Monday, August 31, 2015 Maestro Rafael Payare, Chief Conductor of the Ulster Orchestra, conducts Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra September 10 & 11, 2015

Rafael Payare
(Copyright Henry Fair)

The Afro-Venezuelan conductor Rafael Payare is Chief Conductor of the Ulster Orchestra.  On September 10 and 11, 2015 he will conduct the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra in Frankfurt Radio Hall, in performances of Brahms, Haydn and Shostakovich. 

Askonas Holt

Rafael Payare has been Chief Conductor of the Ulster Orchestra since September 2014 and was recently appointed Principal Conductor of the Castleton Festival in Virginia, taking over from the late Lorin Maazel.

Developing into one of the most sought after young conductors, Payare has made recent debuts with the Vienna Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, London Symphony and the Chicago Symphony at the Ravinia Festival. Other highlights have included the City of Birmingham Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Seoul Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic, Gothenburg Symphony and the Los Angeles and Royal Stockholm Philharmonic orchestras. 14-15 also saw his acclaimed opera debut conducting Madame Butterfly at the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm. He has enjoyed collaborations with soloists including Jean-Yves Thibaudet,  Nikolai Lugansky, Alisa Weilerstein, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Sergey Khachatryan, Jonathan Biss and Alexander Melnikov.

Frankfurt Radio Hall, Frankfurt

Brahms - Haydn Variations
Haydn - Cello Concerto in C major
- Interval -
Shostakovich - Symphony No 5

Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra / Rafael Payare
Andreas Brantelid, Cello

Comment by email:
Thanks so much for this. He's really establishing quite a career.  S  [Sergio A. Mims]

John Malveaux: Watts Willowbrook Youth Chamber Orchestra performed FREE concert at Long Beach Main Library on August 29, 2015 after talk by Maestro Joe Taylor

Watts Willowbrook Youth Chamber Orchestra

John Malveaux of 

Watts Willowbrook Youth Chamber Orchestra performed FREE concert at Long Beach Main Library - Library Auditorium on August 29, 2015 after pre-concert talk by Maestro Joe Taylor about the founding and demise of the Watts Symphony Orchestra. MusicUNTOLD thanks reporter Diane Anderson of the Long Beach Leader for excellent advance story. See photo.

John Malveaux           

Lara Downes: Please join me for music and memoir - a Billie Holiday concert: September 10, 2015, 6:30 PM, at Zinc Bar, 82 West 3rd Street, New York City

Lara Downes,, writes:

I hope you'll join me next Thursday, September 10, for this special evening of music from my album A Billie Holiday Songbook and reading from my memoir But Beautiful: Life with Lady Day, which will be published in the Fall issue of Listen Magazine.
This will be an early set (6:30) with cocktails and conversation - Ben Finane, Editor in Chief of Listen, will join me for a Q&A after the performance.
I'm excited to share the music and the stories, and I'd love to have you there to celebrate with me!

Zinc Bar: 82 W 3rd Street, NYC

Thursday September 10, 6:30pm

Tickets $25 in advance or $30 at the door
RSVP for reservations:

God Bless the Child:

Comment by email:
Thank you so much, Bill!  I hope you're very well.  All the best,  L  Lara Downes


1) By Dr. Philip J Rogers (@DrPhilipJRogers)

2) By Zinc Bar Jazz (@ZincBarNY)

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Thomas Wilkins Conducts Boyer's 'New Beginnings,' Needham's 'Voices,' Elgar's 'Introduction and Allegro' & Symphony No. 3 of Brahms, Sept. 18 and 19, 2015

Thomas Wilkins

Brahms's 3rd Symphony

September 18 and 19, 2015

Thomas Wilkins, conductor
Hawthorne String Quartet

Boyer: New Beginnings
Needham: Voices
Elgar: Introduction and Allegro
Brahms: Symphony No. 3

Brahms’s most lyrical symphony offers soaring 
melodies and passionate interludes. The Hawthorne 
Quartet, members of the Boston Symphony’s 
famed string section, perform Elgar’s romantic 
showpiece and Needham’s evocative Voices
premiered in Omaha in 2012.

