Saturday, April 29, 2017

Omaha.com: Symphony conductor [Thomas Wilkins] appointed to Indiana University faculty

Thomas Wilkins
(Omaha Symphony)


Omaha Symphony Music Director Thomas Wilkins has been appointed a professor of music at Indiana University in Bloomington.
He will assume the Henry A. Upper Chair of Orchestral Conducting on Aug. 1 if the university's trustees approve the appointment.
Wilkins and Omaha Symphony officials recently announced that he would retire as music director after the 2020-21 season. Until then, he will work both for the orchestra and the university. He also is principal conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and holds the Germeshausen Family and Youth Concert Chair with the Boston Symphony.
Indiana University officials praised the conductor as a master of communicating and connecting with audiences of all ages.

Luke Welch Announces Album Release Tour of 7 Ontario Cities for "Crossing Borders" CD of Domenico Scarlatti Keyboard Sonatas May 17 - June 1, 2017

Crossing Borders
Luke Welch, Piano

Luke Welch writes:
 
SPRING IS IN THE AIR!

Hello there!

Now that we are starting to slowly see the weather creep into warmer temperatures, the musical action is starting to pick up again.  The month began with a visit to the Gabriele Paque studio for a recital as part of their concert series, which also signified the conclusion of their art exhibition.  This performance was filled with energy, enthusiasm, and a wonderfully receptive audience.  Many thanks again to Gabriele, Johannes, and those in attendance for making the event a thoroughly enjoyable experience!  Video highlights will soon be available, and will be linked in the next newsletter update.

Coming up on Sunday May 7th is a concert at the Muziekschuur in s'-Gravenvoeren, Belgium.  This recital will signify my first professional appearance in this picturesque country, and will feature works by Scarlatti, Beethoven, Morawetz, and Schumann.  The performance begins at 3:00 pm, and tickets are still available for €15/€10 at the door or through the Muziekschuur website.  

Following this event will be an inspired return trip to homeland Canada for a series of performances throughout southern and eastern Ontario.  This series of seven recitals will be a part of the album release tour of 'Crossing Borders', and will include stops in five cities across the province.  These appearances include:
New concert dates are continually being arranged, so be sure to check the complete concert schedule for the latest updates and performances near you!  Please feel free to share this newsletter with others, and message me with your comments, questions, recommendations for future concerts, or even just to say hello!  

With all best wishes until next time,

Luke Welch
www.lukewelch.ca
Luke Welch
--
www.lukewelch.ca
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NOBLE Region V Training Conference: "Getting Back to the Basics" May 26-27, 2017 Renaissance Baton Rouge Hotel, Baton Rouge LA


Godwin Sadoh: Celebrating 150th Anniversary of the Anglican Cathedral Church, Lagos, Nigeria!

Godwin Sadoh








Godwin Sadoh writes:

FOTORAMA!
 
In the spirit of the 150th celebration (1867-2017) of the premier Anglican Cathedral in Nigeria, I wish to share with you photos displaying the splendor, ornate and exquisite Exterior and Interior of the Magnificent Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina, Lagos. Showcasing the preeminent Cathedral Choir, devoted congregation, and the new German Oberlinger 4-manual organ with 64 stops, 3.700 pipes, and Spanish Trumpets. I received my first lesson in organ playing in this edifice from former Organist and Master of the Music, Charles Obayomi Phillips (1919-2007). Charles Phillips served the church from Trinity Sunday 1962 to Trinity 1992.  He succeeded his father, Thomas Ekundayo Phillips, who served the church from Trinity Sunday 1914 to Trinity Sunday 1962. Let's thank God for his benevolence. . .
 
Godwin.

