Saturday, March 17, 2018 Harlem Chamber Players celebrate 10th Anniversary with Harlem SongFest at Columbia U. June 1

Broadway World

March 16, 2018

The Harlem Chamber Players will celebrate its tenth anniversary season with Harlem SongFest at Columbia University's Miller Theater (2960 Broadway, New York, NY 10027), Friday evening, June 1, 2018, 7 pm, featuring Met Opera sopranos Janinah Burnett and Brandie Sutton, mezzo-soprano Lucia Bradford, tenor Phumzile Sojola, baritone Kenneth Overton, and conductor David Gilbert, Music Director and Conductor of the Greenwich Symphony Orchestra. 

The full program follows:
Mozart Overture to Der Schauspieldirektor

"Deh vieni, non tardar" from Le Nozze di Figaro
Janinah Burnett, soprano

"Aprite Un Po'quegli Occhi" from Le Nozze di Figaro
Kenneth Overton, baritone

Donizetti "Vieni o tu che ognor io chiamo" from Caterina Cornaro
Brandie Sutton, soprano

Verdi "Re dell'abisso affrettati" from Un ballo in maschera
Lucia Bradford, mezzo soprano

Mozart "Soave il vento" from Cosi fan tutte
Soprano Brandie Sutton, mezzo soprano Lucia Bradford,
and baritone Kenneth Overton

Donizetti "Angelo casto e bel" from Il Duca d'Alba

Offenbach "Barcarolle" from Les Contes d'Hoffman
Brandie Sutton, soprano, and Lucia Bradford, mezzo

Gounod The Poison Aria from Roméo et Juliette
Janinah Burnett, soprano


Verdi "La Donna e mobile" from Rigoletto

Delibes "Sous le dôme épais" (Flower Duet) from Lakmé
Janinah Burnett, soprano, and Lucia Bradford, mezzo

Verdi "Per me giunto" from Don Carlo
Kenneth Overton, baritone

Mozart "Mi tradi quel'alma ingrata" from Don Giovanni
Janinah Burnett, soprano

Bizet "Les tringles des sistres tintaient" de Carmen
Lucia Bradford, mezzo soprano

"Au fond du temple saint" from Les Pêcheurs de Perles
Phumzile Sojola, tenor, and Kenneth Overton, baritone

Mozart "Ach, ich liebte" from Die Entfürung aus dem Serail
Brandie Sutton, soprano

Dubbed "a series of which we can be proud" by the New York Amsterdam News, the Harlem Chamber Players is an ethnically diverse collective of professional musicians dedicated to bringing high-caliber, affordable, and accessible live classical music to people in the Harlem community and beyond. Founded in 2008 by clarinetist Liz Player and the late violinist Charles Dalton, the group began as a summer music festival serving the Manhattanville/West Harlem neighborhood, expanding to an ongoing series in 2010 with the addition of clarinetist and associate director Carl Jackson.

The 2017-2018 season marks the tenth season of the Harlem Chamber Players chamber music series throughout Harlem, Morningside Heights, and the Upper West Side. In the fall of 2017, the ensemble opened its season with a performance at the Broadway Presbyterian Church at 114th Street and Broadway, featuring virtuoso pianist Joseph Joubert, violinists Joyce Hammann and Belinda Whitney, violist Tia Allen and cellist Clay Ruede in a performance of music by Dvo?ák, Tchaikovsky, and Jennifer Higdon. This concert was dedicated to the memory of cellist Lawrence Zoernig, who died in 2017. Then the ensemble gave a chamber music concert in collaboration with the Goddard Riverside Community Center in the Bernie Wohl Center; presented an all-Bach concert as part of its ongoing "Harlem Bach Project" at Broadway Presbyterian Church; gave a performance in honor of Black History Month at the Schomburg Center; and presented a free family concert at the Newark School of the Arts in celebration of its 50th anniversary. Still to come is a spring concert in collaboration with Opus 118 Harlem School of Music.

