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Preconcert Talk: Florence Price and the Emergence of African American Composers in the 21st Century
The Bard College Conservatory Orchestra performs a concert at the Fisher Center at Bard’s Sosnoff Theater on Saturday, December 7 at 8 p.m. Conducted by James Bagwell, director of performance studies and the Graduate Conducting Program at Bard Conservatory of Music, the Orchestra performs Florence Price Symphony No. 1 in E minor; Jackson Spargur ’20 Polaris premiere; and Aaron Copland Billy the Kid. There will be a preconcert talk, “Florence Price and the Emergence of African American Composers in the 21st Century,” at 7 p.m. All ticket sales benefit the Conservatory Scholarship Fund. Tickets are $15-20 suggested donation. To reserve tickets, go to fishercenter.bard.edu or call the box office at 845-758-7900.
The Symphony in E minor is the first symphony written by the American composer Florence Price. The work was completed in 1932 and was first performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The piece was Price’s first full-scale orchestral composition and was the first symphony by a black woman to be performed by a major American orchestra. The opening movement has melodies and rhythms typically found in Afro-American folk music, while the following slow movement features a moving hymn tune of Price's design. Both concluding movements are fast and return to the juba dance concept. They contain hints of fiddles and banjos, antic slide whistle effects, and a recurring three-against-two melody which end this loveable work on a whimsical note.
The preconcert talk, “Florence Price and the Emergence of African American Composers in the 21st Century,” is with James Bagwell; Whitney Slaten, Assistant Professor of Music; Kyle Gann, Taylor Hawver and Frances Bortle Hawver Professor of Music; and and Myra Young Armstead, Vice President for Academic Inclusive Excellence and Lyford Paterson Edwards and Helen Gray Edwards Professor of Historical Studies.
Upcoming Conservatory Programs:Winter Songfest
James Bagwell, Conductor
Sunday, December 15 at 3 p.m. December 7, 2019
To reserve tickets, go to fishercenter.bard.edu or call the box office at 845-758-7900.
With the Bard Conservatory Orchestra, members of the Bard Conservatory Graduate Vocal Arts Program, Bard College Symphonic Chorus, Bard College Chamber Singers, and Bard Preparatory Chorus.
Guest conductor James Bagwell maintains an active international schedule as a conductor of choral, operatic, and orchestral music. He was recently named associate conductor of The Orchestra Now (TŌN) and in 2009 was appointed principal guest conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra. From 2009 to 2015 he served as music director of The Collegiate Chorale. Highlights of his tenure include conducting a number of operas-in-concert at Carnegie Hall, including Bellini’s Beatrice di Tenda, Rossini’s Möise et Pharaon, and Boito’s Mefistofele. He conducted the New York premiere of Philip Glass’s “Toltec” Symphony and Golijov’s Oceana, both at Carnegie Hall. Since 2011, he has collaborated with singer and composer Natalie Merchant, conducting major orchestras across the country, including the San Francisco and Seattle Symphonies.
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