Friday, December 6, 2019

John Malveaux: Met to extend Porgy & Bess

(Metropolitan Opera)

John Malveaux of 

John Malveaux: 4 Black Conductors You Should Know

Kalena Bovell

John Malveaux of 

Cool Story report of 4 Black conductors you should know

IMI Artists: 4 New Paperback Editions from AM Publishers!

New Publications (Paperback editions) from AM Publishers
And a special CONGRATULATION to Dr. Wendy Hymes for her first paperback publications with AM Publishers: 
i. Three Pieces for Solo Flute, compiled and edited by Dr. Wendy Hymes
ii. Oja Flute Suite by Joshua Uzoigwe, transcribed and edited by Dr. Wendy Hymes  

For details read current eVOAM newsletter at 

Eric Conway: Morgan Choir sings at 2019 Monument Lighting Ceremony

Dr. Eric Conway writes:

Hello all, 
Every year, Baltimore City hosts an event in front of the Washington Monument at our Mt. Vernon Place.

Morgan has been a part of this event for at least the last nine years! 

We typically are the last “act” prior to the finale of the lighting of the lights on Baltimore’s Washington Monument.  Last night, there appeared to be more city residents in attendance than any other year!

See YouTube link below to the choir’s performance as well as a few candid pics showing the excitement of the evening!

We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. - Aristotle
Eric Conway, D.M.A.
Fine and Performing Arts Department, Chair
Morgan State University

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Chicago Sinfonietta: Tickets Still Available for Our Magical Holiday Breakfast!

For further information about this event, contact 
Courtney Perkins 
at (312) 284-1559 or 

Music Kitchen "Forgotten Voices" #10 Featuring Courtney Bryan's "You Made My Day!"

Forgotten Voices World Premiere

Presented in Association with Carnegie Hall 

May 21, 2020 @ 7:30

Zankel Hall

I'm delighted to introduce you to our featured composer from October, Courtney Bryan.  We originally met at a performance for The Dream Unfinished for which we were both involved.  I am excited to see all of the success that Courtney is creating with her work and am very happy to feature her in the Forgotten Voices project!  Courtney Bryan has just moved to Rome for her stint there following her win of the coveted Rome Prize in composition.   I am simply thrilled that you will get to hear her song "You Made My Day" as one of the 15 Forgotten Voices works in our Spring World Premiere Concert in Association with Carnegie Hall and at Zankel on May 21, 2020.
Now, at the end of the workday, I hope you will have a chance to reflect on #GivingTuesday as the launch of the Year End Giving season and what you would like to do to support causes that are meaningful to you.  I certainly hope that you will include Music Kitchen in your giving today.  Your support of Music Kitchen and the Forgotten Voices project will be most welcome by clicking here:
Thank you for all you do.
Warmest Regards,
Music Kitchen New York City - Photos by Gregory Routt

Music Kitchen is still small.

We are just doing something REALLY BIG.

(and unprecedented and historic and...)

We rely on your generous support now more than ever!)

Forgotten Voices World Premiere

Presented in Association with Carnegie Hall

May 21, 2020 @ 7:30

Zankel Hall

Premiere #10: October

Composer Highlight: Courtney Bryan

Photo:  Arielle Pentes

Chosen Text:

"You Made My Day!"


Courtney Bryan is “a pianist and composer of panoramic interests” (New York Times). Her music is in conversation with various musical genres, including jazz and other types of experimental music, as well as traditional gospel, spirituals, and hymns. Bryan has academic degrees from Oberlin Conservatory (BM), Rutgers University (MM), and Columbia University (DMA) with advisor George Lewis, and completed postdoctoral studies in the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University. Bryan is currently an Assistant Professor of Music in the Newcomb Department of Music at Tulane University and the Mary Carr Patton Composer-in-Residence with the Jacksonville Symphony. Bryan’s work has been presented in a wide range of venues, and she has two recordings, Quest for Freedom and This Little Light of Mine. She was the 2018 music recipient of the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, and is currently a 2019 recipient of the Rome Prize. 

