Friday, January 31, 2014

Charles Kaufmann of Longfellow Chorus: Longfellow Student Work Sheds Light on Hiawatha at Maine Historical Society Lecture, February 27, 7PM

[Rev. John Heckenwelder (1743-1823), author of "Account of the History, Manners, and Customs of the Indian Nations who once inhabited Pennsylvania and the Neighboring States," (1818), a book from which young Henry Wadsworth Longfellow borrowed liberally in "English Dialogue Between an English Emigrant and a North American Savage," (1823).]
The Longfellow Chorus
Portland, MaineFebruary 1, 2014

Alas! The sky is overcast with dark and blustering 
clouds! The rivers run with blood, but never, never 
will we suffer the grass to grow upon our war 
path! And now I do remember, that the Initiate 
prophet in my earlier years told from his dreams, 
that all our race should fall like withered leaves 
when Autumn strips the forest! Lo! I hear 
sighing and sobbing! ‘tis the death song of a 
mighty nation, -- the last requiem over the 
 grave of the fallen.
—from "Dialogue Between an English Emigrant 
and a North American Savage," Henry 
Wadsworth Longfellow. 1823.

At 7 PM, February 27, at the Maine Historical Society 
in Portland, I will be joined by Betsy Sholl, former 
Poet Laureate of Maine, and John Bear Mitchell
co-director of the Wabanaki Center and lecturer in 
Wabanaki Studies at the University of Maine in Orono, 
for a special lecture and reception celebrating the 
207th birthday of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

This fascinating program will recreate a little-known 
student text by Longfellow, English Dialogue Between 
an English Emigrant and a North American Savage 
(1823), which is a transcript of a debate that 17-year-
old Longfellow took part in with a fellow student, 
James W. Bradbury, for the Bowdoin College Junior 
Exhibition, December 10, 1823. In this debate, 
Bradbury presented the views of a seventeenth-century 
English Emigrant in war-torn colonial New England; 
Longfellow took on the opposing role of a Native warrior.

This was the first time Longfellow experimented with 
ideas and themes that would eventually become The 
Song of Hiawatha (1854). As a young man growing 
up in Portland, and spending time in rural Hiram, 
Maine, with its rich native tribal history associated with 
ancient villages along the Saco River, Longfellow had 
long been captivated by the history of Maine's Wabanaki 

In our presentation, Betsy Sholl will read the part of 
"English Emigrant" -- as well as recite several 
additional poems; John Bear Mitchell will reenact 
the part of "North American Savage," and share 
thoughts and perspectives from the point of view of 
a contemporary Penobscot Nation tribal member.

A Q&A session will follow this engrossing and 
thoughtful presentation, as well as a reception with 
birthday cake.

Will Maine Historical Society find a way to fit 207 
candles on that cake?

See you there.

Charles Kaufmann, Artistic Director
The Longfellow Chorus
PO Box 5133
Portland, Maine 04101

'Living the Dream...Singing the Dream', A Choral Tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. at Kennedy Center Concert Hall, 7 PM Sunday, February 16, 2014

Thursday, January 30, 2014 Violinist Jessie Montgomery wins $50,000 grant for "tribute to the 200th anniversary of the 'Star-Spangled Banner.'”

Jessie Montgomery

Detroit News

January 29, 2014

Detroiter wins prestigious Joyce Award

Violinist and composer Jessie Montgomery, who’s worked with Detroit’s Sphinx Organization for years, has won $50,000 from the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation to create an original musical composition.

The grant will be used to write and produce “Banner!” — a tribute to the 200th anniversary of the “Star-Spangled Banner.” The Sphinx Virtuosi will premiere “Banner!” in October, and then take it on their organization’s national tour. The composition reportedly will draw from rock, jazz and folk influences.

Montgomery is one of four African-American women from the Midwest who won grants and plan to contribute to dance, theater and classical music.

POV’s ‘American Promise’ Explores Race, Class and Opportunity, Monday, Feb. 3, 2014 During Black History Month

Seun Summers (Credit: Conrad Louis-Charles)

Groundbreaking Film Follows Two African-American Boys on a 13-Year Journey

American Promise spans 13 years as Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson, middle-class African-American parents in Brooklyn, N.Y., turn their cameras on their son, Idris, and his best friend, Seun, who make their way through Dalton, one of the most prestigious private schools in the country. Chronicling the boys’ divergent paths from kindergarten through high school graduation, this provocative, intimate documentary presents complicated truths about America’s struggle to come of age on issues of race, class and opportunity.

American Promise, winner of a Special Jury Award at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, has its national broadcast premiere on Monday, Feb. 3, 2014 at 10 p.m. on the award-winning POV (Point of View) documentary series on PBS. (Check local listings.) Watch the film on POV's website,, from Feb. 4- March 6, 2014. 

