Saturday, October 31, 2020

Sergio A. Mims: Florence Price: The story of America’s forgotten musical genius

Portrait of Florence  Price later in life 
[Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries]

Sergio A. Mims writes:

The website for Aljazeera recently had an article about the life and legacy of composer Florence Price.

She was the first Black woman to have her music played by a major orchestra in the US, so why has she been overlooked?

Florence was on the cusp of making history. This was the night she would become the first Black woman to have her music performed by an orchestra of this calibre.

Founded in 1891, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra was already one of the “big five” orchestras in the United States, and frequently ranked among the best in the world. Although Black, English composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor dubbed “the Black Mahler” for his compositional ability, had had his music performed on this scale, never before had a Black woman been in this position.

And Florence was not the only “first” in the room. Her former student and family friend, 20-year-old Margaret Bonds, would perform a concertino for piano and orchestra, becoming the first Black female soloist to play as a guest with the Chicago orchestra.

In 1933, the core orchestra was all-male, and entirely white. Helen Kotas would be hired as principal horn in 1941, becoming the first full-time female member. But the orchestra would not hire a Black musician to perform as a full-time member until 2002, when Tage Larsen was appointed as fourth trumpet.

In 1933, the audience was mostly white, too. Despite theatres being desegregated in 1897, the Auditorium Theatre in downtown Chicago was in an area dominated by wealthy, white families.

Florence’s Symphony in E Minor played – a soaring, spiritual and spectral piece of art.

The Chicago Daily News, one of the most widely read newspapers in the city, called it “a faultless work, a work that speaks its own message with restraint and yet with passion … worthy of a place in the regular symphonic repertory”.

Written in 1931 and early 1932, the symphony generally followed the traditional four-movement structure, while also displaying the individuality and influences of its author. The third movement, called Juba Dance, was inspired by a percussive West African style of music that was brought to the US by enslaved people, and African drums were used alongside traditional orchestral writing.

‘Music goes deep’

A notoriously private person, Florence left little behind to give the world a sense of her voice, her opinions, her feelings.

She “preferred to reveal herself through her music rather than through correspondence and memorabilia,” wrote the late Rae Linda Brown, in her biography of the composer, called, The Heart of a Woman.

She kept a diary, yet only a few pages remain, as, after her death, sections were given away to friends and family as mementos, leaving only a few pages from the last decade of her life.

However, from the pages left behind – an eclectic mix of to-do lists, recorded conversations, and perceptive observations – a picture is painted of a highly intelligent, introspective woman whose love for music went far beyond her own creations.

In her own words: “Music, like religion, goes deep.”

With music in her blood

In 1887, Florence Beatrice Smith was born in Little Rock, Arkansas with music in her blood. Her mother, also called Florence Smith, was a singer and pianist, and her father, Dr James Smith, was a dentist. They were well-respected and well-off.

The family was part of a “small, but powerful Black elite … [bearing] all the earmarks of gentility,” Brown wrote. Educated professionals like Dr Smith were afforded “certain privileges” and more respect in Little Rock, a city often referred to as a “paradise” for Black people in the South, where they made up more than a third of the city’s population.

A portrait of Florence Price as a young woman taken by Kettering and Reynolds Studio in Little Rock, Arkansas 
[Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries]

Yet Arkansas in the late 19th century was a turbulent place, marked by corrupt elections, martial law, and factional conflict. The Ku Klux Klan, too, was an ever-present threat.

By the time Florence was an adult, the anti-Black Jim Crow laws had been passed, enforcing segregation and systematically tearing away the “certain privileges” her family had once enjoyed.

In 1903, when she was 16 years old, Florence enrolled at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, a prestigious integrated school. Yet for a while, she told people she was of Mexican descent, on the advice of her mother who worried about the reception her daughter would receive, and listed her hometown in their records as “Pueblo, Mexico”.

Brown observed that “the fact that [Florence] was fair enough to pass for [Mexican] in no way lessens the significance of her achievements, but it attests to the key role that skin color played for Americans in achieving one’s career goals.”

