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Melanated Moments in Classical Music

Arts & Culture Podcasts

Melanated Moments in Classical Music is a new podcast that shines a spotlight on musical works composed by, for, and about people of color. Melanated Moments is hosted by international opera soprano Angela Brown and music sociologist Joshua Thompson. For some listeners, Melanated Moments will uncover a hidden trove of classical music they never knew existed. For those with a deep knowledge of the genre, stories reflecting the cultural context of the African Diaspora will give a fresh voice to black contributions in the world of classical music.

Melanated Moments in Classical Music is a new podcast that shines a spotlight on musical works composed by, for, and about people of color. Melanated Moments is hosted by international opera soprano Angela Brown and music sociologist Joshua Thompson. For some listeners, Melanated Moments will uncover a hidden trove of classical music they never knew existed. For those with a deep knowledge of the genre, stories reflecting the cultural context of the African Diaspora will give a fresh voice to black contributions in the world of classical music.

Location:

United States

Description:

Melanated Moments in Classical Music is a new podcast that shines a spotlight on musical works composed by, for, and about people of color. Melanated Moments is hosted by international opera soprano Angela Brown and music sociologist Joshua Thompson. For some listeners, Melanated Moments will uncover a hidden trove of classical music they never knew existed. For those with a deep knowledge of the genre, stories reflecting the cultural context of the African Diaspora will give a fresh voice to black contributions in the world of classical music.

Language:

English


Episodes

Icon of Instagram: Drew Forde is ThatViolaKid

4/20/2022
Season Four culminates with violist, entrepreneur, and podcaster Drew Forde, known to over 100,000 Instagram followers as ThatViolaKid. Angela and Joshua spend time with Forde, who shares remarkable insights into the power of classical music. He explains how the viola serves as a window into his soul and shapes his trajectory within the classical genre and outside of it by collaborating with mainstream artists Alicia Keys, Adele, and others. Through it all, Drew Forde is a champion for...

Duration:00:35:13

Reaching Beyond Reggae with Dr. Mikhail Johnson

4/13/2022
Joshua introduces us to pianist and composer Dr. Mikhail Johnson. Born and raised in Jamaica, Dr. Johnson traces his musical influences from the region's choral composers to his foray into instrumental and 21st-century composition. Angela and Joshua listen to three contrasting works as Dr. Johnson provides compelling insights into the origins of their inception. Relying heavily on the lineage and language of an island and a people who continue to impact nearly every aspect of global and...

Duration:00:36:22

Julia Perry: A Prelude in Postmodernism

4/6/2022
Joshua familiarizes us with the short but exceptional life of composer Julia Perry. He and Angela explore the meaning of postmodernism in connection with Perry's compositional evolution from traditional to postmodern stylings. A two-time recipient of the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship, Perry studied with the renowned Madame Nadia Boulanger in France, composed despite multiple strokes and significant health challenges, and had her music recorded by the New York Philharmonic in...

Duration:00:24:07

Reflections on Roland Hayes with Robert Sims

3/30/2022
In this episode, Angela and Joshua welcome scholar, author, and renowned vocalist Robert Sims to discuss the life and legacy of Roland Hayes. An in-depth discussion reveals Sims' great care in charting Hayes' pioneering career pathway for Black male vocalists at the turn of the 20th century. Sims' research also highlights Hayes' influence on subsequent generations of celebrated singers throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, including himself. Featured Music: "Du bist die ruh," sung by...

Duration:00:51:57

Leontyne Price: America’s Leading Lady in Opera

3/23/2022
Joshua and Angela salute the illustrious career of opera soprano Leontyne Price. We hear three signature selections by Ms. Price and learn of her journey from Laurel, Mississippi, to capturing the attention and admiration of the world for her unparalleled vocal prowess and artistry. She remains a standard-bearer for opera singers globally. Featured Music: "Summertime" from Porgy and Bess, performed by Leontyne Price "O patria mia" from Aida, performed by Leontyne Price and The...

