As challenging as 2020 has been for many of us, I'm grateful for the opportunities this year has afforded me to practice Kuumba, today's Kwanzaa principle. Kuumba means creativity, "To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it." 2021 will ask for more from us, so I wish you a joyous and creative New Year! See you all on the other side!
I am honored to have violinist Heeguen Song perform my solo violin partita in concert this Thursday, December 10th, as a part of Ensemble ARI's celebration of Black composers. I'll be doing a Q&A with the audience and am so happy to share the program with Derrick Spiva, whose music I love! These musicians understand that our fates are tied together, and that, in the words of Maya Angelou, "we are more alike than we are un-alike." Here is a link to the Youtube livestream. I hope you'll join us!
My newest composition for the Albany Symphony Orchestra, Black & Alive, premieres this Saturday, November 14th, at 7:30pm EST, 4:30pm PST. This work, which I'm dedicating to my mom, has been months in the making, so I hope you'll consider listening to it. Tickets for this Saturday's live-streamed concert can be purchased here. My friend, the amazing young African American soprano Chelsea Fingal DeSouza, will also be performing Mahler's Symphony no. 4 with the orchestra on the program. It's going to be a wonderful night of music!
While live-stream access to the concert on the 14th is for subscribers only, your donation of 25$ or more to the ASO gives you access to the concert beginning on Friday, November 20th. They've been wonderful creative partners in this challenging time, so I hope you'll show the ASO some love with your donation today!
The Times Union of Albany wrote up a nice profile about the piece and some of my musical thoughts. Check it out here!
All my best to all of you!
I have admired Maria Sampen's artistry and advocacy of new music for more than twenty years, so I am just over the moon that she will be performing my Partita for Solo Violin in its entirety this Friday, October 2nd, at 7:30pm as a part of her online faculty concert at the University of Puget Sound. Maria is a wonderful musician and a delightful human being, so I hope you can join us online!
My friend Lucy Dhgrae created a digital concert from New York City which includes my setting of Emma Lazurus's poem "The New Colossus." This poem, at the base of the Statue of Liberty, has welcomed millions of immigrants to the United States. Lucy has put together an eclectic program of new work that is like her: brave and musical and true. Show her love!
I'm so pleased that violinist Sarah Jane Kenner has chosen to perform excerpts of my solo violin partita on this wonderful online concert from Ars Musica Chicago. Attendance is free, donations are welcome. I'm looking forward to hearing my work on *Baroque Violin.* The program also includes works by Telemann and Lully. A link to more information is here. Please join us!
I am still buzzing with gratitude from a recent performance of my six-minute flute soliloquy, Falling Skyward, by the wonderfully talented and ever-resourceful principal flutist of the Wichita Symphony, Carmen Lemoine. She, along with WSO concertmaster Holly Mulcahy, produced an inspiring online concert of new works that featured music by living composers. I was really happy to have my music included with the likes of Jonathan McNair and Marco Granados.
To me, the concert was what it might have been like to experience a 19th-century salon: it was informal and warm as the composers and musicians took questions from the other Zoom call participants. My thanks to all involved for keeping new music alive in the time of Covid. These are the sorts of efforts that ensure we can and will defeat the worst this pandemic has to offer. Even in the midst of challenging times, we can still meet together, make music together, adapt, and thrive.
My thanks to my colleague and friend Nicholle Andrews, music director and conductor of the intrepid Phoenix Chamber Choir, for inviting me into conversation with some really wonderful and brave musical artists and diversity stewards. Our discussion was wide-ranging and expansive, and yet always driven by a sense of mission. One thing we know for certain is that aspiring to musical justice is generational work. Endeavoring to make our musical choirs reflect the diversity, breadth, and depth of society is not one person’s job; it is not the job of one community, city, or country. It is the job of all of us. I’m really humbled to have been a part of this exchange. I was nervous (and it shows, at least to me), but it’s really important that we each find ways of putting ourselves out there, testing our discomfort, and try to be a part of solutions. Whether it’s racial injustice, climate crises, or the plight of refugees around the world, Making Music in the Mess has encouraged me to look for ways of asking more challenging questions of myself and my community. Hopefully, conversations like this might encourage you to know that, in the beautiful struggle to affect positive change in your community, you are not alone.
A link to our conversation is here.
Looking forward to discussing diversity in Canadian choral music with this brilliant panel of forward-thinking artists! Hope to see some of you there!
Making Music in the Mess:
A conversation towards a greater understanding of African Diasporic voices in Canadian choral music.
Monday, July 6th, 2020
1:00pm PST / 4:00pm EST
Studies in Hope on WMHT radio
Happy to be a part of the Juneteenth celebrations for WMHT. If ever you wanted to take a listen to the complete piece, now’s your chance! Tune in if you can!￼
"Wear your mask & practice social distancing. Together, we can defeat Covid 19!"
"Literacy in Music & Arts is one of your vital links to global citizenship!"
"Be sure to support the arts in *your* community!"