Boston was a world away from her life in Arkansas, more than 1,400 miles (2,253km) away, but it was no paradise. Despite segregation in public schools and transportation being prohibited in Massachusetts, discrimination remained.

Florence graduated from the Conservatory with honours in 1906, at the age of 19. After leaving Boston, she taught music in Arkansas before moving to Atlanta, Georgia, where, in 1910, she became head of music at Clark Atlanta University, a historically Black institution. She became “a formidable teacher and a beacon of light for all her students … the model of an elite Black woman,” wrote Brown.

Moving North

In 1912, Florence married Thomas J Price, a successful lawyer. They met and married in Atlanta, but soon moved back to Little Rock. During the next 15 years, she had three children: Florence, Edith, and finally a son, Thomas Jr, who died in infancy. During this time, Florence did not see “herself as a serious composer”, Brown explained, and focused instead on writing simple pieces for the purpose of teaching.

Then, on April 30, 1927, a white child was murdered in Little Rock. The body of 12-year-old Floella McDonald was found in the belfry of the First Presbyterian church by the building’s janitor. Police soon arrested a mixed-race 17-year-old named Lonnie Dixon – the janitor’s son – and transported the Dixons out of Little Rock to the Texarkana city jail for their own safety. Tensions in the city rose as white protesters called for revenge.

A few days later, on May 4, a Black man named John Carter was accused of harassing a white woman and her daughter on the outskirts of Little Rock. Armed groups patrolled the city searching for the 38-year-old, and, upon finding him, hanged him from a telephone pole. Carter’s corpse was shot, and dragged by cars through the city, stopping at the corner of 9th Street and Broadway, then the heart of Little Rock’s Black community, near to Thomas J Price’s office on 9th Street.

More 5,000 white people rioted in the area, setting Carter’s body ablaze, using doors and church pews from local buildings to fuel the fire. It took three hours for Governor John Martineau to order the Arkansas National Guard to disperse the crowds.

The Chicago Defender, an African American newspaper, reported that in the following days, more than 400 Black people left the city fearing for their lives, many heading north. The Defender was later banned from circulation in Little Rock, out of “concern” it would “stir up” racial tensions.


Chicago’s Black Renaissance

The Price family was part of the exodus from Little Rock. They moved to Chicago, along with six million Black Americans who left the South for the North during what became known as the Great Migration from 1915 to 1970.

But two years after moving to Chicago, in 1929, the Wall Street Crash and ensuing Great Depression caused Thomas to lose his job. Financial stress began to take its toll on him and their marriage. In 1931, Florence filed for divorce after nearly 20 years of marriage.

Struggling financially, Florence and her daughters moved in with the family of her friend and student Margaret Bonds, whose mother, Estella, was a leading light in Chicago’s vivacious musical community.

Living in the Bond household, Florence was immersed in a vibrant, creative community of people during the Chicago Black Renaissance – a period spanning the 1930s to 1950s when creativity and racial consciousness was promoted, similar to the earlier Harlem Renaissance in New York.

Soon, Florence became the director of the Chicago Treble Clef Club, a group that organised recitals and events around the city. She was an active member of the National Association of Negro Musicians (NANM), an organisation that – to this day – is dedicated to uplifting and preserving the music of African Americans.


Through the NANM, Florence met luminaries such as contralto Marian Anderson, and trombonist, composer and musicologist William L Dawson. This new environment, surrounded by like-minded Black musicians, gave Florence the impetus to write large-scale works, progressing from shorter spiritual arrangements to orchestral symphonies.

“It was in Chicago that Price’s artistic impulse was liberated … she discovered a city full of vitality and an environment that was conducive to her creative energy,” Brown wrote.

Speaking to author Lindsay Patterson in 1967, Margaret Bonds recalled evenings around her kitchen table when “every brown-skinned musician in Chicago who could write a note” would help Florence meet her compositional deadlines. This community spirit helped Florence flourish.

A winning symphony

In 1932, Florence entered, and won first prize in, the Rodman Wanamaker Music Contest for her Symphony in E Minor. Founded in 1927 by philanthropist Rodman Wanamaker, the contest reflected his desire to create a platform for Black composers. Announced in the Chicago Defender, it was described as “an event of paramount importance open to all musical composers of the Race.” Margaret succeeded here, too, aged only 19, taking second place in the competition for her piece, Sea Ghost.

