Events & Tickets
Transatlantic Conversations: Black Renaissance Pianism across the Pond
New World Center, Truist Pavilion
British musicologist and pianist Dr. Samantha Ege shares moving and memorable piano-centric music by influential Black composers including Amanda Aldridge, Harry T. Burleigh and Robert Nathaniel Dett. Joining Dr. Ege in performance and discussion are conductor and NWS alum William Eddins and NWS’s current Piano Fellows.
Recordings from this concert will be included in the NWS’s 36Keys.org, a digital resource library to ensure this work is available to students, teachers, programmers and music lovers.
This concert is part of the I Dream a World festival. Click here for a full listing of festival events.
I Dream a World: The Harlem Renaissance and Beyond is made possible with support from the NWS Collaborations Fund, the NWS Fund for New Ventures and the Keith and Renata Ward Family Fund. Knight Foundation and New World Symphony: Reimagining Classical Music in the Digital Age.
LE PARIS NOIR: HENRY OSSAWA TANNER & LOÏS MAILOU JONES
February 3-12, 2023
New World Center, Clinton Family Fund Ensemble Room
Christopher Norwood, curator and founder of Hampton Art Lovers at the Historic Ward Rooming House, curates an installation from The Norwood Collection with art and related works of African American painters Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937) & Loïs Mailou Jones (1905-1998). As the first internationally recognized male and female African American artists, they both found human and artistic freedom in France. Ticketholders can view the exhibition throughout the duration of the festival.
I Dream a World Festival Pass
A Festival Pass is your ticket to two weeks of live music, film, art and learning. For $150 or less, attend as many events as you’d like by showing your festival pass at the door. Click here to choose a Festival Pass.
Moorish Dance, Op. 55
Harry T. Burleigh
Poetry by Louise Alston Burleigh
From the Southland
Through Moanin’ Pines
In De Col’ Moonlight
On Bended Knees
A New Hidin’ Place
Melba King, poetry recitation
Robert Nathaniel Dett
In the Bottoms
Three African Dances
A Call to Feast
Dance of the Warriors
TRANSATLANTIC CONVERSATIONS: BLACK RENAISSANCE PIANISM ACROSS THE POND
The Black Renaissances of Harlem, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit and all of the urban centers where Black creatives and intellectuals thrived, not only ushered in an era of rebirth, but also one of reconnection. If rebirth was about people of African descent establishing a new and empowered sense of how to move forward against the tyranny of Jim Crow, then reconnection was about drawing strength from the past and harnessing the beauty and power of ancestral traditions. Transatlantic Conversations: Black Renaissance Pianism across the Pond explores these themes of rebirth and reconnection, journeying through the ancient world of the Moors to plantation dances of the enslaved, and through the classical music cultures of Europe to Afrocentric reshapings of North America.
Although the Black Renaissance reflects a unique period in U.S. history, it also encompasses the foundational work of the British Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Canadian Robert Nathaniel Dett, both of whom developed a musical style that would inspire new generations of African American composers. Coleridge-Taylor was a mixed-race composer, violinist and conductor of both English and Sierra Leonean descent, on his mother’s and father’s side, respectively. Many of his works drew influence from Black folk songs, which proved empowering for Black composers in the States. Coleridge-Taylor used the word “Negro” with pride when he wrote his 24 Negro Melodies in 1905.
The piece that opens Transatlantic Conversations is Coleridge-Taylor’s Moorish Dance, which was published the year before 24 Negro Melodies. Again, the term Moor took on derogatory connotations in relation to people of African descent. However, Coleridge-Taylor restored pride and power with a work that is both regal and grand. When you hear Coleridge-Taylor’s Moorish Dance, you will see why the revival of ancient Black histories and traditional folk heritages resonated so deeply in an era that epitomized rebirth and reconnection.
Coleridge-Taylor’s treatment of Black folk songs revealed greater possibilities for Robert Nathaniel Dett. Like Coleridge-Taylor, Dett was a product of the Romantic tradition—a tradition characterized by lyrical melodies, impassioned harmonies and dramatic flair. But, also like his British predecessor, Dett was inspired by the narratives of 19th-century Black life, as celebrated in his piano suite In the Bottoms.
Similar to Dett’s piano suite, Harry T. Burleigh’s From the Southland is another evocative portrait of Black Antebellum life. Burleigh was predominantly known for his art song compositions and international performance career. His piano suite is a rare work that showcases his brilliance as a composer of piano music. However, the vocal element is still there as each movement of the suite is prefaced by a spoken passage in African American vernacular dialect. Additionally, Burleigh dedicates this work “To my friend S. Coleridge Taylor Esq.”
