Friday, April 16, 2021

Sergio A. Mims: `Wigmore Hall:"In June, during our 120th Anniversary Celebrations, Wigmore Hall’s green room will be renamed the ‘Jessye Norman Green Room’"


 
Sergio A. Mims writes:

The legendary Wigmore Hall concert hall in London has released a statement announcing their the Green Room in the hall will be renamed in honor of the late soprano Jessye Norman this June

"In June, during our 120th Anniversary Celebrations, Wigmore Hall’s green room will be renamed the ‘Jessye Norman Green Room’ in memory of the legendary soprano who opened more Wigmore Hall seasons than any other artist in the history of the Hall"


Thursday, April 15, 2021

Bill Doggett: Adolphus Hailstork is First Prize Winner, 2021 Newly Published Music Awards for Solo Works of 2020: "Yuhwa (The Goddess of the Willow Trees)"


Bill Doggett writes:

Adolphus Hailstork 80th Birthday Celebration News:

Congratulations Dr. Adolphus Hailstork on this newly announced prestigious Award.

"Yuhwa (The Goddess of the Willow Trees)" for solo Flute

Fulcrum Point New Music Project Celebrates Adolphus Hailstork's 80th Birthday Wednesday, April 21 at 7 PM CT on YouTube, Facebook and Sound^Sphere


Fulcrum Point New Music Project writes:

Dear Mr. Zick,

I wanted to alert you that we are celebrating the 80th Birthday of Adolphus Hailstork next week with a streamed concert of string quartet music followed by a live Zoom discussion with Adolphus Hailstork himself, Bill Doggett, and musician Angel Bat Dawid, moderated by Fulcrum Point Artistic Director Stephen Burns.

I'm hoping that you can use the AfriClassical blog to let your readers know about the event. It will be streamed on Wednesday, April 21 at 7 PM CST on Fulcrum Point's YouTube Channel, Facebook page, and Sound^Sphere Facebook group page. Here are the links:


I'm also attaching an image that you can use to accompany the notice.

Established in 1998, Fulcrum Point New Music Project is dedicated to new compositions and explores the nexus of composed, improvised, and folkloric music. In that context, music created by composers of color has always been a core element of our presentations. I will keep you informed of future events, both streamed and, when we all return to normal, concerts in front of audiences.

Kind regards,

Don Macica
Marketing & Communications Manager

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Bill Doggett: You are Invited to Celebrate Adolphus Hailstork@80 April 17th on YouTube at 11:30 AM ET, 8:30 AM PT, 10:30 AM CT, 3:00 PM London

                                                                                              
Adolphus Cunningham Hailstork III

Bill Doggett writes:

A Milestone approaches.

April 17th 2021 marks the 80th birthday of the esteemed American composer,
Adolphus Hailstork
...

Please join us for the premiere of the Birthday Celebration Film with long time colleagues and friends which I executive produced on the YouTube channel of Theodore Presser Music on April 17th.

The film premiere time is 11:30AM ET, 8:30AM PT, 10:30AM CT, 3:30PM London/ https://youtu.be/c99v0cnHpKU Cordially, Bill Doggett

John Malveaux: Michael Cooper lecture at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, “Black Feminism, Margaret Bonds, and the ‘Credo’ of W.E.B. Du Bois” was recorded

Rediscovering Margaret Bonds
Art Songs, Spirituals, Musical Theater and Popular Songs
Louise Toppin, Editor
Videmus African American Art Song Series

John Malveaux of MusicUNTOLD.com writes:

Dr. Michael Cooper lecture March 24, 2021 at the Royal Irish Academy of Music titled “Black Feminism, Margaret Bonds, and the ‘Credo’ of W.E.B. Du Bois” was recorded for posterity. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Iyk4ProIu4


Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Intercultural Music Initiative: Upcoming Events to Share - Streaming in April!

 

Upcoming events to share - Streaming in April!



A very special event, streaming soon on Facebook or on your mobile device,  https://www.facebook.com/interculturalmusicinitiative/posts/4366146370071289


Sugar Hill Salon 2021 Concert #3 is this Sunday April 18th @ 4pm! This month's concert will feature flutist Julietta Curenton and oboist Hassan Anderson! This concert will feature duos and trios by Adolphus Hailstork, Alyssa Morris, Shawn E. Okpebholo, Fred Onovwerosuoke, and Heitor Villa-Lobos. Hope to see you there! 