As the winner, Florence’s symphony caught the attention of Frederick Stock, the conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra – leading to the 1933 performance that put her in the history books.

Opportunities like the Wanamaker Music Contest were few and far between for Black musicians. However, there were some who had found success, including Thomas Wiggins, whose parents had been enslaved, and who became the highest-paid pianist of the 19th century.

John Malveaux: Soprano Latonia Moore to sing in Austin Opera TOSCA

Latonia Moore Tosca

John Malveaux:

Soprano Latonia Moore to sing in Austin Opera TOSCA


Aaron Dworkin Interviews Founder & Artistic Director of Young People's Chorus of New York!

Welcome to this week's episode of Arts Engines which now reaches over 100,000 weekly viewers in partnership with Detroit Public Television, Ovation TV, The Violin Channel and American Public Media including Performance Today and YourClassical. Arts Engines seeks to share the most valuable advice and input from arts administrators who tell their stories of creative problem-solving, policy, economic impact, crisis management and empowering the future of our field.

This week's show is co-curated by our Creative Partner, the Young People's Chorus of New York (YPC) and our guest is Francisco Núñez, Founder & Artistic Director of YPC.  Enjoy... and have a creative week!

Manhattan School of Music Announces Its Inaugural Roster of Artist Scholars

Manhattan School of Music Announces Its Inaugural Roster

of Artist Scholars, an Influential Group of

Black Artists, Activists, Educators, and Administrators 


The 2020–21 Class of Artist Scholars will communicate their experiences

and insights relating to racial equity, representation, and inclusion,

sparking ongoing dialogue with the MSM Community in multiple forums 

NEW YORK, October 29, 2020 – Renowned international music conservatory Manhattan School of Music (MSM) today unveiled its inaugural roster of Artist Scholars, an accomplished and influential list of Black performers, educators, activists, directors, choreographers, and administrators that includes Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Anthony Davis, acclaimed classical pianist Lara Downes, chamber musicians, Imani Winds, and novelist Tayari Jones, among many others.


The School’s inaugural 2020–21 class of Artist Scholars, will join MSM in a variety of forums, including panels, seminars, discussion groups, special performances, musical collaborations, and mentorship. The program, part of the School’s Cultural Inclusion Initiative and spearheaded by MSM Chief of Staff (Office of the President) and Assistant Vice President for Special Initiatives Alexa Smith, offers MSM students, faculty, and staff members opportunities to engage with the Artist Scholars in a range of topics related to their experiences, expertise, and insights around artistry, creativity, and careers. The Artist Scholars provide MSM’s community with space to explore and address questions of racial equity, representation, and inclusion within the performing arts and society.


“After America’s especially difficult spring, summer, and fall, MSM’s full embrace of the urgency of the Black Lives Matter movement has inspired several important and meaningful new and ongoing initiatives and partnerships at the School,” says MSM President James Gandre. “Our new Artist Scholars initiative is one such program, reflecting our strong belief in consistent dialogue and shared experience as an essential element in healing, coming together, and learning to value our differences, all while moving forward with strength and vitality.”


President Gandre announced the Black Creator’s Initiative earlier this summer as a means to foster diversity, equity, and inclusive practices throughout MSM. Following the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless other Black Americans by police, MSM launched the initiative, announcing that every concert on MSM’s 2020–21 performance season would feature work by African American creators and/or those from the African Diaspora.


Further to these initiatives, MSM’s faculty, led by Executive Vice President and Provost Joyce Griggs, is taking this year to examine the curriculum and ensure that classroom and performances reflect a more complete representation of artists and creators. The inaugural Artists Scholars roster will promote critical thinking in MSM’s work to address systematic inequities that have historically omitted a diversity of artists from the canon, providing role models for aspiring young musicians and connecting music to other elements of our contemporary society.