New Mexico Philharmonic: Marcelo Lehninger Conducts N.M. Phil & Pianist Awadagin Pratt in Brahms & Beethoven Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, 6 PM, Popejoy Hall

Awadagin Pratt

Saturday, October 10, 2015, 6pm, Popejoy Hall
Brahms, Beethoven & Pratt

Johannes Brahms Hungarian Dance No. 6 in D Major
Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1 in d minor, Op.15
Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No. 5 in c minor, Op. 67

The NMPhil Classics Season begins with a New Mexico favorite – pianist Awadagin Pratt, and the impassioned Piano Concerto No. 1 by Brahms. Also by Brahms – the gypsy flavored Hungarian Dance No. 6. Then – perhaps the most famous symphony ever written, beginning with the four most famous notes – Beethoven’s 5th! Behind the baton – dynamic Brazilian-born Marcelo Lehninger.

Saturday, August 29, 2015 Blog: Amelia Boynton Robinson, General Frank E. Petersen, Augusta Chiwy and Susie Baker King Taylor

Amelia Boynton Robinson (1911-2015)

General Frank E. Petersen 

Augusta Chiwy

Susie Baker King Taylor (1848-1912) Blog

Hazel Singer writes:

Reflections on Heroes During these Dog Days of August

There is no shortage of people who, during both ordinary and extraordinary times, are heroes to be celebrated because of their quiet courage, determination, and perseverance in the face of racism and obstructionism. Three of these heroes have just recently passed away. They fought and achieved and rose to prominence on the shoulders of those who came before and have become supports for those coming behind them. The three featured today are Amelia Boynton Robinson (August 18, 1911 - August 26, 2015),  Frank E. Petersen Jr. (March 2, 1932 - August 25, 2015), and Augusta Chiwy (June 6, 1920 - August 23, 2015).

Amelia Boynton Robinson (ABR) was a leading civil rights activist. She was a teacher in Georgia, a demonstrator/instructor for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in rural Alabama, and, later in life, a controversial member of the Lyndon LaRouche Schiller Institute. She received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom Medal in 1990 for her work in advocating for voting rights. Amelia Boynton Robinson was a character in the 2014 movie Selma.

General Frank E. Petersen, Jr. was the first black aviator and the first black general in the Marine Corps. General Petersen flew 64 combat missions in the Korean War and 300 missions in the Vietnam War and earned twenty medals for bravery, including the Distinguished Service Medal. He combated racism and obstacles place in his path with valor and never stopped fighting to prove the worthiness of African Americans in the services. His many "firsts" can be learned about in the links above attached to his name. He remained active after retirement as an adviser and educator at the Tuskegee Airmen headquarters and the National Aviation Research and Education Foundation.

Augusta Chiwy was a nurse in Belgium, the daughter of a Congolese mother and Belgian father and was born in what is now Burundi. She saved hundreds of American soldiers wounded at the Battle of the Bulge. At the time, black nurses were not allowed to treat white soldiers, but a U.S. Army doctor overrode regulations in order to enlist her much needed help. She was a character in the book and movie Band of Brothers.

Black nurses, especially those in the armed forces, have had to fight for their right to serve with dignity. Susan (Susie) Baker King Taylor  (1848-1912) is considered the first black nurse to serve in the military. (The first black graduate nurse was Mary Eliza Mahoney, 1845-1926). She was born enslaved in Georgia and claimed her freedom in 1862 after Fort Pulaski fell to the Union Army. Her first husband, Edward King, was a black non-commissioned officer in the Union Army. She served with her husband in the First South Carolina Volunteers, 33rd Regiment for the next three years. After the war, she established a school for freed black children. Her husband died shortly thereafter. She moved to Boston, remarried, and became president of the Women's Relief Corps, which gave assistance to soldiers and hospitals.