Wendy Hymes (flute), Hank Skolnick (bassoon), and Mary Bryant (clarinet), - an IMI Season Finale Concerts event streaming soon, right here on our Facebook page, or on your mobile device!  https://www.facebook.com/interculturalmusicinitiative/posts/4366381130047813

Ebonee Thomas (flute), Titus Underwood (oboe), and Alex Laing (clarinet), - an IMI Season Finale Concerts event streaming soon, right here on our Facebook page, or on your mobile device! 

The African Concert Series: Rebeca Omordia in new partnership with Wigmore Hall


 John Gilhooly announces that the African Concert Series is to join the Wigmore Hall’s partnership family.

In the year of the Wigmore Hall’s 120th anniversary, Artistic Director, John Gilhooly has announced that the African Concert Series, spearheaded by the Nigerian-Romanian pianist Rebeca Omordia will be joining the Wigmore Hall’s family of partners. This is an enormous tribute to Rebeca, whose inspiring leadership over the last three years, has brought together brilliant talents from the wide diaspora of African art music, which forms a bridge between Western classical music and traditional African music. Her early CD ‘Ekele’ for Heritage, featuring the piano music of a number of composers from Nigeria, including Ayo Bankole, Fred Onovwerosuoke and Christian Onyeji, proved a hit and prefigured the success of the concert series.

 

Rebeca Omordia is an award-winning pianist of Nigerian-Romanian heritage, being born and raised in Romania during the Ceaușescu regime. After graduating from the National Music University in Bucharest in 2006 she came to this country with a scholarship to study for a Masters at Birmingham Conservatoire, where she won the Delius Prize. It was here that she met up with Julian Lloyd Webber and soon began a very successful partnership with him from 2012 till 2014, performing together at Wigmore Hall and Kings Place.

 

She also collaborated with cellists Raphael Wallfisch, Jiaxin Lloyd Webber and Razvan Suma (with whom she toured the UK and Romania), Chineke!, saxophonist Amy Dickson and pianist Mark Bebbington with whom she recorded piano music by Ralph Vaughan Williams for two pianos, which reached no. 3 in the UK Classical Music Chart. 

 

Antony Barlow, Press and PR

Monday, April 12, 2021

NOBLE Responds to Latest Excessive Force Incidents

National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) Responds to Latest Excessive Force Incidents

Alexandria, VA. – April 12, 2021 – Even as police reform measures are being enacted across many municipalities, as advocacy for reform grows, moreover as our nation is in the very midst of the trial for the death of George Floyd, with evidence and excruciating witness testimony bearing out the circumstances surrounding his death, we continue to be confronted with examples of excessive use of force, lack of transparency and understanding of the precept for police engagement fitting the encounter, and another unfortunate fatality of a citizen of color.

Yes, a complete picture of the events and actions surrounding the vehicle stops of Army 2nd Lt. Caron Nazario and Daunte Wright, which ended tragically, are still being investigated, but it begs the question of how we keep ending up "here?” How do we keep ending with physical force exceeding the perceived infraction? And why?

When will police executives and civic leadership stop having to explain away failures of those determined to flout the tenet of "serve and protect?”

Our thoughts and sincere prayers are with those at the center of these latest tragic circumstances; NOBLE remains committed as a partner for improved relations between public safety and the community, for transparency around deployed actions of force, and as importantly, advocating justice through action.

###

About the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives
Since 1976, The National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) has served as the conscience of law enforcement by being committed to justice by action. NOBLE represents over 3,000 members internationally, who are primarily African American chief executive officers of law enforcement agencies at federal, state, county and municipal levels, other law enforcement administrators, and criminal justice practitioners. For more information, visit www.NOBLENational.org.

SFCV.org: "Black Classical Music History in One Convenient Box": CBS Black Composers Series Reissued by Sony on 10 CDs


Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799)

San Francisco Classical Voice

Richard S. Ginell on April 11, 2021

It’s not news anymore that the day has come for a major emergence of neglected Black composers into the mainstream of concert life. Some of this was underway before George Floyd’s death kicked the Black Lives Matter movement into a higher gear, but now it has become a bandwagon, with one orchestra and small group after another adding historic figures like Florence Price and Julius Eastman and contemporary voices like Jessie Montgomery to their pandemic streams. And a convenient way to get a basic handle on the history of classical music by Black composers is available in one box of 10 CDs.

Let’s go back to the 1970s when some major record labels were still fronted by enlightened visionaries like Goddard Lieberson, who came out of retirement in 1973 to resume his old position as president of Columbia Records after the firing of Clive Davis. It was in Lieberson’s second term that Columbia Masterworks joined up with Afro-American Music Opportunities Organization (AAMOA) to start the Black Composers Series, a sequence of albums that would give major-label exposure to a whole lineup of neglected figures.