Coinciding with the documentary, Spiegel & Grau has published PROMISES KEPT: Raising Black Boys to Succeed in School and in Life, by Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson with Hilary Beard. Where American Promise raises provocative questions, Promises Kept delivers answers, combining insights Joe and Michèle derived from their own experiences with the latest research on closing the black male achievement gap.

American Promise is part of American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, a public media initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to help communities identify and implement solutions to improve high school graduation rates. Public television stations around the country are planning events to engage their communities in dialogue around key issues and solutions raised in the film. Read more.
“All American families want to give their children the opportunity to succeed. But the truth is, opportunity is just the first step, particularly for families raising black boys. We hope American Promise shines a light on these issues, ” says Stephenson. Adds Brewster, “Our goal is to empower boys, their parents and educators to pursue educational opportunities, especially to help close the black male achievement gap.”

In addition to streaming the full film online, POV's interactive websitefeatures an original video series about black male achievement, an excerpt from the book PROMISES KEPT, interviews with the filmmakers, graphics to share on social media and guides for bringing the film into the classroom and community.

American Promise is a co-production of Rada Film Group, ITVS and POV’s Diverse Voices Project (DVP). ITVS and DVP receive funding from CPB. 

THE SECOND CITY’S Outreach & Diversity Program Offers New Fellowship Auditions In February 2014 For Master Classes Starting In March

(Thursday, January 30, 2014  Chicago, IL ) ----- The Second City is proud to announce the Bob Curry Fellowship offering actors of color a unique eight week mentoring and development opportunity that includes training in improv, sketch comedy writing and acting. The Bob Curry Fellowship is funded by The Second City’s Outreach & Diversity program and named for Second City alumnus, Bob Curry.

"It's fantastic to see how far we've come as an institution since we started our Outreach program in 1992,” states Andrew Alexander, CEO & Executive Producer of The Second City, Inc. “But the work is not done and I'm thrilled that our team has created such a valuable and intensive program of study that we can offer tuition free in the name of one of our treasured alumni who was a true trailblazer."

The 2014 Fellowship class will work with acclaimed Second City directors and instructors including Matt Hovde (Artistic Director of The Second City Training Center; Jeff Award-winning Second City Resident Stage Director), Anthony Leblanc (Director for The Second City Touring Company), Dionna Griffin-Irons (Director of Outreach & Diversity, Second City Alumni), Andy Eninger (The Second City Training Center - Head of Writing Program) and Rachael Mason (The Second City Training Center - Head of Advanced Improvisation).
Auditions for qualified actors of color will be held on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 by appointment only at The Second City Training Center.  Headshots can be submitted by e-mailing for consideration January 30 - February 5th.  Auditions are by appointment only. Audition candidates should have completed a conservatory level improv program, have a degree in theater, or extensive stage experience.

The Fellowship program begins Monday, March 24 with master classes starting Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:00-7:00pm at The Second City Training Center.  The program will culminate in a showcase performance at The Second City e.t.c. stage.

Bob Curry
Bob Curry was the first African American improviser to perform as a member of The Second City Mainstage in 1966. After his tenure at The Second City, he continued to develop as an artist.  He was a Joseph Jefferson Award-winning actor and inspiring director who coached many actors of color in the Chicago theatre community including fellow Second City alumni Aaron Freeman on several projects and directing Paul Robeson at Kennedy-King College shortly before his death in 1994.

The Second City Outreach & Diversity Program
Created in 1992, the Outreach and Diversity program is Second City’s ongoing commitment to introduce the improv art form to new diverse voices, underserved communities and develop new talent by attracting exceptional performers and writers, teaching workshops to colleges and organizations and building new community partnerships.

The Second City
The Second City is the leading brand in improv-based sketch comedy. With theaters and training centers in Chicago, Toronto and Hollywood, 11 full time touring ensembles, thriving corporate communications and theatricals divisions as well as television and film operations, The Second City has been called "A Comedy Empire" by The New York Times. The Second City Training Center has a current student body of 3,500 per week and is the largest school of improvisation and sketch comedy in the world.

Novelist Candace Allen and Violinist Tai Murray Talk in London on 'Instrument of Change, How Music Transforms Lives Across the Globe' 7 PM Wed., 9 April 2014

Tai Murray

Candace Allen

African-American novelist and political advisor to Obama's election campaign Candace Allen and American violinist Tai Murray talk on the theme of: "Instrument of change, how music transforms lives across the globe from the UK to Venezuela and beyond..."

Candace Allen is a novelist, political activist, cultural critic and screenwriter. She became the first African-American female member of the Directors Guild of America. In addition to writing screenplays, she worked as an assistant director for twenty years since the 1970's. Allen has established a distinguished career as a novelist. Candace Allen's latest book is "Soul Music, the Pulse of Race and Music" where she examines the power of music to change lives, exploring innovative music projects across the globe from Abreu's El Sistema programme in Venezuela to Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said's West Eastern Divan Orchestra which brings together Palestinian, Israeli and Arab musicians into one orchestra.