Dominique-René de Lerma: 'Sonata Mulattica' Trailer Short on George Bridgetower from Spark Media

Sonata Mulattica Trailer Short
Spark Media

Dominique-René de Lerma forwards this Sonata Mulattica Update from Spark Media:

Dear Friends,

We hope this finds you well! Thank you so much for your interest in Spark Media’s documentary Sonata Mulattica. You haven’t heard from us in a little while, so here’s a quick update!

Since we began production in 2011, Sonata Mulattica has received a handful of modest grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fetzer Institute, and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Despite a limited level of support we have persevered with creativity and an imaginative use of resources to film some really striking footage, from scenes with Rita Dove and Joshua Coyne to the Sphinx Competition in Detroit, standout interviews with several historians and artistic period re-enactments of George Bridgetower himself.

Four years and over 100 hours of footage later, we are hoping to complete production, round out our archival research and enter post-production with a target release of the film in 2017. We are also developing an exciting new digital project called The Search for Harmony, a web-based game exploring the rich historical legacy of classical musicians of African descent, which we hope will supplement the film’s outreach efforts.

All best,

The Spark Media Team

Dominique-René de Lerma Slave tale’s global tour starting here [Ignatius Sancho (1729-1780) is featured at]

Paterson Joseph

Ignatius Sancho: An African Man of Letters

Reyahn King et al. 
National Portrait Gallery of the U.K. (1997)

The article in the Bicester Advertiser states that Ignatius Sancho was born on a slave ship in 1729, according to the play by Paterson Joseph.  Dr. Brycchan Carey of Kingston University is a leading Sancho authority on whose research the website relies:

Dr. Brycchan Carey of London's Kingston University has published "The extraordinary Negro": Ignatius Sancho, Joseph Jekyll, and the Problem of Biography', British Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 26, 2 (Spring 2003), 1-13. His website on Sancho is It reproduces the complete text of Joseph Jekyll's Life of Sancho. Dr. Carey writes, in part:

The major problem with Jekyll's Life of Ignatius Sancho is that much of it is unverifiable, and, worse still, much of it directly contradicts what Sancho himself says to people in his letters. For example, although Jekyll tells us that Sancho was born on a slave ship, Sancho himself seems convinced that he was born in Africa. For a more detailed reading of Jekyll's Life of Ignatius Sancho, see my article...that shows that Sancho was almost certainly not born on a slave ship.

Sam McGregor /
ACTOR Paterson Joseph takes to the stage at Oxford’s Playhouse to launch an international tour of his one-man play, Sancho: An Act of Remembrance.
The play was conceived, written and is performed by Paterson and is a tribute to the extraordinary life of British slave Charles Ignatius Sancho.

Paterson first staged this play at Oxford’s Burton Taylor Studio, but returns to the city by bringing it to the Playhouse stage before setting off on a US tour.
It opens on Thursday, September 17, and runs for three nights, until September 19.

Sancho: An Act of Remembrance is set in the 18th century, when the British slave trade was at its peak.


Charles’s life, however, is full of twists and turns. He was an African man who “dared” to act, sing, write and voice his political opinions. Charles went on to become the first black man to vote in a parliamentary election.

Paterson Joseph has an impressive stage, film and television career to his name. 

Comment by email:
Dear Bill,  Thanks for this link. I have heard about the show from several sources, but I'm not sure if I'll get a chance to see it myself, sadly. Best wishes
Brycchan  [Brycchan Carey]

Friday, August 28, 2015

Harlem Chamber Players 2015-2016 Season: Celebrating Our 8th Year! Season Opening Concert Saturday, September 26, 2015 at 4 PM

Pennsylvania State University: Aaron Dworkin: Classical music is ‘critically valuable’ to young people; Sphinx Organization founder promotes diversity

Aaron Dworkin
(Kevin Kennedy)

Musician, educator and Sphinx Organization founder Aaron Dworkin will be the featured speaker at the Penn State Forum Speaker Series at 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 15 at The Nittany Lion Inn.

