Sunday, February 26, 2017

John Malveaux: African American liberation of another people

Black Warriors: The Buffalo Soldiers of World War II
Ivan J. Houston
With Gordon Cohn
iUniverse (2011)

Ivan J. Houston

Ivan J. Houston & John Malveaux

Gordon Cohn

John Malveaux of 

Attended February 25, 2017 screening of documentary WITH ONE TIED HAND-detailed recollections by two wounded Buffalo Soldiers who helped liberate Lucca, Italy in World War II, returned to a 'Jim Crow' America, and then revisited Lucca as treasured heroes for a reinactment of the liberation. The central recounter in the documentary is Ivan Houston. See pic with Mr. Houston whose personal biography is titled Black Warriors. See video Black Warriors was co authored by retired teacher/historian Gordon Cohn. Mr. Cohn has reminded me numerous times that as a teenage Pony League baseball player, I was always smiling but seldom smile today. See pic of Mr. Gordon Cohn.

New York Times: Harriet Tubman's Path to Freedom [Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center opens March 11, 2017 in Church Creek, Maryland]

The New York Times

Ron Stodghill

Feb. 24, 2017

At some point in the swelling rhapsody around Harriet Tubman’s remarkable life, it is easy to wonder, with perhaps a bit of guilt, where Tubman’s heroism ends and tall tales begin.
Somewhere between mythic and make-believe slave narratives, you want to hit pause and go searching for the truth of how, for instance, a fugitive slave slipped into Poplar Neck, Md., on Christmas Day in 1854 and stole off with her three brothers and several loved ones.
I traveled Maryland’s Eastern Shore, hoping to gain a deeper, more accurate understanding of Harriet Tubman, a complex American hero.

My trip coincided with the state’s renewed fervor around Tubman: On March 11, the Maryland State Park Service and the National Park Service will open the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center, a $21 million project in Church Creek that commemorates Tubman’s journey, from slave to Underground Railroad “conductor” and, later in life, Civil War scout, spy and nurse. Sitting on 17 acres, the center will be part of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, a 125-mile self-guided driving tour that wends through 36 significant sites along the Eastern Shore.

From the early 1600s until the mid-1800s, thousands of African-Americans would encounter the marshy wooded landscape of the Chesapeake Bay region, first as a gateway through which slave traders forcibly brought them from Africa into the colonies and later as essential paths and waterways that formed the Underground Railroad.
In 1850, Maryland had 279 runaway slaves, leading the nation’s slave states in successfully executed escapes, the author Kate Clifford Larson says in the Harriet Tubman biography “Bound for the Promised Land.” “But few returned to the land of their enslavers, risking capture and re-enslavement, even lynching, to help others seek their own emancipation,” Ms. Larson writes.

Among those few was Tubman. 

In the Mire
Bucktown, Md.
The exact date of Harriet Tubman’s birth is unknown, but historians generally agree that she was born Araminta Ross in 1822 to Benjamin and Harriet (Rit) Greene Ross, taking on her mother’s first name when she married in 1844. She was born in nearby Peters Neck, on a farm owned by Anthony Thompson, a medical doctor and timber magnate, and was later moved to Bucktown.
The morning after my arrival in Cambridge, I took the 20-minute drive to the Bucktown farm of Edward Brodess, Dr. Thompson’s stepson and Tubman’s owner. It is a serene drive, as the landscape shifts quickly from urban to wide-open rural spaces, with acres of barren, tan-colored land stretching miles into the distance, punctuated by the occasional farmhouse.
Along the way I encountered some fascinating sites:

Joseph Stewart’s Canal

From 1810 to 1832, enslaved and free blacks dug a seven-mile canal through the marsh for commercial transportation. The canal was owned by the wealthy slaveholding Stewart family; and Tubman’s father, who worked at a nearby timbering operation, transported materials on the canal. 

I also stopped briefly at the Stanley Institute, a one-room 19th-century schoolhouse that doubled as a church, and I sat at one of its wooden desks. It is one of the state’s oldest schools operated by the black community.

Tubman herself never learned to read or write. Starting at around 5 years old, she was lent out to nearby families to work; she checked muskrat traps in streams and rivers, and worked as a nursemaid to a planter’s child and later as a field hand on timber farms.

Bucktown Village Store

From Tubman’s era, the Bucktown Village Store, though renovated, still stands. It was there that Tubman, as a teenager, showed early signs of rebellion — and she paid dearly for it.

