Monday, August 10, 2020

Philadelphia Tribune: Penn Libraries digitizes Marian Anderson collection

 A photo of Marian Anderson in 1920. —Fowler Photography

Chanel Hill TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER Aug 8, 2020

Anyone who wants to learn more about Marian Anderson can read her personal diaries and letters, and listen to private recordings online through The University of Pennsylvania Libraries.

The university recently digitized more than 2,500 items of the Philadelphia-born contralto’s personal archives, which Anderson donated to the University of Pennsylvania before her death in 1993, as well as additional donations from her nephew James DePreist and the Free Library of Philadelphia.

“Penn is very fortunate to have Marian Anderson’s papers, which consist of over 500 cartons of archival materials, correspondence, sheet music, programs, scrapbooks, and notebooks,” said director of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library David McKnight.

The collection includes: letters, diaries, journals, interviews, recital programs, and private recordings — spanning a six-decade career as a concert singer and advocate for social justice.

The digitization project was funded in 2018 by a $110,000 grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources. The newly digitized materials complement a collection of 4,000 Marian Anderson photographs, which are also publicly accessible.

“Through Anderson’s digitized collection, scholars and students worldwide can discover and reflect on her life and career and further illuminate her social, cultural, and historical impact,” vice provost and director of Penn Libraries Constantia Constantinou said in a statement.

A world-renowned recitalist, Anderson was also a high-profile figure in the fight for civil rights.

After she was denied permission by the Daughters of the American Revolution to perform for an integrated audience in Constitution Hall, she famously performed a concert for 75,000 people on April 9, 1939, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

In 1955, she became the first Black singer to perform in a lead role of Ulrica on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in Verdi’s Un ballo en maschera.

She retired from the stage in 1965.

McKnight, who knew Anderson, DePreist and her niece Sandra Grymes, said that he hopes the collection will give individuals an opportunity “to see the kind of person she was.”

“Among my greatest professional and intellectual experiences was discovering the Marian Anderson Collection and knowing who Marian Anderson was,” McKnight said.

“Over the years, it seems she’s been forgotten to some extent, so I’m hoping individuals who come to the website will discover how wonderful and fascinating of a person she was,” he added.

The collection also features a research portal, Discovering Marian Anderson, that offers resources to researchers, teachers, and students.

The content will also be distributed through the University of Minnesota’s Umbra Search African American History, which links almost 800,000 digital items from over 1,000 archival resources.

“On ‘Discovering Marian Anderson’ you will find Anderson’s bio, the digitized materials, and you can also see the geographical span of her career,” said reader services librarian at Penn Libraries Kislak Center April James.

“This study portal will make it easier for people to access her legacy than ever before,” she added.

HBCU Alumni Alliance, Inc. Virtual College Tour September 19, 2020


It’s about that time! Time to learn about the nation’s black higher education experience. The HBCU Alumni Alliance Affiliates, Atlanta, Chicago, and Washington DC, have joined together to bring you the Fall 2020 Virtual HBCU College Tour. Join us Saturday, September 19th for a HBCU tour experience you will never forget!

More details coming soon!

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Racism: The Real Public Health Crisis - The Wright Museum, Wayne State University, Erb Foundation & Detroit Public TV partner for an important conversation - Mon. 1 p.m.

Racism:The Real 
Public Health Crisis                                                       
A special event focuses 
on air pollution, lead 
poisoning and other 
public health risks 
threatening low-
income and 
minority communities

This important conversation 
is sponsored by the Erb 
Foundation, the Charles H. 
Wright Museum of African 
American History, Wayne 
State and Detroit Public TV
Watch on Monday, Aug. 10,
at 1 p.m.; register at


Violinist Ashley Horne to perform Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges G major concerto, op. 1, no. 1 with The Orchestra Now at Bard College September 5th

Violinist Ashley Horne writes:

I will be playing op. 2 no. 1, the G major Concerto on September 5th at Bard College with The Orchestra Now. I would love it if you could attend if you are in the area! Thanks so much for everything you do to further the music of Black Classical Musicians!