By Heather Longley

August 26, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Almost everyone knows a few bars of at least one piece of classical music. It’s in the background of countless commercials, television shows and movies, and it has inspired popular songwriters of all genres for more than a century. So why is classical music often perceived as interesting to only the palest of racial demographics?
According to a League of American Orchestras poll, of musicians in 154 orchestras during the 2007–08 season, 1.83 percent were black, 2.42 percent were Latino and 7.34 percent were Asian. Those numbers represent a minuscule increase from the findings in the league’s previous poll about the 1994–95 season.
Culture and history might have introduced largely white symphonies and musical styles with few chances for minorities to join the party, but Aaron Dworkin — Sphinx Organization founder, musician, spoken-word artist, author, social activist and entrepreneur — said it’s that false sense of ownership that’s threatening the livelihood of classical music today. Dworkin will address his concerns as a speaker in the Penn State Forum Speaker Series at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 15 at The Nittany Lion Inn, and during a Penn State residency that features Catalyst Quartet, an ensemble of Sphinx laureate string musicians.
Born to a white mother and a black father in 1970, Dworkin was adopted as an infant by a white family. When he was 10, his family moved from culturally diverse New York City to Hershey, Pennsylvania, where he said he faced ridicule because of his race and his interest in violin studies.
He founded Detroit-based Sphinx in 1997 as a way to encourage diversity in classical music among children, especially minorities. Dworkin, a 2005 MacArthur Fellow and President Barack Obama’s first appointment to the National Council on the Arts, said he knows how important it is to foster artistic talents among young people of color.
Dworkin, who in July became dean of The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance, is proud of Sphinx’s accomplishments. He said the organization’s training programs reach 20,000 young people each year and pique the interest of 2 million more through live and broadcast audiences. According to, more solo musicians and orchestras of color perform today than before the organization’s inception.

In this Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State interview, Dworkin discussed the feeling of empowerment in music appreciation and stressed the importance of the classical music collective to embrace musicians of all backgrounds.

Q: You say your adoptive mother inspired you to pick up the violin. How prevalent do you think nature versus nurture is in how children learn to appreciate the arts?

A: Perhaps there is a perfect rule that calculates nature versus nurture, however, I am not, unfortunately, aware of one. However, I do think that both are factors in what constitutes success with music for an individual. I suspect that there may be what we think of as innate affinity for music, which may come from early inspiration. And then there is the nurture piece, also known as consistent, methodically informed hard work. In many ways, I do believe in Malcom Gladwell’s theory of 10,000 hours being the basic prerequisite for fluency in any discipline.

Q: Why do you think it’s important to introduce classical music to children and minorities?
A: I think classical music is an important facet of human development. It is, therefore, critically valuable to any young person, regardless of their background, status or geography. It is also an avenue, a vessel, that permits us to build expression. Young people are given the gift of expressing themselves with an instrument in their hands. They are inspired to explore their own creativity through music. Through Sphinx’s work in early education, we are privileged to observe and witness that sense of wonder and empowerment when a young person touches a violin for the first time. In underserved communities and settings, our young people often view this experience as a refuge, a place they look forward to coming (to) after school. In many instances, that joy is simply irreplaceable. While we have so much evidence on the correlation between study of music and academic success, the intrinsic value of studying music and arts-enriched education and its impact on the quality of life for young people is so very important.

Q: Why do you think there is a dearth of minorities involved in classical music organizations?

A: This is, of course, a complex question. There are many historic and societal components to the reasoning and the answer, including historical exclusion, lack of access to quality training (and) to resources, lack of access to exposure, awareness and structural barriers in our modern-day society that persist. However, the reality is that there is a pool of highly qualified artists who simply need exposure, opportunities, professional development and encouragement. That takes a field-wide effort, even in context with organizations like Sphinx, whose mission centers around the issue.

By Listen Magazine (@ListenMusicMag)

Sphinx Virtuosi Will Soon Embark on 8th National Tour of 18 Black & Latino Soloists Led by Catalyst Quartet, Performing Works Composed & Inspired by Women

The SPHINX VIRTUOSI, one of the nation's most dynamic professional chamber orchestras, will soon embark on their 8th national tour! Led by the Catalyst Quartet, the ensemble is comprised of 18 of the nation's top Black and Latino classical soloists. These alumni of the internationally renowned Sphinx Competition will come together this fall as cultural ambassadors to reach new audiences across the United States!