Next season, the Harlem Chamber Players has been invited to perform as part of the "Migrations: the Making of America" series presented by Carnegie Hall in a concert entitled "Two Wings: The Music of Black America in Migration," on Saturday, March 30, 2019, 8 pm, at Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage. Producers Jason Moran and Alicia Hall Moran who draw upon their family lore and the historical record of the Great Migration to explore everything from rhythm and blues to gospel, Broadway to classical music, works songs and rock 'n' roll. Leading the event will be Music Director Joseph Joubert. In addition, the Harlem Chamber Players is commissioning a new work by Adolphus Hailstork to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first importation of black slaves to America. The premiere is scheduled for February 2019.

World Premiere Chicago-Centric Cinderella Adaptation Launches HPSD's 25th Season


Hyde Park School of Dance (HPSD) celebrates its home base—Hyde Park—and its hometown—Chicago—with a world premiere to kick off its 25th anniversary season: Amira: A Chicago Cinderella Story. Performances are June 15–17, 2018 at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th Street, Chicago.
Staged by HPSD Founding Artistic Director August Tye, ballet mistress and choreographer at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Amira is the story of a young girl forced to leave her native country without her mother, arriving in Chicago and struggling to make a home in Hyde Park. The story follows the events of the traditional Cinderella story, leading to a Masked Ball in Hyde Park and a young man who becomes smitten with Amira. When she runs away at midnight, he and his friends search various Chicago neighborhoods trying to find her—Little India, downtown, Pilsen, Chinatown, Bronzeville, and Hyde Park—until they meet at a place that is special to both of them.
“Amira: A Chicago Cinderella Story celebrates Chicago’s South Side and its diverse neighborhoods, as well as the perseverance of immigrants to make a home in a new place,” commented Tye. “We also hope to provide positive images of young girls as strong, smart, and capable.”
The cast includes more than 130 dancers age seven to adult. Tye is directing the production and collaborating with seven HPSD faculty members to create the choreography. Tye is also working closely with Costume Designer Jacquelyn Sanders on this modern Cinderella story and professional photographer Damien Thompson to create projection scenery featuring the neighborhoods of Chicago. 
University of Chicago Lab School senior Olivia Issa, who is performing the title role in two of the four performances, is also involved in a special feature of the costumes. “Olivia is thrilled to combine her love of dance and her curiosity and drive for computer coding to help create Amira’s magical gown, which will light up, and the glowing fireflies for her transition into her ball costume,” said Tye.
Hyde Park School of Dance – History
Tye founded Hyde Park School of Dance in 1993, after the School of Chicago Ballet, where she had been teaching, closed its doors. Starting with two teachers, an accompanist, and 30 students in one studio, HPSD has grown to a staff of 38 part-time faculty, accompanists, and administrators; more than 500 students; and 100+ hours of weekly instruction in four studios at three neighborhood locations. During the past 25 years, Hyde Park School of Dance has grown and prospered, while remaining true to its commitment to Training, Performance, and Community.

August Tye
Before coming to Chicago in 1991 to teach at the School of Chicago Ballet, under the direction of prima ballerina Maria Tallchief, Tye performed with the Kalamazoo Ballet Company. She is a two-time recipient of the Monticello Choreographers Award and has choreographed for companies throughout the country. She has performed with Joel Hall Dancers, Salt Creek Ballet, and Second City Ballet. Tye started at Lyric Opera as a dancer in Un ballo in maschera during the 1992–93 season. Since then, she has worked on more than 38 productions as dancer, choreographer, or ballet mistress. Her credits include remounting the choreography of Lyric’s Iphigénie en Tauride at San Francisco Opera and the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden and remounting Lyric’s Salome at the Saito Kinen Festival in Matsumoto, Japan. She is thrilled to make her Dallas Opera debut in April 2018 as the original choreographer for Bob Falls’ Lyric production of Don Giovanni. Tye met her husband, opera singer Wilbur Pauley, when they appeared together in Lyric’s 1994 production of Candide. They were married in 1998 and have three children—all of whom will dance in Amira: A Chicago Cinderella Story.
Amira: A Chicago Cinderella Story takes place Friday, June 15 at 7 p.m.;
Saturday, June 16 at 1 and 6 p.m.; and Sunday, June 17 at 2 p.m.
at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th Street in Chicago.
Tickets, which go on sale May 8, are $25 for adult general admission seating,
$20 for seniors (ages 65+), $15 for children ages six through 18 and
students of all ages with ID, and free (ticket required) for children five and younger.

