Tuesday, February 28, 2017

BlackPast.org Blog: The Sport of Kings and a Select Few African Americans

Oliver Lewis (1856-1924)

Isaac Burns Murphy (1861-1896)

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Hazel Singer writes:

The Sport of Kings and a Select Few African Americans

Thoroughbred horse breeding and racing in its modern form has a long history dating back to 17th century England and is inextricably linked with American history. Thoroughbred racing developed in all the British Colonies, Europe, Argentina, Japan. All modern Thoroughbred stallions can trace their lineage to three horses brought to England from the Middle East. Thoroughbred mares are traced back to Northern Europe and the Middle East.

So, how are African Americans involved in this illustrious history? Maryland and Virginia were the centers of thoroughbred breeding in the American Colonies, as well as South Carolina and New York. Horse racing in New York goes back to 1665. After the American Revolution, Kentucky and Tennessee became the centers of activity. Except for New York, all the other states were slave-holding states. Enslaved Africans and their descendants were central to the business of thoroughbred horse breeding and then in the racing industry as well. Enslaved workers were skilled riders, grooms, and trainers on the plantations. As a result, they were dominant as jockeys: in the first Kentucky Derby in 1875, thirteen of the fifteen jockeys were black and the race was one black jockey Oliver Lewis riding Aristides, the horse trained by former enslaved Ansel Williamson. African American jockeys won 15 out of the first 28 runnings of the Kentucky Derby. Two years after Oliver, the race was claimed by seventeen year-old William WalkerIsaac Murphy, the son of a formerly enslaved man, is considered the greatest American jockey in history. Murphy rode 628 winners of his 1412 mounts. He won the Kentucky Derby three times, the American Derby four, and the Latonia Derby five times. Four more black jockeys would win fame at the Kentucky Derby: Alonzo "Lonnie" Clayton (at 15, the youngest to ever win), James "Soup" Perkins, Willie Simms, and Jimmy "Wink" Winkfield. Winkfield would be the last African American to ride in the Kentucky Derby. Murphy, Simms, and Winkfield have been inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York.

This dominance of black jockeys in thoroughbred racing did not last. By 1921, there were no blacks racing at all. The rising tide of institutional racism, cemented by Plessy vs. Ferguson in 1896, the demands by white jockeys in New York to eliminate black jockeys from the circuit, and the rise of Jim Crow meant that by 1904, virtually no black jockeys were racing. Many black jockeys left the American circuits to race in Europe (particularly Germany, France, and Poland) and Russia. The history of blacks in thoroughbred racing seemed to come to an end. As time went on, with the connection to the past broken blacks were rare in any segment of the racing industry, with Latino jockeys taking precedent.

At the 139th Kentucky Derby in 2013, St. Croix native Kevin Krigger was the second black jockey to race in 92 years. The first had been Marlon St, Julien in 2000. On Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday January, 2017, there was a rare occurrence: the winner of the feature race at Aqueduct in Queens, New York, was Green Gatto owned by brothers Gaston (trainer) and Anthony Grant, ridden by jockey Kendrick Carmouche, with the placing judge who presented the trophy being Sentell Taylor, Jr: all of these men are black. Whether this is a harbinger of a greater involvement of African Americans in the sport remains to be seen.

Comment by email:
Hello Bill,  As usual, I appreciate your support, thanks. Warmly, -Hazel [Hazel Singer]

AaronAsk: Weekly mentoring for a creative life: "Listen Up!" (YouTube: 4:46)

Aaron P. Dworkin writes:

Greetings and welcome to this week's episode of AaronAsk, your weekly mentoring session to live a fulfilling creative life!  This week's episode is titled, Listen Up!  Enjoy, we wish you a creative day and see you for next week's session!

Comment by email:
Thanks so much Bill! Aaron [Aaron P. Dworkin]

African American Sailor [Lt. Lerome Snaer] celebrates family history dating back to American Civil War

