Saturday, June 5, 2021

Amsterdam News: Classical composer creates concert commemorating Tulsa Massacre [streaming on Juneteenth at 7 PM]

Adolphus Hailstork
(Provided by Rose Grace)

June 3, 2021

Nadine Mathews

I don’t know how you ignore tragedy, I don’t know how you ignore three-hundred years of slavery. I don’t know how you just turn your head. I’m not that kind of person,” classical composer Adolphus Hailstork tells the Amsterdam News in an interview to promote th“e upcoming streaming concert “Tulsa 1921 (Pity These Ashes, Pity This Dust.” This was the response of the multi-award winner and Fulbright recipient when asked about some of the things that inspire and compel him when he sits down to compose.

Hailstork was commissioned by the Harlem Chamber Players to create a piece commemorating the upcoming centennial of the Tulsa Massacre, in which a mob of whites attacked the prosperous Black community of in Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Greenwood district, or Black Wall Street. Hundreds I of Black people were killed, and the buildings burned to the ground. Many of the survivors left. Those who stayed and tried to rebuild, encountered strong opposition by Tulsa government officials. The piece, which shares its name with the concert itself, will be performed virtually on Juneteenth at 7 p.m.

The operatic retelling of the Tulsa Race Massacre will feature mezzo-soprano , and is part of a larger program of works by Black composers, including , and . The concert will be presented in partnership with , , and the .

Hailstork describes the piece as “a concert aria created for mezzo soprano, string, harp and percussion.” Its libretto was written by Hailstork’s longtime collaborator Dr. Herbert Martin. “He took the approach of a grief-stricken woman who has just held her dying mother in her arms,” Hailstork explains.

After the character’s mother dies, she walks through a charred Tulsa, lamenting the injustice. “At the end,” says Hailstork, “she asks that the people who have died be honored,” and that the survivors “strive to go on. That’s what he wrote and that’s what I was glad to set.”

Among some of Hailstork’s most critically acclaimed works are those that salute historical figures such as the opera “Rise For Freedom” for abolitionist John Parker, who helped slaves escape to Ohio, the song cycle “Three Dunbar Hymns” in honor of poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar, “Hercules,” a tone poem for George Washington’s famed chef, the opera “Joshua’s Boots,” about Black cowboys, and the funeral piece “Epitaph for a Man who Dreamed” for Martin Luther King Jr. The Howard University graduate, who also trained with the legendary composition teacher Nadia Boulanger, has also created works in honor of Paul Robeson and novelist Zora Neale Hurston.


John Malveaux: African American Music Month omits, neglects, or denies the history and accomplishments by African Americans in classical music and opera

George Walker (1922-2018)

John Malveaux of writes:

JUNE marks African American Music Month, also known as Black Music Month, in the United States. The heritage month, originally known as Black Music Month, was started in 1979 by President Jimmy Carter. It was later commemorated with its current name by President Barack Obama, who proclaimed it a month "to dance, to defend our country's enduring promise of freedom and opportunity for all.” See

African American Music Month intentionally or inadvertently omits, neglects, or denies the history and accomplishments by African Americans in classical music and opera.

See pics Pulitzer Prize composer George Walker and Grammy Soprano Latonia Moore.

Similarly, the annual NAACP Image Awards does not include categories that heighten awareness of African American achievements in classical and opera genres.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Sergio A. Mims: Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Violin Concerto on WHPK-FM Chicago July 6

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912)

Sergio A. Mims writes:


On my weekly classical music program on Tuesday July 6 I will be broadcasting Samuel Coleridge Taylor's Violin Concerto in G Minor along with Mahler Symphony No. 6.

The recording of the violin concerto will be the highly praised Hyperion recording with violinist Anthony Marwood with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Martyn Brabbins.

As always my show can be heard 12 Noon to 3PM (CDT) on WHPK-FM locally in Chicago in 88.5FM and livestream worldwide on


Dr. Rochelle Sennet: "Bach to Black: Suites for Piano" 3-disc recording released on Albany Records TROY 1869-71


Bach To Black
Suites For Piano

Rochelle Sennet

Dr. Rochelle Sennet is Associate Professor of Piano at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  She writes:

Dear Bill,

I write to let you know that my 3-disc set of “Bach to Black: Suites for Piano” was released on Albany Records (#TROY 1869-71) on June 1st.  The recording includes the complete English Suites by J.S. Bach, as well as six additional suites by five Black composers: Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, R. Nathaniel Dett, H. Leslie Adams, Jeffrey Mumford, and Frederick Tillis.  The recording is also available through all major digital music streaming platforms, such as Amazon Digital

Also, a short “sneak peek” YouTube video from one of the recording sessions is available here.