Nora Holt’s Negro Dance builds on the creative legacies of those who came before her. It draws inspiration from 19th-century plantation dances, most notably the Pattin' Juba (which we also hear in Dett’s In the Bottoms). Negro Dance is Holt’s only surviving work for solo piano. At some point during the 1920s, she kept her music in storage while she studied in Paris with Nadia Boulanger. Holt returned home to find her belongings had been ransacked, but Negro Dance survived as it was one of the few pieces she published elsewhere.
Transatlantic Conversations comes full circle with the music of Amanda Aldridge, a mixed-race British composer—daughter of the famed African American Shakespearean actor Ira Aldridge (whose portrait hangs in London’s National Portrait Gallery) and the Swedish Amanda Brandt. Like Coleridge-Taylor, Aldridge studied at the Royal College of Music and immersed herself in the country’s flourishing classical scene. Closing the program, Aldridge brings us to the Africa of her imagination with her Three African Dances. Put together, each piece in this program illuminates the rich tapestry that emerges from these transatlantic threads.
—Dr. Samantha Ege
Dr. Samantha Ege is an award-winning musicologist, internationally recognized concert pianist and Anniversary Research Fellow at the University of Southampton. Her forthcoming book is called South Side Impresarios: Race Women in the Realm of Music (University of Illinois Press) and her latest album is available now and called Homage: Chamber Music from the African Continent and Diaspora, featuring the music of Bongani Ndodana-Breen, Undine Smith Moore, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Zenobia Powell Perry and Frederick C. Tillis.
Dr Samantha Ege is an Anniversary Research Fellow at the University of Southampton. She was the Lord Crewe Junior Research Fellow in Music at Lincoln College, University of Oxford, from 2020 to 2022. She holds a PhD in Musicology from the University of York and a BA with honours in Music from the University of Bristol. She spent her second undergraduate year at McGill University as an exchange student. She taught music internationally for almost a decade after graduating from Bristol.
Dr Ege is a leading interpreter and scholar of the African American composer Florence B. Price. Dr Ege's publications and performances shed an important light on composers from underrepresented backgrounds. In 2021, she received the American Musicological Society's Noah Greenberg Award for her Black Renaissance Woman recording project. In 2019, she received both the Society for American Music’s Eileen Southern Fellowship and a Newberry Library Short-Term Residential Fellowship for her work on women's contributions to concert life in interwar Chicago. Dr Ege's first book is called South Side Impresarios: Race Women in the Realm of Music (University of Illinois Press, forthcoming). She has been contracted as co-author alongside Douglas Shadle of Price (Master Musicians Series, Oxford University Press) and co-editor alongside A. Kori Hill of The Cambridge Companion to Florence B. Price (Cambridge University Press).
As a concert pianist, Dr Ege made her Barbican debut in 2021 with a "vivid, relevatory recital" (Michael Church, iNews) in which she gave the UK premiere of Vítězslava Kaprálová's Sonata Appassionata. In her London debut at the 2021 London Festival of American Music she gave the world premiere of Florence Price's complete Fantasie Nègre set. In 2018, she made her international lecture-recitalist debut at the Chicago Symphony Center with her event A Celebration of Women in Music: Composing the Black Chicago Renaissance. She has additionally presented her research and repertoire at a number of other institutions and venues in the UK, Ireland, US, Canada, Australia, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
Dr Ege released her debut album in May 2018 with Wave Theory Records called Four Women: Music for solo piano by Price, Kaprálová, Bilsland & Bonds. The album featured the world premiere recording of Bilsland’s The Birthday Party, which led to Dr Ege preparing an edition of the suite, now published by Faber Music. She released her critically acclaimed second album in March 2021 called Fantasie Nègre: The Piano Music of Florence Price with Lorelt (Lontano Records Ltd.). Her third album (also with Lorelt) is out now and called Black Renaissance Women: Piano Music by Florence Price, Margaret Bonds, Nora Holt, Betty Jackson King & Helen Hagan. Her fourth album is a collaborative project with the Castle of our Skins string quartet, called Homage: Chamber Music from the African Continent and Diaspora (Lorelt), released October 2022.
William Eddins is the Music Director Emeritus of the Edmonton Symphony and a frequent guest conductor of major orchestras throughout the world. His engagements have included the New York Philharmonic, St. Louis Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra and the symphony orchestras of San Francisco, Boston, Minnesota, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Detroit, Dallas, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Houston, as well as the Los Angeles and Buffalo philharmonics.
Internationally, Mr. Eddins was Principal Guest Conductor of the RTÉ National Symphony (Ireland). He also has conducted the Berlin Staatskapelle, Berlin Radio Orchestra, Welsh National Opera, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic, Adelaide Symphony, Barcelona Symphony and the Lisbon Metropolitan Orchestra.