John Malveaux: Lyric Opera of Chicago presents Tenor Lawrence Brownlee and Friends: The Next Chapter

 John Malveaux (L) and Lawrence Brownlee (R)

John Malveaux of writes:

Lyric Opera of Chicago presents Tenor Lawrence Brownlee and Friends: The Next Chapter See pic John Malveaux & Lawrence Brownlee

Saturday, August 8, 2020 "William Levi Dawson’s Negro Folk Symphony was, briefly, a roaring success..."; Kay's "'Fantasy Variations' and 'Umbrian Scene' are fascinating"

 Dissonant but lyrical: composer and educator Ulysses Kay

Fantasy Variation - Umbrian Scene
ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra
Arthur Fagen

The Arts Desk

August 8, 2020

William Dawson: Negro Folk Symphony, Ulysses Kay: Fantasy Variations, Umbrian Scene ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra/Arthur Fagen (Naxos)

William Levi Dawson’s Negro Folk Symphony was, briefly, a roaring success after Leopold Stokowski gave the first performances with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1934, and it should have made Dawson a household name. Instead, he returned to his teaching post at Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute, heading its School of Music until retiring in 1955. Dawson continued to compose and arrange spirituals and achieving recognition as a choral conductor, and that he didn’t write more orchestral music is a huge shame, as this symphony is an impressive work. Its three movements share a recurring theme which Dawson described as representing “the link that was taken out of a human chain when the first African was taken from the shores of his native land and sent to slavery.” It’s heard at the outset, a brooding horn solo which sets the tone for much of the work. Dawson does use traditional melodies but they’re used as source material instead of being quoted directly. The music’s extroversion and rhythmic snap is tempered with a sense of continual unease: sample the slow movement’s brooding coda. 


Ulysses Kay was a pupil of Hindemith who became another prominent teacher, combining composing with a professorship in New York. His Fantasy Variations and Umbrian Scene are fascinating. Kay’s dissonant but lyrical idiom is compelling, and, as with Hindemith, the dense thickets of notes can unexpectedly rearrange themselves into juicy major chords. The Fantasy Variations’ theme only appears at the work’s close, the variations merely hinting at it. Kay spent several years studying in Rome, composing his Umbrian Scene in 1963 after a commission from industrialist and philanthropist Edward Benjamin, whose “Edward R. Benjamin Award for Restful Music” encouraged budding composers to write music which appealed to his perception of musical beauty.

John Malveaux: "On July 6, 1949 Florence B. Price composed a short and brilliant piece for piano solo titled Whim Wham." (Dr. Michael Cooper)

 Florence B. Price (1887-1953)
(University of Arkansas)

John Malveaux of writes:

"On July 6, 1949 Florence B. Price composed a short and brilliant piece for piano solo titled Whim Wham. The title refers to a caprice or something gotten or bought on a whim, and the earliest autograph suggests that Price may have considered it a complement to the serenity of her recently published and recorded jewel Placid Lake". (Dr. Michael Cooper) G. Schirmer Publisher.  See

Friday, August 7, 2020

Seton Hall University School of Law: Major League Baseball Names Michele Meyer-Shipp '95 Chief People & Culture Officer


NEWARK, N.J. – August 7, 2020 – Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. announced the appointment of Michele Meyer-Shipp ’95 to serve as its Chief People & Culture Officer. Meyer-Shipp will manage all league office “human resources activities, including talent processes and programs, workplace culture, and diversity and inclusion,” according to MLB. Meyer-Shipp also will oversee all off-field office operations. 

“Michele has dedicated her career to establishing diverse, inclusive, and engaging workplaces. She brings an unparalleled ability to create meaningful cultures and relationships among employees by implementing policies that help people connect with one another and embrace the power of diversity to improve business operations,” says Dean Kathleen M. Boozang. “Major League Baseball did not just hire a Seton Hall Law alum. MLB hired a stellar and accomplished advocate for equity, justice, and fairness. We are proud of Michele and thrilled to have Seton Hall Law represented in this influential position within such an iconic social institution.”      