Columbia spared nothing to give the project every chance to succeed, enlisting top-flight orchestras — the London Symphony in five of the albums, the Detroit and Baltimore Symphonies and Helsinki Philharmonic in the others — the Juilliard Quartet, violinists Jaime Laredo, Sanford Allen (the first Black member of the New York Philharmonic), and Aaron Rosand, cellist Janos Starker, and the label’s roster of producers and engineers. Paul Freeman, one of just a few working Black conductors of classical music, served as artistic director and conductor. The first four albums in the series came out in March 1974, four more followed in June 1975, and the original plan was to keep on releasing four albums per year through 1978.

Alas, something fell through — funding? disappointing sales? — and only one more album emerged in January 1978, delayed for two years after the recording date (Lieberson had retired for the second and final time in 1975). The series had a rather short shelf life; the last five albums went out of print before the decade was out, while the first four hung on for a while into the 1980s until they, too, got the deletion axe. Decades later, Freeman rerecorded several of the pieces with his Chicago Sinfonietta for Cedille’s smaller-scale, three-volume African Heritage Symphonic series, but otherwise, most of the music returned to obscurity.

It’s hard to imagine any of the three “major” corporate labels coming up with such an adventurous, systematic project today. But Sony — the current owners of the Columbia archive — did the next best thing two years ago by reissuing all nine Black Composers Series albums in a handsome, compact, inexpensive box, adding as a bonus another Freeman album, Symphonic Spirituals, made after the project was over for Columbia’s red pop label.

 What Columbia uncovered here is a little-used, not as carefully maintained highway running parallel to the main expressway of the classical-music repertory, passing through mostly the same neighborhoods, used by the same vehicles (symphony orchestras, choruses, a string quartet, etc.). Now and then, the highway veers off to serve some urban neighborhoods that the main expressway bypasses, but always remaining parallel.

Some musicians and writers have insisted upon calling jazz “Black classical music” — always an aggrandizing misnomer to me; jazz is jazz, and there’s nothing wrong with that — but this box contains literally, and more accurately, Black classical music if we accept the form as music with European roots composed by Black musicians. Not much could be said to be ahead of its time, even the most gnarled modernist pieces — nor out of its time.

Inevitably, the set launches with the first historically significant Black composer, Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, whose delightful Symphony No. 1 is a slice of Haydn classical language that could grace any socially-distanced chamber orchestra program. The Juilliard Quartet performs the Chevalier’s polite String Quartet No. 1 in C; the Symphonie Concertante is given a lush orchestral treatment by Freeman and the LSO; period-performance practices had not yet taken a vise-like grip on all 18th century music performances in the 1970s. Another historical figure based in Europe, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, is represented at his most Romantic in an aria from Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast and at his most light-hearted in the Danse Negre from his African Suite.

As you go through the set, you can find several worthy pieces that can be easily punched into the general repertory by alert impresarios. George Walker’s Trombone Concerto wears well after a number of  listenings, a viable modernist work of considerable contrast and a winning finale (unlike the disagreeably severe Piano Concerto), a gift to curious trombone soloists faced with a dearth of solo material. José Mauricio Nunes Garcia’s Requiem Mass is good enough to substitute for Mozart’s well-trodden Requiem — try a blindfold listening test on people and see who they think wrote it — as Walker’s increasingly-played Lyric for Strings could stand in for Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings.

Roque Cordero wrote his Violin Concerto for Allen, who revels in its abstract, twisting, turning lines, while on the other hand, José White Lafitte’s Violin Concerto is a virtuoso piece straight out of the middle of the 19th century, done to a spectacular turn by Rosand. A greatly underrated violinist with an unshakable dark-colored tone, Rosand, who was white and Jewish, has written that this was the only record that he was allowed to make for Columbia mainly because more famous violinists on the label didn’t want to learn the Concerto due to its technical difficulties. He did not mention racism as a reason. 


Sunday, April 11, 2021

ObserverToday.com: Dr. William Chapman Nyaho is special guest in SUNY Fredonia's Piano Festival Session April 12, 2021; free online registration required for Zoom links

Dr. William Chapman Nyaho


April 11, 2021

A series of virtual experiences celebrating the lives and works of underrepresented composers will be showcased at the State University at Fredonia School of Music’s second annual Robert Jordan Piano Festival during April.

Named in the memory of Professor Emeritus Robert Jordan, who taught at the School of Music from 1980 to 2004, the festival will feature solo and collaborative piano music written by diverse/underrepresented composers, including women, African Americans and members of the LGTBQ community.