112th Music Kitchen
October 29, 2019

Olivieri Center
Forgotten Voices Premiere #10

Featuring Courtney Bryan “You Made My Day”

Kodaly Duo

 Kelly Hall-Tompkins, violin
Peter Seidenberg, cello
Adrienne Danrich, soprano

It was 4:30 and I finally sat down for my first real meal of the day in the custom Salad restaurant.  For some reason, unlike most places which attempt to keep it cozy inside, this long alleyway restaurant always keeps the door open to the bustle of the city and the winds of every season of the calendar.  In with the crisp winds of mid fall rolled a woman in a wheelchair who seemed as hustled and bustled by life or the city as bowling pins and no longer had time for small talk in her panhandling.  “Can you help me? Can you help me?? Can you help me???” she asked on a continuous loop until she stopped at me.  I barely had a second to look up before she demanded, “Yes or No?!”  Reflexively, always more sensitive to women on the street, I reached into my bag to give her some money. She thanked me and continued on down the bowling alley of a restaurant, now fussing at everyone in her path.  I heard a bit of the kerfuffle as someone suggested she should leave.  As she turned her chair and bowled though some empty chairs on the way out, I called to her, “Do you know about the Olivieri Center?”  She turned to lock eyes with me for a brief connection.  “It’s just 2 blocks away- they can help you.”  Snapping out of it, she then returned vehemently, “How can they help me?  I need $20!”  “They can’t help you if you don’t go,” I said at her back as she blew back into fall.  Having just left Olivieri Center and our concert there, I am reminded that with Music Kitchen concerts we meet people where they are, but we can only meet them, help them at all, when they are at a stage to take that critical step.

 A few hours earlier on this drizzly, early fall afternoon, I walked back into the Antonio Olivieri Center for the first time since our concerts in February and January.  As we ascended the stairs from our rehearsal in the basement, there there were some people already eagerly seated in the performance area and waiting for our arrival.  Most of our listeners for today, though also eagerly awaiting, preferred to remain towards the back, tucked away from any potential direct contact.  It’s ok- and it’s one of the reasons I love to perform here.  We can reach people where they are physically and figuratively. 

 I told the audience about our first piece, the Kodaly, telling them as last month that he and his friend Bartok went into the fields to record people in the country, and that this music is not wall paper, it’s filled with extremes, highs and lows, louds and softs, high drama and stillness.  One man was already drawn in, “Sounds perfect,” he said gently.  “Great!” I replied.  I introduced cellist Peter Seidenberg to play it with me and another man bubbled over in his excitement, “How ya doin’ Peter!”

 We jumped into the piece and midway through, there was suddenly much more activity than usual behind us at the security desk as the real-life circumstances which bring people to a shelter mirrored the drama of our music.  I had to focus my attention on the demanding notes of the piece, but I tried to split my focus to better understand- was that weeping I heard?  The bells and buzzers of the intercom and door also had a frequent say as we played, more than I remember before, again taking on the flurried energy of our performance.  But by the end of the first movement, with its drama quickly unwinding to a calm spaciousness, the calm also fell once again over the room.  “That was nice,” was the immediate reply from one of our listeners seated near the front.  “Did you like that?  What did you think?” I asked.  “He replied, “It mellows me out.”  “Mellows you out?? All that drama??”  Everyone chuckled heartily.  He said, “It’s not too much drama.”  I was surprised, but then watched as my concept of drama vanished like a mirage relative to what he might have seen or experienced in life.  There was an easygoing chuckle all around, then a long silence as no one else ventured to speak. 

 Finally, another man said, “It’s like a movie, it takes you to a lot of places, it’s not a monotone piece.”  “Absolutely,” I chimed in, “it is like a movie that way.”