"Across the Arts with Patrick D. McCoy" welcome back to THE MAESTRO SERIES conductor Marlon Daniel

 Maestro Marlon Daniel

We will find out what's been happening since the last time we interviewed him, about Chevalier de Saint-Georges and much more! Classical News Discover Sheku Kanneh-Mason: His Music, His Cello, His Life

Cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason. Photo: Decca Classics /Jake Turney

August 7, 2020

Cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason shot to international fame when he performed at the Royal wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in 2018. Here’s everything you need to know about the brilliant young musician.

Who is Sheku Kanneh-Mason? When was he born?

Sheku Kanneh-Mason was born in April 1999 and grew up in Nottingham in the UK. Neither of his parents are musicians but the Kanneh-Mason family has become a musical powerhouse.

Sheku is the third of seven children, all of whom are exceptionally musical. Isata Kanneh-Mason, the eldest, is a brilliant pianist (who recently released her debut album, Romance, featuring Clara Schumann’s piano music), Braimah is a violinist with Chineke! Orchestra and is currently studying at the Royal Academy of Music – as is Konya Kanneh-Mason, who plays violin and piano. Jeneba is just 17 and studies cello at the Royal Academy’s Junior Academy, where she’s joined by her sister Aminata who plays violin and piano. Finally, Mariatu (10), plays cello and piano.

BBC Young Musician

In 2016 Sheku Kanneh-Mason first began making waves in the musical world when he won BBC Young Musician, becoming the first black musician to win the award in its history. The following year, he was invited to performed at the BAFTAs, where he played a special arrangement of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’.


Sheku’s debut album, Inspiration, was released in 2018 and included the arrangement of ‘Hallelujah’ and the cellist’s own arrangement of Bob Marley’s song ‘No Woman, No Cry’. The album also included a recording of Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1, the work which Kanneh-Mason played to win BBC Young Musician. Inspiration peaked at No. 11 in the UK Official Album Chart following his performance at the Royal Wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

International Florence Price Festival: PRICE INTERPRETS HUGHES Friday, August 7, 2020 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM ET

Friday, August 7, 2020
6:00 PM - 7:00 PM ET
Nina Anderson and Ying Shan Su will present a short program of three Florence Price settings of texts by Langston Hughes. Their interpretation explores Price's delivery of this poetry through the virtuosity in her piano writing that supports the simple vocal line.

The International Florence Price Festival is pleased to offer these free events to the public on Tuesday, August 4 and Friday, August 7 at 6:00 PM ET.  Please join us at and visit for information on more upcoming events. 

Watch Live 

The International Florence Price Festival will be announcing a range of other online events as a part of our inaugural, online Price Fest 2020. Join us at

Thursday, August 6, 2020 New SF streaming piano series adds focus on Black composers

Mike Derer/Associated Press archives
Pulitzer Prize winner George Walker is among the Black composers who will be spotlighted in a new piano recital series.  

A new online music series featuring solo piano works is showcasing Black composers alongside their mostly better-known White counterparts.

Piano Break, presented by the Ross McKee Foundation, is offering an attractive lineup of solo recitals curated and performed by Bay Area pianists. Performances will be streamed each Friday at 5 p.m. on the Ross McKee YouTube channel until the end of September.

In recent months, the classical music world has been increasingly criticized for overlooking the work of Black composers. The new series aims to address that oversight, with works by composers including 19th-century prodigy Thomas “Blind Tom” Wiggins; Pulitzer Prize-winning composer George Walker, and Arkansas-born Florence Price, who was the first African-American woman to have a symphony performed by a major American orchestra.

Nicholas Pavkovic, the executive director of the Ross McKee Foundation, says that Piano Break was conceived in part to highlight these composers’ neglected gems.


Each program runs 30 to 45 minutes. Most are pre-recorded from the performers’ homes.


