Friday, August 9, 2019

John Malveaux: LA Phil at the Hollywood Bowl featuring violinist Ray Chen

John Malveaux and Dale Breidenthal

Annelle Kazumi Gregory

John Malveaux of 

Aug. 8, 2019 attended LA Phil “Vivaldi’s Four Seasons” at the Hollywood Bowl featuring violinist Ray Chen. The huge audience was very responsive to the performance and personality of Ray Chen. Born in Taiwan and raised in Australia, Ray Chen is a shining example of diversity in classical music. During the concert, I searched my limited memory for an example of a violinist of African descent who has been featured by the LA Phil at the Bowl or even Disney Concert Hall. Unable to recall one, this seems odd to me. Some music scholars believe the predecessor to the modern violin is found in Africa. Ludwig van Beethoven sought the attention of Afro-European violinist George Bridgetower and performed with Bridgetower during the world premiere of a Beethoven composition written in honor of Bridgetower. During slavery in the United States, slave violinists generally performed during prestigious events of their masters. Frederick Douglas was a violinist and his grandson, Joseph Douglass, became one of the first African-American performers to be nationally and internationally recognized. 
Please see pic with LA Phil violinist Dale Breidenthal (37+ years with LA Phil) in parking lot following Ray Chen’s performance with LA Phil. Also see pic of young and gifted violinist Annelle Kazumi Gregory following performance several years ago with Santa Monica Symphony. Annelle's parents are Japanese and African American. Annelle’s new CD "Russian Music for Solo Violin and Orchestra" with conductor Dmitry Yablonsky and the Kiev Virtuosi Symphony Orchestra is available on Naxos 2019.

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