 A lady eagerly and confidently stepped in to offer her thoughts.  “What I got from it” she began, “because I used to play an instrument…’cause I just returned from living in Europe…” I perked up with her resonances.  I asked her where in Europe did she live.  “Jerusalem,” she replied quickly and assuredly.  And as she continued on with well-spoken phrases and a certain spoken rhythm and confidence of educated settings, it was increasingly clear that her ideas were incoherent from a cause that was unclear, mental illness, addiction, a combination?  I wondered what real life experiences were behind these loquacious but non-linear accounts.

 Another woman offered simply, “It’s a happy piece.”  Our guest Valerie, immediately heard the people working in the fields that I referenced in my introduction of the piece, along with the drama that I also described.  I then segued directly into introducing the next movement, which I described as very calm, before the musical depiction of the thunder and lightening storm I hear in the Kodaly second movement.  As we played the piece, with its highs, lows and occasional stops, our audience was focused and attentive and was never tempted to applaud before the piece was over as sometimes happens in concert halls. At the end, the first listener to offer his thoughts hit squarely on the tone of the work when he said, “some heightened emotion.”  At today’s performance the listeners did hear the ‘thunder and lightning.’

 With no further commentary, I went quickly on to introducing the Forgotten Voices song. Again I explained how I treasure all of the things that the listeners have said over the years, that I seek to honor those words, and take these messages to the public in ways they’ve never seen before.  I explained that our featured composer for this month, Courtney Bryan, is a recent winner of the Rome Prize in composition and that she has as a result just moved to Rome for a year, but that she sends her best regards and admiration for the project and today’s listeners.  I stressed once again that they are hearing the piece for the first time before anyone else.  Because it made such an impression on me at the time, I was delighted to share that the words for today’s song were from a client named Galina, from right here at the Olivieri Center 13 years ago.

 Drawing from American funk and blues harmonic and rhythmic language, while also incorporating  minimalist melismas, “You Make My Day” is very different from any of the songs we have presented so far.   “I like that one!” said the lady from the earlier soliloquy.  “Yeah?” I said, “Great, what do you like about it?”  “It sounds like it has jazz and a little opera,” she replied.  Then a man just had to investigate further his curiosity about the voice when he asked, “You’ve got a microphone in there??”  That drew hearty laughter around the room.  “No, it might sound like it,” I replied, “but that’s how opera singers are trained, to develop their voices that way.”  And the same lady as before said, “It’s very high pitched.”  I explained that Adrienne is a soprano and that other common voice types are mezzo soprano, tenor, baritone, and bass.

 Valerie was curious to know what are the composers instructions from me in this project.  I explained the parameters to write a song 3-5 minutes, use the clients’ full comments and explore whatever theme calls them, from joy, humor and transcendence, to pain, sadness, or memory and that whatever they choose is right. 

Another gentleman said, “you could use some percussion, like a bongo…?”  Without missing a beat, I  asked with a grin, “Did my husband put you up to that?” drawing laughter around the room.  He’s a percussionist, just like this man appeared to be.  The other day, as we rehearsed Kodaly in our living room, he quipped as he walked through, “Needs percussion- I’m just sayin’.”  So I told him Joe would be especially happy at his pronouncement.

 As is typical of the Forgotten Voices song, we played it through a second time.  Amongst the applause and cheers, the same man, reclaiming the levity of his earlier joke, said in a wry strong voice, “Still needs percussion!” causing the room to erupt in new easy-going laughter.

Once the introspection returned, another man said he found the piece to be “very ancestral.”

We then opened up to questions and right away a lady wanted to know when Adrienne started singing.  She explained her roots, from 5 years old, singing Aretha Franklin and in her father’s funk band, then transitioning to classical.

 Picking up on the earlier comment of “ancestral,” Adrienne spoke of the African American composers of the Harlem Renaissance who incorporated the music of spirituals into new classical compositions or crossover compositions intended for the operatic voice.  Prominent among these, she mentioned composer Margaret Bonds, who studied with Nadia Boulanger at Juilliard, and her setting of the traditional song “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.”  Adrienne then went on to sing a few lines from the climactic ending of the song, the soaring high notes of which seared the power of the whole afternoon into our audience for hopefully well beyond today.