Here’s the Piano Break performance series schedule. Many of the performances will be accessible after the initial concert.

Aug. 7: Monica Chew, works by Bongani Ndodana-Breen, Jason Moran, Undine Smith Moore, Thomas “Blind Tom” Wiggins, and Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou.

Aug. 14: Daniel Glover, works by Muzio Clementi, Carl Maria von Weber, and Thomas “Blind Tom” Wiggins.

Aug. 21: Louise Costigan-Kerns, works by Debussy, Gershwin, and H. Leslie Adams.

Aug. 28: Audrey Vardanega, works by Brahms, Chopin, and Mozart.

Sept. 4: Jennifer Peringer, works by Chopin, Robert Schumann, J.S. Bach, Paula Dreyer, Chus Alonso, and Tania León.

Sept. 11: Laura Magnani, excerpts from Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s “Twenty-Four Negro Melodies,” Op. 59, along with works by Beethoven and Chopin.

Sept. 18: Ian Scarfe, works by Chopin, Debussy, Florence Price, and William Grant Still.

Sept. 25: Rachel Kim, Works by Beethoven, Barber, and Florence Price.


Presented by Ross McKee Foundation

When: 5 p.m. Fridays through Sept. 25, most concerts will remain available after the streaming event

How much: free, but donations encouraged

Where: NEW TO YOUTUBE | Aaron Dworkin – ‘Breathe: The Last 345 Words Spoken By George Floyd’ [2020] with the music of Florence Price

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

The Library of America: AFRICAN AMERICAN POETRY: 250 Years of Struggle & Song

The Library of America writes:

Dear William​,


I am thrilled to share with you a new literary landmark, the most ambitious anthology of Black poetry ever published, AFRICAN AMERICAN POETRY: 250 Years of Struggle & Song (Library of America; September 29, 2020; 978-1-59853-666-9; $45). Expertly curated by poet and scholar Kevin Young, this precious living heritage is revealed for the first time in all its power, beauty, and multiplicity. Included are 675 poems in all, with many never before anthologized, and newly researched biographies of every poet.


Only now, in the 21st century, can we fully grasp the breadth and range of African American poetry: a magnificent chorus of voices, some familiar, others recently rescued from neglect. Discover, in these pages, how an enslaved person like Phillis Wheatley confronted her legal status in verse and how an activist like Frances Ellen Watkins Harper voiced her own passionate resistance to slavery. Read nuanced, provocative poetic meditations on identity and self-assertion stretching from Paul Laurence Dunbar to Amiri Baraka to Lucille Clifton and be­yond.


Experience the transformation of poetic mod­ernism in the works of Langston Hughes, Fenton Johnson, and Jean Toomer. Understand the threads of poetic history—in movements such as the Harlem and Chicago Renaissances, Black Arts, Cave Canem, Dark Noise Collective—and the complex bonds of solidarity and dialogue among poets across time and place. See how these poets have celebrated their African heritage and have connected with other com­munities in the African Diaspora. Enjoy the varied but distinctly black music of a tradition that draws deeply from jazz, hip-hop, and the rhythms and ca­dences of the pulpit, the barbershop, and the street.


This anthology is the centerpiece of Lift Every Voice: Why African American Poetry Matters, a yearlong national public humanities initiative that engages participants in a multifaceted exploration of African American poetry; with signature events in New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, and Los Angeles, regional programming in public libraries nationwide, as well as a companion website featuring video readings, commentary, programming support, and much more. Lift Every Voice is presented in partnership with The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture with generous support from The National Endowment for the Humanities, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Emerson Collective. 


Kevin Young is the director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, recently named a National Historic Landmark, and poetry editor of The New Yorker, where he also hosts the poetry podcast. He is the award-winning author of thirteen books of poetry and prose, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was named a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2020.


