News and music to start your week!
One of the effects of the attention that is finally being paid to the systemic racism that is embedded in our culture is that new attention is being paid to voices that have been omitted from the canon. NPR brought the spotlight to William Dawson’s Negro Folk Symphony. Dawson, who is pictured above, was an American composer, choir director, and musicologist. Listen in below:
This scholarly article of 2012 (by Gwynne Kuhner Brown) called for wider performances of Dawson’s Symphony, as well as providing compelling background.
In other news this week, the San Francisco Classical Voice interviewed Adolphus Hailstork, including discussion of the recent premiere of a new work inspired by the life of William Grant Still.
The Chicago Sun Times explores the efforts being made by some organizations – and highlighting the work of the Chicago Sinfonietta – of being more inclusive not only of musicians on the stage, but including administrators and board members.
New attention is also being brought to the Charleston’s Colour of Music Festival, which was founded eight years ago and highlights the work and legacy of Black musicians. This year’s festival has been postponed until February 2021. Learn more at the Charleston City Paper.
On Juneteenth, WQXR hosted a 24-hour marathon of music by Black composers and performed by Black musicians. Part of the programming was a two-hour conversation with host Terrence McKnight and various guests about the current state of classical music in terms of the systemic racism that it was founded in, and what can and is being done to correct those wrongs. You can listen in to the conversation here.
Almost every work we write about is one that is under-performed and under-recognized. Ethel Smyth’s 1909 opera, The Wreckers is certainly high on our list of works that deserve a strong welcome to the canon. Now you can see it for yourself, through a stream of the 2015 performance at the Bard Festival of Music (at the Fischer Center). This is only up through tomorrow (June 30!) (–we think!) — don’t miss it! And here is Liane Curtis’s 2015 review of that performance.
So much going on! Be sure to let us know what we missed! firstname.lastname@example.org