Prefer to send a check?
We welcome your checks at the following address:
Music Kitchen - Food for the Soul
Attn: Kelly Hall-Tompkins
P.O. Box 907
New York, NY 10040
Thank you for your support of Music Kitchen -Food for the Soul

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Sergio Mims: Margaret Bonds Christmas Cantata "The Ballad of the Brown King" on Avie CD

Margaret Allison Bonds (1913-1972)

Margaret Bonds
The Ballad of the Brown King
& Selected Songs
Laquita Mitchell
Noah Stewart
Lucia Bradford
Ashley Jackson
The Dessoff Choirs & Orchestra
Malcolm J. Merriweather
Avie Records

Sergio A. Mims writes:

Avie Records has released this month the first ever recording of Margaret Bonds' Christmas cantata The Ballad of The Brown King with a libretto of Langston Hughes.

Avie Records

20th-century African-American composer Margaret Bonds receives long overdue recognition with the world-premiere recording of her crowning achievement, The Ballad of the Brown King. With an expressly written libretto by Bonds’ friend Langston Hughes, this Christmas cantata which focuses on Balthazar, the dark-skinned king who journeyed to Bethlehem to witness the birth of Jesus Christ, is beautifully interpreted by New York City-based The Dessoff Choirs and Orchestra, outstanding soloists soprano Laquita Mitchell, mezzo-soprano Lucia Bradford and tenor Noah Stewart, under the baton of their charismatic conductor, Malcolm J. Merriweather. Bonds authority Dr. Ashley Jackson contributes the inspired liner notes. This unique seasonal album also includes a selection of specially arranged songs, including a setting of Hughes’ seminal poem I, Too, Sing America, performed by baritone Merriweather and Jackson on solo harp.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

It's #GivingTuesday! Please Consider Supporting Our Indiegogo Campaign

It's #GivingTuesday! Please consider supporting our Indiegogo Campaign.
We've reached 60% of our goal. We need your help to reach 100% of our goal.

This is our biggest and most ambitious project to date, and we need your help to make it a huge success!

The Harlem Chambers, in partnership with The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, will present R. Nathaniel Dett's monumental oratorio The Ordering of Moses on Thursday, June 4, 2020 at 7:30 PM. This production will coincide with the two-year Harlem-wide celebration of the Harlem Renaissance Centennial (#HarlemRen100).

This historic performance will feature a full orchestra comprising members of The Harlem Chamber Players, a 100-member choir comprising members of Chorale Le Chateau and other Harlem arts organizations and churches led by IMG artist conductor & composer Damien Sneed. The featured soloists will be Met Opera soprano Brandie Sutton, alto Raehann Bryce-Davis, tenor Issachah Savage and Met Opera baritone Justin Austin.

  • The Indiegogo platform is a crowdfunding campaign meant to raise funds online through small and large contributions. (If anyone feels uncomfortable with contributing online, please email us or call 212-866-1492.)
  • Visit our Indiegogo Campaign and contribute. No amount is too small. $10 and $25 contributions add up and will help!
  • Please let others know about our campaign as the more people who give the better chance we have of success!
  • You can either select the BACK IT button to donate, or you can select one of the PERKS to get something for your contribution. Some of the PERKS include:
  • 1 general admission ticket to the June performance at a $60 contribution
  • 2 general admission tickets to the June performance at a $120 contribution
  • 1 VIP ticket at a $150 contribution
  • 2 VIP tickets at a $300 contribution

If you do not feel comfortable with online platforms and want to contribute, please mail your contribution to:

The Harlem Chamber Players, Inc.
191 Claremont Avenue #25
New York, NY 10027

Please feel free to email us or call 212-866-1492 if you have any questions.