Friday, April 28, 2017

InsideIndianaBusiness.com: [Thomas] Wilkins Appointed to Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Faculty

Thomas Wilkins


April 28, 2017

By Tara Twigg, TV Producer 

Thomas Wilkins, a gifted conductor who is celebrated for his ability to communicate with orchestras as well as audiences, and who wants to see the ranks of classical musicians grow more culturally diverse, has been appointed professor of music (orchestral conducting) at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He will assume the Henry A. Upper Chair of Orchestral Conducting, which was established by the late Barbara and David Jacobs as a part of Indiana University’s “Matching the Promise Campaign.” Wilkins’ appointment will begin on August 1. Wilkins is currently the music director of the Omaha Symphony, a position he will retain through the 2020-21 season, whereupon he will become music director emeritus. In addition, he is principal conductor of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and holds the Germeshausen Family and Youth Concert Conductor Chair with the Boston Symphony. Past positions include resident conductor of the Detroit Symphony and the Florida Orchestra (Tampa Bay), and associate conductor of the Richmond (Va.) Symphony. He also has served on the music faculties of North Park University (Chicago), the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga and Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. Wilkins is a graduate of the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music and the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.

Hillsboro Tribune: Celso Machado performs Wednesday, May 3, at 7 p.m. in the Forum Theater, Building 3, at Portland Community College Rock Creek Campus




 Celso Machado

Afro-Brazilian guitarist and composer Celso Machado will perform at 7 PM Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at Portland Community College Rock Creek Campus in Oregon. 

Hillsboro Tribune

Oregon

Next week, audiences will get the opportunity to be swept away by some Brazilian music magic courtesy of Celso Machado.
On Wednesday, May 3, at 7 p.m. in the Forum Theater, Building 3, at Portland Community College Rock Creek Campus, 17705 N.W. Springville Road, the Brazilian virtuoso will put on a performance as a part of the campus' 40-year anniversary celebration.
Machado, a guitarist, percussionist, multi-instrumentalist and composer, will deliver a performance that will engage concertgoers with the richness of Brazilian music and beyond. He's performed for 40 years on stages spanning Brazil, western Europe, Scandinavia, Canada and the United States.
He is considered one of the most versatile composers of Brazilian music today. His guitar technique is one of his passions and he makes it his musical mission to make music out of anything.

Eric Conway: Morgan State Choir Sings for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority's 86th Annual North Atlantic Regional Conference in Baltimore April 27, 2017

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Dr. Eric Conway writes:

Good evening,

Tonight, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, inc. held its 86th North Atlantic Regional Conference at the Baltimore City Convention Center.  Several months ago, a couple of Morgan alumnae ask me if the choir would consider singing for their opening session.  Tonight was that session where many notable AKA sorors were saluted including former Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake and Baltimore City Comptroller, Joan Pratt.  We sang to a very appreciate audience numbering as many as over two thousand.  See a scan of their very elaborate program attached.

EC

************************************
Eric Conway, D.M.A.
Fine and Performing Arts Department, Chair
Morgan State University
1700 East Cold Spring Lane
Carl Murphy Fine Arts Center, Room 329C
Baltimore, MD 21251

John Malveaux: National Review: "An American Outsider" By Jay Nordlinger

George Walker
(Frank Schramm/Jay Nordlinger)

George Walker is featured at AfriClassical.com.
His own website is http://georgetwalker.com/


John Malveaux of 
sends this link:


By Jay Nordlinger
May 15, 2017 Issue


Montclair, N.J. — George Walker greets me at the door, smiling and dapper. I figured he would be (dapper). Mr. Walker is a gentleman of the old school. I’ve never seen a photo of him when he wasn’t wearing a coat and tie. He is dressed that way now, in his own home. I have a feeling he wouldn’t welcome a guest any other way.
We are in Montclair, N.J., a town some 15 miles from Manhattan. “I’ve lived in this house since 1969,” Mr. Walker says. “I was the first black person in this neighborhood.” I ask whether he ever had any problems. No, he says.
Mr. Walker has many “firsts” to his credit. He was the first black person to graduate from the Curtis Institute of Music, the famous conservatory in Philadelphia. He was the first black person to earn a doctorate at the Eastman School of Music, the famous conservatory in Rochester, N.Y. He was the first black person to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music. And so on.
Obviously, Walker is a musician — a composer and pianist. That’s the right order, too. You can see it in the title of his autobiography (2009): “George Walker: Reminiscences of an American Composer and Pianist.” There is something else about the title: the word “American,” unqualified.
“I feel strongly about that,” Mr. Walker tells me. “I’ve always disliked being called ‘African-American.’” As he elaborates on this, he points out that his music is dotted with American tunes: hymns, spirituals, pop standards, and the like. You may not hear them — they are planted in this classical music. But they’re there.
This summer, Mr. Walker will mark his 95th birthday. His latest composition is his Sinfonia No. 5. It will be played by the National Symphony Orchestra, in Washington, D.C., at the beginning of the 2018–19 season. Mr. Walker spends much of his time doing three things: seeking commissions; seeking performances; and seeking recordings. That is the lot of a composer.
Speaking of D.C., he was born and raised there. When he was born — in June 1922 — Warren G. Harding was president. Mr. Walker’s father, also named George, had come from Jamaica. He was a doctor: a graduate of Temple University’s medical school, in Philadelphia. Mr. Walker’s mother, Rosa, was American-born and a high-school graduate. She worked at the Government Printing Office.
Both Walkers observed standards. They did not even use slang. Not even “okay,” which was spreading like a weed.
Mr. Walker knew his grandmother — his mother’s mother — very well. Her name was Malvina King. She had had two husbands. She lost the first one when he was sold at auction. The second had died. Mrs. King herself was an escapee from slavery. One day, young George asked her about it — the experience of slavery. She said one thing: “They did everything except eat us.”
In 1946, Mr. Walker composed Lyric for Strings, his best-known piece. It is dedicated to his grandmother.
He went to Dunbar High, the famous school in Washington — the most famous high school for blacks in all of America. It produced a who’s who of people, including Edward Brooke, the first black senator (popularly elected). Mr. Walker says that some of the teachers at Dunbar were very good; and some were not so good. He really valued his classmates.
One teacher he unquestionably valued was Clyde McDuffie, who taught Latin. They spent one year — fourth-year Latin — on the Aeneid. Mr. Walker can still recite the famous opening: “Arma virumque cano . . .” Also, the poem impressed on him the importance of duty above personal desire.
He graduated from Dunbar at 14. Did his father pressure him to follow in his footsteps as a doctor? Not at all. “He never brought up the subject.” Young George would be a musician. He went to Oberlin College in Ohio, which had been admitting blacks for a hundred years. George was the youngest student in the college, 15.
At Oberlin, he heard many of the greatest musicians of the day, including Rachmaninoff. He also heard Horowitz. “He was a pianist who made me aware of what the piano could do,” says Mr. Walker. He was not always on. Like many of us, Mr. Walker heard him great and heard him shockingly bad. But when he was on — there was hardly anything else like it.
There was another pianist at Oberlin, by the way: Frances Walker. Mr. Walker’s younger sister. Later, she would be a teacher on the same campus, the first black woman to become a full professor at Oberlin. She still lives there.
From Oberlin, Mr. Walker went to Curtis, where one of his teachers was Rudolf Serkin, a major pianist. Mr. Walker remembers everything Serkin said. But he did not say much. And he did not know some of the scores, says Mr. Walker, as well as he thought he did. For composition, Walker had Rosario Scalero, who had also taught Barber.
One day, Samuel Barber returned to the school in his uniform: the uniform of the Army Air Corps. He served Wednesday tea with Mrs. Bok, the founder of the school.
Walker had an orchestration class with Gian Carlo Menotti. “It was a joke,” he says. I respond, “He didn’t give you much?” Mr. Walker says, “He didn’t give us anything.” Walker pretty much taught himself orchestration.
He is nothing if not blunt in his opinions. At one point, we’re talking about Kreisleriana, the Schumann piece. “If you listen to that pianist from South America,” he says, rubbing his eyes in disgust. The object of his disgust, he cannot remember the name of. “Martha Argerich?” I hazard. He nods his head. “Terrible,” he says. “Terrible. She has no idea about the piece at all. No sense of the rhythm, no sense of the phrasing . . .”
In 1945, Walker played Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No. 3 with the Philadelphia Orchestra, under Eugene Ormandy. The maestro was not very nice to very many people. “Was he nice to you?” I ask. No. Ormandy should at least get points for consistency.
Warmly supportive of young Walker was Nadia Boulanger, the famous composition teacher in France. She had taught anyone and everyone, including a slew of Americans: Virgil Thomson, Roy Harris, Aaron Copland, Elliott Carter. She taught Walker, too. “You’re a composer,” she told him — a high compliment, from that source. She confirmed for him that he was on the right track. “Just keep going,” she said.
In the middle of the century, and for a long time thereafter, there was tremendous pressure on composers to conform to a modernist fashion: a fashion epitomized by Pierre Boulez, the famous Frenchman. Did Walker ever feel such pressure? “No,” he says. “I’m an outsider. I don’t have connections to composers. Even black composers.”
I ask him who, among his colleagues, is underrated. He cannot give me an answer. I ask who is overrated. He says, emphatically, “Boulez.”
Walker had a busy career of teaching, along with composing and playing. He taught at several institutions, mainly Rutgers, in New Jersey, where he was chairman of the music department. In 1996, he wrote Lilacs, for voice and orchestra (setting Whitman’s poem “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d”). It was this work that won him the Pulitzer Prize. Since its premiere, it has barely been performed at all. This is tremendously frustrating for a composer, Pulitzer or no Pulitzer.
Mr. Walker was married to a fellow pianist, Helen Walker-Hill. They had two sons, Gregory and Ian. Mr. Walker’s father kept mum about medicine. What about Mr. Walker? Was he laissez-faire with his sons? No. “I’m the micromanager!” he says. Gregory is a violinist; Ian is a playwright. Gregory is a champion of his father’s music, including a violin concerto, written for him.
  