Excerpt from the liner notes:  “The title of this recording is intended to encourage conversation regarding the often-misunderstood topics of inclusion and equity in Classical music. Bach to Black represents my strong interest in performing repertoire by Black composers in combination with works of Johann Sebastian Bach. The suites included on this recording represent beauty, excellence, contrast, celebration of dance style, and dialogue. The targeted audience: those who enjoy music by a variety of Black com- posers, those who enjoy the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, those have not yet been exposed to music of Black composers or J.S. Bach, and those who fall into more than one category. I welcome the opportunity to spread the message that everyone deserves to be included in the Classical music space regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, or cultural background.”

Thank you again, and I hope all is well!


Rochelle Sennet

Thursday, June 3, 2021

John Malveaux: 2011 JUNETEENTH Celebration at Long Beach Performing Arts Center featured a recital by Mezzo-Soprano Denyce Graves and Laura Ward

John Malveaux of writes

The June  19, 2011 JUNETEENTH Celebration presented by Long Beach Central Area Association/MusicUNTOLD at Long Beach Performing Arts Center featured a recital by Mezzo-Soprano Denyce Graves with collaborator Laura Ward. See KABC Leo Stallworth was host and recognized as 2011 JUNETEENTH Father of The Year. Please see Denyce Graves and Laura Ward perform DEEP RIVER in a different venue

Sergio A. Mims: BLACK OPERA LIVE to celebrate 1st Anniversary!

Sergio A. Mims forwards this announcement:

Tune-in JUNE 7th for this SPECIAL EVENT!


Join us on Monday, June 7th at 7pm EDT as Kenneth wraps up the first year of Black Opera Live with a special anniversary episode. Featuring 5 surprise guests, you don't want to miss this one! Come and celebrate this incredible year of talent! 

This will be the final live episode of the season before Kenneth takes a summer hiatus to focus on his performance schedule, which includes preparing for his Metropolitan Opera debut in October as Lawyer Fraser in Porgy and Bess.

Black Opera Live will return with new episodes in September. 



It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since 

Grammy-award winner Kenneth Overton 

premiered the first Black Opera Live 

webcast with guest Nicole Heaston on 

June 1st, 2020. And what a year it’s 


Throughout the pandemic, Kenneth has 

hosted the weekly live episodes with a 

guest list of America's most celebrated 

Black classical artists and opera 

performers, at all stages of their careers.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021 2 PM ET June 6 "Carlos Simon’s moving work, 'Portrait of a Queen,' which traces the evolution of Black people in America"

National Philharmonic at Strathmore

Co-sponsored by Julie and Ray Pangelinan

Julius Wirth, viola
Aundi Marie Moore, narrator

Eduardo Alonso-Crespo, Concerto for Viola op. 17
Carlos Simon, Portrait of a Queen

First on this program is Eduardo Alonso-Crespo's Concerto for Viola featuring National Philharmonic's Principal Violist, Julius Wirth. Afterwards, we'll be performing Carlos Simon’s moving work, Portrait of a Queen, which traces the evolution of Black people in America through the lens of one figurative Black woman who represents strength, courage, and selflessness. Dramatic spoken word, written by Courtney D. Ware, poetically expresses the thoughts and feelings of the protagonist, enhancing her musical portrait.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

DC Metro HBCU Alumni Alliance, Inc.: Remembering the 1921 Tulsa Massacre

On the morning of May 31, 1921, the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was a thriving Black community. By noon on June 1, it wasn't.

Over the course of roughly 24 hours, a White mob, set off by a dubious accusation and abetted by members of the Tulsa County Sheriff's Department and the Oklahoma National Guard, obliterated the uniquely prosperous area beloved as Black Wall Street.

As many as 300 people were killed, according to the Tulsa Historical Society and Museum, and thousands were left homeless.