Lt. Lerome Snaer

7th Fleet Sailor continues 150-year old legacy

By Toriana Gaither, 7th Fleet Public Affairs
The U.S. Navy's rich history and heritage is highlighted through monuments, celebrations of battles and the stories of brave men and women. The Navy's cultural and ethnic diversity gives its Sailors additional opportunities to celebrate their history, and knowing the accomplishments of their predecessors, who laid the ground work for their future success, is a source of great pride for many.
One Sailor’s quest for knowledge regarding his family lineage led to the surprising discovery of a military history dating back to the 1800’s.
“My family military history begins with 19 year old Louis Antoine Snaer who joined the First Regiment, Company B in the Union Army’s 1st Louisiana Native Guard as a Commissioned Officer (Lieutenant). In 1864, this regiment was renamed the 73rd Regiment Infantry U.S. Colored Troops,” said Lt Snaer of his great-great (great) grandfather.
Lt. Lerome Snaer, from Los Angeles and assigned to Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, traced his family history back to the American Civil War with the help of a book called “We Are Who We Say We Are” by Mary Frances Berry. The book details the trials and tribulations that Maj. Louis Antoine Snaer, one of the nation’s first black commissioned officers, experienced as part of the Union Army.
“Black slaves hated him because he was a free Colored Creole who could pass for white due to his skin and eye color,” explained Lt. Snaer. “White Union soldiers hated him because they believed that free Colored Creole were “naturally unfit for leadership” positions, or to be commissioned officers.”
Maj. Snaer, who served in the Siege of Port Hudson and the Battle at Fort Blakeley, also holds the distinction of being the only black commissioned officer to lead troops into battle on the Fort Blakely battlefield. However, he was the victim of his own success on many occasions.
Maj. Snaer had to make difficult choices, withholding his own voice from participating in multiple black troop demonstrations against their treatment by white Union soldiers in order to maintain his commission as an officer. He believed that maintaining his ability to lead his men was of the upmost importance.
While serving in the 7th Fleet, Lt. Snaer has been given the opportunity to uphold traditions and defend democracy for everyone regardless of their race or culture. Maj. Snaer had to endure malnourishment, lack of shelter, clothing and physical beatings while transiting with the Union Army. Lt. Snaer, said his situation is very different today, and he is using this chance to give his family a voice and promote their legacy.
“I feel the need to speak up for the Snaer men and ensure the Snaer family is recognized throughout history and during Black History celebrations, for their generations of military service for the United States of America,” said Lt. Snaer.
Lt. Snaer also made a point to acknowledge his hope of continuing their “notable service to our fellow men as store keepers, musicians, athletes, lawyers, doctors, politicians, civil rights activists, and service members.”
His military family background has given him the drive to complete 20 years of military service,13 years as an Enlisted Service member and seven years as a Commissioned Officer, along with the motivation to continue on with his career in the Navy.
Lt. Snaer said, “I have no intentions of retiring until I reach the rank of Admiral. To my knowledge, I am the only Snaer serving on active duty and the second military officer in my family.”
Snaer’s aspirations for his family name doesn’t just stop with him. When asked about the future of upcoming generations, he noted the idea of making a second version of the book, detailing their various regions they call home.

League of American Orchestras: Musician Ann Hobson Pilot to receive League of American Orchestras' Gold Baton

Ann Hobson Pilot 
(Photo Credit: Michael Lutch)

Rachelle Schlosser writes:

New York, NY (February 28, 2017) – Esteemed musician Ann Hobson Pilot will receive the League of American Orchestras' highest honor, the Gold Baton, at the League's 72nd National Conference in Detroit, June 6-8, 2017. Pilot, who performed for 40 years with the Boston Symphony Orchestra (29 as principal harpist), is a renowned soloist, teacher, and mentor, and was the first African American woman to serve as a principal player in a major orchestra.
Pilot will be presented the award during the League's Opening Plenary, June 6, 4:00-5:30 p.m., at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center.
"For over 50 years, Ann Hobson Pilot has been a trailblazer in the world of orchestras and classical music, said Jesse Rosen, League of American Orchestras President and CEO. "From her earliest years, she has been a compelling musical presence and an inspiration to colleagues, students, and audiences. We are proud to present her with the Gold Baton, the League's greatest honor, recognizing her immense impact on the orchestra field."
"Beyond being one of the world's greatest harpists and a role model and inspiration to many, Ann remains the epitome of kindness and elegance," said Mark Volpe, Managing Director, Boston Symphony Orchestra. "She left an indelible mark on the Boston Symphony, and her legacy is firmly intact. She is a most deserving recipient of the League's Gold Baton award."
Given annually since 1948 for distinguished service to America's orchestras, the Gold Baton recognizes individuals and institutions whose far-reaching contributions to the field serve to champion and advance the cause of orchestras and symphonic music throughout the country. Previous Gold Baton recipients include, among many others, Leonard Bernstein (1959); John D. Rockefeller, III (1963); Paul Mellon (1964); American Federation of Musicians (1965); The Ford Foundation (1966); Leopold Stokowski (1968); Arthur Fiedler (1976); Aaron Copland (1978); Beverly Sills (1980); Isaac Stern (1987); Carnegie Hall (1990); and John Williams (2006). Click here for a full list of Gold Baton recipients.
The first African American principal at a major orchestra, Ann Hobson Pilot has been a pioneer for over 50 years. A graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music under Alice Chalifoux, she performed with the Pittsburgh and National Symphony Orchestras and became principal harp of the Boston Symphony Orchestra in 1980, after serving as assistant principal harp and principal with the Boston Pops since 1969. She retired from the BSO in 2009, but continues to have an active solo career, with recent performances including the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, and performances of the Ginastera Harp Concerto in Buenos Aires and Boston.
According to the documentary's press materials, Pilot "triumphed over barriers of race and gender to become an artist and teacher, whom many, including John Williams, Yo-Yo Ma and James Levine, revere as one of the world's great harpists."
In his review of the documentary, the Boston Globe's Jeremy Eichler described Pilot as "an exceptional harpist" with "a courageous career."

