Sunday, March 17, 2019

John Malveaux: "The Legacy of Dr. William Grant Still" March 16-June 1, 2019

John Malveaux of 

March 16, 2019 attended William Grant Still Art Center opening reception for 11th annual African American Composers Series "Music is Art, Music is Philosophy, Music is History, The Legacy of Dr. William Grant Still". See pic 1 chalk board outside WGS Art Center. Conspicuously absent from reception was artist Noni Olabisi who created a mural on the outside south wall of the William Grant Still Art Center that depicts WGS opera TROUBLED ISLAND. See pic 2. Although WGS orchestral music may be performed more frequently by major symphony orchestras in the United States than any other composer of African descent, his opera output continues to be completely neglected in current years by major opera companies. See Troubled Island mural at WGS Art Center outside south wall.

I was shocked to learn from a lady attendee that she found and  showed me THE LITTLE SONG THAT WANTED TO BE A SYMPHONY illustrated book and recording in a free bin at a Los Angeles City Library. William Grant Still was a devoted father who even made toys for his children. In his later years, he especially wrote instructional and other music targeting children with the hope that he might foster intercultural and racial understanding. Unfortunately, along with his operas,THE LITTLE SONG THAT WANTED TO BE A SYMPHONY has been neglected by orchestras such as Long Beach Symphony and Los Angeles Philharmonic Toyota Children concerts. Equally painful, African American founded orchestras such as Southeast Symphony and Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles have not programmed THE LITTLE SONG THAT WANTED TO BE A SYMPHONY.. Please see pic 3-cover of THE LITTLE SONG THAT WANTED TO BE A SYMPHONY.-"A children's story for orchestra, women's trio, and a narrator. The Piece was written in order to impress upon children the need for human understanding".  

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