Central to her role as one of the inaugural Artist Scholars, pianist Lara Downes will act as the School’s first Artist Citizen in Residence. “MSM has long promoted students’ engagement with community partners,” says Provost Griggs, “and we will use this moment to expand those partnerships and deepen our connections locally, particularly with West Harlem. Lara’s experiences make her the ideal inaugural Artist Citizen.”


Ms. Downes’s contributions will give students space and time to explore the impact of how and why designing programs with more inclusive repertoire is paramount in one’s professional training, creating more collaborative, meaningful, and relevant experiences with community and audiences.


Another manifestation of MSM’s Cultural Inclusion Initiative has been the School’s engagement with Values Partnerships, a D.C.-based social impact agency who will work with MSM to lead community discussions through the year. This dialogue began with an October 8 virtual one-on-one conversation between President Gandre and Joshua DuBois, Values Partnerships founder and leader of President Obama’s Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The Town Hall can be viewed here


Finally, throughout the current academic year, as it did this past summer, MSM will host listening sessions, forums, and town halls to foster the “consistent dialogue and shared experience” that President Gandre and MSM’s leadership continue to foster.


Among the many new programs that will stem from this inaugural year of Artist Scholars at MSM will be a community reading event followed by a live book club discussion led by Tayari Jones, winner of the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction and author of four novels, including An American Marriage, which was an Oprah Book Club selection in 2018. The discussion will center on Jones’s own An American Marriage, with the author sharing her insights and experiences, and answering questions about the work, which follows a middle-class African American couple in Atlanta whose life is upended when the husband is wrongfully convicted of rape.


The full inaugural roster of MSM Artist Scholars includes:


  • Gary Bartz: legendary saxophonist
  • LaSaundra Booth: Founder, Wake Forest Community Youth Orchestra, SphinxLEAD
  • Terri Lyne Carrington, drummer; composer; producer; 2020 NEA Jazz Master; Founder and Artistic Director of the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice
  • Katie Brown and Dalanie Harris: Hosts, The Classically Black Podcast
  • Anthony Davis: Pulitzer Prize-winning composer (The Central Park Five, Amistad, X, The Life and Times of Malcolm X)
  • Bill Doggett: guest lecturer, historian
  • Lara Downes: pianist, activist
  • Tia Fuller: saxophonist; composer; band leader
  • Jarvis Antonio Green: actor; director; Producer, JAG Productions
  • Imani Winds: Grammy-nominated wind quintet (Mark Dover [MM ’12], Monica Ellis [PS ’98], Brandon Patrick George [MM ’10], Jeff Scott (BM ’90), Toyin Spellman Diaz [MM ’97, PS ’98])
  • Tayari Jones: author; winner, 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction for An American Marriage
  • Tesia Kwarteng (MM ’13): mezzo-soprano
  • Alex Laing (MM ’98): Principal Clarinet, Phoenix Symphony; educator
  • M Lamar: composer, performer
  • Erich McMillan-McCall: actor; producer; and advocate
  • Charles Chip McNeal: Director of Diversity, Equity, and Community, San Francisco Opera
  • Garrett McQueen: bassoonist; TRILLOQUY podcast
  • Malcolm J. Merriweather (DMA ’15): conductor, baritone
  • Jasmine Muhammad (MM ’12): soprano
  • Jannina Norpoth (BM ’03): violinist, PUBLIQuartet; SphinxLEAD
  • Kristal Pacific: Director of Social Equity and Grantmaking, Opera America; SphinxLEAD
  • Ken Roberson: choreographer
  • Britton Smith: actor; Artistic Director, The Broadway Advocacy Coalition
  • Adina Williams: Director of Community Engagement and Education, Camille A. Brown

MSM graduates are indicated by inclusion of degree and graduation year.


“As musicians, we are familiar with the idea of practicing to get better,” says MSM’s Smith. “You can’t pick up a violin and suddenly play like [MSM alumna] Kelly Hall-Tompkins. So we are committed to ‘practicing’ these conversations about racial equity, representation, and inclusion in our industry. They are uncomfortable for many at first, but like all practice, if we do it, we’ll improve. We’ll get better.”


