Classical 91.5

Classical Musicians of African descent

https://www.alamhof.org/

Jason Max Ferdinand, Associate Professor and Director of Choral Activities at Oakwood University (Huntsville, AL), takes a new approach to choral directing.  In 2019 he took his ensemble, the Aeolians of Oakwood University, to the American Choral Directors Association's national conference where the singers blew away the audience by challenging racial biases in the choral world with their outstanding performances of traditional Western classical songs and Black music. 

https://www.classicfm.com/discover-music/black-composers-who-made-classical-music-history/

One of WXXI's (recent) Community Advisory Board Members and lover of classical music, shared Alex Ross' September 14, 2020 New Yorker article with me, titled Black Scholars Confront White Supremacy in Classical Music. It is long; it is deep; it gives perspective; it challenges; it enlightens; it is thought-provoking, and so much more.  As we face the challenges of race, diversity, equity and inclusion, I will not make a personal statement about this article - I will simply challenge you to read it and think about it. 

 

Falling in line with other festivals throughout the world, the Gateways Music Festival, postponed from earlier this summer, has confirmed plans to go virtual in November.

The event, which has brought classical musicians of African descent to Rochester since 1995, first partnered with the Eastman School of Music four years ago. Last year’s seven-day event was its largest ever, with 17 public programs, more than 30 community performances and 125 musicians. This year’s Gateways, a five-day event starting on Nov, 9, may be equally ambitious in a different way, when set against the challenge presented by COVID-19.


Sheridan Paige Photography

Violinist Epongue Ekille from Rochester is one of the people calling for a greater recognition of Black musicians’ contributions to classical music. She shares her experiences and some listening recommendations.

Black Out Tuesday

Jun 2, 2020

The murder of George Floyd has once again caused much of the nation to question the position of Black people in American society. Is that position to remain one of one more Black man, or Black woman, lying prone on a Staten Island street, as was the case with Eric Garner in 2014? Or Floyd on a Minneapolis street last week? Both pleading, “I can’t breathe?

Violinist.com

“The show must go on...”

That mantra is the rallying cry of artists finding ways to create, perform, and share their work no matter what is happening around them. But Tuesday June 2nd is different: a group in the music industry is calling on performers, musicians and the industry itself to make a different choice in light of ongoing racism and violence.

Judi Vinar

Judi Vinar first saw Bobby McFerrin on the Grammy Awards back in the 80’s.

“I was blown away,” she said by phone from her home in the Twin Cities.  “When I first heard Bobby do a solo piece, you know, a lot of what he does is jump around with a bass note and octave note on top and somehow he fits the melody inside of that.”   

She went out and bought all his records. 

Photo: Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra

He works on both sides of the podium with your Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, grooves at the Rochester International Jazz Festival and the Fringe Fest, teaches students of all ages, is a longtime participant with the Gateways Music Festival, and plays with the Gateways Brass Collective. Meet Herb Smith...a proud graduate of the Eastman School of Music, and one of Rochester's most versatile and vibrant musicians. Intrigued? You can hear Herb perform in the William Warfield Scholarship Fund concert on Sunday, January 12 at 3 PM in Kilbourn Hall. 

https://www.esm.rochester.edu/

Pulitzer prize-winning composer George Walker (1922-2018) was a trailblazer for African Americans, with many "firsts" among his life story. We'll hear his Lyric for Strings on the 10/3 broadcast. Learn more here.

A Gateways Music Festival Reflection with Jaman Dunn

Aug 20, 2019
Neal Ganguli

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Jaman Dunn, the new Assistant Conductor, Community Engagement at the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. Jaman was in Rochester to participate in the Gateways Music Festival as a guest conductor. Gateways aims to connect and support professional classical musicians of African descent, and enlightens and inspires communities through the power of performance.


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