First Flight
One day, Tubman had arrived at Bucktown Village Store with a slave owner’s cook, crossing paths with an overseer arguing with his slave. The slave apparently had left the farm without permission. When the overseer ordered Tubman to help him restrain the man, she refused and the slave broke away. The overseer then grabbed a two-pound weight off the counter, threw it at the fleeing slave and instead struck Tubman. The blow fractured Tubman’s skull and caused her to suffer severe headaches and seizures throughout her life.
Nearly a decade later, she married John Tubman, a free black man, even as she continued in servitude to the Brodess family. When her master died in 1849, Tubman and two of her brothers, Harry and Ben, fearing they would be sold, ran away — later returning for fear of punishment.

“God’s time is always near. He set the North Star in the heavens. He gave me the strength in my limbs. He meant I should be free.”

I stopped at a small log cabin built in the 1850s by James Webb, a free black farmer who lived there with his enslaved wife and four children.
These days, Paulette Greene and Donna Dear, an African-American couple, own some 130 acres of that property. Beneath a giant poplar called the “Witness Tree,” where folks travel from miles away to pray and hold spiritual retreats, we talked about the sacred history of this land. Then they invited me inside their home and treated me to a delicious soup of kidney and navy beans grown on their farm.

Shortly after returning to the farm, Tubman set out on her own, guided through the night by the North Star and well-worn paths of the Underground Railroad up into Pennsylvania, where slavery was illegal.
Tubman’s freedom proved to be bittersweet, as she would recount in her biography. In Philadelphia, she was free, working odd jobs, but lonely. Tubman began plotting her return home to bring her kin back with her: “I was free and dey should be free also. I would make a home for dem in de North, and de Lord helping me, I would bring dem all dere.”
In 1850, Tubman made her first trip back to Maryland, where, on the steps of the Dorchester County Courthouse (which was rebuilt in 1854 after a fire), Tubman’s niece, Kessiah, was scheduled to be auctioned off. But Tubman had plotted with Kessiah’s husband, who had been manumitted, to free his family. He secured the highest bid for Kessiah and their two children, smuggled them to a local safe house, then sailed up the Chesapeake to Baltimore, where Tubman greeted them and guided them to Philadelphia.
The rescue must have inspired Tubman. Over the next decade, she would return to Maryland’s Eastern Shore a dozen times, rescuing some 70 family members and friends.
Tubman was no-nonsense on these journeys, unwilling to suffer weakness among those joining her perilous flight. “For the faint of heart she carried a pistol, telling her charges to go on or die, for a dead fugitive slave could tell no tales,” Ms. Larson writes in her Tubman biography. “She used disguises; she walked, rode horses and wagons; sailed on boats; and rode on real trains...She bribed people. She followed rivers that snaked northward. She used the stars and other natural phenomenon to lead her north.”

John Malveaux: Baltimore Sun: Frederick Douglass bicentennial project aims to give away 1 million copies of his autobiography

Frederick Douglass
(The Baltimore Sun)

John Malveaux of 

MILLION book giveway Frederick Douglas biography

February 14, 2017

By Brittany Britto, Contact Reporter

Today marks Frederick Douglass' 199th birthday — and in preparation for his bicentennial, the Maryland abolitionist's descendants have planned a project they hope revives Douglass' legacy.

The Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives charity launched the “One Million Abolitionists Project” on Tuesday, an initiative that aims to print and give away 1 million bicentennial-edition copies of Douglass' 1845 autobiography, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave," to young people around the country, according to a recent news release. 

After recipients read the book, the organization is urging young readers to collaborate with others to create service projects to address social concerns.  
Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives — co-founded by Kenneth Morris, the great-great-great grandson of Douglass, his mother Nettie Washington Douglass, Douglass' great-great-granddaughter, and Robert J. Benz*  — will present the bicentennial project to the Library of Congress on Feb. 28. 

The organization, which aims to educate and fight against human trafficking and modern-day slavery, has already printed and given away 5,000 books, according to Morris. The hope is to raise money to fund the production of the remaining books. 

“Those words still have the power to inspire young people to insist upon rights guaranteed to them in America’s founding documents,” Nettie Washington Douglass said in a statement.

David France: Roxbury Youth Orchestra Launched 4 Years Ago Today With A Vision of Building "a world-class orchestra in the 'hood" - Give a gift to our youth today!

David France

Happy 4th Birthday!!!