Tickets and information are available at
773-493-8498 or André Watts, the African-American and Hungarian concert pianist

André Watts

The young Watts with Leonard Bernstein on album cover.

Hungarian Free Press

March 15, 2018

György Lázár

As part of our series on lesser known Hungarian Americans we introduce an American superstar, concert pianist André Watts. We feel that this piece is timely since the Orbán government is supporting “ethnic homogeneity” and envisions a white Christian Hungary defending Europe from the “hordes” of Africa and the Middle-East.

André Watts is a living legend, a musical virtuoso and the first black concert pianist to achieve international super stardom.

Watts was born in 1946 in Nuremberg, Germany. The son of an African American soldier, Herman Watts, and a Hungarian refugee mother, Maria Alexandra Gusmits. Watts lived in Europe until the age of eight when his father was reassigned to the US and the family settled in Philadelphia. His parents divorced in 1962 and Watts lived with his Hungarian American mother.

Watts started with the violin at age four and switched to piano at age six. His first teacher was his mother. Since her boy hated to practice she started to tell him stories about the great Hungarian pianist Ferenc Liszt, pointing out how he practiced faithfully. Watts had a lifelong admiration of Liszt and even adopted Liszt’s bravura playing style. The child protégé won his first piano competition at age nine in Philadelphia and got a big break at the Young People’s Concert that was broadcast on CBS on January 15, 1963. Leonard Bernstein introduced the wunderkind to the American audience.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Sergio Mims: Wayne Marshall Conducts Orchestre de Paris in Bernstein's Mass with tenor Jubilant Sykes March 21 and 22

Wayne Marshall

Jubilant Sykes

Sergio A. Mims writes:

Conductor Wayne Marshall will be conducting the Orchestre de Paris and chorus in Leonard Bernstein's Mass with tenor Jubilant Sykes on March 21 and 22. The concert is another event in celebration that orchestras and opera houses around the world will be doing to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Bernstein's birth.

According to Marshall: "I am so excited, (beyond words) to conduct Bernstein's Mass at the Philharmonie de Paris on 21st and 22nd of March. The cast is of first-class; the orchestra L'Orchestre de Paris is an absolute dream - what else can I wish for?" 

On March 22nd  the concert will be broadcast on ArTE TV network in Europe and can be seen on the network's website here in the U.S.

John Malveaux: Free ICYOLA Remembrance Concert: "The Seven Last Words of the Unarmed" 7:05 PM April 4, LA

John Malveaux of 

50th anniversary of Dr. King's Assassination.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

John Malveaux: LA Opus Reviews Southeast Symphony Concert with Anthony Parnther & Annelle Gregory

Anthony R. Parnther
(Konstantin Golovchinsky)

Annelle Kazumi Gregory
(Southeast Symphony)

John Malveaux of 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


Southeast Symphony in Bernstein at L.A.'s First Congregational Church


It was the Southeast Symphony’s turn last Sunday to celebrate protean American composer-conductor Leonard Bernstein, whose centennial birthday has spawned a year-long slate of local celebrations. Until that evening, however, the champagne had hardly bubbled trouble free. Two earlier uptown productions of his works proved at least as star-crossed as they were star-kissed.

LA Opera’s revival of Candide confirmed - once again - that its cardboard-caricatured parable is at best a succès d’estime, even with an imaginative staging by Francesca Zambello and fine pit-work by James Conlon’s orchestra. Likewise, the LA Phil’s rafter-rattling production of Mass, Bernstein’s paean to the turbulent 1960’s (and his middle-aged bid to connect with new audiences), though expertly handled by conductor Gustavo Dudamel, his orchestra and singers, seemed to lose dramatic focus along the way in Elkhanah Pulitzer’s over-busy staging.

If these two premiere organizations couldn’t fully bring off the banner-waving for America’s most famous musician, could that daunting task be accomplished by the venerable yet modestly funded Southeast Symphony? It turns out it could be, and it was, in the resonant space of First Congregational Church, the Gothic-styled cathedral near downtown Los Angeles.