Duration:00:29:56

On Creation, Culture, and Connection with James Lee III

3/16/2022
Angela and Joshua introduce and interview composer James Lee III. Lee gives us a peek into his composing process, deeply rooted in his fascination with and inspiration from his cross-cultural and musical background. Listeners are treated to three exquisite compositions that indicate why Lee is prized and in constant demand for his musical imagination and socio-historical significance. Featured Music: "Sonata for Violin and Piano" "Niiji Memories," performed by the Columbia Orchestra,...

Duration:00:37:55

The Legacy of a Legend - Shirley Verrett

3/9/2022
In this episode, Angela introduces everyone to the life and legacy of trailblazer Shirley Verrett. Her remarkable voice and artistry allowed her to successfully span mezzo-soprano and soprano roles. Verrett ascended to the heights of operatic stardom during the Civil Rights era of the 1960s, defying the racist and exclusionary customs of the industry. Verrett is recognized as one of the most revered Black operatic figures and continues to be a role model to generations of aspiring...

Duration:00:26:45

Francis Johnson: A Commission in Cotillion Culture

3/1/2022
The first episode of Season 4 introduces audiences to the life, work, and continued impact of composer, bandleader, and culture creator Francis Johnson. Angela and Joshua listen to Johnson's March and New Bird Waltz while providing commentary on Johnson's unmistakable role in defining the sound of patriotic music for a young America desperate to cultivate an identity of its own. Featured Music: "Johnson's March" by Francis Johnson "New Bird Waltz" by Francis Johnson Support the show

Duration:00:19:47

Castle of Our Skins - Ashleigh Gordon

10/6/2021
Angela and Joshua wrap up Season Three with a flourish by speaking with solo and collaborative violist Ashleigh Gordon. She is recognized internationally as an effective social change agent through education. Ashleigh reflects on her journey as a musician and how she endeavors to center and celebrate the works of Black artists and composers through her Boston-based organization, Castle of Our Skins. Featured Music: "The Negro Speaks of River" by Margaret Bonds, arranged by Ashleigh...

Duration:03:02:01

A Classical Case Study in Identity – Rev. Dr. Alisha Lola Jones presents Florence Price

9/29/2021
Joshua and Angela welcome the distinguished ethnomusicologist Rev. Dr. Alisha Lola Jones to discuss one of the most important women composers of all time, Florence Price. An authority on Price, Dr. Jones tells of Price's groundbreaking career path that dispelled the overwhelming barriers to a Black female composing music. Featured Music: "Fantasie Negre" performed by Samantha Ege "Feet o' Jesus" performed by Dr. Ollie Watts Davis "My Soul's Been Anchored in the Lord" performed by...

Duration:03:55:41

The Dean of Black Women Composers - Undine Smith Moore

9/22/2021
Angela and Joshua reflect on the inspiring life and work of the brilliant composer Undine Smith Moore. As a woman living through the time of the Jim Crow South, Moore's body of work mirrors the deliberate and intentional evolution of her personal worldview. Featured Music: "Love, Let the Wind Cry" by Undine Smith Moore, performed by Aundi Marie Moore "Allegro" from the Afro-American Suite by Undine Smith Moore, performed by Kate Steinbeck, Tim Holley, and Dewitt Tipton "Watch and Pray"...

Duration:02:28:42

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor - The Song of Hiawatha

9/15/2021
Joshua and Angela expound on the life and work of the iconic British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, focusing on one of his most famous works, the Song of Hiawatha. Excerpts from the Hiawatha Overture punctuate the discussion of Coleridge Taylor’s international career, prolific body of work, and how composers of that era often did not receive fair financial compensation for their work. Featured Music: "Hiawatha Overture" by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, performed by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra...

Duration:01:16:30

Creating Classical Conversations in Jazz - David Baker

9/8/2021
Angela and Joshua survey the multifaceted life of legendary David Baker. An iconic composer, educator, performer, and native of Indianapolis, Baker is revered globally for his unique ability to traverse the worlds of jazz and classical music deftly and equally. His works Calypso, A Good Assassination Should be Quiet, and Bolling Suite for cello and jazz piano are featured to demonstrate his signature style that continues to be a model for classical and jazz composers. Featured Music: "A...

