himself, steers clear of politics, touching instead on matters of hate, religious faith, black consciousness and, ultimately, hope and unity. Song and speech mingle in songs like the fourth, in which the singer declares, “You don’t know me. Still you hate me.” The overall tone is more of questioning that anger. As Brownlee has said in interviews, there are no raised fists here.

John Malveaux: Los Angeles Times: Julius Eastman — African American, militantly gay and alienated by the musical world at the time — wrote the provocatively titled "Evil Nigger"

Pianists Michelle Cahn, left, Joanne Pearce Martin, Vicky Ray and Dynasty Battles perform Julius Eastman's piece during the Green Umbrella concert Tuesday at Walt Disney Concert Hall.
 (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

John Malveaux of 

KUSC Radio "OPEN EAR" ( a series of stories about composers, musicians, and conductors who deserve more recognition) profiled composer Julius Eastman January 11, 2018. Julius Eastman’s provocatively titled Evil Nigger was performed during LA Phil Green Umbrella concert on February 20th. See Mark Swed-LA Times critic's review specific to Eastman's piece:
"Julius Eastman — African American, militantly gay and alienated by the musical world at the time — wrote the provocatively titled "Evil Nigger" nine years earlier than "L's G.A.," and it is a shocking reminder of the roots of racial issues. Eastman had a meteoric rise as baritone, pianist and visionary composer and a tragic fall. He died in obscure poverty at age 49 in 1990, much of his work lost. But in the last couple of years, he has undergone so remarkable a revival that he seems about to turn into an outsider icon.
The performance was introduced with an archival recording of Eastman eloquently explaining his title at the 1979 premiere. He said he felt there was, for him, an elegant fundamentalism to a term that had become disabused. Of course, he knew full well that he was asking for, and wanting, trouble.
The work in question indeed asks for trouble, and it is amazing. Written for four or more melody instruments (Eastman used pianos because that's what he had), it is a nearly indecipherable and somewhat Minimalist score with melodic lines of repeated notes and tremolos presented without instruction. The result is a work that shares many repetitious and harmonic aspects of the phase and pulse music that Philip Glass and Steve Reich were writing at the time, but Eastman adds an element of unpredictable ecstatic liberation.
It is almost as though the notes themselves are packed with helium. For an unrelenting 22 minutes, Dynasty Battles, Michelle Cann, Joanne Pearce Martin and Vicki Ray produced great piano waves that grew, crested and broke, each more exhilarating than the last. When it all ended, I had the sensation of a fundamental cause that could not be stopped."

Compliments to KUSC Radio "Open Ear" and LA Phil Green Umbrella concert series. YES WE CAN. See

OperaCréole: New Orleans Opera Presents "Champion, an Opera in Jazz" by Terence Blanchard, March 9 and 11 at Mahalia Jackson Theater

Terence Blanchard

OperaCréole founders were guest artists on New Orleans Opera's Podcast:
"At Large" Host, Joe McKesson

OperaCréole is a partner organization in celebration of New Orleans Opera's 75th Anniversary Season.
Their production of

Champion, an Opera in Jazz written by Grammy Award winning
Terence Blanchard
is 2 WEEKS Away!
March 9, and 11 at Mahalia Jackson Theater.

This is the first opera they have presented by a composer of African descent.
As a partner organization, OperaCréole has a code that would allow you to get a discount. BUT HURRY, it​ i​s ​SELLING OUT​!

On opening night, I will be speaking at the Nuts and Bolts presentation 30 minutes before curtain, and ​I have ​submitted an article ​on the history of composers of African descent ​for their program.

I have also joined the ensemble in support of the principal cast that has come in from the Washington National Opera production of Champion. ​Now that I have been in staging, I can tell you that this is a genius level work, and I am having a blast!​

Also in the ensemble​/chorus, that have been on ​OperaCréole 's roster​,​ are:
Mark Anthony Thomas,
Kentrell Roberts,
Christian Patterson, and
Pamela Nions!

The discount code I was given for community partners is:
10% discount code (enter at check out, and doesn't have to be all caps): NOOPARTNERZ

See you all soon!
Givonna Joseph,

Friday, February 23, 2018

Transcultural Visions: Harmonies From Classical Melodies, Journey Through African Classical Music in London, England March 3rd and 18th

Harmonies from classical melodies
Journey Through African Classical Music
Transculturalvisions ( presents Harmonies from Classical Melodies, inspired by the rich heritage of African classical music, featuring the Singing Cultures Choir accompanied by dynamic pianist Kevin Satizabal, acclaimed soprano Victoria Oruwari, and renowned flautist Rowland Sutherland.
There are two London dates for Harmonies from Classical Melodies. Saturday 3rd March 2018, 6.45pm, St. George’s Church, Bloomsbury Way, WC1A 2HR; and Sunday 18th March 2018, 6.45pm, Carmelite Church, 41 Kensington Church St, W8 4BB Tickets £10.00 adults; £5.00 children
Established in 2014, Transculturalvisions delivers creative projects inspired by the cultural experiences and heritage of Britain’s diverse communities.
Harmonies from Classical Melodies is inspired by the music of African composers featuring the Singing Cultures Choir performing notable works by Fela Sowande and Ayo Bankole, African folksongs and new works created by the choristers, led by British-Nigerian soprano and choral director, Victoria Oruwari. There will be a narrative performance capturing the journey of the choir. The programme also features celebrated flautist Rowland Sutherland performing solo flute pieces by contemporary African composers Justinian Tamusuza (Uganda) and Bongani Ndodana-Breen (South Africa).
Bilkis Malek, founding Director of Transculturalvisions says, “Harmonies from Classical Melodies is the culmination of the second chapter of the Singing Cultures journey. Last time choristers were inspired by African Classical Music to feel ‘anything is possible’. This time they have delved deeper into the challenges for building that ‘better world’ imagined by African composers. The result is thought provoking melodies honest about the challenges for ‘humankind’ but which also leave you with a real sense of ‘hope’.”
Harmonies from Classical Melodies will be at two prestigious London venues, St. George’s Church, Bloomsbury Way, WC1A 2HR; and Carmelite Church, 41 Kensington Church St, W8 4BB.
Full details, including ticket information can be found at: