Monday, April 30, 2018

Dr. Eric Conway: Morgan State University Choir's Annual Spring Concert - Sunday May 6, 2018 at 4 PM

Dr. Eric Conway writes:

Hello all,

Believe it or not, the Morgan State University Choir will present our 2018 Annual Spring Concert on next Sunday, May 6, 2018 at 4 PM in the Murphy Fine Arts Center.

The first half will feature one of the greatest choral pieces of all time - Verdi's Requiem. In addition, we have a special selection for all the mothers in the house - one week before Mothers day! We will also will have our normal rep of spirituals, hymns, and Gospel! 

If you do not have a conflict, I strongly encourage you to come out and hear the Morgan State University choir - you will be blessed!

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. - Aristotle
Eric Conway, D.M.A.
Fine and Performing Arts Department, Chair
Morgan State University

AaronAsk: Weekly mentoring for a creative life: I Got 5 On It: Take a Joke! (2:25)

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, I Got 5 On It: Take a Joke!  Enjoy, we wish you a creative day and see you for next week's session!

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

Sunday, April 29, 2018

World Premiere Chicago-Centric Cinderella Adaptation Launches HPSD's 25th Season [June 15-17, 2018]

Hyde Park School of Dance (HPSD) celebrates its home base—Hyde Park—and its hometown—Chicago—with a world premiere to kick off its 25th anniversary season: Amira: A Chicago Cinderella Story. Performances are June 15–17, 2018 at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th Street, Chicago.
Staged by HPSD Founding Artistic Director August Tye, ballet mistress and choreographer at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Amira is the story of a young girl forced to leave her native country without her mother, arriving in Chicago and struggling to make a home in Hyde Park. The story follows the events of the traditional Cinderella story, leading to a Masked Ball in Hyde Park and a young man who becomes smitten with Amira. When she runs away at midnight, he and his friends search various Chicago neighborhoods trying to find her—Little India, downtown, Pilsen, Chinatown, Bronzeville, and Hyde Park—until they meet at a place that is special to both of them.
“Amira: A Chicago Cinderella Story celebrates Chicago’s South Side and its diverse neighborhoods, as well as the perseverance of immigrants to make a home in a new place,” commented Tye. “We also hope to provide positive images of young girls as strong, smart, and capable.”
The cast includes more than 130 dancers age seven to adult. Tye is directing the production and collaborating with seven HPSD faculty members to create the choreography. Tye is also working closely with Costume Designer Jacquelyn Sanders on this modern Cinderella story and professional photographer Damien Thompson to create projection scenery featuring the neighborhoods of Chicago. 
University of Chicago Lab School senior Olivia Issa, who is performing the title role in two of the four performances, is also involved in a special feature of the costumes. “Olivia is thrilled to combine her love of dance and her curiosity and drive for computer coding to help create Amira’s magical gown, which will light up, and the glowing fireflies for her transition into her ball costume,” said Tye.
Tye founded Hyde Park School of Dance in 1993, after the School of Chicago Ballet, where she had been teaching, closed its doors. Starting with two teachers, an accompanist, and 30 students in one studio, HPSD has grown to a staff of 38 part-time faculty, accompanists, and administrators; more than 500 students; and 100+ hours of weekly instruction in four studios at three neighborhood locations. During the past 25 years, Hyde Park School of Dance has grown and prospered, while remaining true to its commitment to Training, Performance, and Community.

Exhibit at the 2018 ASALH Conference, "African Americans in Times of War" Oct. 3-7, Indianapolis, Indiana

African Americans In Times of War

103rd Annual ASALH Conference
October 3-7, 2018
Marriott Downtown Hotel
Indianapolis, Indiana

Exhibit Hall Set-Up, Thursday, October 4, 2018 from 8 a.m. -11:30 a.m.
Reserve Your Exhibit Space Now.

Click Exhibitor to Pay Online
Click Form to view a downloadable form.

2018 Black History Theme: African Americans in Times of War

ASALH is the organization that sets the National Black History theme

Why Exhibit?

A High-Impact Opportunity to Reach a Targeted Audience

The ASALH Annual meeting provides your organization with an opportunity to reach a targeted audience of more than 1,000 community builders, historians, educators, business professionals and students from across the United States. Many of these individuals will participate in more than 200 scheduled academic sessions. The academic sessions feature prominent figures in Black cultural studies and scholars of all disciplines and ages. Fort Smith Symphony to Record All Four Symphonies of Florence B. Price For First Time

April 29, 2018

By Kluthringer

(FORT SMITH) [Arkansas] -- The Fort Smith Symphony is getting ready for a concert that will be viewed world-wide as they perform the music of Arkansan, Florence Price (1887-1953).

Price is considered the most prominent, historically significant concert composer of her race and gender in American music history. The Fort Smith Symphony will be the first orchestra to ever record her complete cycle of four symphonies.

5News Morning Anchor Laura Simon sat down with John Jeter, the director and conductor of the Fort Smith Symphony to talk about the upcoming concert.

Sergio Mims: Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE Wins First Commonwealth Cultural Enterprise Award For Women In Music

Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE

Sergio A. Mims forwards this item from

PRESS RELEASE 23 April 2018


In the first ever award for a woman in the creative industries in the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network and Commonwealth Resounds, two accredited organisations recognised by all Commonwealth Governments, made their first joint award to Chi-chi Nwanoku, OBE from the UK. The Award for Cultural Enterprise Women in Arts (focus on Music) was made by an Advisory Panel consisting of a representative of each organisation and recognises a woman who has made a difference to the creative and cultural industries through achievement in music.

As Founder, Artistic and Executive Director of the CHINEKE! Orchestra, Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE has made a huge impact upon young musicians from black and ethnic minorities, and has given many young people the confidence to push themselves harder. Chi-chi’s own struggle to achieve success and acclaim is an inspiration to aspiring women in the arts across the Commonwealth.

Alison Cox OBE FRSA. Founder and Co-Director. The Commonwealth Resounds, said:-

‘I am delighted to have been able to collaborate with the Commonwealth Businesswomens' Network to create this exciting new opportunity for talented, deserving women working in the arts throughout the world. The Cultural Enterprise Award for Women in the Arts will celebrate and acknowledge those who are a genuine inspiration to others, and who deserve to be recognised for their achievements. For this very first award, the focus has been on music, and the adjudicators felt that no-one deserved it more than the double bass player, Chi-chi Nwanoku. Chi-chi received it not only for her brilliance as a performing musician, but also for creating and developing the unique Chineke! Orchestra.

The 3rd Commonwealth Businesswomen Awards were held on 18 April at The Mayfair Hotel in London during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London. The Awards aim to celebrate the achievement of women in business across the Commonwealth with one powerful message: the Commonwealth’s billion-plus women need to be celebrated and women’s economic empowerment has to be prioritised, pushed and praised.

For award citations and further detail see

Saturday, April 28, 2018

The Laurentian: Lawrence University Choirs and Symphony Orchestra brought to the stage two works by Dr. Adolphus Hailstork

Adolphus C. Hailstork
(Rose Grace)

Lawrence Conservatory of Music
Appleton, Wisconsin

Meditations on Music: Hailstork

There is no sugar-coating the fact that it took all of the 144 years the Conservatory has existed for an oratorio by an African American composer to be performed. But this past Friday, the Lawrence University Choirs and Symphony Orchestra brought to the stage two works by Dr. Adolphus Hailstork—“I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes” and “Done Made My Vow”—and despite the Conservatory not having much diversity, the concert was one of respect and optimism. Performing the works made the artists dig deep into their significance. It spurred productive discussion and, as conductor Dr. Stephen Sieck said in his program notes, interrogation. There have not been many concerts on campus that have raised as much discussion as this, and for this reason alone, although there are many others, this performance and its preparation should be the start of something much bigger.

An oratorio is a large ensemble work for choir, orchestra and soloists; it is a tradition for the Conservatory to perform an oratorio in the spring. The past few years have featured works by Bach, Haydn and Handel. While highly regarded in the canon, these compositions have lost nearly all of their footing and significance in today’s world. Musically, things have progressed. Socially, things have progressed. Yet until this year, the Conservatory has stayed in this standstill in regard to oratorios.

Hailstork’s music looked forward in many ways and to see how that impacted the musicians and attendees even before a note was sounded had me tearing up and moved to the core. In the past, when asking friends if I should go to an orchestra, choir, wind ensemble, etc. concert, I was often responded to with a, “No, it’s going to be bad/boring/etc.” Still wanting to support my friends, I would sometimes go and usually have had to agree with them. But before this year’s major work, I scrolled through Facebook to see countless posts about the concert—often long and thoughtful—of friends excitedly telling me to go, hearing talk about it frequently around the Conservatory and campus from people I did not know and just a general enthusiasm for it.

When arriving at Memorial Chapel, the place was warmer than usual, a full house of students, faculty and staff, families and Appletonians. There are so many people that want to play new music from a wide variety of cultural and racial perspectives and so many people that want to hear it, and why that is not often embraced baffles me. Everything about this experience, even before the music began, is a lesson in what music should be played and how it should be played. We should program and perform more new music from diverse perspectives. Even if “respecting traditions” and drawing from the canon seems like the thing to do, we should program and perform more new music that celebrates voices that have been silenced, but still exist, and should be heard.

Everything was moving and enjoyable to listen to. These are qualities I have rarely felt at non-improv or jazz concerts. While I may have experienced these feelings a few times, the feeling was never as intense as it was at Hailstork. The pieces had so much context and significance in today’s world—musically and socially. That makes too much sense for concerts like this not to happen much more often.

Organist Mickey Thomas Terry Performs at Kravis Center, West Palm Beach, Florida on May 12th at 5 PM

Mickey Thomas Terry

Organist Mickey Thomas Terry writes:

On Saturday, May 12th at 5pm, Mickey Thomas Terry will be presented in recital on the George W. Mergens Memorial Organ. Performed will be works by Bach, Mozart, Widor, Vierne, and featuring works by Ulysses Kay, Adolphus Hailstork, Mark Fax, and Thomas Kerr. There will be a lecture-demonstration on African-American organ music the preceding day, May 11th, in the Rinker Playhouse at 5pm.

Mickey Thomas Terry: The African-American Organ Music Anthology-Volume 8 (New Release)

African-American Organ Music
Volume 8
Edited by
Mickey Thomas Terry
MorningStar Music Publishers

Mickey Thomas Terry

Mickey Thomas Terry writes:

THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN ORGAN MUSIC ANTHOLOGY-VOLUME 8, edited by Mickey Thomas Terry, is now available in print. It may be ordered from MorningStar Music Publishers (Fenton, MO).
Included in this volume are original organ compositions by Ulysses Kay, Noel Da Costa, William B. Cooper, Jeffrey Mumford, and Trent Johnson. For more information, please contact: or call (800) 647-2117.

Friday, April 27, 2018 Review: Tenor Lawrence Brownlee Addresses the Black Male Experience In ‘Cycles of My Being’ at Zankel Hall

Lawrence Brownlee


April 26, 2018

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer

Lawrence Brownlee, one of the busiest singers around, in demand for bel canto opera roles all over the world, has a commanding stage presence, flawless intonation, and crystal-clear diction. The son of a church choir director, music is in his bones, and his lush, shimmering tenor voice flows effortlessly. In an impressive, warmly received recital at Zankel Hall on Tuesday evening with a program of contrasting pieces, Brownlee demonstrated his range well beyond the melismatic dramatics of Italian opera.

Robert Schumann’s Dichterliebe is the quintessential romantic song cycle, and in many ways, a defining piece of the romantic period in music. Sixteen songs, some quite short, detailing the universally human experience of dizzying infatuation and painfully unrequited love. The title means “A Poet’s Love” and the text is poetry by Heinrich Heine, arranged into this narrative arc by Schumann.

Schumann is always tricky interpretively, and the Dichterliebe is a true test for both vocalist and pianist. Their collaboration must be well-honed and artistically polished, and Brownlee and Huang bring exceptional refinement to their passionate performance of the dramatic piece.

Huang plays beautifully, every phrase shaped like a refined jewel, each note placed deliberately. Her round tone and subtle use of pedal result in a gorgeous sound from the instrument. In his approach to art song, Schumann approaches the text from the piano and the inner life depicted in the poetry is frequently depicted in the piano texture.

Huang expressively sets the stage for Brownlee to shine, not merely accompanying, but lifting up and enhancing his heartfelt interpretations. In the exquisite “One bright summer morning,” Huang’s delicate, ravishing pianism gently buttressed the emotional resonance in Brownlee’s delivery of the melancholy lament.

My hat is off to Brownlee for spearheading the project that he is presently performing around the U.S. Cycles of My Being, commissioned by Opera Philadelphia, Carnegie Hall, and Lyric Unlimited, is a powerful new song cycle written expressly for Mr. Brownlee by composer Tyshawn Sorey and librettist Terrance Hayes. Scored for piano, violin, cello, and clarinet, the composer conducted this moving, earnest performance.

Cycles of My Being addresses the experience of being a black man in America, and Brownlee explained in an earlier interview that the intent behind the piece’s creation is to give an idea of what black men think about on a daily basis, as they move through a world in which they must endure the threat of “undeserved aggression, incarceration, brutality, and even death,” as he writes in his program notes.

Eric Conway: Visual Arts Faculty display their art in the New Martin D. Jenkins Behavioral Science Center!

Eric Conway writes:

Hello all,

Yesterday, the Fine and Performing Arts Department hosted a reception announcing the 2018 Visual Arts Faculty Exhibition! 

All previous faculty exhibitions have been held in our very fine James E. Lewis Museum in the Murphy Fine Arts Center, however this year the visual arts faculty had a brilliant idea!  The brand spanking-new Martin D. Jenkins Behavioral Science Center was screaming for some beautiful artwork on its bare walls - why not display in our new Jenkins building!  On the 2nd floor of the building, artwork from Blaise Depaolo, Guy Jones, Lori Johnson, Ismael Carrillo and Eric Briscoe is beautifully displayed.  Faculty and students who must traverse the building will now see an aesthestically pleasing addition to the building. Officially the exhibition will be displayed through May 16, however who knows, perhaps the Visual Arts faculty may have a permanent residence in our CLA new building.

Not to discourage you from seeing the works of art live, please see some pics of some of the art work displayed attached.


We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. - Aristotle
Eric Conway, D.M.A.
Fine and Performing Arts Department, Chair
Morgan State University

Harlem Chamber Players: "Chamber Music from Europe to the Americas" Free, Wednesday, May 2, 11 AM, Schomburg Center

The Harlem Chamber Players present a FREE Community Concert:
Chamber Music from Europe to the Americas

Wednesday, May 2, 2018 at 11:00 AM

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
515 Malcolm X Boulevard
New York, NY 10037

Click here for more info and directions.
Click here to view and print a flyer.

This concert is free and open to the public.
Please RSVP on Eventbrite.

This concert will also take place:
Monday, April 30, 2018 at 12 Noon at the Harlem YMCA's "Little Theater." Click here for details and to RSVP.
Monday, April 30, 2018 at 5 PM at the Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center. Click here for details and to RSVP.

This 1-hour concert will feature:
Joseph Haydn String Quartet, Op. 77, No. 1 (4th Movement)
Benjamin Britten Phantasy Quartet for Oboe and Strings
Antonín Dvořák String Quartet, Op. 96 "American" (4th Movement)
Paquito D'Rivera Wapango for String Quartet
Jessie Montgomery Strum for String Quartet

Amadi Azikiwe, Violin
Belinda Whitney, Violin
Tia Allen, Viola
Robert Burkhart, Cello
Hassan Anderson, Oboe

Special thanks to Amadi Azikiwe of Harlem Symphony Orchestra for putting this concert together, Novella Ford and the staff at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture for the use of their Langston Hughes Auditorium, Council Member Bill Perkins and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs for making this concert possible via a Cultural Immigrant Initiative grant, and to the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs for helping to promote this concert.

Baritone Sidney Outlaw & Urban Playground Chamber Orchestra in "Hiawatha's Vision" (YouTube 7:08)

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor & Harry Burleigh

Baritone Sidney Outlaw and the Urban Playground Chamber Orchestra perform "Hiawatha's Vision," an aria that H.T. Burleigh sang from S. Coleridge Taylor's "Hiawatha Trilogy."

The Harry T. Burleigh Society writes:

Dear Subscribers to the Harry T. Burleigh Society,

It is our honor to share recordings from our March 2018 concert, "Lineage and Heritage: On the Souls of Black Folk," which was an extraordinary collaboration with the Urban Playground Chamber Orchestra.

Maestro Thomas Cunningham led a program featuring works by Burleigh and his friend S. Coleridge Taylor, foregrounding their generative friendship as black men producing art music at the turn of the twentieth century. 

Along with the orchestra, soprano Marti Newland, mezzo-soprano Lucia Bradford, tenor Chauncey Packer, baritone Sidney Outlaw, baritone Eddie Pleasant, pianist Roy Jennings, and Burleigh scholars Dr. Horace Maxile and Lynne Foote all made for an unforgettable night. 

Please enjoy the performances and share widely. You can find the full recording of the concert on our website. We deeply appreciate your support. 

Ever in awe of Burleigh,

Marti and Lynne

Comments by email:

1) Thank you, Bill! We are proud of this concert, thrilled to have stunning recordings of the performances, and grateful to you and AfriClassical for unflagging support.  All good things, Marti [Marti Newland]

2) Thank you to all. I posted the video on my Facebook page and it sparked an amazing discussion at The Aaron Copland school of music with my students today and they wanted to learn more about Burleigh and other black composers!   #MISSIONACCOMPLISHED.  So grateful. Sidney Outlaw

3) Sidney!!!  That’s amazing and absolutely #missionaccomplished. Thanks for loving and supporting with such passion and talent the mission to hear, learn about, and appreciate all things Burleigh. Lynne [Lynne Foote]

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Kelly Hall-Tompkins: Fiddler at Feinstein's and Photos from Cincinnati Symphony

Kelly Hall-Tompkins writes:

Fiddler Solo Show at Feinstein's 54 Below

Happy Spring- finally!  Though I enjoyed all the beautiful March snows, spring is definitely my favorite season.  And what a wonderful start to the spring - in Cincinnati as the Inaugural Guest Artist in Residence.  I was so warmly welcomed in the community from the moment I boarded the plane, from composer Douglas Knehans, to the moment I landed, from conductor John Morris Russell, from the president of the orchestra Jonathan Martin, Nate Bachhuber, Charmaine Moore and Ahmad Mayes, the CSO musicians, the press - everyone during my residency was just wonderful!  What a rich and fulfulling week meeting and working with members of the Cincinnati Symphony, working with Cincinnati Conservatory and arts high school students, meeting so many members of the community and appearing on local media channels.  It was especially exciting to premiere our new narration adaptation for the Stravinsky Soldier's Tale at the City Gospel Mission Homeless Shelter and repeat it at the main public concert.  I am thrilled by how well it was received in both venues and I want to thank the Cincinnati Symphony, for making my crazy commission idea happen, and for the brilliant work of writer Brian Robertson and actor/narrator Daryl Harris.  The CSO, the orchestra that gave the U.S. premiere of Aaron Copland's "Fanfare for the Common Man," was a perfect partner with whom to celebrate 'the common man and woman's' triumph over difficulty through our new adaptation of the Tale. (please see below for photos.  Please subscribe to Music Kitchen- Food for the Soul mailing list for shelter concert photos)
And of course, I am excited to tour my wonderful new Fiddler program to venues far and wide, both in Cincinnati and coming up on May 30th in New York City's premiere Broadway nightclub, Feinstein's 54 Below! I love that through my Fiddler project I am 'expanding' not only 'tradition' but also to reach new audiences! I've already played bits of my Fiddler program at the U.S. Supreme Court, with orchestras in New York, New Hampshire and California, in London live on BBC Radio, in 6 homeless shelters across New York City and Los Angeles, next season at Princeton University, Merkin Concert Hall, Tribeca Rooftop, recitals in North Carolina, Florida and Kiev, Ukraine, and now I'm looking forward to offering a full program at Feinstein's 54 Below! Very exciting to see this project come to life and take off!  I hope to see you on May 30th for Fiddler at Feinstein's- For a special $5 discount code, please scroll above or below.  Thank you so much for your interest in my career and Happy Spring!

III Annual ArCoNet Gala Fundraiser May 31st, 2018 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Lansdale Holiday Inn, Kulpsville, PA


Music, Food, Raffle, and Silent Auction

We will be delighted to see you at our 3rd Annual Gala Fundraiser!

The funds collected from this event will help support the ArCoNet Community Outreach programs at Kensington Library in Philadelphia, and ACLAMO Family Center in Norristown. Thanks to the funds collected in the 2017 Fundraiser, ArCoNet was able to provide weekly music instruction, string instruments, and free concerts at those locations. We need your support to continue to provide music and arts in those communities and beyond!

Unable to attend? 
Make a donation here

Thursday, May 31st, 2018 
6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. 

Lansdale Holiday Inn
1750 Sumneytown Pike
Kulpsville, PA 19443

Tickets: $65 / Advance
Corporate Table (10 seats) - $1000

Cocktail Attire

Purchase your tickets here
RSVP by Thursday, May 24th

Visit us at 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

John Malveaux: National Public Radio: Kevin Young Examines All Things 'Brown'

Kevin Young

Kevin Brown

John Malveaux of 
forwards a link to this
NPR story on Kevin Brown:

Kevin Young's everyday poetry examines everything BROWN

NPR's Karen Grigsby Bates writes:

Poet Kevin Young's new book is titled Brown. Using everything from elementary school to baseball to R&B music, Young examines race and culture through poems.

Gateways Music Festival Has New Overview Video on YouTube to Capture Spirit and Essence of Festival

Lee Koonce writes:

Hi, Bill. Hope that you are well! Just wanted to
share Gateways Music Festival's latest overview
video. We think it captures the unique spirit and
essence of Gateways and helps to underscore the
importance of our efforts. Hope that you enjoy it!
With all best wishes, Lee
Lee Koonce
President & Artistic Director
Gateways Music Festival
in association with
Eastman School of Music
26 Gibbs Street
Rochester, NY

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Sergio Mims: Sheku Kanneh-Mason invited to play at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Sheku Kanneh-Mason

Sergio Mims writes:

Sheku Kanneh-Mason has been asked by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to play at their wedding on May 19th. Prince Harry saw him perform at a charity concert after winning the 2016 BBC Musician of the Year competition.

Sheku Kanneh-Mason Tweets:

I’m so excited and honoured to perform at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding. I was bowled over when Ms Markle called me to ask if I would play during the ceremony, and of course I immediately said yes!!! What a privilege. I can’t wait!