Tai Murray is Ambassador of the UK-based music charity London Music Masters (, which enables social change in inner city primary schools through its innovative music programme the Bridge Project. Working in schools across London, pupils in the four schools where LMM runs the programme, have shown a marked academic improvement. With today's headlines focusing on poor literacy and numeracy in UK's school leavers being the lowest in the developed world, improving UK's academic performance is particularly topical. Tai Murray's new CD - 20th Century American Scene - was released in November. Described as "superb" by The New York Times, violinist Tai Murray is establishing herself a musical voice of a generation.

Washington Performing Arts Society (WPAS) leads celebration of Marian Anderson on 75th anniversary of her Lincoln Memorial concert

Ysaye A. Barnwell

Soprano Jessye Norman, composer Ysaye Barnwell, opera singer Soloman Howard and vocalist Annisse Murillo
(respectively an alumnus and current member of WPAS’s Children of the Gospel), and an extraordinary 300-voice choir led by WPAS Gospel choir Artistic Director Stanley Thurston are just some of the talented artists who will join together under the banner of the Washington Performing Arts Society (WPAS) for Of Thee We Sing: The Marian Anderson 75th Anniversary Celebration. This concert event celebrates the life and legacy of one of America’s greatest voices, the iconic contralto and humanitarian Marian Anderson. With guest appearances from a number of artists by arrangement with Centric (a BET Network) and a narrative penned by Tony Award-winning playwright Murray Horwitz, Of Thee We Sing shines a light on an American hero. The concert will take place at Washington, D.C.’s historic DAR Constitution Hall on April 12, 2014, 7pm-8:15pm. All public tickets are $5.

Tickets can be purchased through WPAS box office 202-785-9727 or

Eight years before Jackie Robinson first ran the bases in Brooklyn, and 24 years before Dr. King pronounced “I Have a Dream,” one remarkable woman stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and sang for an audience of 75,000. That woman was Marian Anderson. On April 12, 2014, one of the nation’s leading independent arts producers and recent recipient of the National Medal of Arts, the Washington Performing Arts Society (WPAS), will celebrate the 75th anniversary of this groundbreaking performance, a landmark moment of the Civil Rights movement, with an all-star concert hosted by the celebrated American soprano and long-time friend of WPAS Jessye Norman.
            “A voice, once in a century. The bearing of a majestic high-priestess with splendor of   grace and a humility of spirit,” says Norman of Anderson, her friend and mentor. “Easter     1939, a woman rose far above the limitations of her time and poignantly sang: ‘My             country ‘tis of thee sweet land of liberty, to thee we sing.’ On the occasion of seventy- five years since that glorious Sunday afternoon, let us come together to remember and      pay due homage to the singer, the strength of character and the stunning event itself.             We are honored to offer her our gratitude.” 
Of Thee We Sing will take place at the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Constitution Hall, the very same venue that denied Ms. Anderson permission to use its stage in 1939, eventually leading to her recital outdoors and transforming a musical event into a transformative political one. 

            “I could not run away from the situation,” Ms. Anderson said of the concert. “I had        become, whether I liked it or not, a symbol representing my people. I had to appear.”       

She would eventually perform many times at Constitution Hall, including her final D.C. appearance 50 years ago in 1964, which was presented by WPAS founder Patrick Hayes.  DAR is donating the use of Constitution Hall for Of Thee We Sing.

Of Thee We Sing: A Once-in-a-Lifetime Event

Of Thee We Sing weaves music from the classical and African American spiritual repertoire that defined Anderson’s career together with a newly commissioned choral work, narration, archival footage and images as well as contemporary video. It is the majestic culmination of an ongoing cultural and educational outreach program undertaken by WPAS this year (launched in February for Black History Month), through which nearly 10,000 D.C. school children will be introduced to Ms. Anderson’s artistry and activism. 

This influence is already represented in two of the young guest artists performing at the concert: the young gospel singer Annisse Murillo is a current member of WPAS’s choir program Children Of The Gospel, and bass Soloman Howard is a former member of the choir, currently in his third year of Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program and a rising star in the opera world. 

A world premiere of a WPAS-commissioned choral work by D.C. music luminary Dr. Ysaye Barnwell, long-time member of Sweet Honey In the Rock, is one of the highlights of the program. For Barnwell, Marian Anderson was an unrivaled inspiration: “I was 9 years old when I saw Marian Anderson perform at the Metropolitan Opera. I think I still have the program and the New York Times review from the next day. My parents, especially my father who was a classical violinist and pedagogue born in the same year as Anderson, insisted that I know who she was. […] I have always been inspired by her phenomenal vocal range, the fact that she sang both European and African American classical repertoire, and her dignified heroism.” Barnwell’s piece will be performed by a 300-member choir, including 120 singers from WPAS’s Men, Woman & Children of the Gospel and members from 20 other local choruses directed by Stanley Thurston.  The large, massed chorus reflects WPAS’s goal to celebrate the diverse voices that comprise the creative fabric of DC, arguably one of the choral ‘epicenters’ of the US.