Boston Globe: A different sort of New World symphony from William Grant Still [1895-1978]

William Grant Still
(Boston Globe)

William Grant Still (1895-1978) is profiled at AfriClassical.com, which features a comprehensive Works List by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma, http://www.CasaMusicaledeLerma.com


William Grant Still composed “Afro-American Symphony.”

On April 30, the Waltham Philharmonic Orchestra performs a pivotal American work: William Grant Still's 1931 “Afro-American Symphony,” the first symphony by an African-American composer to gain traction in the classical music world and a salient example of early symphonic jazz. The conservatory-educated, classically inclined Still’s jazz expertise was the result of on-the-job training, playing in bands and theater pit orchestras (he was proficient on numerous instruments), culminating with a year in the oboe chair of Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake's epoch-making 1921 musical, “Shuffle Along.” By decade's end, Still was one of the more prominent arrangers in both the jazz and musical-theater arenas.

All the while, he continued studying classical composition, most crucially with French-American ultra-modernist Edgard Varèse, who provided Still's entrée into influential New York new-music circles. Still's music was performed alongside that of Aaron Copland, Roger Sessions, Carlos Chavez. But his gradual embrace of vernacular elements in his music pushed Still away from the modernism that those colleagues espoused. Asking listeners to grasp both the essence of African-American music and an abstract modern vocabulary was, Still decided, too much; with the “Afro-American Symphony,” he cast his lot with the former.

One curious detail in the “Afro-American Symphony” encapsulates not only that classical-vernacular give-and-take but also music's ever-shifting historical prism. Near the beginning of the third movement, a bumptious scherzo (inspired by the optimism and wit of African-American preaching), Still sets his theme against an accompaniment that quotes, almost note-for-note, George Gershwin's “I Got Rhythm.” Homage or objection? Several of Still's “Shuffle Along” colleagues, upon hearing Gershwin's song, had recalled the tune as Still's, one he habitually made especial use of during in-performance jam sessions — performances Gershwin certainly heard.

***

Michael Korn conducts the Waltham Philharmonic Orchestra and cellist Joon Kyun in music of Danielle Rabinowitz, Antonín Dvorák, and William Grant Still, April 30 at 3 p.m., at the Kennedy Middle School in Waltham. Tickets $20, students and seniors $15, children free; 857-919-1385; www.wphil.org.

John Malveaux: Karen Elyse Hudson, biographer of Paul Williams: "Thank you so much, was a wonderful ceremony today getting the medal for my grandfather!"

Paul Revere Williams

On Thursday, April 27, 2017 AfriClassical.com posted:

John Malveaux: Architect Magazine: Paul Revere Williams (1894-1980) Wins the 2017 American Institute of Architects Gold Medal
 
John Malveaux of 
writes:
 
Received the following comment from Karen Elyse Hudson, grand daughter and biographer of Paul Williams:

"Thank you so much, was a wonderful ceremony today getting the medal for my grandfather!

Wouldn't he have been proud, and pleased!"

Thanks, again,
Karen