For further information, please contact:

  • Alexa Smith, Chief of Staff (Office of the President) and Assistant Vice President for Special Initiatives), at / (917) 493-4477; or
  • Jeff Breithaupt, Vice President for Media and Communications, at / (917) 493-4702.


The mission of the Manhattan School of Music’s Cultural Inclusion Initiative (CII), launched in August 2019 as part of the School’s Strategic Plan 2019–2024 is to foster diversity, equity, and inclusive practices throughout the institution. This is achieved by auditing current practices, identifying areas where additional attention is needed to achieve change, and creating regular discussion forums for students, faculty, and staff.


The CII provides support and opportunities for everyone in the MSM Community to:


  • develop a greater understanding about our own worldview and how it influences our actions;
  • consider how we are positioned in relation to others and recognize differences based on our respective worldviews;
  • seek out opportunities for greater openness to other ideas and behaviors, to other cultures and cultural backgrounds, and to all identities;
  • take risks in our learning by developing greater openness and to learn more about ourselves and those in our Community;
  • take action to promote equity on and off campus.

Friday, October 30, 2020 Florence Price conjures up the Deep three...dances, a Rag, a Slow Drag and a Cakewalk, arranged by her friend William Grant Still

Florence B. Price (1887-1953)

William Grant Still (1895-1978)

Live stream: Santtu-Matias Rouvali – American Dreams

75 years ago, almost to the day, the Philharmonia Orchestra gave its first concert. Our Principal Conductor Designate Santtu-Matias Rouvali opens a season like no other in the Orchestra’s three-quarters of a century.

A trio of American composers, and one who became an American citizen, rub shoulders in Santtu’s appealing programme. Aaron Copland’s much-loved Appalachian Spring tells the tender, hopeful story of a young couple preparing for their wedding.

Santtu joins the Philharmonia’s percussion section on claves (tuned woodblocks) for Steve Reich’s mesmerizing Music for Pieces of Wood. Florence Price conjures up the Deep South of her childhood in three characterful dances, a Rag, a Slow Drag and a Cakewalk, arranged by her friend William Grant Still.


Where to watch

For audiences in the UK, tickets will be available via TicketCo. Your confirmation email will provide you a unique link to watch the stream

For audiences outside the UK, the concert will be streamed live on IDAGIO’s Global Concert Hall platform.


Will it be available after broadcast?

Yes. The performance will be available for video on demand after broadcast. Look out for ‘Video on demand’ listings on the Philharmonia ‘What’s On’ page

Is this a live performance?

Yes. The stream is completely live

Eric Conway: Theatre Morgan Presents MARISOL by Jorge Rivera, Directed by Reggie Phoenix

Theatre Morgan Presents MARISOL 
by Jorge Rivera
Directed by Reggie Phoenix

Dr. Eric Conway writes:

Hello everyone,

Today, October 30, 2020, Theatre Morgan will premiere MARISOL a play by José Rivera directed by faculty member Reggie Phoenix.  This is an unprecedented performance, as the show will be presented virtually.  This is the first virtual theatrical production by our Theatre Morgan students.  Rather than describe the show, please see link below to a “movie trailer” promoting the production.  Also, see a link to acquire tickets to view the virtual production.  Tickets range from $5 to $50 and all proceeds go to Theatre Morgan scholarship funds in memory of two Theatre Morgan Coordinators:  Dr. Shirley Basfield Dunlap and Clinton Thomas Johnson.  

The show runs from Friday, October 30, 2020 through Saturday November 7 with several showtimes during the day for you to conveniently view.  

Please plan to virtually attend our production of José Rivera’s MARISOL.


Link to trailer:

Link to acquire tickets:

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, October 29, 2020 Southern Symphony Orchestra dedicates concert to the late Haitian composer and flutist Julio Racine (1945-2020)

Julio Racine (February 4, 1945-October 11, 2020)

                          The Southern Symphony Orchestra returns for a 'Caribbean Adventure'

The Southern Symphony Orchestra tuned to their instruments for the “Caribbean Adventure” concert on Friday night, Oct. 23, and played together for their first live performance together since the coronavirus shocked the world.