Eric Conway: Morgan alumnus Issachah Savage in Concert - August 15, 2020

Dr. Eric Conway writes:

Hello Morgan Fine Arts Community,

If you have been following the Morgan choir over the years, you no doubt remember Morgan alumnus Issachah Savage!  Issachah has performed in many of the most prestigious opera houses in the country including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Detroit, Houston Grand and the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.

On Saturday, August 15, 2020, Classical Movements will present Issachah Savage in concert! Please see materials regarding Issachah's concert and the series below and attached.   He is a very powerful yet expressive performer.  I invite you to attend this outdoor concert in Alexandria, VA.  There will be two performances at 6PM and 7:30 PM.  Seats will be spaced with proper social distancing.

If you have the time, I heartily recommend that you attend one of these concerts.  I plan on attending to support one of Morgan’s best!


Following the success of its inaugural evening of three outdoor chamber music concerts on Saturday, June 20th [Read Washington Post review: “Going to my first concert…”], Classical Movements is delighted to announce a new series of 18 intimate, socially-distanced outdoor concerts and recitals, at the Secret Garden of the Rectory on Princess Street, Classical Movements’ home in Old Town Alexandria – presented in solidarity with musicians who are eager to perform concerts for live audiences once again.  Beginning Saturday, July 25, 2020, Classical Movements will present a diverse range of ensembles and genres, including rising stars of opera and jazz, the first concert of live choral music, as well as dazzling programs by instrumental chamber ensembles of musicians who are members of the National Symphony Orchestra.
Morgan State University students, alumni and community will relish an exceptional concert of songs and arias on August 15 by MSU alumnus Issachah Savage, who has performed to great critical acclaim at the Metropolitan Opera and storied houses around the world. Joined by pianist Joy Schreier for “An Evening of Grand Opera, Italian and American Art Songs”, he presents an ambitious program featuring operatic excerpts from Die Walküre and Otello and a diverse selection of Italian, German and American art songs, including moving works by Margaret Bonds selected to reflect the ongoing quest for social justice.

For tickets and further details about all concerts:

"Practicing for Love: A Memoir" by Nina Kennedy: African-American Woman Battles Racism and Sexism while Becoming a World-Renowned Concert Pianist

New York, NY Artist & Author Publishes Memoir


African-American Woman Battles Racism and Sexism while Becoming a World-Renowned Concert Pianist


Practicing for Love: A Memoir, a new book by Nina Kennedy, has been released by RoseDog Books.


Young Nina Kennedy was a child prodigy, a musical genius. Growing up in a segregated black community, she was forced to speak slang or “Ebonics” during the day to protect herself from bullying. At night, she would return home to speak the King's English with her college professor parents, both esteemed classical pianists who felt their careers had been hampered by American racism. As a result, they were determined that their daughter would have the success that they never could.


Practicing for Love: A Memoir reveals Nina’s work and recognition as a child prodigy from her first complete piano recital at age nine, to her debut as piano soloist with the Nashville Symphony before an audience of over 4,000 at age thirteen. She goes on to perform in concert and with orchestras throughout the country, and is accepted for study at the Curtis Institute of Music, and later at the Juilliard School.


This book contains honest details about Nina’s romantic relationships, and sheds light on the impacts of sexism and racism on her career. Written in the #MeToo era, Practicing for Love also exposes the inappropriate liberties taken by orchestral conductors, concert agents and impresarios, and recording executives - victimizing both females and males of all races.


About the Author

Nina Kennedy is a world-renowned concert pianist, orchestral conductor, award-winning filmmaker, and spoken-word performing artist. She has received worldwide acclaim for her work as a screenwriter and “actress” at several international film festivals. She is also the host of her own cable television talk show, The Noshing with Nina Show. Kennedy holds a master’s degree from The Juilliard School, and was the recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Solo Recitalist Fellowship. She lives in Manhattan with her partner and their Russian Blue Tuxedo cat, Mittens Rachmaninoff.