            WPAS President & CEO Jenny Bilfield says, “Marian Anderson had a lasting impact upon          so many of us in ways that transcended age, race, cultural background. As we began     working on this project, we were moved by the many, profoundly personal connections people shared with us. That Miss Anderson was a close friend of, and inspiration to, WPAS’s founder, Patrick Hayes, gave additional urgency to producing this event. With Of    Thee We Sing, we honor these qualities by gathering together generations of performers    and audience members whose lives she touched with her exceptional humanity, and by         introducing the youngest generation to her enduring spirit.”
            “Celebrating Marian Anderson in our nation’s capital highlights the enormous political impact her career had for black artists in America,” says Paxton Baker,   Executive Vice President and General Manager, Centric (a BET Network), and       WPAS Board Member.  “Her exceptional artistry and unwavering determination             to effect change continues to give us the courage to face seemingly         insurmountable personal and political obstacles with grace and resolve. In her            own right, Marian Anderson’s life, courage and conduct was as significant as Rosa Parks’s. And as Harold Ickes said when he introduced her on that Easter             Sunday ‘Genius draws no color lines.’” 
Of Thee We Sing is already being heralded as a defining cultural event for the D.C. area. It has earned the support of numerous funders and program partners (see below), as well as an Honorary Host Committee comprising United States Senators and Representatives from Pennsylvania and over 15 members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Femi Lewis, Museum Spotlight: North American Black Historical Museum, Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada

Spinning Wheel on Exhibit at
North American Black Historical Museum
Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada

Femi Lewis

We all know that enslaved African-Americans escaped from southern states to the north on the Underground Railroad.

But how many of you have thought of enslaved African-Americans who decided not to stop in the North, but kept traveling to Canada?
For many African-Americans who escaped enslavement, settiling in the North was not an option. In the North, runaways could be captured and brought back to their owner.
With the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 enacted and being upheld, Canada became the ultimate destination for enslaved African-Americans searching for freedom.

But since enslavement was abolished in Canada in 1833, locations close to the border became a haven for enslaved African-Americans searching for freedom between the 1830s and 1860s.
In a recent article published in the Times Colonist, the North American Black Historical Museum was featured for its contributions to remembering former slaves who escaped to Canada. The museum's curator, Terran Fader contends that the town of Amherstburg was "the chief crossing point for the Underground Railroad."
In addition to several collections that honor the lives of escaped slaves and also remembers the treacherous history of Canadian slavery, is a log cabin which is considered a historic home by the town. Inside are several artifacts which were donated by descendants of formerly enslaved people.
Also featured is the Nazrey African Methodist Episcopal Church, which was built by former slaves in 1848. In 1999, the church was chosen to be a National Historic Site of Canada.
If you're interested in visiting the North American Black Museum, it's located at 277 King Street, Amherstburg, Ontario. The museum is open from noon to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. For more information, visit the museum's website, or call 1-800-713-6336.

First Cliburn International Junior Competition and Festival will take place June 21–28, 2015, in Fort Worth, Texas

January 28, 2014
Today we officially announce the launch of a brand new program in 2015—a competition and festival for 13 to 17-year-old pianists.
The First Cliburn International Junior Competition and Festival will take place June 21–28, 2015, in Fort Worth, Texas in Ed Landreth Auditorium and PepsiCo Hall on the campus of TCU. 24 of the world’s best young pianists will be selected to compete.
1997 Cliburn Gold Medalist, in-demand touring artist, and esteemed adjudicator Jon Nakamatsu will serve as jury chairman, and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra will perform with each of three finalists under the baton of dynamic conductor Mei-Ann Chen.
Competition performances will be open to the public (tickets will go on sale in early 2015) and will be webcast live at—so that the talents of these young artists can be enjoyed all across the world. 
“We are providing a valuable forum for these young artists to express themselves and an entrance to the next step of their journeys,” said Jacques Marquis, Cliburn president and CEO. “The top international jurors, the media and webcast, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, and the festival atmosphere—which will include performance experience and professional career advice—all make the Competition and Festival significantly useful for a student who has aspirations of being a professional musician.”
We also announce today that the seventh International Piano Competition for Outstanding Amateurs™, for pianists 35 and older, will occur in summer 2016. A Cliburn Amateur Piano Video Contest will be held in summer 2014, details to be announced in February.
Thank you for your support as we continue to further the Cliburn’s mission and expand the global reach of classical music!

Oliver Pope: Collection of H.T. Burleigh Sheet Music For Sale, Published by G. Ricordi & Co.

Negro Spirituals Arranged for Solo Voice by H.T. Burleigh

Spirituals Arranged for Solo Voice by H.T. Burleigh

Oliver Pope writes:

I have a collection of H.T. Burleigh sheet music for sale, if there is any interest please email; or call (646) 807-7422.