All festival events will be virtual and free to the public, but online registration is required to receive Zoom links. The registration link is docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeMjTpQFmbt0AnjHzgRp3y9kxcTxgmQW638LwZxfOuvfkX4Kw/viewform

***
Special guest William Chapman Nyaho will be featured in the festival’s first session, “In and Out of Africa: Exploring Piano Music of Africa and its Diaspora,” on Monday, April 12, at 7 p.m. Dr. Nyaho, who teaches at Pacific Lutheran University, will discuss the diversity of styles of piano music, the influences of traditional musical forms, such as dance, jazz and blues, as well as Western European compositional practices on compositions in Africa and African diaspora.

Fr. Sean Duggan, SUNY Fredonia School of Music professor, said he considers Nyaho, who he knew when both were living in Louisiana, to be a wonderful pianist and musician who has been doing the musical world a great service by bringing together wonderful piano compositions by various underrepresented composers.

“His excellent five-volume anthology published by Oxford University Press, ‘Piano Music of Africa and the African Diaspora,’ is going to be a featured part of his presentation in our festival,” said Duggan, coordinator of the Piano Area. 

BostonHerald.com: "Work of slavery-era composer gets new life from Handel and Haydn Society" - Jonathan Woody's version of Sancho's music streams 4/18 & 4/20

Jonathan Woody
(Keith Race Design, Photo Courtesy of Handel and Haydn Society)

Ignatius Sancho: An African Man of Letters

Reyahn King et al.
National Portrait Gallery of the U.K. (1997)





April 11, 2021

When the Handel and Haydn Society began in 1815, America was still four decades away from abolishing slavery. H+H would play concerts to support the Union Army, celebrate the Emancipation Proclamation and mourn the death of Abraham Lincoln. But H+H’s upcoming world premiere of a newly commissioned work by composer Jonathan Woody marks a profound milestone.

“The source material (for the commission) came from a formerly enslaved Black man, and I have a personal connection to that as a descendant of enslaved people in the United States,” Woody told the Herald. “It’s important to tell this story on a stage like Handel and Haydn’s stage.”

“Handel and Haydn was founded in 1815 in a United States that was still in the practice of enslaving Black bodies,” he added ahead of the April 18 and April 20 streaming concert. “For an organization to have lived that long and to find itself in the 21st century programming work by a living Black composer based on the work by a Black composer from the time of slavery, I think there is something special about that and important about that. I wish it had happened sooner, but I’m glad it’s happening now.”

Woody, who is also an in-demand soloist as a singer, composed his commission, Suite for String Orchestra, based on works by Charles Ignatius Sancho (1729–1780). Born on a ship carrying enslaved people, Sancho was sold into slavery in a Spanish colony in South America. As an adult, Sancho lived in England as a free man, becoming an abolitionist, composer and business owner, and is considered the first Black man to vote in a British election and the first person of African descent to publish classical music.

“I find his life very fascinating, especially the fact that he was the first Black man to have voting rights in a British parliamentary election because he was a property owner,” Woody said. “He made history for something as mundane and quotidian as owning a bookshop.”

Sancho’s dynamic achievements extended to music, but as a composer he left behind no great opuses, no grand symphonies or operas. This made turning his pieces into something fitting for H+H a challenge, a welcome one, for Woody.

***

For details on this streaming concert, go to handelandhaydn.org.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

International Florence Price Festival: Register Now for PriceFest 2021!

Florence B. Price (1887-1953)

We are excited to announce our registration page 
<
https://www.pricefest.org/register>

 is now open for PriceFest 2021 (August 20-23, 2021)!
 

Your registration will give you access to exclusive content including:

  • Green Room meetings with our featured artists
  • Live Zoom performances and presentations, and

  • Interactive chat rooms 
     

To register for PriceFest 2021, you must:

  • Fill out the registration form on pricefest.org/register

  • Click “Register” then click "Pay Registration Fee"

  • Select the appropriate registration fee, making sure the information on both forms matches.

    • Student Registration Fee: FREE (must include link to picture of Student ID)

    • Presenter Registration Fee: $25

    • General Registration Fee: $50

Registered attendees will receive an email with a link to our password-protected festival page later in the summer.

We at PriceFest work hard to keep the festival affordable. Please help us spread the word by sharing this flyer on social media and posting about your registration using the hashtag #newblackrenaissance or #PriceFest2021.