Mr. Eddins’ career highlights include taking the Edmonton Symphony Orchestras to Carnegie Hall in 2012, conducting RAI Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale on Italian television and leading the Natal Philharmonic on tour in South Africa with soprano Renée Fleming. Equally at home with opera, he conducted a full production of Porgy and Bess with Opera de Lyon both in France and the Edinburgh Festival and a revival of the production during the summer of 2010.
Mr. Eddins is an accomplished pianist and chamber musician. He regularly conducts from the piano in works by Mozart, Beethoven, Gershwin and Ravel. He has released a compact disc recording on his own label that includes Beethoven’s Hammer-Klavier Sonata and William Albright’s The Nightmare Fantasy Rag.
Mr. Eddins has performed at the Ravinia Festival with both the Chicago Symphony and the Ravinia Festival Orchestra. He has also conducted the orchestras of the Aspen Music Festival, Hollywood Bowl, Chautauqua Festival, Boston University Tanglewood Institute and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago.
A native of Buffalo, Mr. Eddins attended the Eastman School of Music, studying with David Effron and graduating at age 18. He also studied conducting with Daniel Lewis at the University of Southern California and was a founding Fellow of the New World Symphony.
Noah Sonderling is a first-year Piano Fellow at the New World Symphony. In demand as a chamber musician, he has collaborated with artists including Norman Krieger, Anton Nel, Eric Kim, Brandon Vamos and members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He has also appeared as a substitute keyboardist with the New World Symphony, Owensboro Symphony and American Youth Symphony.
A champion of both classic and modern music, Mr. Sonderling was a member of the Indiana University New Music Ensemble from 2015 to 2020 and appeared twice as a concerto soloist with the ensemble. He has worked extensively with both student composers and recognized modern masters such as Krzysztof Penderecki, Augusta Read Thomas, Andrew Norman, Dai Fujikura and Georg Friedrich Haas.
Mr. Sonderling’s recent awards include second prize in the 2022 Sidney Wright Piano Accompanying Competition at the University of Texas and first prize in Indiana University’s Ligeti Concerto Competition in 2018. He also received awards in the 2015 Brevard Music Center Piano Competition and 2013 Edith Knox Concerto Competition in Torrance, California. In 2019, 2021 and 2022, Mr. Sonderling received the Orchestral Keyboard Fellowship from the Aspen Music Festival. He has also participated in the Brevard Music Festival, Orford Musique Académie and Montecito International Music Festival, and in 2018 was one of three pianists chosen to be young artists in residence at the Manchester Music Festival.
Concurrently with his work at NWS, Mr. Sonderling is completing a doctorate in piano performance at the University of Texas at Austin with Anton Nel. He previously earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Indiana University, where his primary teachers were Menahem Pressler and Norman Krieger. Other mentors have included Asaf Zohar, Christopher Harding and Junko Ueno Garrett. He also studied harpsichord and fortepiano with Elisabeth Wright.
Wesley Ducote is a third-year Piano Fellow at the New World Symphony. He has led a versatile musical career pursuing a diverse set of interests.
As a collaborator, Mr. Ducote has been featured with many of today’s brightest stars including composer/vocalist Kate Soper, Emmy Award-winning composer and Vietnamese folk musician Van Anh Vo, flutists Leone Buyse and Carol Wincenc, soprano Ana Maria Martinez, and many others. He has served as principal keyboardist with the Shepherd School Symphony and Houston Grand Opera Orchestra. As a chamber musician he has been a featured artist with MUSIQA and the Nantucket Rossini Club, and in 2017 was selected by the Shepherd School of Music to perform with the Gyldfeldt quartet from Leipzig. Mr. Ducote has even worked as a keyboardist/composer in his own jazz-fusion sextet Steve Cox’s Beard.
An enthusiastic performer of new and contemporary music, Mr. Ducote has premiered over 40 new works and worked with faculty at institutions in China, South Korea, Canada and all over the United States. His new music experience includes works for solo piano, chamber ensembles, orchestra and even a piano concerto written for him. He is currently working on an upcoming commissioning project of new solo piano music.
Mr. Ducote is an Artist Fellow with the Louis Moreau Institute and was a Young Artist Fellow with Da Camera of Houston, Resident Piano Fellow with the Cortona Sessions for New Music, and a fellow with CPI at the Composer’s Conference, SICPP, Encore Chamber Music, Round Top Festival Institute and Aspen Music Festival. Mr. Ducote holds graduate and undergraduate degrees in music from Rice University, where he studied with Brian Connelly, as well as an undergraduate degree in mathematics.