In a program that had top-flight Bernstein bookending works by three other composers simpatico to his vision, the evening became more than a performance; it was an event to remember and savor, for itself and for what it represented to today's Los Angeles in all its busy, sprawling diversity.
For the past eight years the Southeast Symphony's music director and conductor has been the charismatic, multi-talented Anthony R. Parnther (a fine bassoonist when not on the podium), whose family background is equal parts Jamaican and Samoan. His handling of the orchestra and singers throughout the evening kept rhythms crisp and colors bright in an acoustic environment that could have easily gobbled up both. Parnther’s witty introductions to the works were delivered in deep resonant tones that invoked actor James Earl Jones. In the First Congregational Church's cavernous acoustic, his narration sounded like the voice of God, but with a kindly wink.

Displacing Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet from Verona to the ethnically tense streets of New York City lent dramatic spine and relevance Bernstein’s now iconic West Side Story, and inspired some of its composer’s best lyrical outpourings. An orchestral medley of songs from the score (arranged by Jack Mason) opened the program, whetting the appetite for more Bernstein. 


The piece that most surprised me - in fact it knocked my socks off - was a tone poem by American composer Florence Beatrice Price (1887-1953), the first African-American woman to have a symphonic piece performed by an American orchestra, when Frederick Stock and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra gave Price that distinction in 1933 with her Symphony in E Minor. This evening’s piece, The Oak, was a deeply mysterious tone poem that reminded one of Rachmaninov's spooky Isle of the Dead, or the more somber orchestral excerpts from Wagner’s Götterdämmerung. The work, never completed, was characterized by Parnther as “a torso.” If this is a torso, I want to hear more so.

Lending a kind of splashy benediction from an earlier century to the evening’s ethnic mash-up, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s evergreen Scheherazade reminded all concerned that exotic sounds from distant musical traditions were always, as they remain today, the spice of musical life. Providing a lovely musical simulation of the fabled heroine's spoken lines in The Thousand and One Nights was the evening’s musical Scheherazade, violinist Annelle Kazumi Gregory. A native of Southern California and a rising young soloist of mixed ethnic background (reportedly African-American and Japanese), she has already achieved distinction in a number of venues around town and abroad. Her solo outings here glistened like sinuous silver threads streaming their way in the vast interior space of the neo-Gothic church. This young artist has a bright future awaiting her. HBCU Music Departments Benefit from NEA Funded Arts Program

CAAPA Master Class Series at Morgan State University featuring student baritone Christian Isaiah Simmons (rt), Music Master soprano N’Kenge (far left), and CAAPA Artistic Director Dr. Lester on piano.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Nationwide — Uniquely positioned as possibly the first and only nationwide Master Class Series, a program featuring African American classical music masters and designed to partner with HBCUs, is on the move with National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) federal funding. 

Now underway, the Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts (CAAPA)’s national Master Class Series funded by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) presents the first session at Hampton University, Hampton, VA on Thursday, March 15, 2018, at the R. Nathaniel Dett Auditorium (Armstrong Hall), 100 E Queen St, Hampton, VA at 3pm. Facilitated by soprano Angela Renee Simpson, the MasterClass Series, which is at no cost to the institutions, is part of the NEA’s $25 million in grants, the first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018, approved by NEA Chairman Jane Chu. CAAPA received $10,000 of the Art Works category budget, the NEA’s largest funding category supporting projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and/or the strengthening of communities through the arts.

So far, additional confirmed CAAPA MasterClass 2018 sessions include Southern University on Wednesday, March 21st; Howard University on Wednesday, April 11th; Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Clark-Atlanta University on Thursday, April 12th with Morgan State University, Bowie State University, Livingstone College, and Virginia State University pending final dates. MusicMasters scheduled to facilitate the sessions include bass/baritone Kevin Short and tenor and NEA Award recipient George Shirley, with Simpson who also serves as the program coordinator conducting the Master Class at Southern University.

“It is energizing to see the impact that the arts are making throughout the United States. These NEA-supported projects, such as this one with CAAPA, are good examples of how the arts build stronger and more vibrant communities, improve well-being, prepare our children to succeed, and increase the quality of our lives,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “At the National Endowment for the Arts, we believe that all people should have access to the joy, opportunities and connections the arts bring.”