Friday, April 9, 2021

ParmaRecordings.com: "Eleanor Alberga explores the whole gamut of the human experience in WILD BLUE YONDER"

Album: WILD BLUE YONDER
Artist: Eleanor Alberga
Label: Navona Records
Release Date: April 23, 2021

"Eleanor Alberga explores the whole gamut of the human experience in  WILD BLUE YONDER, an equally diverse and coherent set of four contemporary chamber music pieces. While written over the course of twenty-two years, these pieces burst the limits of both space and time. No-Man’s-Land Lullaby reaches back over a century to World War I; Shining Gate of Morpheus enters the realm of the mystical; Succubus Moon explores the dark sides of the  human psyche; and The Wild Blue Yonder offers a glimpse into a world that is at once alien and  wonderful. Undauntedly, positively unsettling album; perfect listening for these unsettling times and a worthy addition to the much hailed album of Alberga's three string quartets from 2019."

Release Date: April 23, 2021

Catalog #: NV6346

Format: Physical & Digital

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=756U2qejQyU&t=4s


Thursday, April 8, 2021

TheHill.com - Opinion: Aaron Dworkin: Black and Latinx arts community still left behind after stimulus

Aaron P. Dworkin


While the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) received $135 million in the American Rescue Plan, arts organizations that depend on live audiences are still struggling with how to reopen following COVID-19. That is, if they survive at all. If America’s famed concert halls and theaters have suffered immense budget shortfalls and faced layoffs, imagine the state of hundreds of regional symphonies, operas, dance companies, playhouses and more. Around 2.7 million arts workers are still currently unemployed, with many forced to leave their fields of music, dance, poetry and more to make ends meet with other jobs.

Just as Black and Latinx people are being hit hardest by COVID-19 from the health toll to economic impact, it is these arts professionals, and the organizations who support them through scholarships, grants, education and performance opportunities, that are in the most financial distress. For organizations without strong endowments, wealthy boards and donors, the threat of permanent closure due to the pandemic is imminent.

Dove Award and NAACP Image Award Producer and Recording Artist Damien Sneed Returns to His Roots with Gospel-Soul Set ‘Damien Sneed UNPLUGGED’


(New York, NY – April 8, 2021) – Dove Award and NAACP Image Award producer and recording artist Damien Sneed returns to his Gospel roots with the release of his brand-new project, Damien Sneed UNPLUGGED on Friday, April 16, 2021, on his boutique label, LeChateau Earl Records. UNPLUGGED is a collection of soulful and inspirational songs, recorded in a free-form, spare studio setting with Sneed on piano and vocals alongside several noted vocalists, including Chenee Campbell, Linny Smith, Tiffany Stevenson, and Matia Washington.

To coincide with the release of UNPLUGGED, on April 16, the Washington Performing Arts’ Home Delivery Plus will broadcast Sneed as the headlining artist. The Home Delivery Plus concert will be recorded at Washington, D.C.’s historic Lincoln Theatre. Sneed will focus on the gospel side of his repertoire, leading a virtuosic ensemble of vocalists and instrumentalists with a special guest appearance by Stellar Gospel Music Award-winning artist Tasha Page-Lockhart, who has a string of Billboard chart-topping recordings to her credit. She is also a past winner of BET Network’s “Sunday Best,” a gospel-singing competition show. Sneed’s forthcoming album, UNPLUGGED, will be released on all digital retail and streaming platforms (click the link here). 
 
UNPLUGGED reunites Sneed with singers whose careers he has seen grow over the years and with whom he has strong relationships. “I’m super proud of this album because all of the singers have grown up in the industry,” Sneed explains. “They all sing with major artists and they’re all artists in their own right.” Though most of the songs were previously recorded by Sneed, they were not previously rehearsed by the ensemble, and most are recorded in two parts to extend the improvisational feel. “We wanted people to just hear the raw execution of what just happened in the studio. We have never done that before. We just went in the studio saying, ‘No rehearsals whatsoever,’” says Sneed.
 
The project is the first studio album under Sneed’s name to be entirely within the gospel genre and bears similarities to his 2015 double-disc project, Broken To Minister: The Deluxe Edition. Sneed won both a 2020 Dove Award and a 2021 NAACP Image Award as a producer for the album’s title single, “Broken To Minister,” which was also recorded by The Clark Sisters’ on their award-winning project, The Return, released on March 13, 2020. 
 
Weaving their incredible voices into intuitive and wholly unrehearsed harmonies at New York’s AlJo Studios in Queens, Sneed and his singers infuse the traditional spiritual “Oh, Freedom” and previously recorded tunes like “Still Small Voice” and “Broken to Minister” with incandescent fervor. Sneed chose to record “Oh Freedom” as a direct response to the unjust killing of George Floyd and support of the Black Lives Matter movement. “In the Black church, gospel music was also big for protests and reconciliations, focused social chains,” he explains. “I was just bringing back the significance of what gospel and the church stood for in civil rights.”
 