[Henry "Harry" T. Burleigh  (1866-1949) is profiled at, which features a Works List and a Bibliography by Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma,]

John Malveaux: Maestro Joe Taylor Conducts Bellflower Symphony & Soloists for NIGHT AT THE OPERA on Feb. 1, 2014 at Bellflower Civic Auditorium

Joseph R. Taylor, Conductor, 
Bellflower Symphony Orchestra

John Malveaux of writes:

Maestro Joe Taylor will conduct the Bellflower Symphony and soloists for NIGHT AT THE OPERA, on February 1, 2014 at Bellflower Civic Auditorium. Maestro Taylor is also conductor for MusicUNTOLD Orchestra.
John Malveaux

African American Composer Initiative thanks audience, volunteers and donors for 'Let Freedom Ring' Concert at Eastside College Prep Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014

Dear William,

Thank you to all of you who attended our sold-out concert on Sunday.  We also wish to express our gratitude to our volunteers and donors to help bring this wonderful music to life. 

The San Jose Mercury News published a terrific article by Joe Rodriguez on Monday. You may view the online version at:

The African American Composer Initiative and Eastside College Preparatory School would like to take this opportunity to thank Costco of Mountain View, Izzy's New York Bagels, John Bauer, piano tuner, and PIP printing of Palo Alto for their generous support of our concerts.

Donate to the African American Composer Initiative by selecting AACI from the drop-down menu here:

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Georgia Laster Branch - NANM's Annual Spiritual Concert - A Historical Extravaganza in Music, SpiriTrio & Althea Waites 3 PM Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014

At 3:00 PM on Sunday, February 16, 2014, at the Congregational Church of Christian Fellowship, 2085 S. Hobart Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90008, the Georgia Laster Branch of the National Association of Negro Musicians will present their Annual Spiritual Concert, A Historical Extravaganza in Music. This event features the vocal group SpíríTríô, internationally recognized pianist Althea Waites and a past GLB Scholarship winner. This is a free event open to the general public. There is ample free parking. If you have questions or need additional information, leave your name, phone number and your message at the GLB Message Center - (213) 787-6307. A GLB representative will return your call.  

The Georgia Laster Branch is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, whose continuing mission is to provide financial assistance and performance opportunities for talented, hard working, minority middle and high school student in the underserved communities who are studying and preparing themselves for careers in all genres of music. Marian Anderson, Contralto, Sings With Bell Telephone Hour Orchestra in Radio Broadcasts of 1944-1951, on VAI CD (72 Min., Mono)

Marian Anderson: Rare Live Broadcast Performances
VAI 1275 (2013) (72 min., Mono)

Previously unpublished radio performances by one of the greatest vocal artists of the twentieth century. This collection presents Anderson in a wide range of repertoire, including songs and arias by Bach, Handel, Mozart, Schubert, Verdi, Brahms, Fauré, Saint-Saëns, and Sibelius, as well as spirituals. Booklet includes notes by Anderson biographer Allan Keiler.
[2013, Mono, 72 minutes]

J.S. Bach: My Heart Ever Faithful, from Cantata BWV 68 (with Lucien Schmidt, cello obbligato)
J.S. Bach: Komm, süsser Tod
J.S. Bach: Prepare Thyself, Zion, from Christmas Oratorio
Handel: Ombra mai fu (aria of Serse) from Serse
Handel: Per rapir quel tesoro... Un cenno leggiadretto (aria of Atalanta) from Serse
Handel: Te Deum (date unknown)
Handel: Oh, what pleasure (“Vanne, segui’l mio desio”) from Floridante (with piano)
Bononcini: The Trumpet is calling (“Un’ombra di pace”) from Calfurnia (with piano)
Mozart: Alleluia from Exsultate, Jubilate, K. 165
Bellini: Odiò la pastorella
Verdi: O don fatale, from Don Carlo
Saint-Saëns: Mon coeur s’ouvre à ta voix, from Samson et Dalila
Schubert: Serenade
Schubert: Die Allmacht
Brahms: Von ewiger Liebe
Fauré: Après un rêve
Franck: Air de l’Archange, from Rédemption
Greetings to Jan Sibelius on his 86th birthday
Sibelius: Solitude, from Belshazzar’s Feast (arranged by Sibelius for Anderson)
arr. Burleigh: Deep River
arr. Burleigh: My Way’s Cloudy
arr. Burleigh: Hard Trials

Marian Anderson, contralto

Radio broadcasts, 1944-1951
All selections with Bell Telephone Hour Orchestra / Donald Voorhees, conductor, unless otherwise noted

[Henry "Harry" T. Burleigh  (1866-1949) is profiled at, which features a Works List and a Bibliography by Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma,]

Augusta Free Press: 'Waynesboro [VA] Symphony Orchestra celebrates Black History Month'; Morris Phibbs of CBMR Speaks on Florence Price

[Florence B. Price (1887-1953) is profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works List and a Bibliography by Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma,]

