Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Colorado College: U.S. Premiere of Nicholas Payton's “Black American Symphony” Oct. 25

Nicholas Payton

Colorado College

Colorado Springs, Colorado


CC, Philharmonic collaboration features two masterworks

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Sept. 17, 2019 – Multi-instrumentalist, composer and renowned trumpet master Nicholas Payton will be performing live in concert with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic on Friday, Oct. 25 at the Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave.
This groundbreaking collaboration between the Colorado College Africana Intellectual Project, the Office of Performing Arts and the Colorado Springs Philharmonic will feature two masterworks rarely encountered in the concert hall: “Sketches of Spain” and the United States premiere of “Black American Symphony.” Both works highlight the contribution of Black American music to the world, here through the lens of symphonic music.
“Performances of symphonic work by composers of color are all too rare,” said NPR music critic Michelle Mercer. “Hosting not just a performance, but the U.S. premiere of Nicholas Payton’s bold, inventive ‘Black American Symphony’ here in Colorado Springs qualifies as our musical event of the year.”
“Sketches of Spain,” the renowned 1960 concept album by Miles Davis and Gil Evans, explores the melodies, harmonies and rhythms of Spain. Payton will reinterpret the cultural influences of Spain via the Moors from Africa while the orchestra performs from the manuscripts prepared for the original recording.
In “Black American Symphony,” Payton’s 2012 full orchestral work, he draws exclusively from the canon of 20th-century Black music — blues, gospel, jazz, hip-hop and rhythm and blues — to reveal a continuum of communal expression of a people that continues to change with the times. The work sums up the last 100 years of Black American music and suggests the possibilities of what is ahead in the next 100 years. Joining Payton on stage to conduct will be Darin Atwater, founding director of Soulful Symphony. 
The concert is produced by Colorado College under the auspices of the Colorado College Africana Intellectual Project and the Office of Performing Arts. The goal of CC’s newly formed Office of Performing Arts is to encourage and amplify collaborative projects that resonate throughout the community.
“What better way to ponder the past, embrace the present and envision the future than through music?” asks Ryan Bañagale, associate professor of music and director of performing arts at Colorado College.
Colorado College’s Africana Intellectual Project is a recently initiated program spearheaded and directed by Michael Sawyer, assistant professor in the English Department and in Race, Ethnicity, & Migration Studies. The Africana Intellectual Project is designed to create an intellectual space at CC dedicated to discussing the African Diaspora and its implications and challenges as well as providing an opportunity to celebrate black artists, thinkers and scholars.
“This event, in many ways, represents the capstone of the Africana Intellectual Project’s exploration of music as a component of its ‘Black Art(s): Radical Potentialities’ series that has featured performances by Pharoah Saunders and Talib Kweli,” said Sawyer.
“We call this a capstone because Payton’s Black American Symphony offers the audience an opportunity to take stock of 100 years of the African American musical tradition in a setting that bridges the gap between Western classical music and the radical nature of Black Art. Further, Payton is one of the few masters of the trumpet up to the challenge of Miles Davis and Gil Evan’s masterpiece ‘Sketches of Spain.’ This is a cultural event that should not be missed,” said Sawyer.
Tickets for “Nicholas Payton: Live in Concert with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic” are on sale now. They range from $20-$75 and can be purchased at http://tiny.cc/PaytonCOS or directly from the Pikes Peak Center box office. Additional information at www.coloradocollege.edu/PerformingArts.

About Colorado College

Colorado College is a nationally prominent, four-year liberal arts college that was founded in Colorado Springs in 1874. The college operates on the innovative Block Plan, in which its approximately 2,100 undergraduate students take one class at a time in intensive 3½-week segments. In 2016, Colorado College announced an alliance with the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, and the following year the two became the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, providing innovative, educational and multidisciplinary arts experiences for the campus and Colorado Springs communities. The college also offers a master of arts in teaching degree. For more information, visit www.coloradocollege.edu

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