While Sneed and his singers and musicians were nervous about the coronavirus, they stepped out on faith by recording together in a single room, thrilled at the opportunity to create once more after so many pandemic shutdowns stopped them from performing live. The joy of their collaboration is evident in every note. “We were a little scared,” Sneed admits, “but we trusted each other.”
 
As a multi-genre recording artist and instrumentalist, Damien Sneed is a pianist, vocalist, organist, composer, conductor, arranger, producer, and arts educator whose work spans multiple genres. He has also worked with jazz, classical, pop, and R&B legends, including the late Aretha Franklin and Jessye Norman, and is featured on Norman’s final recording, Bound For The Promised Land. He also worked with Wynton Marsalis, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Ashford & Simpson, J’Nai Bridges, Lawrence Brownlee, Brandie Inez Sutton, and many others. Sneed has served as music director for Grammy Award-winning gospel artists The Clark Sisters, Richard Smallwood, Donnie McClurkin, Hezekiah Walker, Marvin Sapp, Karen Clark Sheard, Dorinda Clark-Cole, and Kim Burrell, among others. 
 
Sneed is also the founder and artistic director of Chorale Le Chateau, which has gained a global reputation for its vivid interpretations of vocal literature, from Renaissance period pieces to art songs to jazz, spirituals, gospel, and avant-garde contemporary music. His other recordings include Classically Harlem (which commemorated the centennial of the Harlem Renaissance (1920-2020), Jazz in Manhattan (September 2019), and Damien Sneed: We Shall Overcome (January 2019), Broken to Minister: The Deluxe Edition (March 2015), Spiritual Sketches (June 2013), and Introspections LIVE (January 2010).
 
Sneed is featured in Aaron Dworkin’s new book, The Entrepreneurial Artist: Lessons from Highly Successful Creatives (December 4, 2019). The book also features Emmy Award-winning actor Jeff Daniels, Tony Award-winning choreographer Bill T. Jones, and Pulitzer Prize winners Wynton Marsalis and Lin-Manuel Miranda, among others. The Entrepreneurial Artist explores lessons of love, sacrifice, loss, despair, perseverance, and triumph.
 
The Sphinx Medal of Excellence recipient is also featured in the award-winning PBS documentary Everyone Has a Place, which stars Wynton Marsalis. The film captures Sneed’s journey as the musical conductor of the historic performance of Marsalis’ “Abyssinian Mass,” which was performed by the world-renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Sneed’s 70-piece Chorale LeChateau.
 
In 2019, Sneed joined the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music, where he teaches graduate-level courses in conducting, African American Music History, a singer/songwriter ensemble, a gospel music ensemble, and private lessons in piano, voice, and composition. A graduate of John S. Davidson Fine Arts School in his hometown of Augusta, GA., Sneed studied at some of the finest conservatories and universities, including Howard University, where he earned a Bachelor of Music – Piano Performance; the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University; New York University, where he earned a Master of Music in Music Technology: Scoring for Film and Multimedia; and the Manhattan School of Music. Sneed will graduate with his doctorate in Orchestral Conducting from USC in 2021. Sneed was a member of the faculty at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and Nyack College.
 
His other professional affiliations have included The Juilliard School as a staff accompanist, Jazz at Lincoln Center as an artistic consultant, and the City University of New York (CUNY) as a professor of music. In 2015, Sneed established the Damien Sneed Performing Arts Institute, a division of the Damien Sneed Foundation.
 
In 2019 and 2020, Sneed embarked on two 40-city North American tours, “We Shall Overcome: A Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., featuring Damien Sneed.” In honor of Dr. King, Sneed delivered his brand of classical, jazz, and sanctified soul to venues across the country during MLK’s holiday, Black History Month, and Women’s History Month. 
 
For more information on Damien Sneed and LeChateau Earl Records, go to www.damiensneed.com and www.lechateauearl.com.

Parma Recordings: Demondrae Thurman's New Digital Album "Sound & Light" Displays the Euphonium's Range and Tone

Demondrae Thurman

Sound & Light
Demondrae Thurman, Euphonium
Kathryn Fouse, Piano
Navona Records
Release Date: March 26, 2021
Catalog #: NV6339
Format: Digital

Parma Recordings writes:

"Last month we released Demondrae Thurman's album SOUND & LIGHT, an excellent addition to the world of euphonium. Thurman is a powerful performer, with a long career in the music world, including performances with The Temptations to conducting full orchestras.