WSO Picture Lise Keiter new
Dr. Lise Keiter, Pianist

Titled “Women of the American Symphonic Landscape,” this concert features music written by American Women, and especially Florence Price and her Piano Concerto in One Movement with  piano soloist Dr. Lise Keiter. The program also  includes Higdon’s blue cathedrals and  Symphony in E Minor, “Gaelic,” by Amy Beach
In recognition of Black History Month, Dr. Lise Keiter’s playing of Price’s piano concerto will be preceded by a short talk by Morris Phibbs, the Deputy Director of the Center for Black Music Research.  Florence Price (1887-1953), is considered the first black woman in the United States to be recognized as a symphonic composer. Mr. Phibbs will discuss Mrs. Price and the painstaking research required to reconstruct this important piece of Black history.
Concert dates are: Saturday, February 22nd, 7:30 PM   at Staunton’s First Presbyterian Church and Sunday, February 23rd, 3:00 PM  at Waynesboro’s First Presbyterian  Church. No tickets are required for these FREE concerts, however, contributions are gratefully accepted.  For more details, visit
Contact:      Anne Seaton   540-241-2683 (cell)

Comments by email:
1) Thanks, Bill!  I’m also giving a full lecture/convocation for Mary Baldwin College and the City of Staunton community. I’ll do a Black music overview, with an emphasis on Black composers from the 16th century through today. My best to you!  Morris Morris A. Phibbs, Deputy Director, Center for Black Music Research, Columbia College Chicago

2)  Dear Bill,  Thank you very much... this is excellent!
We are so looking forward to this pair of concerts, and what a privilege to have a presentation by Mr. Phibbs.  We so appreciate the time, interest, and expertise of all involved to make this concert possible.   
Please feel free to contact me with any further questions or comments as we look forward to February 22 +23!
Warmest Regards to All, Anne Seaton, Waynesboro Symphony Orchestra Development Director 

Joffrey Ballet Presents 'Winning Works: Choreographers of Color Awards 2014' at Harris Theater 7 PM, March 1, 2014

Three aspiring choreographers present World Premieres at the
Harris Theater for Music and Dance – March 1, 2014

CHICAGO (January 28, 2014) – The Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet, presents the fourth annual Winning Works: Choreographers of Color Award, featuring three World Premieres by rising-star choreographers Justin Allen, Stephanie Batten Bland and Norbert De La Cruz III. The three World Premieres, along with Academy Co-Artistic Director Alexei Kremnev’s restaging of Le Roi S’Amuse, are performed by the international members of the Joffrey Academy Trainee Program at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 East Randolph Drive, one night only, Saturday, March 1 at 7:00 pm.

Stefanie Batten Bland’s piece Chiral, consisting of eight women and two men, is a fusion of contemporary and classical dance vocabulary exploring behavioral patterns of the body in symmetrical and non-symmetrical orders. The women in this piece switch between dancing on and off pointe, reflecting both masculine and feminine nature.

Justin Allen’s Stillness in Motion was derived from the idea that even in constant movement, one can find moments of breath and stillness, and even in moments of stillness one can find continuous motion. Stillness in Motion is set to contemporary classical music by Ezio Bosso.

Norbert De La Cruz III’s untitled piece, also for seven women and three men, aims to tell his own story of deeply personal relationships. The idea of “presence” versus “vanishing” guides his exploration of mistake and fear through the medium of contemporary ballet.

The Winning Works program also includes Kremnev’s restaging of Le Roi S’Amuse. Set to recorded music composed by Leo Delibes and performed by the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, this piece is inspired by the six ancient dances and thematic material written for the ball scene in a Comedie-Francaise production of Victor Hugo’s 1882 play Le Roi S’Amuse.

“Dance remains a ‘universal’ language.  People from all backgrounds dance, and communicate, without sharing words.  Dance is a powerful bridge.  With Winning Works, we celebrate all that is different and all that is universal amongst us,” stated Ashley Wheater, Joffrey Ballet Artistic Director.

“Winning this award was a huge honor and one of the greatest successes of my choreographic career,” said 2013 Winner William McClellan. “The dancers were a complete joy to work with and we learned and grew together through the process.”

Ticket Information
Tickets for the Winning Works: Choreographers of Color Award 2014 at the Harris Theater are $20 in advance and $23 at the door. Tickets can be purchased in advance by visiting or calling the Harris Theater Box Office at 312-334-7777 or online at

About the Choreographers
Stefanie Batten Bland adds to Mary Batten and Ed Bland's artistic legacy of writing and music with her own layer of dance. She has been recognized as a 2010-12 Baryshnikov Arts Center Artist in Residence and a Jerome Robbins "NEW Fellow," and a 2011-12 Cambridge Who’s Who of Professionals and Entrepreneurs. Stefanie has danced for Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Pal Frenak, Georges Momboye, Pina Bausch Tanz Theater Wuppertal, Lar Lubovitch, Julie Taymor and Angelin Preljocaj, among others. Stefanie created Company Stefanie Batten Bland in 2008 in France so that she might better investigate the human condition and our relationship within the natural world. Her works are based in dance, with a strong instillation component which allows futuristic worlds to take place in space and time. The troupe has performed live and via dance cinema, throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and the States. Stefanie has also set pieces on Ailey ll, Danceland of Singapore, Zenon Dance Company of Minneapolis and is currently guest choreographer for Transitions Dance Company of London.