For more information on the author go to:


Practicing for Love: A Memoir is a 410-page paperback with a retail price of $24.00. The ISBN is 978-1-6453-0505-7. It was published by RoseDog Books of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. For more information, or to request a review copy, please go to our virtual pressroom at or our online bookstore at

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Side by Side with Chicago Phil: Perform with us on Sunday, August 9 in a virtual concert: Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges, William Grant Still & Antonin Dvorak


Each summer the Chicago Philharmonic presents free concerts in Chicago parks, inviting community members and students to join us in playing along with the orchestra. This summer, being respectful of social distancing measures, we will host a virtual adaptation of our Side by Side program via Zoom!

Side by Side with the Chicago Philharmonic will host its second program on Sunday, August 9 in collaboration with the Chicago Park District. The program will feature works by Joseph Boulogne, Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges (a beloved Classical era composer), Antonín Dvořák (an iconic Czech composer with a deep love of America), and William Grant Still (the 20th century neo-Romantic genius often referred to as the “Dean of Afro-American Composers”).

This virtual event will include a live conductor-led rehearsal by Maestro Scott Speck with pre-recorded music, followed by live sectional break out groups facilitated by Chicago Philharmonic musicians, culminating in a final run-through that each participant records on their personal device and sends to the Chicago Philharmonic. After the event, we will create and share the composite performance video with the world for all to enjoy. This virtual experience will include 2-3 short pieces of music and is free to participate!

WHEN: Sunday, August 9

WHERE: Zoom (invitation to be sent before the event)


Joseph Boulogne, Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges Symphonie XI No. 2, I. Allegro
Antonín Dvořák Symphony No. 9, E Minor (From the New World), Excerpt from II. Largo
William Grant Still Symphony No.1 (Afro-American Symphony), III. Humor: Animato


3:00 – 3:50 pm Rehearsal
3:55 – 4:20 pm Break Out Sessions
4:30 – 5:00 pm Recording “Performance”
5:00 – 5:30 pm Optional Q&A Session with Maestro Speck

John Malveaux: Price/Bonds Recording Session: "When the Dove Enters In" on YouTube

The Heart Of A Woman: The Life and Music of Florence B. Price
Rae Linda Brown

John Malveaux of writes:

"Doves possess great symbolic import in many cultures. The fact that they produce their own milk for their young makes them symbols of nourishment, care, and parental love. They also symbolize tender, physical, sexual love. And in the Christian tradition – the religious tradition to which Langston Hughes and Margaret Bonds subscribed – the dove symbolizes not only peace, but also messages of peace and salvation that are delivered from on high: it was a dove bearing an olive branch that told Noah that the Great Flood was over; it was a dove that descended to Jesus when he was baptized." (Dr. Michael Cooper) See

Monday, August 3, 2020

John Malveaux: The genius of Florence Price was fully captured in "ADORATION" performed by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Also hear NPR story.

Florence Beatrice Price
No. 1 in E minor
No. 4 in d minor
Fort Smith Symphony
John Jeter
Naxos Records

John Malveaux of writes:

The genius of Florence Price was fully captured in the penetrating simplicity of "ADORATION" performed by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.  MusicUNTOLD  is a proud community partner of LACO 

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival, Virtual Edition, August 10th-12th, 2020


We are very excited to present an online 3-day
Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival

August 10-12, 2020

All ages, musical backgrounds and levels are welcome.





Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival is an intense 11 day summer program devoted to performance excellence and career development. Since 2010, over 500 participants have been a part of our festival. Help us continue this tradition!

You Make The Difference!

The Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival is an initiative of the
Imani Winds Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)3 arts institution whose mission is to make meaningful connections through music.
Please consider a tax deductible donation of any amount.

Contributions via check should be made payable to
Imani Winds Foundation, INC.
and sent to
Imani Winds Foundation, 123 West 128th St., Apt. 1, New York, NY 10027

Thank you! Maestro Marlon Daniel is interviewed for an hour on Community Radio in Missouri

Marlon Daniel

KOPN Community Radio

Speaking of the Arts • Episode 120

The Arts in the Time of Masks part 47.5