Nathaniel Dett (1882 – 1943) spent much of his life in the United States and composed music around the time of the Harlem Renaissance. He was born in Niagara Falls, Ontario, and grew up on the New York side of the falls. He was educated at Oberlin and the Eastman School of Music in Rochester N.Y., where he served for two decades as the choir director at the Hampton Institute, the venerable black college in Virginia. He also taught at Lane College in Tennessee and at Lincoln University in Missouri. 

The large-scale classical work tells the Old Testament story of Moses leading the Israelites out of the bondage of Egypt and the rejoicing of the liberated people. The story is presented in a continuous dramatic free form that embraces a number of styles, with text including blank verse and rhyme, along with textual references that fuse scripture and folklore. 

The piece is rarely performed because of its large scope. The most recent performance of the work in New York City was in 2014 at Carnegie Hall by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the same orchestra that first premiered the work in 1937. The critic Dwight Bicknell said at the time that “it was the most important contribution to music yet made by a member of the Negro Race.” In his review of the concert in the New Yorker (May 19, 2014), Alex Ross stated:

“This neglected landmark of African-American composition had its world première with Cincinnati Symphony and the Cincinnati May Festival Chorus at the May Festival in 1937; NBC radio carried a broadcast, but cut it off about ten minutes before the end, alluding to 'previous commitments.' At Carnegie, the conductor James Conlon suggested, in remarks from the stage, that NBC had received complaints from racist listeners. While that speculation is unconfirmed—African-American composers were not unknown on radio at the time, and NBC had featured Florence Price’s First Smphony four years earlier—Dett has certainly been the victim of an injustice. His oratorio, a setting of texts from Exodus with spirituals interwoven, is a startling, potent piece.”

#GivingTuesday | Support the Ritz Chamber Players!

John Malveaux: Dr. James Newton offers "Amazing Grace" on CD "The Manual of Light"

Dr. James Newton

John Malveaux of 

educator Dr. James Newton offers a string orchestra deeply contemplative arrangement  of AMAZING GRACE on his CD titled THE MANUAL OF LIGHT 2018.  I recalled being surprised and deeply touched when President Obama led the Emanuel AME Church in singing AMAZING GRACE during the eulogy at Charleston church for murdered victims. James Newton string orchestra arrangement of AMAZING GRACE captures my inner feelings for a lifetime. See 

Monday, December 2, 2019

Key To Change: Join Us on GivingTuesday!

When you make a gift to Key to Change on GivingTuesday, you're joining a global movement and empowering our local community.

At Key to Change, we remove the financial and cultural barriers that stand in the way of students pursuing a classical music education. We offer need-based scholarships for music lessons and provide free access to high-quality instruments which students can borrow from our Instrument Library. Together, we are empowering the next generation of young musicians and creating meaningful change in South King County. 

Join us on GivingTuesday and become a part of our year-end Lasting Change Campaign as we work to raise $50,000 for student scholarships.

John Malveaux: CBS 60 Minutes: churches carved from lava in Ethiopia around 1200

John Malveaux of 

Dec 1, 2019 CBS 60 minutes covered 11 churches carved/sculpted from lava in Ethiopia around the year 1200 by the Zagwe people.  See    

John Malveaux: Find scores for works by hundreds of women composers

John Malveaux of 

Find scores for works by hundreds of women composers

Theodore Front Musical Literature


John Malveaux: Find nearly 2,000 titles by Black composers

John Malveaux of 

Find nearly 2,000 titles by Black composers, with new works added weekly.

Theodore Front Musical Literature  

Sunday, December 1, 2019

John Malveaux: Young Concert Artists presents Randall Goosby Dec. 3

Randall Goosby

John Malveaux of 
forwards this:

Kennedy Center

Young Concert Artists presents

Randall Goosby, violin

Tuesday, December 3, 2019, 7:30 PM

Violinist Randall Goosby debuts with an impressive program, including Debussy's exquisite violin sonata, and a suite by William Grant Still inspired by the Harlem Renaissance.  