Sinfo-Nia Youth Orchestra: Alabama A & M University Music Scholarship Auditions March 22, 2018

Alabama A & M University Music Scholarship Auditions

Dr. Horace Carney, Chair of the Music Department at Alabama A & M University, will be conducting auditions for aspiring music majors (Instrumental & Vocal: Strings, Winds Percussion, Brass, Choir). Serious high school junior and senior musicians are invited to participate. The session will take place on Thursday, March 22, 2018, 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM at Frontline Community Services, 3781 Presidential Parkway, Suite 104, Atlanta, GA 30340.  
  • Auditions will be held by appointment only.  
  • Candidates should contact Sinfo-Nia Youth Orchestra via email ( to schedule their specific time slot.

Please share this announcement with eligible applicants!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Join the HBCU Collective for the 2nd Annual Day of Action on April 17, 2018

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have served as the vanguard for African-Americans for almost 200 years. Today, however, our beloved institutions are under attack and may not be around much longer. If you believe HBCUs are worth fighting for join us on April 17, 2018 and help us fight for our schools.

On April 17, 2018 students and alumni from across the country will come to Washington, DC to advocate for their schools. We need your help to make this event a success. Join the HBCU Collective for the 2nd Annual Day of Action on April 17, 2018. Join us as we advocate for increased financial support for students, increased funds for federal research grans and more funding for facility upgrades.

Our schools are depending on you!

Mama Foundation: Vy Higginsen's "Let The Music Play...Gospel!" at Dempsey Theater, Harlem from April 7

The Mama Foundation for the Arts proudly announces the brand new production of their acclaimed musical, Let the Music Play... Gospel! From the creators of Mama, I Want To Sing! – the worldwide musical sensation – Let the Music Play... Gospel! is a musical celebration of a generation, featuring an intergenerational company of performers comprised of both younger and older adults; at The Dempsey Theater in Harlem (127 West 127th Street, between Lenox and Seventh Avenues). After a long running hit engagement in 1988, the joyous concert musical returns 30 years later, for an energized remounting; performances begin on April 7, 2018.

Conceived and written by Vy Higginsen and Ken Wydro, this 30th Anniversary revival offers new direction by Mr. Wydro, Ahmaya Knoelle Higginson, Kevin McKoy, and choreographer Elijah Ahmad Lewis. The show features a new and fresh showcasing of a classic musical genre. Ms. Higginsen invites you to experience the floor-stomping and roof-shaking power of her legendary musical: “This show is guaranteed to warm your soul and lift your spirits. The story is in the sound of the music; the message is in the words of the song.”

Let the Music Play... Gospel! features Vy Higginsen returning to the stage with fellow cast members Deborah Bingham, Matthew Brown, Matthew Burke, Renee Connell, Carlton Ellen, Jessica Lyric Harp, Ahmaya Knoelle Higginson, Elijah Ahmad Lewis, Gladys Mitchell, Kamal Morales, Jalana Potts, Kiara Ray, Michael Reid, Roberta Ross, and Chloe Thompson; with musicians Andre Cleghorn, Edward Cleghorn, Jr, David McKoy, and music director Kevin McKoy; lighting design by Earl Dolphy, and sound design by Don Juan Holder.

Proceeds from the production benefit The Mama Foundation for the Arts, a cultural space in Harlem with a mission to present, preserve and promote the history and fundamentals of gospel, jazz, and rhythm & blues music for current and future generations, as well as to provide quality training and employment in the performing arts to both youths and adults. A non-profit 501(c)3, The Mama Foundation for the Arts was founded in 1998 by Vy Higginsen, inspired by her musical Mama, I Want To Sing!

Through the Foundation’s School of Gospel, Jazz and R&B and its Gospel for Teens program, instruction in these musical art forms has been offered to young people between the ages of 11 and 19 at no cost since 2006. The Gospel for Teens program has serviced hundreds of students in the past seven years, providing desperately needed support to musically gifted children and replacing arts programs taken out of many inner city schools.

Let the Music Play... Gospel! will perform Saturday afternoons from April 7th through to May 19th at 2:00 p.m.  Tickets are available by calling The Mama Foundation for the Arts at (212) 280-1045 or through OvationTix at Tickets are $35 - $50 for general admission.  Special rates for seniors age 62 or over, and groups of 10 or more are also available when calling the box office. For more information, please visit

Directions to the Dempsey Theater via Public Transit:
Number 2 or 3 express trains to 125th Street and Lenox Ave; walk two blocks north, turn left on 127th Street.
M2, M3, M7 Buses to 127th Street.