Each fall, Missouri Southern hosts an internationally themed semester with this year being the Caribbean Semester. Events, guest speakers, and activities focus on the theme each year and the “Caribbean Adventures” concert Friday night followed the theme, paying homage to Caribbean music.

Dr. Canès Nicolas, the Southern Symphony director and conductor, was born and raised in Haiti and shared his cultural influence through the music of the concert in the Caribbean themed program. 


The concert was tenderly dedicated to the late Julio Racine who was a composer, conductor, flutist, teacher, mentor, counselor, and role model to many in his lifetime. He passed away on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky. A moment of silence was observed in his honor before beginning the concert.

He was a reliable advisor and mentor to Dr. Nicholas and encouraged him to advocate for Haitian music and culture in which he did during the Friday night concert.

Is This America?: A New Opera About Fannie Lou Hamer; Panel Discussion by Houston Ebony Opera Guild, Join via Zoom


Join via Zoom: 830 8413 1750

Join us this Saturday, October 31st , at 4:00 p.m. CST, for a lively discussion
centered around a new opera commissioned by Santa Fe Opera's Opera for All
Voices. The piece focuses on the life of Fannie Lou Hamer, her fight for the right
to vote, and getting out the vote in Texas in 2020. All are welcome! Panelists
include: the opera's creative team, Chandler Carter (composer) and Diana
Solomon-Glover (librettist); former TSU Professor of Political Science and former
Director of the Frederick Douglass Honors Institute, Dr. Sanders Anderson;
Santa Fe Opera Director for Community Engagement, Andrea Fellows Fineberg;
and voting rights and Black Lives Matter activist and grand-niece of Fannie Lou
Hamer, LaToya Ratlieff. The conversation will be moderated by Dr. Jason Oby,
Artistic Director of the Houston Ebony Guild, Chairman of The Texas Southern
University Department of Music, and Interim Assistant Dean for Student
Learning Enhancement in the College of Liberal Arts and Behavioral Sciences at
the University.

Houston Ebony Music Society

Houston Ebony Opera Guild

Dr. Jason Oby, Artistic Director

John Malveaux: Colburn School and Sphinx Organization Form Partnership.

Sel Kardan

John Malveaux of writes:

Colburn School and Sphinx Organization Form Partnership.  See  See pic of Sel Kardan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Colburn School.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020 J’Nai Bridges & Ryan McKinny Headline ‘Monuments of Hope’ Video

October 27, 2020

By David Salazar

The Kennedy Center has unveiled the first installment of its “Come, Hope” series, an initiative by the Washington National Opera inspired by Beethoven’s “Fidelio.”

The video, entitled “Monuments of Hope” features mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges and bass-baritone Ryan McKinny performing in front of D.C.’s most iconic monuments including the World War II Memorial, the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Sith & I Historic Synagogue, the Hall of Nations, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, the Islamic Center of Washington, the John F. Kennedy Memorial Center, and Vietnam Women’s Memorial, among others.

John Malveaux: LA Phil Soundstage ( episode 6 -Friday Oct 30, 2020

Kamasi Washington

John Malveaux of writes:

LA Phil Soundstage ( episode 6 -Friday Oct 30, 2020
Kamasi Washington performs an excerpt from his original score to BECOMING: An intimate portrait of Michelle Obama – a new documentary based on the former First Lady’s bestselling memoir.  

John Malveaux: NAACP & CBS production deal

Sheila Ducksworth

John Malveaux of writes:

NAACP & CBS production deal.  See  See pic Sheila Ducksworth

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Lee Sister Songwriters/Poets Receive SFPA Publication

Sister Songwriters and Poets Receive Poetry Recognition in SFPA Publications

(PHILADELPHIA, PA-OCTOBER 27, 2020):  HAZEL ANN LEE, a talented Black American poet, author and librettist, was recently recognized as a poet when her environmental sci-fi poem “Last Seen Sunset” was chosen to be included in the 2020 Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA) Star*Line Magazine Black Poet’s Edition 43.4 issue.  In addition, H.A. Lee’s exciting poem titled “Luna’s Midnight Escape” was chosen by SFPA in their online publication of 2020 Halloween Poetry Reading. Both publications include poems by a highly distinguished group of poets.