"Currently, Thurman is Professor of Music at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. The position was created for him to utilize his specific skills and expertise in euphonium and brass chamber music. He also serves on the faculty of Samford University and has given masterclasses and clinics at many of the world's leading colleges and universities for low brass."

"For more than a century, the euphonium went underutilized as a solo instrument, with generations of composers overlooking its surprising range and rich, room-filling tone. In the latter half of the 20th century however, classical composers took interest in the formidable instrument and it evolved from a band staple to a stand-alone tool of artistic expression.

"On SOUND AND LIGHT, Demondrae Thurman wields the euphonium to further expand its repertoire and cement its graceful power into the minds of composers of solos and orchestral works alike. Playing works written by five close friends, Thurman wholly dedicates himself to unlocking the musical mysteries of every measure and fully exploring the instrument’s potential. 

"SOUND AND LIGHT features accompaniment by pianist Kathryn Fouse and new works by Barbara York, Doug Bristol, Anne Victorino d'Almeida, Patrick Schulz, and Anthony Barfield.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

OperaWire.com: Tulsa Opera Adds Performance of ‘Greenwood Overcomes’ on May 2, 2021 at 2:30 p.m. CT


OperaWire

David Salazar

April 7, 2021

Tulsa Opera has announced an additional performance of its “Greenwood Overcomes” program on May 2, 2021 at 2:30 p.m. CT.

The program is also being performed on Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. That first showcase will be streamed on the company’s official website. In a press release, the company cited “high demand” as the reason for adding its second performance.

The showcase, which aims to commemorate the centennial of the Tulsa Race Massacre, was curated by Met Opera pianist and Assistant Conductor Howard Watkins and Tulsa Opera Artistic Director Tobias Picker and features music by 23 Black composers performed by Black artists. Among the performers are mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves, soprano Leah Hawkins, soprano Leona Mitchell, tenor Issachah Savage, tenor Noah Stewart, mezzo-soprano Krysty Swann, bass Kevin Thompson, and bass-baritone Davóne Tines.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Rebeca Omordia "Ekele" Concert Review by Clive Rubin, Cape Town, Republic of South Africa

Rebeca Omordia

Eni Fashanu sends this review:

In appreciation: The African Concert Series - "EKELE: Piano Music by African Composers" with Rebeca Omordia 

By Clive Rubin, Cape Town, RSA

It was a real pleasure to be able to listen in, despite the prospect of disturbing and worrisome news, that never stops yet fortunately couldn’t interrupt or delay this recital. Thank you for allowing us all to be, briefly, transported and elevated to a higher plane, and concentrate on something altogether more surprising ; the beauty and precision of Rebeca Omordia’s concert pianist's hands. Rebeca Omordia’s hands interpreted and in turn lent grace, poise, levity, dexterity and intensity to works that I have never heard before. In the soundest tradition of inherited culture, that can never be allowed to disappear, Ms Omordia brought back the music of Ayodele Bankole, quite literally, back to life and it was live too. Ms Omordia's concentration and performing without sheet music also had me transfixed and in awe. There were no distractions, not even the rapid turning of the score, all my attention was drawn to Ms Omordia, her perfect memory and her power of interpretation and transposition, delivered via the piano through all ten strong, enamel painted fingers that channelled and coursed up and down releasing as improbable as it may sound, triumphant, at turns baleful, pure, melodic, at other times, loud, alarming and complex composition, ideas and thoughts. If only we could have added the one absent feature A standing ovation. Bravo.
 
Please accept my thanks for introducing and providing a respite and allowing us to tune in to a concert that was a premiere and truly, for most and even the seasoned, a first.

 

John Malveaux: Duke Ellington: "Echoes of Harlem" – Ryan Anthony, trumpet & Arthur Houle, piano

Arthur Houle

John Malveaux of MusicUNTOLD.com writes:

Duke Ellington: Echoes of Harlem – Ryan Anthony, trumpet & Arthur Houle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVAxIeABEYg.  See pic Arthur Houle

Monday, April 5, 2021

American Lyric Theater Announces Expansion of the Composer Librettist Development Program (CLDP) to Address Issues of Access and Equity


 2021-22 Program Open to Artists Across the Country
 
Program to be Delivered through a Combination of Virtual Workshops and In-Person Residencies in New York City with Travel and Housing Provided
 
Each Artist Accepted into the Program to Receive a $20,000 Stipend
 
Applications Open Now Through April 30, 2021

NEW YORK, NY – March 18, 2021 – Today, American Lyric Theater (ALT) announced significant changes to its flagship Composer Librettist Development Program (CLDP), the only full-time, multi-year professional mentorship initiative for opera composers, librettists and dramaturgs in the country. The application period for the 2021-22 season of the CLDP is now open, with applications being accepted online through April 30th.  Three composers and three librettists will be accepted to the new cycle of the CLDP, which begins in September 2021. There is no fee to apply for the program.  Accepted artists will be announced in June.
 