Justin Allen was born in Baltimore, Maryland and began his dance training at the Baltimore School for the Arts. In 2004, he began his training at The Rock School for Dance Education and completed his education in the Rock Academics Program Alliance. From 2004-2008, he spent his summers training with the Miami City Ballet School. In 2008, Justin received his first opportunity to dance as a professional guest artist with The Dayton Ballet, which led to him receiving his first professional contract. In 2009, Justin joined The Ballet Theatre of Maryland where he performed as a soloist and in 2010 he became full time faculty and a choreographer at The Rock School.

Norbert De La Cruz III was born in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines and raised in Los Angeles, California. He began his artistic journey at 13 years of age by training at the Gabriella Foundation in LA, The LA County High School for the Arts, ABT NYC, San Francisco Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Lines Ballet, NWPDP, NDT Summer Course. Norbert graduated from The Juilliard School in 2010 with a BFA in dance. Upon graduation, he balanced a career as a professional dancer, photographer, and emerging choreographer.  Norbert has danced professionally as a soloist with the Metropolitan Opera House, Aszure Barton & Artists, Jchen Project, Balletto Teatro di Torino (Italy), Gallim, Sydney Skybetter & Associates, Lustig Dance Theatre, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet.  He has performed works by some of our world's most current and historically renowned teachers and choreographers including Jose Limon, David Parker, Adam Hougland, Johannes Wieland, Ohad Naharin, Aszure Barton, Jerome Robbins, Larry Keigwin, Jeremy McQueen, Jessica Chen, Dwight Rhoden, Desmond Richardson, Lightfoot & Leon, Crystal Pite, Alonzo King, and Jiri Kylian.

Norbert was awarded the 2012 Jerome Robbins Foundation’s NEW Essential Works Grant - commissioning his first ballet with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet (ASFB).  He was also the 2012-2013 finalist winner of Hubbard Street 2’s National Choreographic Competition and received the 2012 Princess Grace Foundation Award Fellowship under choreography – granting his second creation for ASFB.  As a result, he received the 2013-2014 Alvin Ailey New Directions Choreography Lab under the mentorship of Igal Perry and guidance and host of Mr. Robert Battle.  He continues to pursue his passion in choreography and movement and thrives to continue dancing with a high emphasis on his artistry as a means to manifest progressive change in the dance world.

Alexei Kremnev began his career in Moscow at the world famous Bolshoi Ballet Academy (Degree of Ballet Artist), the Russian Academy of Theatrical Art (GITIS), and the Moscow State Academy of Choreography (Degree in Pedagogy and Choreography). He was the recipient of the Leonide Massine Award and the Bronze Medal during 1992 International Diaghilev Competition in Moscow. He also claimed an honorable diploma in 1996 at the Nureyev International Ballet Competition as well as the 1996 Lifar International Ballet Competition. In 2001, Kremnev was recognized as one of the Most Influential People in the Arts in Cincinnati and has been praised for his extraordinary ability to work with a young generation of dancers, as well as for his original and creative choreography. In 2011, he was elected to the Advisory Board on Russia and Eastern Europe for Illinois Senator, Mark Kirk. In 2004-2006, Kremnev’s choreography was presented at the legendary Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow and he received the Outstanding Choreographer Award at Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) in 2006, 2007 and 2009. As Artistic Director, Kremnev led Southold Dance Theater to become the Outstanding School at YAGP in 2008. He has performed, choreographed and taught internationally with the Moscow Festival Ballet (Russian National Ballet), England's Northern Ballet Theatre, Bolshoi Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, BalletMet, Tulsa Ballet and the Russian and European Stars of the Ballet. Under his current leadership as Academy Artistic Director, the Joffrey Academy of Dance was named Outstanding School of 2010 and 2012 by YAGP.

The Joffrey Academy of Dance, Official School of The Joffrey Ballet is grateful for the support of its Winning Works: Choreographers of Color Awards 2014 Sponsors. With special thanks to Generous Underwriters Patti S. Eylar and Charles R. Gardner and Video Production Sponsor, Left Brain Right Brain Productions.

About the Joffrey Academy Trainees
The Joffrey Academy Trainee Program is a one to two year program for students ages 17 and older who are preparing for a professional dance career. Students are selected to participate in the Trainee Program by invitation from The Joffrey Ballet Artistic Director, Ashley C. Wheater, and Academy Artistic Directors, Alexei Kremnev and Anna Reznik. The Trainee Program is a rigorous program in which students train in ballet and other dance disciplines. Graduates from this program have been accepted into ballet companies around the world, including The Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Staatsoper Berlin, Dresden Semperoper, New York City Ballet, Estonian National Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, Complexions, Cincinnati Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Atlanta Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Memphis Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Texas Ballet Theatre, BalletMet, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Pittsburg Ballet Theatre, Polish National Ballet, Slovak National Ballet, Ballet West and more. Trainees rehearse and perform classical and contemporary works from The Joffrey Ballet’s extensive repertoire and have the opportunity to work with world-renowned guest choreographers.