CYNTHIA COZETTE (a.k.a. CYNTHIA COZETTE LEE) is a multi-talented Black American contemporary classical composer and poet who also received a distinguished honor from SFPA in having her moving, original poem titled “Visit to Poe’s House” included in the 2020 Halloween Poetry Reading Publication online. Cynthia Cozette, who is H. A. Lee’s younger sister, remarks, “I am deeply honored to have my poem “Visit to Poe’s House” included in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association Annual Poetry Publication.” To hear the MP3 audio recordings of C. Cozette’s poem “Visit to Poe’s House”, H.A. Lee’s “Luna’s Midnight Escape” along with other scary Halloween poems for adults visit the following link and scroll down:


For more information contact the composer, Cynthia Cozette Lee, at Email: or visit her website at:


John Malveaux: PREMIERE performance of a 1941 song by Florence Price on a text by Langston Hughes: the "Monologue for the Working Class"

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

John Malveaux of writes:

PREMIERE performance of a 1941 song by Florence Price on a text by Langston Hughes: the Monologue for the Working ClassDr. Michael Cooper is responsible for this Florence Price revision and numerous other Florence Price and Margaret Bonds new discoveries and revisions.  See


John Malveaux: Tenor Lawrence Brownlee discusses diversity in opera

Lawrence Brownlee

John Malveaux of writes:

Tenor Lawrence Brownlee discusses diversity in opera

Marlon Daniel: I will be featured on the popular show 'Living the Classical Life' this Wednesday October 28 at 3pm EST on Instagram.

 Maestro Marlon Daniel writes:

Dear Friends, Colleagues and Family:

I just wanted to let you know I will be featured on the popular show 'Living the Classical Life'  this Wednesday October 28 at 3pm EST on Instagram.

Monday, October 26, 2020 "On November 14, [Leon Botstein] will lead the Orchestra in the rarely heard Scherzi musicali by Black American composer Ulysses Kay"

Ulysses Kay (1917-1995)

The Orchestra Now (TŌN) has announced the addition of two more symphonic concerts to be livestreamed for free as part of its fall season. On November 1, Music Director and Founder Leon Botstein will conduct a program pairing 20th century works by Schoenberg, Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas, and R. Strauss with Handel’s Water Music; and on November 14, he will lead the Orchestra in the rarely heard Scherzi musicali by Black American composer Ulysses Kay. The concert will also feature Haydn’s Symphony No. 48 and works by Varèse and Hindemith. The livestreamed concerts are free and will be available for streaming after the performances. Frost Symphony opening concert includes William Grant Still's "Darker America" and can be heard on YouTube

William Grant Still (1895-1978)

By Lawrence Budmen

October 25, 2020

Musical conservatories and educational institutions have had to adapt and innovate in the Covid 19 era in order to fulfill their mission. The University of Miami’s Frost School of Music has combined classroom and online learning with livestreamed performances presented before small, socially distanced audience.

On Saturday night, nearly 75 students and faculty members greeted conductor Gerard Schwarz and members of the Frost Symphony Orchestra at UM Gusman Concert Hall. For a critic who has not experienced live music since March, the event was doubly welcome. As usual Schwarz did not disappoint, spotlighting a rarely played work by a significant American composer and leading energetic readings of repertoire staples. (All the musicians and the conductor wore masks, except for the wind and brass players.)

William Grant Still was one of the first major African-American composers to write classical music. He penned over 200 works in virtually every musical medium and form. Darker America, a 12-minute tone poem written in 1924, combines elements of blues and jazz with the uplift of spirituals and sacred hymns. Still’s finely crafted score features introspective solo passages for winds and an active piano line, suggesting his early work as an arranger for big bands and Broadway.

Schwarz commanded tight ensemble and superbly controlled the tricky changes of meter. Even with one player to a stand and the musicians spread out across the stage, he managed to meld a cohesive corporate sonority. String textures were rich and the brass climaxes emerged with visceral impact. Still’s catalogue deserves further investigation and revival, particularly his later more austere efforts.


Saturday’s Frost Symphony Orchestra concert is available for free viewing on YouTube.