4 years ago TODAY a youth orchestra was launched in Roxbury with the vision of using the orchestra as a vehicle for community impact and a dream to ignite a community of youth through the vehicle of a joy-filled, meaning infused music program   It's been a humbling journey that sooooooo many of you have supported. THANK YOU for coming alongside our vision to build a world-class orchestra in the 'hood. Your support has created one of the most inspiring communities we've had the honor of working with.

Eric Conway: Morgan State University Choir sings All Rise with Wynton Marsalis February 24 & 26, 2017

Eric Conway writes:

Hello everyone,

Last night the Morgan State University Choir performed with one of the greatest musicians of our time - nine time grammy winner - Wynton Marsalis at the Music Center at Strathmore.  We sang All Rise composed by Wynton Marsalis, originally commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, and written for the new millennium.  The Morgan State Univeristy Choir sang the premiere with Wynton back in 1999.  Morgan’s choir also sang the official recording of this piece in 2003 with the Los Angeles Symphony, so this performance was somewhat a reunion for the choir and Wynton.

The piece involves many different musical groups.  Beyond the ninety members of the MSU Choir that sang, forty members of the Choral Arts Society of Washington and ten members of Chorale Le Chateau contributed to the Mass chorus.  Two disparate instrumental groups were also part of the fabric of this composition:  The National Philharmonic Orchestra from Montgomery County, and the Wynton’s own Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.  

All Rise is as novel a composition as one would think Wynton Marsalis would create. There are twelve movements.  No two movements alike in any way!  When one hears this piece, you will notice a unique blend of classical compositional technique as well as the Louisiana Jazz influence, both which helped shape Wynton Marsalis’s career as he won Grammys in both classical and jazz recordings in the same year!

Richard Rogers was once quoted as stating how important it was to make sure that there was a tune that everyone could hum as they left the show.  Well, this is precisely what Wynton did last night in the concluding song of the evening with a Louisiana-soulful melody when everyone on stage was singing, clapping and generally enjoying the merriment of music making.  At the end of the evening, the sold-out house was on their feet, knowing they had enjoyed an extraordinary concert.  

On Sunday, we will have one more performance.  Remarkably, this piece has not been performed much since 2003.  I am certain that after these rousing performances, a revival of this work will occur.  If you do not already have your ticket, you will have to wait for the next performance of this piece, certain to occur.

See attached some photos from the program, rehearsals, and a link to a snippet of the end of one of our rehearsals to get a sense of this great work!


YouTube link to rehearsal: 

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego partners with Art of Élan for the first time with a performance inside Jennifer Steinkamp's immersive video installation

For the past 9 years, Art of Élan has been pioneering unique events and bringing the excitement of classical music to diverse audiences. Created by violinist Kate Hatmaker and flutist Demarre McGill, Art of Élan continually expands the scope of classical music in San Diego through its innovative, one-hour programming in unique performance venues.  By drawing inspiration from the word élan, which represents momentum, vigor and spirit, and providing an opportunity to connect directly with concertgoers, Art of Élan continues to engage and energize audiences in new ways. 

Art of Élan Downtown

First Collaboration with MCASD

February 28th, 2017

The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) is proud to partner with Art of Élan for the first time with a special performance inside Jennifer Steinkamp's immersive video installation "Madame Curie," an enveloping, panoramic work that activates a field of realistically rendered moving flowers and flowering trees. The evening will feature the music of Toru Takemitsu and Peter Askim, as well as the epic "Octet for Strings" by George Enescu. This concert is FREE for MCASD’s X-Set Members, $10 for all other MCASD Members, and $15 for non-members.
February 28 2017 at 7:00pm | Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD)
General Admission: $15
MCASD members: $10
MCASD X-Set Members: Free

Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego
1100 Kettner Blvd
San Diego, CA 92101
Space is limited to 100 seats and tickets are available on a first come, first served basis, both online and at the door:
Buy Tickets Now

Rebeca Omordia's CD with Mark Bebbington of 'Piano Music of Ralph Vaughan Williams' on SOMM is no. 4 in UK & well reviewed; hear excerpt on Facebook

The Piano Music of Ralph Vaughan Williams
Mark Bebbington & Rebeca Omordia, Pianos
SOMM Recordings 0164

Rebeca Omordia & Mark Bebbington

Eni Fashanu writes:

Nigerian-Romanian pianist Rebeca Omordia's album with British pianist Mark Bebbington of 'Piano Music of Ralph Vaughan Williams ' released on SOMM Records is no. 4 in UK'S Classical Music Charts.  