Sphinx Virtuosi
(Kevin Kennedy)

This year's program, INSPIRING WOMEN, offers a collection of works written by women composers along with those inspired by great women. The theme pays tribute to composers throughout history whose works are seldom heard but merit awareness and recognition, along with repertoire already well loved by audiences.

Select performances will include featured artists  Gabriela Lena Frank (Composer, Pianist, Sphinx Medal of Excellence recipient) and Hannah White (Violinist, Sphinx Competition Junior Division 1st Place Laureate).   

Fred Onovwerosuoke: ‘Cut & Paste’ podcast: St. Louis composer recalls Katrina and the day the music almost died

Fred Onovwerosuoke
Durrie Bouscaren / St. Louis Public Radio

The roof of Fred Onovwerosuoke's New Orleans home being repaired after Hurricane Katrina
Provided by African Musical Arts

Soggy boxes and other items in Fred Onovwerosuoke's house following Hurricane Katrina
Provided by African Musical Arts

Fred Onovwerosuoke writes:

Hey folks,

‘Cut & Paste’ podcast: STL composer recalls Katrina and the day the music almost died

Please follow link above to listen and share Nancy Fowler and Willis Arnold's interview. Looking forward to seeing you at our "Music Saved from the Storm" concert this Sunday.

Peace to all of you,

Sergio A. Mims: Barbara Wright-Pryor: Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015 at 4 PM, Concert Honors Tenor Lawrence Brownlee at University Church, Chicago

Virtuoso Rossini Arias
Lawrence Brownlee
Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra
Constantine Orbelian, Conductor
Delos 3455 (2014)

Sergio A. Mims forwards this announcement from Barbara Wright-Pryor, President, Chicago Music Association:

Dear CMA and NANM Members and Friends:
Sunday, September 13, 2015 at 4:00 pm, a concert welcoming internationally-renowned tenor Lawrence Brownlee to Chicago will be held at the University Church, 5655 S. University Ave. in Hyde Park where CMA's Music Director Charles Hayes is Organist/Director of Music. 
Admission is free.  Those of you on Facebook have already received invitations in that regard and a Callingpost announcement is forthcoming to ensure that ALL members are invited.
Two performers from the School of Music and Theatre of Indiana University-South Bend will perform musical tributes on the concert which is sponsored by Dr. Marvin Lynn, Dean of the School of Education, and Dr. Marvin V. Curtis, Dean of the School of Music and Theatre at IU-South Bend.
CMA members paying musical tributes to Mr. Brownlee are:
Arthur D. Griffin, Jr. - organ prelude and postlude;
J'nai Bridges, mezzo-soprano
Kyle Dickson, violin;
Megan Stokes, piano;
R. Nathaniel Dett Club members performing are:
Yvonne Wynne Huntley, piano;
Gwendolyn Brown, contralto;
Errin Duane Brooks, tenor;
Yvonne Dolby Lindsey, accompanist
Please attend to meet and greet Larry Brownlee who is singing the role of Prince Ramiro in Rossini's Cenerentola (Cinderella) at Lyric Opera of Chicago this season. The Dett Club and CMA will distribute information about their branches to the audience to encourage support for each organization. 
Members of the Planning Committee for the Tribute to Mr. Brownlee, in addition to Drs. Lynn and Curtis, are Paul-Martin Bender, Charles Thomas Hayes and Barbara Wright-Pryor.
Musically yours,
Barbara Wright-Pryor 
Chicago Music Association, 
Branch No. 1, NANM Inc. (since 1919)
Transforming lives through the power of music
(A tax-exempt not-for-profit organization)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

John Malveaux: Tenor Roderick George Will Sing Three Songs during the FREEDOM CONCERT 7:30 PM Sat. Nov. 21, 2015, DAR Constitution Hall

Roderick George

John Malveaux of 

American tenor Roderick George  has accepted an invitation to sing
1. Great Day - arr. Thomas Kerr
2. Guide My Feet - arr. J. Hairston
3. Ride On King Jesus - Hall Johnson

during the Free FREEDOM CONCERT, 7:30 PM Saturday November 21, 2015, DAR Constitution Hall, Washington DC.