Read the full release here.

Comment by email:

Congratulation. The award is a wonderful entrance to Women History Month.
John Malveaux

Maryland.gov: Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center Grand Opening Events March 11 and 12

Harriet Tubman
Sculpture in Exhibit
(New York Times Feb. 24, 2017) 
“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.”

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center
(Above and Below)

State of Maryland

The public is invited to the grand opening of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center March 11 and 12. The National Park Service and the Maryland Park Service have teamed up to provide special family-friendly Grand Opening events and activities at the site and a first look at the new visitor center. It is located at: 4068 Golden Hill Road, Church Creek, Maryland. All events are free.
The Visitor Center is the premier feature of the national and state park and includes state-of-the-art, green elements such as bio-retention ponds, rain barrels, and vegetative roofs. It houses an exhibit hall, museum store, information desk, research library, and restrooms. The exhibit features information about Harriet Tubman’s role as a conductor on the Underground Railroad and her work as a freedom fighter, humanitarian, leader and liberator.
Events on Saturday and Sunday will include programs with Harriet Tubman Re-enactor Millicent Sparks; Harriet Haikus & Creative Writing Workshops with National Park Service Centennial Poet Laureate Dr. Sonia Sanchez; Historian Tony Cohen of the Menare Foundation leading simulated Underground Railroad journeys around the legacy garden that reveal escape secrets used by Tubman and other freedom seekers.
Park Rangers will provide talks on topics such as why Araminta Ross changed her name to Harriet Tubman, what skills made her a successful Underground Railroad conductor and the importance of community to enslaved people.
Children’s activities will be offered from noon to 4 p.m. both days including “Games Enslaved Children Played,” about the significance and history of games that enslaved children played and create their own piece of art to remember the park’s inaugural weekend. Junior Ranger activities are also available. Participants get a souvenir hat while supplies last.
On Sunday, Tubman biographer, Dr. Kate Clifford Larson, the visitor center’s historical consultant, will present a talk and book signing for Bound for the Promised Land: Portrait of an American Hero. In addition, architect Chris Elcock, of GWWO, Inc., Architects, will present a talk about the hidden symbolism in the Visitor Center building and surrounding landscape.
“The story of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad is one that captivates people of all ages and backgrounds,” said Josie Fernandez, acting superintendent of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park.
“Harriet Tubman is a true Maryland treasure and who remains relevant to this very day,” said Maryland Park Service Manager Dana Paterra. “Her path to freedom was wrought with peril but she persevered and overcame many struggles to become an American icon.”
Free Shuttles from Cambridge: For visitors coming to the site through Cambridge, Maryland, free parking and a shuttle system is available at 410 Academy Street. From Route 50 take Maryland Avenue to Academy Street following signs for “Shuttle Parking.” The shuttle will operate from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 11 only. The City of Cambridge is running these free shuttles to the Visitor Center.
The Partnership: The Maryland Park Service and the National Park Service have partnered to manage the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center. The new visitor center, recreational pavilion, and legacy garden are located within the 17-acre Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park. Located along the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, this location was chosen for the park because the view is preserved by the surrounding Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. With few remaining structures from Tubman’s time in the Choptank River Region, the landscape is a large part of the visitor experience.
For information on how to visit go to nps,gov/hatu or dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/pages/eastern/tubman.aspx.

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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YlU1a7H7Pw. 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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRfnevzM9kQ 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! http://chineke.org/