Through the CLDP, ALT offers a unique combination of training and direct financial support as artists develop their unique voices as writers for the opera stage. To increase access to the program for artists from across the country, ALT will be offering the CLDP this season through a combination of virtual classes and workshops, and four in-person residency periods in New York City for which ALT will provide travel and housing. In addition, to further address issues of racial equity and access, ALT will provide a $20,000 stipend to each artist accepted into the program to assist with their expenses during the 2021-22 season; and all artists who complete the first year of the CLDP core-curriculum will be commissioned by ALT to write an opera under the auspices of the program, with increased commission fees paid to each artist as their works are developed in partnerships between ALT and other opera companies across the country. Application information and additional details about the CLDP may be found at www.altnyc.org/composer-librettist-development-program
 
The CLDP embraces musical storytellers from diverse backgrounds and features a unique curriculum of classroom training and hands-on workshops with some of the country’s leading working artists. Under the direction of ALT’s Founder and stage director Lawrence Edelson and recently appointed Associate Artistic Director and conductor Kelly Kuo, principal faculty mentors for the new cycle of the CLDP, will include Edelson and Kuo, as well as composer/librettist Mark Adamo, librettist Mark Campbell, composer Anthony Davis, dramaturg Cori Ellison, and a host of internationally acclaimed guest artists.  
 
As a part of the company’s ongoing commitment to building a new body of operatic repertoire that reflects the racial diversity of contemporary American society, ALT is particularly invested in fostering talented artists whose perspective has been historically underrepresented in opera. To codify and continue that commitment, American Lyric Theater this year launched the Opera Writers Diversity and Representation Initiative (OWDARI), a strategic framework adopted by ALT to address racial justice in its contributions to the opera field and increase participation by artists of diverse racial and artistic backgrounds in the CLDP.
 
“It is essential that we provide a platform for BIPOC artists to create new works and help them tell stories that are meaningful to them,” says composer Jorge Sosa, a CLDP Alum, OWDARI Advisory Council Member, and 2021 CLDP Guest Lecturer. “Relevance in the arts will be directly linked to diversity and equity in years to come. It is an exciting time for the art form as it expands its color palette. The CLDP provides not only training but a meeting place for artists that share the same goals. It has provided me with great opportunities, contacts, and access to collaborators who have in many cases become lifelong artistic partners.”
 
Addressing the changes to the CLDP this season, ALT’s Founder, Artistic and General Director Lawrence Edelson explains that “the OWDARI was the catalyst for us creating our free online Opera Writers Symposium this winter, and the response to that program has been overwhelming. Over 400 composers and librettists from across the country have participated in these seminars to date, making it clear to us that there are not only writers from diverse backgrounds living coast to coast who are interested in opera as a way to tell their stories through music, but also a real hunger for what we offer at ALT. We decided to adapt the CLDP into a hybrid program for the upcoming season – combining online classes and workshops with in-person residency periods in New York City –  to open up this opportunity for artists regardless of where they live.”
 
“The increased stipend this season is another concrete action we have taken to increase access to the program,” added Associate Artistic Director Kelly Kuo. “The CLDP is a significant time commitment, and meaningful financial support makes it possible for artists to dedicate more time to their writing and their art.”
 
For those considering applying to the CLDP or interested in learning more about writing for the opera stage, registration is still available for ALT’s free, CLDP Opera Writers Symposium open now through April 24. Upcoming Symposium seminars include Opera, Technology and Innovation, led by composers Kamala Sankaram and Jorge Sosa; From Erased to Self-Empowered: Celebrating BIPOC Opera Composers and Librettists led by Kelly Kuo; How to Have a Happy Marriage: Collaboration Best Practices, led by Lawrence Edelson and Cori Ellison; and Writing Opera and the Law, led by entertainment lawyer James Kendrick.  Upcoming speakers during the symposium include CLDP guest faculty including composers Missy Mazzoli, Daniel Bernard Roumain, Huang Ruo and Errollyn Wallen; and librettists Stephanie Fleischmann, David Henry Hwang, Andrea Davis Pinkney, and Royce Vavrek
 
The Composer Librettist Development Program at American Lyric Theater is made possible with generous leadership support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.