Rebeca and Mark have also received wonderful reviews in the Guardian, the Gramophone, the Arts Desk and Classical Ear.
They were featured on BBC Radio 3 and in Classical Music Magazine. 
Hear them perform Vaughan Williams' arrangement of Tallis' Fantasia as featured on Classic FM:

Eni Fashanu

Comment by email: 
Wonderful! Thank you.  Eniola Fashanu

John Malveaux: Michael Abels composed the music for the 2017 film "Get Out," written and directed by Jordan Peele

Jordan Peele

Daniel Kaluuya in Get Out (2017), Universal Pictures

Michael Abels (b. 1962)

John Malveaux of 

Michael Abels composed the music for the 2017 film Get Out, written and directed by Jordan Peele. Peele said, "I wanted Michael Abels, who did the score, to create something that felt like it lived in this absence of hope but still had [black roots].". See movie trailer and pic of Michael Abels.

Sergio Mims: Brighton Festival presents Chineke! Orchestra Saturday 6 May, All Saints Church, Hove; Jonathon Heyward, Conductor, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Cello

Jonathon Heyward

Sheku Kanneh-Mason

Sergio A. Mims forwards this news:

Chineke! Orchestra

'Freshness, energy and flashes of brilliance' Independent

Jonathon Heyward  Conductor

Sheku Kanneh-Mason  Cello

Joseph Bologne (Chevalier de Saint-Georges)  Overture, L'Amant anonyme

Haydn  Cello Concerto No 1 in C major
Elgar  Serenade for Strings in E minor Op 20
Mozart  Symphony No 29 in A major K201

Few ensembles are as exciting as the Chineke! Orchestra, and it's not just for the brilliance of its playing. Established to provide opportunities for the cream of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) talent, it is quite literally changing the face of classical music by drawing on the artistry of exceptional BME musicians from throughout Europe.

Dynamic young conductor Jonathon Heyward kicks off with a joyous overture by the first notable composer of African ancestry, the Guadalupean Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745–99). The sensational cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, who caused a huge stir as BBC Young Musician 2016 and recently performed at the BAFTA Film Awards 2017, performs Haydn’s elegant First Cello Concerto, before the programme climaxes with the breezy geniality of beloved pieces by Elgar and Mozart.

Comments by email:

1) TERRIFIC! THANKS!  Sergio  [Sergio A. Mims]

2) Thank you for posting!  Very best wishes, Chi-chi Nwanoku MBE, FRAM, FTCL Founder, Artistic & Executive Director Chineke!

Kahil El'Zabar will lead the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble featuring Corey Wilkes and Alex Harding on their final performance of the EHE B'Free 2017 Tour Theme: "B" Free!

Master percussionist/composer and The Chicago Academy of Music's Creative Executive Director, Kahil El'Zabar will lead the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble (EHE) featuring Corey Wilkes/trumpet and Alex Harding/baritone sax on their final performance of the EHE B'Free 2017 Tour
Theme: "B" Free! At A Time When It Is Most Needed!

Ethnic Heritage Ensemble
St. Adalbert Church 
1650 W 17th Street, Chicago, IL, 60608
Tuesday February 28th, Doors at 6:30 PM
Show will begin at 7:00 PM

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 on the day of the event
 Entrance fee will be waived for neighborhood families, children & students

About The Chicago Academy of Music Conservatory:
The Chicago Academy of Music Conservatory (CAM) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to offering exceptional musical training to children and adults throughout the city. CAM is on the frontline of pioneering a new form of music education--creating an ecosystem of greatness.  CAM's unique curriculum and pedagogy allows highly accomplished professional musicians to share their extraordinary talents with both gifted and beginner students.   CAM believes that the benefits of music education and instruction has a tremendous effect on one's academic performance, sense of community, self expression, self-esteem and will ultimately provide a means of social and economic mobility.

If you cannot attend this uplifting performance, we encourage you to visit our website at to learn about the myriad of programs offered. 

Become a friend of CAM by making your tax deductible donation today!

Click here to donate to CAM via Paypal /
Click here to donate to CAM via Amazon.