Duration:00:23:43

Masterful Movements for THE Movement - Margaret Bonds

9/1/2021
Joshua and Angela acquaint us with a groundbreaking composer and pianist, Margaret Bonds. Joshua takes us through the life of Margaret Bonds, who was at the epicenter of cultural and artistic expression during the turn of the 20th century, collaborating with luminaries Florence Price and Langston Hughes, among others. We hear a performance of Bonds' Montgomery Variations, performed by the University of Connecticut Symphony Orchestra, a stunning example of the composer's ability to "score"...

Duration:02:30:02

The Architect of American Music - Harry T. Burleigh

8/25/2021
Joshua and Angela discuss the pioneering work of Harry Burleigh and how he directly influenced the sound of American music and paved the way into the traditional classical music space for the Black artists and composers who followed him. We are introduced to one of Burleigh's non-choral works, Southland Sketches for violin and piano, and a rare recording of Burleigh singing Go Down, Moses. Featured Music: "Southland Sketches" performed by Harry T. Burleigh "Go Down, Moses" performed by...

Duration:01:58:32

Composing a Culture with Rosephanye Powell

8/18/2021
Angela and Joshua explore the global and diasporic works of Rosephanye Powell and speak with the artist herself. Our co-hosts discuss Rosephanye's approach to arranging, how to avoid cultural appropriation while honoring the roots of cultural inspiration, and why presenting a story can help diverse audiences understand music derived from the Negro spiritual. We'll hear works performed by the Eastman Chorale, Vocal Essence, and the Philander Smith Collegiate Choir. Featured Music: "Sorida"...

Duration:04:04:32

Performance as Preservation - Dr. Everett McCorvey

4/28/2021
Angela and Joshua explore the depths of the American Negro Spiritual with Dr. Everett McCorvey, noted tenor, conductor, and founder of the American Spiritual Ensemble. They explain how the American Negro Spiritual differs from gospel, its foundational relationship to American music, and how the art form transcended from the cotton fields to concert halls worldwide. Featured Music: "You Must Have That True Religion" by Roland Carter, performed by American Spiritual Ensemble "Soon I Will Be...

Duration:00:43:52

In the Bottoms: The True Song of the South - Robert Dett

4/21/2021
Joshua introduces Robert Nathaniel Dett, a quintessential Diasporic composer who blended African-American folk music traditions with classic European musical styles to create masterful and unique compositions. A performance by William Chapman Nyaho of Robert Nathaniel Dett's piano suite, In the Bottoms, is showcased to illustrate Robert Nathaniel Dett's prowess as a musical scenescape painter. Featured Music: "In the Bottoms" by Robert Nathaniel Dett, performed by William Chapman...

Duration:00:25:51

Variations on Vodou - Ric’key Pageot

4/14/2021
Joshua and Angela welcome acclaimed and multifaceted performer Ric’key Pageot to the show. He speaks about his recent journey to explore his Haitian heritage and discover an impressive trove of classical music inspired by a legacy of Vodou and revolution. They discuss an amazing piece by Haitian-born composer Carmen Brouard entitled Baron la Croix. Featured Music: "Baron la Croix" by Carmen Brouard, performed by Orchestre symphonique de Montréal Support the show

Duration:00:28:11

The Accidental Activist - Marian Anderson

4/7/2021
In this episode, Angela enlightens us about a performer she refers to as an “accidental activist.” Marian Anderson was an amazing and groundbreaking performer who used her talents to blaze a trail and help move our country and world toward a more equitable future. Featured Music: "My Country 'Tis of Thee (hymn)" performed by Marian Anderson "Deep River" by Harry Burleigh, performed by Marian Anderson "Ave Maria" by Charles Gounod, performed by Marian Anderson Support the show

Duration:00:31:05