Brilliant 22-year-old American violinist Randall Goosby won First Prize in the 2018 YCA International Auditions and five special awards, including the Sander Buchman Prize sponsoring his New York debut. As a ‘Sphinx Virtuoso,’ he has soloed with the Cleveland and Nashville Symphonies, among others. Coming up is a performance of Bach’s Double Violin Concerto with his mentor Itzhak Perlman with the Grand Rapids Symphony (MI).

“The most remarkable performance of the evening, by Randall Goosby, was also one of the most refined. He not only delivered the music flawlessly, but also displayed an astonishing degree of musical maturity.” (The Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Tomaso Antonio Vitali: Chaconne in G minor
Debussy: Violin Sonata in G minor, L. 140
William Grant Still: Suite for Violin and Piano
R. Strauss: Sonata in E-flat major, Op. 18   

Houston Ebony Opera Guild: "Christmas for Us All" 4 PM Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019

"Christmas for Us All"
Christmas spirituals, other seasonal American favorites, and some from the global repertoire
performed by Houston Ebony Opera Guild
Jones Memorial United Methodist Church
Houston, Texas
Free Admission, Donations Accepted

John Malveaux: Houston Ebony Opera..African-American talent

Dorceal Duckens, right, sings during the Houston Ebony Opera Guild's choir rehearsal on Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, at Westbury United Methodist Church. Photo: Annie Mulligan, Houston Chronicle / Contributor

John Malveaux of 

See Houston Chronicle article about Houston Ebony Opera 

Houston Chronicle

Houston Ebony Opera continues legacy of highlighting African-American talent

The piano hums inside a small, orange-and-gray room at a church on the southwest side of Houston. The voices of African-American singers, old and young, rise to the ceiling and waft down the hall as they practice for their coming Christmas concert.

At the center of it all on a recent Monday night is Kiana Williams, who is wearing a colorful floral dress and sits behind the conductor’s stand during their choir rehearsal at Westbury United Methodist Church. Williams diligently hammers out vocal parts for each section of the choir and sings along with them, making sure they have the notes correct.

The Houston Ebony Opera Guild, founded in 1983 by the late Prairie View A&M University music professor Robert Henry, is trying to hold on to its legacy by attracting younger talent as longtime members get older. The group provides African-American singers an opportunity to perform in concerts across the city, where they sing a range of tunes, including opera, African-American spirituals and other works of music.

The group is among only a handful like it in the country, according to Jason Oby, the guild’s artistic director. During this year’s concert season, the choir hopes to focus on African-American women, performing works by female composers and using conductors such as Williams to lead concerts.

“Especially since the field is so dominant of men,” said Williams, assistant professor of music and the choir director at Texas Southern University. “Then, it’s also dominant of people of other ethnicities, white conductors and composers in the area of music. So, women, especially black women, are a huge minority in the field.”

Founder saw a need

Oby moved to Houston in 1996, the same year the opera guild’s founder, Henry, passed away. Oby said Henry, a beloved music professor at Prairie View A&M, created the group so his students could have a place to show off their skills.

“He perceived that there needed to be a venue that they could perform in that would show them in the light (in which) they deserved to be shone in,” said Oby, 56.

When the group first began, the concerts started out as occasional, with a variety of music from African-American spirituals to opera. A regular schedule soon sprang up and the group began performing elaborate opera performances at Miller Outdoor Theater.

He recalls serving a variety of roles within the organization, performing many solos on stage and taking on lead roles during the opera performances at Miller. He eventually was asked to become the artistic director.

Oby, Texas Southern University’s chair for the department of music, said he wants to pass the guild’s tradition on to younger generations. He enlisted Williams, his fellow coworker at Texas Southern University. The 36-year-old also fulfills the guild’s goal to feature African-American women composers.

“Dr. Williams represents a lot of things that I have in my mind where I want to see the organization go, which is youth, energy, new ideas, women participation,” Oby said.