For more information about this event, please email

John Malveaux: Anthony Parnther & Southeast Symphony in "Tangents" by George Walker & "Centrifuge" by Chandra Dancy, May 18, 1st Congregational, LA

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

Chanda Dancy

John Malveaux of 

Southeast Symphony Music Director Anthony Parnther May 18, 2017 concert titled Serenades and Symphonies at First Congregational Church of Los Angeles will include the world premiere, of CENTRIFUGE by emerging composer/musician Chanda Dancy and TANGENTS by George Walker, the foremost living and working American classical music composer  SERENADE for 9 instruments by Byron Adams and CHAMBER SYMPHONY by John Adams complete the program. Please see  

Birmingham Conservatoire: Cecil Aronowitz International Viola Competition - Under 21s

Valentino Alessandrini writes:

I hope that you are well. I am writing to you today to see if there is anyway that you could advertise this competition through your publications or website? The deadline for applications for the competition is 31 March 2017, so any advertisement between now and then would be absolutely brilliant. 

The website for the event is;

Hope to hear from you soon.

Kind regards,

Valentino Alessandrini 

Friday, February 24, 2017

Kelly Hall-Tompkins: Support Music Kitchen and Be the Change You Seek - Help us Meet the NEA Match before May 31st; Still Needed: $5,448

In the News:
The End of the NEA?
"The arts in America wouldn’t be destroyed if the NEA ceased to exist. But music, dance, theater, literature and visual arts would become less widely available, especially in schools, rural areas and poorer communities. Access to culture should not be a function of family income." -Dana Gioia, LA Times
"Together, the three programs that may be targeted account for less than one-tenth of 1 percent of annual federal spending. But even if the arts get only crumbs, administrators said, they are crumbs worth fighting for: much-needed money that supports community projects, new works and making the arts accessible to people in different parts of the country and to those who are not wealthy."
The New York Times (February 19, 2017)
- Support Music Kitchen and Be the Change You Seek -

Photos by Gregory Routt and George McQuade (LA)

Music Institute of Chicago: Rachel Barton Pine Receives Dushkin Award at Music Institute Gala May 15 [developing, with the U. of Michigan: Music by Black Composers]

"The RBP Foundation is undertaking to research, commission, and compile music and collect related information for The String Student’s Library of Music by Black Composers." 


Violinist Rachel Barton Pine Receives Dushkin Award;
Susan and Richard (in memory) Kiphart Receive Cultural Visionary Award;
Elaine Felder Receives Colburn Award for Teaching Excellence

The Music Institute of Chicago hosts its annual gala Monday, May 15 at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago, 120 East Delaware Place. The oldest community music school in Illinois and one of the three largest community music schools in the nation, the Music Institute is planning a celebratory evening highlighted by the presentation of the Dushkin Award to acclaimed violinist Rachel Barton Pine.
The evening begins at 5:30 p.m. with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, followed by an elegant dinner and awards presentation. Musical performances throughout the evening include talented students from the Music Institute’s Community School, award-winning students from its renowned Academy for gifted pre-college musicians, and young students from its ArtsLink outreach programs, including the Suzuki violin program on the Northwest Side of Chicago, a collaborative effort with the YMCA.
The prestigious Dushkin Award, established more than 30 years ago and named for the Music Institute’s visionary founders Dorothy and David Dushkin, recognizes international luminaries in the world of music for their contributions to the art form, as well as to the education of youth. Past recipients include Joshua Bell, Deborah Rutter, André Previn, Lang Lang, Stephen Sondheim, Riccardo Muti, Yo-Yo Ma, Leon Fleisher, Renée Fleming, Placido Domingo, William Warfield, Isaac Stern, Sir Georg Solti, Pierre Boulez, Samuel Ramey, and Bruno Bartoletti, among others.
This year’s recipient, Rachel Barton Pine, is an internationally admired concert violinist, recording artist, educator, and philanthropist. She has appeared as a soloist with many of the country’s most prestigious symphony orchestras under the baton of renowned conductors from around the globe. Celebrated as a leading interpreter of great classical and contemporary works, her performances combine her innate gift for emotional communication and her scholarly fascination with historical research. Her prolific discography of 30 albums on major labels reflects her interest in the great classical works as well as contemporary composers and historically neglected artists. Having studied at the Music Institute with the legendary Almita and Roland Vamos, Pine is committed to encouraging the next generation to experience the transformative power of the arts. Her Rachel Barton Pine Foundation assists young artists through various projects, including the Instrument Loan Program, Grants for Education and Career, Global HeartStrings (supporting classical musicians in developing countries), and a curricular series in development in conjunction with the University of Michigan: Music by Black Composers. She is a Life Trustee of the Music Institute of Chicago, which named the “Rachel Barton Pine Violin Chair” in her honor.