Anthony McGill

The First Black Principal Clarinetist of the New York Philharmonic.

Something special happens when two African American classical musicians come together to perform a work about the Black experience in America.  Anthony McGill, the first Black Principal Clarinetist of the New York Philharmonic, has been on a tour of sorts with Pulitzer Prize winning composer Anthony Davis. McGill performs Davis’s reality-based work, You Have The Right To Remain Silent.  

In this edition of Classical Music In Color, hear the story of how McGill made his ascent to the top of the classical music world.  And how he’s helping others get there too. 

Events and Opportunities

Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch by Ossie Davison PBS Great Performances “Broadway’s Best” lineup in May.

Grammy winning, Bass singer Morris Robinson’s one man show at the Fort Worth Opera

Early Music America’s Engagement Award

Cover Photo by: Martin Romero

Meet Andre Dowell, the Sphinx Organization’s new Programming Chief  

The Sphinx Organization, the group that’s been fostering diversity in classical music since 1996, has a new programming chief.  Andre Dowell is new to the job but not to the Sphinx organization. In his new job, he says he wants Sphinx to keep moving forward in diversifying the classical music community via the organization’s many programs.

Colour of Music Festival – Chamber Music Quartet & Quintet with Elizabeth Hill

Applications for the Seventeenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition 

Althea Waites.  Pianist, Scholar, Advocate

Althea Waites is a pianist extraordinaire. In her 85 years, she has performed all over the world and will occasionally accept invitations to teach master classes at music schools across the country.  She has produced several albums, including her 2023 grammy nominated  album, Reflections in Time.  Her main goal is to perform new music and the music of composers of color.  She has recorded the works of Margaret Bonds, Jeremy Siskind and Curt Cacioppo along with three of the “Three-Fours” of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.  Waites is scheduled to perform this month at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas.

Events and Opportunities:

THE APOLLO – CELEBRATING 90 YEARS AS THE SOUL OF AMERICAN CULTURE

Clayton Stephenson @ New York Philharmonic

The California African American Museum in Los Angeles

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Bloomberg Philanthropies.  Digital Accelerator Program

The Re-Discovery of Vicente Lusitano, A 16th Century Afro-Portuguese Composer

Have you ever heard of Vicente Lusitano?  

During his lifetime in the 1500s he lit up the Early Music/Renaissance  world with his music, intelligence, and moxie. Unfortunately this Afro-Portuguese composer’s mixed parentage and the prejudices of the period meant his legacy would not survive. But his music remains.  

In this January 21st edition of Classical Music In Color, two Lusitano experts, Garrett Schumann and Joseph McHardy,  talk about his life and works and revival today, nearly four centuries later. 

Here are links to the events and competitions mentioned in the podcast:

Hampton University in Virginia is honoring Composer Roland M. Carter.

Composer Anthony Davis is inducted into the Opera Hall Of Fame

The New Jersey Symphony is accepting applications for the Edward T. Cone Composition Institute.

New Album:  African American Voices II With Conductor Kellen Gray.

Prepare to hear the sounds of three very different African-American composers from different eras of classical music in the 20th century.  On the album African-American Voices II, curated and conducted by Kellen Gray, there’s Margaret Bonds and the music of Ulysses Kay and Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson

Kellen Gray is coming stateside next month (January) to work in Minnesota and in Washington, DC. 

Here are the links to the opportunities I mentioned.

Winston-Salem Symphony and UNCSA to Launch Fellowship for String Players

The National Academy Orchestra of Canada is looking for members.

For our African listeners, Spotify has a SSA Early Career Program.

The National Association of Negro Musicians is calling for proposals for its 2024 convention.

Are You Composing While Black?  On Classical Music In Color

Two composers and musicians, George Lewis and Harald Kisiedu have gathered some of today’s composers and musicologists in a book of essays called Composing While Black.  There are nine essays in the book that talk about their experiences composing, performing and being in a world that isn’t always welcoming to Black musicians, classical or otherwise. 

George Lewis and Harald Kisiedu

Regarding the items mentioned in the podcast:

 

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The Pressure Of Being The First One. The Dreams of a Nigerian Violinist and Florence Price. 

Rosalyn Aninyei  is doing her best to create and maintain a world class orchestra in her home country of Nigeria.  Florence Price is getting the festival treatment at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.  Blake-Anthony Johnson talks about his path to become the first African American to be the CEO of a world-renowned orchestra, the Chicago Sinfonietta.

There’s a new album of music by Florence Price and William Dawson via the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Here’s a link to the Margaret Bonds Symposium at Queens University in  Charlotte, North Carolina.

New Albums from Pratt, Dworkin and Malakai and a Latinx Opera Workshop

In this month of September, your ears will be filled with the sound of STILLPOINT.  It’s Awadagin Pratt’s latest album.  He’s performing music he commissioned from several composers of color. 

You can hear the life and times of Aaron P. Dworkin’s in his debut spoken word album The Poetjournalist. 

Malakai Bayoh didn’t win Britian’s Got Talent 2023. The 14-year-old DID win a record deal and his debut album Golden is out and about.

Opportunities abound all over the BIPOC spectrum

Austin Opera has a program for Latinx creatives

There’s a leadership opportunity at the Delaware Symphony Orchestra

South Africa’s National Arts Festival is calling for creatives of all types for their 2024 event. 

Composers might want to write what could become the Best Symphonia of the Year

The National Opera House Is Coming Together.

There’s good news about the progress of the once dilapidated National Opera House in Pittsburgh.

Executive Director Jonnet Solomon says they are still in need of financial help and volunteer personnel.

And We Honor Andre Watts

We honor the life and career of Pianist Andre Watts with good friend and colleague Norman Krieger.

There’s a new debut album from Sphinx Virtuosi called Songs for Our Times

Bass player Joseph Conyers is making history again with the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Conductor Jonathon Heyward has picked up another job.

The Hastings International Piano Competition in England is looking for applicants.  So is the Sphinx Competition.  There’s also a competition for UK only groups called the Music and Drama Education awards. 

DEATH GRIEF HEALING

Grief is a heavy burden to carry.  Composer Curtis Stewart has composed music expressing the devastation he feels over his mother’s death. He calls the album OF LOVE and has released a video for one of the tracks DRIFT TO WAKE.

There’s an update on Ralph Yarl, the 16 year old who was shot twice when he went to the wrong house.

We say goodbye to Soprano Grace Bumbry who went beyond the white curtain.

Performances coming up this month include the Harlem Chamber Players presents, Harlem Songfest 2.  The opera SHE WHO DARED from the American Lyric Theater. 

The Dallas Symphony is looking for applicants for its first Diversity Fellowship Program.  Afros and Audio Podcast Festival is calling for speaker submissions

The Lewis Prize for Music wants organizations investing in music programs for young people to apply for a grant.