As an advocate for the performance and preservation of the American Negro spiritual, Mr. George has recorded and toured extensively as a regular soloist with the internationally acclaimed American Spiritual Ensemble. Dr. George is professor of music and head of the voice area in the Department of Music at the University of Montevallo in Montevallo, Alabama. See and Soprano Jessye Norman singing Great Day
The FREEDOM CONCERT will feature the world premiere of an art song dedicated to the legacy of President Barack Obama by composer/educator Joopoong Kim in Seoul, Korea. President Barack Obama, first lady Michele Obama, President William Clinton, President George Bush, and Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon of South Korea have been invited to the invitational and Free FREEDOM CONCERT

John Malveaux: Houston Ebony Opera Guild: Upcoming Auditions & Concert Schedule Announcement; Auditions August 27-29, 2015 for all voice parts

The Guardian: George Walker: the great American composer you've never heard of [a 93 year-old composer with one of the most remarkable lives in...20th and 21st centuries]

The Guardian: "A life of firsts … George Walker poses by his piano at his New Jersey home around the time of his Pulitzer award in 1996." Photograph: Mike Derer/Associated Press

The “Black Mozart” The Chevalier de Saint Georges takes part in a fencing match with the cross-dressing French secret agent Charles d’Eon de Beaumont. Photograph: Mansell/TimePix/Rex Features 

George Walker (b. 1922) 
has a website at
and is featured at

The Guardian

The first African American to win the Pulitzer for music is celebrated for overcoming cultural prejudice, but his work is so good this should only be a sideshow to the main event of his compositions

There is a lot to catch up on: a 93 year-old composer with one of the most remarkable lives in the music of the 20th and 21st centuries, and I’ve only just discovered his music properly. George Walker was the first African American to win a Pulitzer prize for music (in 1996, for his Walt Whitman song-cycle, Lilacs), and his career as a pianist and composer is, especially in his early decades, a story of firsts. He was the first black graduate of the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia in 1945, the first black musician to play New York’s Town Hall in the same year, the first black recipient of a doctorate from the Eastman School in 1955 (you can hear his remarkable performance of Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto, conducted by the composer Howard Hanson here), the first black tenured faculty member at Smith College in 1961 – and many more.

Those achievements tell their own story of the prejudices, lack of opportunities, and segregated cultural life of those decades in America, and are also part of larger narrative in which black performers and composers have been silent or ignored over the decades and centuries. Think of the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, the so-called Black Mozart, who composed string quartets, symphonies and concertos in the late-18th century, and who influenced Mozart in Paris – Wolfgang pilfered one of Saint-George’s ideas in his Sinfonia Concertante K364, as Chi-chi Nwanoku’s recent Radio 4 documentary revealed. He was also one of the era’s greatest violinists and orchestra leaders, who catalysed Haydn’s Paris Symphonies. As if that were not enough, he was also one of the most accomplished gentlemen anywhere in Europe, a famed fencer and socialite, but his music isn’t performed anything like enough now. It’s fitting George Walker has honoured him in his flighty, angular, swashbuckling Foils for Orchestra: Homage à Saint George.

But from interviews that Walker has given recently, including one this week in the Washington Post, it’s clear that while the story of overcoming cultural prejudice is part of Walker’s life story and is enfolded into his work, far more important to him is his ceaseless and rigorous focus on the craft and quality of the music he writes. According to the Washington Post, Walker is working on a symphony at the moment, a piece that will follow his catalogue of four Sinfonias, the last entitled Strands and composed in 2012. Walker’s recent music – like Strands, the turbulent Sinfonia No 3, or the teemingly energetic and mercurial Movements for Cello and Orchestra – has a sharp-edged clarity in its modernist dissonances and angularity, and yet you feel his essential desire to communicate with his audiences throughout.

