Saturday, November 16, 2019

Bibian Kalinde Assumes VP Role at IMI

IMI Charting New Horizons with the
USA-Artists Exchange Program

Dr. Bibian Kalinde appointed as Vice-President, Africa Affairs. Dr. Leon Burke to lead efforts with a new Zambia National Youth Orchestra. Dr. Richard Alston joins IMI Artists roster.

Dr. Bibian Kalinde, DMus., MMus., BAEd Music

The Intercultural Music Initiative (IMI) is very pleased to welcome Bibian Kalinde on board as Vice President – Africa Affairs. Dr. Kalinde will help  coordinate IMI operations relating to its USA-Africa Artists Exchange program and serve as IMI liaison as the organization continues to  lend some resources toward developing, guiding and shaping arts programming and education policies around Africa. Towards this goal, Dr. Kalinde will work in concert with IMI Program Director Dr. Wendy Hymes, IMI Treasurer Mr. Hector Arocha (a USA Certified Internal Auditor), IMI Board Chair Mr. Abdoulaye Sambou, IMI President and world-renowned composer Dr. Fred Onovwerosuoke (“FredO”) through organization head office at the Centene Center for Arts & Education here in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA.

Dr. Kalinde and her beloved University of Zambia (UNZA) Choir. 
At one of UNZA Choir's concerts, former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda (a known avid music lover), simply couldn't resist joining in the performance!

Dr. Kalinde hails from Zambia, and is on faculty in the Department of Music Education at the University of Zambia, Lusaka. Her credentials are stellar, including accolades as Zambia's first  female doctorate degree holder in the field of music education. She received her Doctor of Music degree from the University of Pretoria. South Africa, and since then has written extensively on music education, with academic papers presented at various international conferences including "Musical Globalization: Inferences from the Music of Diamond Platinum," "Fostering Children’s Music in the Mother Tongue in Early Childhood Education," "Laying a Foundation for Optimal Outcomes in Early Childhood Education" (with Dr. E. Musanka), to list just a few. Her current research focuses on the role of African folklore themed musicals as a tool for cognitive learning and early childhood education. An experienced choral director and clinician, Dr. Kalinde is also the founding music director of the University of Zambia Choir, and hopefully will leverage her position to attract American choral directors to Zambia for short-term artist residencies. She recently became involved in Africa Sings, an annual international choral festival event founded and mentored by the Intercultural Music Initiative.

Bibian at the awe-inspiring St. Louis Gateway Arch during a recent familiarization visit to the United States.

Bibian at her favorite Ethiopian cafe in Lusaka

Off the bat, Dr. Kalinde will be working with St. Louis orchestra conductor, Maestro Leon Burke, to schedule auditions during the summer of 2020 to recruit musicians to form the new Zambia National Youth Orchestra. Next up would be to facilitate participation of American music scholars and performers in the Pan African Society for Music Education (PASMAE) conference in 2021. She will also be working collaboratively with the IMI development staff to source international funding to support  the USA-Africa Artists Exchange projects. Bibian is a mother of three adorable children - Gustav, Pascal and Rehema. Dr. Kalinde can be reached by email  at

Dr. Leon Burke, III.

Dr. Burke III is Conductor and Music Director of the University City Symphony Orchestra in St. Louis, Missouri, and also serves as Principal Conductor for the Belleville Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Assistant Director of the St. Louis Symphony Chorus and often guest-conducts for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. A native St. Louisan, Dr. Leon Burke holds music degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory and the University of Kansas. He has conducted at the Aspen Music Festival and the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival and has studied with such distinguished conductors as Sir Georg Solti, Leonard Slatkin, Edo de Waart, and Jorge Mester. This year Dr. Burke celebrates 30 years as a Principal Conductor for the Asunción Symphony and celebrations in Paraguay and St. Louis, Missouri are planned. Maestro Burke's collaboration with the IMI dates back to the year 2000 when he conducted his University City Symphony Orchestra and mass choir from Webster University, Harris-Stowe University Choir, and erstwhile St. Louis African Chorus in the US Premiere of Akin Euba's opera, Chaka: An Opera in Two Chants. Since then Maestro Burke has premiered numerous orchestra works by leading black composers of classical music, including Fred Onovwerosuoke's Suite No. 4 for Orchestra ("Nketia Suite"), and Nkeiru Okoye's Harriet Tubman, and others. In 2020 through 2021 Dr. Burke will be working collaboratively with new IMI Vice President - Africa Affairs Dr. Bibian Kalinde, the British Council, and a variety of agencies  to schedule auditions for musicians into the new Zambia National Youth Orchestra. This engagement in Zambia will be Maestro Burke's first excursion into Africa under the auspices of the USA-Africa Artists Exchange.

IMI Artists welcomes pianist Richard Alston to its roster

Dr. Richard Alston
In addition to performing solo and concerto repertoire, Dr. Alston performs a much acclaimed lecture-recital "Classically Black: Piano Compositions by Composers of African Descent"  at colleges and universities throughout the United States and abroad. His Lecture/Recitals showcase piano compositions by composers of African descent from the 1700s to 2018.
Recent recitals include
performances at The
Neighborhood Center
in Camden's  Concert
Series in Camden, NJ.,
Westminster Choir
College, Rutgers
University, Kentucky
State University, New
Jersey City University,
Drew University,
Boston University, and
the University of Tulsa.
IMI Artists can be
booked by phone at
314-289-4052 or email

Pianist Richard Alston performs 
American composer Louis 
Gottschalk's "Grand 

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