Trainees rehearse and perform classical and contemporary works from The Joffrey Ballet’s extensive repertoire and have the opportunity to work with world-renowned guest choreographers. 
For more information on the Academy Trainees of the Joffrey Ballet, or other programs at the Academy of Dance, Official School of the Joffrey Ballet, please visit

#  #  #

Monday, January 27, 2014

MELODEON: Marti Newland sings 'Love Triptych' from 'Margaret Garner' on YouTube (14:53)

Marti Newland, Soprano (YouTube)

Artis Wodehouse

Published on Jan 27, 2014

Soprano Marti Newland, accompanied by pianist Artis Wodehouse perform the Love Triptych from the opera, Margaret Garner 1/12/14 live in concert at Christ and St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, NYC. The selection was part of a MELODEON concert entitled "Music of the American Jewish Diaspora, Remembrance and Engagement".

Titles of the three arias and time markers for this video are:
Margaret's Lullaby: 0:22
A Quality of Love: 4:02
Intermezzo: 8:31

Margaret Garner was written by Richard Danielpour (b. 1956, of Persian/Jewish descent), in collaboration with poet Toni Morrison (b. 1931). The opera is based on actual events in the life of runaway enslaved person, Margaret Garner. She, her husband and children managed to escape to freedom across the Ohio River, but unfortunately are captured. Before being taken back to slavery, Margaret Garner murders her children so they will be spared slavery's horrors.

Audio and video captured and realized by Whitney Slaten.

Comment by email:
Bill - I'm so grateful of your support for Marti Newland.  Believe me, she is fantastic to work with: easy, well-prepared, and willing to take risks and go the distance.  And her voice is gorgeous! A great spirit!

I have done as much as I can to promote her work -- just seems to me she could be having a serious career as a singer -- although you know she's an ethnomusicology doctoral candidate at Columbia!

Best, Artis Wodehouse

San Jose Mercury News: 'East Palo Alto: School hosts African American classical concert'

African American Composer Initiative

Dr. Valerie Capers performs in the "Let Freedom Ring: The Resounding Music of African American Composers" concert at Eastside College Preparatory School in East Palo Alto, Calif., on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014. (Josie Lepe/Bay Area News Group) 

San Jose Mercury News

Joe Rodriguez

January 27, 2014

EAST PALO ALTO -- If she isn't on the watch for police brutality or investigating hate crimes, you can often find LaDoris Cordell singing jazz or playing classical music on a grand piano. And there she was Sunday afternoon, on a stage introducing and performing some of the best, contemporary African-American classical music at a concert at Eastside College Preparatory School.
"LaDoris is phenomenal," said Michael A. Robinson, a vocalist and drummer. "She could have been anything she wanted -- classical pianist, a composer, anything!"
Instead, the former Santa Clara County judge and current San Jose independent police auditor, chose a career in justice and civil rights. But all that time she also pursued her passion for classical music, especially the compositions of black American composers whose contributions rarely got the attention they deserved on stage, academia or in the recording industry.
Some years ago, Cordell started the African American Composer Initiative and a concert series to showcase the masterpieces of black composers from decades past and new works by contemporary artists. Sunday's concert, the fifth in the increasingly popular series held at the charter school's sparkling performance hall, was a hit judging by the rousing applause after each number.
The concert was a sellout, with Cordell promising the audience that "every dime" would go to the school. Eastside Prep specializes in preparing low-income black, Latino and Asian students for four-year universities. Almost all of them, she said, would be the first in their families to go to college.
Musically, politically and socially, the concert appeals to composers like Valerie Capers and John Robinson, two classical veterans who performed at the concert. The featured work was the premiere of Capers' "Ruby," a four-part piece inspired by the story of Ruby Bridges, one of six black children in 1960s New Orleans to pass the test that determined whether or not they could go to all-white schools. Bridges went to one such school by herself.
"I said, 'Oh, I have to do this,' " Capers said during an interview before Sunday's concert. "It touched my heart."
The problem was that entire books had been written about Bridges. "Enough for a symphony," Capers said. She shortened the story to four parts: a touching lullaby sung by the girl's mother the night before the risky integration; a song named "Mardi Gras" for the loud anger that greeted her; a touching number called "Where are all the children?" for the child's loneliness at the school; and the final "Reflections" of a teacher who witnessed it all.
Educated mostly in the music of Beethoven, Bach, Stravinsky and other European masters at the Juilliard School in New York City, Capers said she was a relative latecomer to jazz and black composers.