Comment by email:
Hello Bill,  Thanks for very much for posting the article.  Best regards.  George [George Walker] 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Appalachian State University: University of Akron Professor Frank Ward Jr., Bass-Baritone, performs September 18, 2015 at 8 PM at Appalachian State University

Frank Ward, Jr.

Henry "Harry" Thacker Burleigh 
is profiled at, which 
features a comprehensive Works List 
and a Bibliography by Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma, 

Boone, North Carolina

August 24, 2015 by ASU News

BOONE—Bass-baritone Frank Ward Jr. will perform Sept. 18 at 8 p.m. in Appalachian State University’s Rosen Concert Hall in the Hayes School of Music. The recital is free and the public is invited.

Ward will be accompanied by pianist Deborah Yasutake. He also will conduct masterclasses for students in the Hayes School of Music.

Included on the recital will be a performance of songs and spirituals by H.T. Burleigh, with the Hayes School of Music Faculty String Quartet.

Ward is an associate professor of music at The University of Akron School of Music.

A native of Richmond, Virginia, Ward holds degrees from Morehouse College and The University of Michigan. Critics have praised Ward’s “careful attention to diction,” and his ‘great vocal agility and treatment of ornamentation.” Critics have also reveled in how his stage presence “…married showmanship with vocal technique to a great advantage.”

A sought-after performer, Ward has appeared in productions as diverse as “La Bohème,” “The Marriage of Figaro,” “Showboat” and “Mikado.” He made his European debut singing the role of Don Bartolo in Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” in Rome, Italy with Opera Estate. In addition, Ward has sung multiple performances of the role of “Ned” in Scott Joplin’s opera “Treemonisha” with the Ragtime Orchestra.  [Emphasis added]

In addition to standard repertoire, such as Purcell, Handel, Schubert, Copland and Barber, Ward enjoys singing arts songs and spirituals by African-American composers. He has had much success singing the works of Howard Swanson, Margaret Bonds, Leslie Adams, H.T. Burleigh, Hall Johnson and Wendell Whalum.  [Emphasis added]

Starfish Greathearts Foundation: ‘A South African Songbook: Sounds for Hope and Progress’ September 8, 7pm, St. James's Church, 197 Piccadilly, London

Tuesday 8th September 2015
at 7pm for 7:30pm
St. James's Church,
197 Piccadilly,

Alexander Woods writes:

Dear William,

My name is Alexander Woods and I am writing from Starfish Greathearts Foundation. We are a charity working to alleviate poverty and disadvantage amongst South African children who have been orphaned or made vulnerable as a result of HIV/AIDS.

Starfish Greathearts Foundation would like to invite you to an enchanting musical evening, ‘A South African Songbook: Sounds for Hope and Progress’ on September 8th at 7pm.

In collaboration with five other South African charities, this inspiring concert intends to raise awareness and funds to improve the lives of the most vulnerable in South Africa, and we would be very appreciative if you were able to share this event with residents of Kensington and Chelsea.

The evening will be led by South African-born baritone Njabulo Madlala, whose concerts, I understand, you have covered in the past, and a host of his fellow musicians. Njabulo has won many prestigious awards, including the Kathleen Ferrier prize and most recently the 2014 Standard Bank Young Artist Award in South Africa. He has just completed the Spring tour with English Touring Opera 2015 and has performed widely in the UK, USA and South Africa.

Held at the beautiful St. James’s Church in Piccadilly, the evening will feature a mixture of opera, classical and traditional songs from South Africa. Old favourites will include Malaika, The Click Song - Uqonqothwane, Thula baba, Heimwee, Nkosi Sikelela, Shosholoza, Asimbonanga uMandela Thina, Thula Sizwe and many others. It promises to be a night to remember with uplifting music combining intricate rhythms and harmonies of South Africa with the sounds and sentiments of gospel

It would be fantastic if you could advertise the details of the concert for readers of AfriClassical. I have attached a poster of the concert which has a link to our website for your pleasure.

Tickets range from £15 to £30, and can be purchased from  Please do not hesitate to contact us with any queries you may have; call us at 020 7597 3797 or email
Thank you very much for your time.
Yours sincerely,
Alexander Woods