Friday, May 3, 2019

Harry T. Burleigh Society: This Wednesday, May 8th, "From Song Came Symphony"

Langston Hughes Auditorium
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
515 Malcolm X Blvd.
New York, New York 10037
7:30 pm

$20 general admission | $15 students/veterans/seniors 
We are less than a week away from the concert! Our second collaboration with the Urban Playground Chamber Orchestra considers Harry T. Burleigh's impact on symphonic music. Read about some of Burleigh's contemporaries featured in the concert below. 

Florence Price (1887–1953)

Florence Price completed three concertos in her prolific output of about 300 compositions. Her Violin Concerto No. 2 (1952) exemplifies her close focus on musical structure and form from Black folk and western classical traditions in her music. Through her use of varied repetition, primary and secondary themes, and distinct orchestration, this concerto is one example of Price’s vision of a Black American school of classical music.

William Levi Dawson (1899–1990) 

From 1931-1955, William Levi Dawson was the music director of the Tuskegee Institute Choir. Their repertoire included his spiritual arrangements, such as “Ezekiel Saw de Wheel.” Some scholars have argued that these arrangements should be considered original compositions; while using pre-composed material, Dawson’s use of call-response, staggered entrances, repetition, and dynamics are clear reflections of his stylistic priorities, and provided another performance standard for concert spirituals. 

William Grant Still (1895–1978) 

In 1940, William Grant Still completed his choral work, And They Lynched Him on a Tree. With two chorus (one Black, one white) and a soloist, this piece directly confronted the racial violence and terror on which the American project was built, highlighted the actions and words of Black Americans fighting this horrendous and banal disregard for their very existence, and the hope for racial unity and brotherhood. 


"Deep River" Traditional
"My Lord, What a Mornin'" (1918) Harry T. Burleigh
"Ezekiel Saw de Wheel" (1942) William Levi Dawson
Violin Concerto No. 2 (1952) Florence Price
And They Lynched Him on A Tree (1940) William Grant Still

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