Programme and more

Live from the Rozsa - A Celebration of Music by Black Composers II

A Celebration of Music by Black Composers II is this season’s second livestreamed concert which features music by Black composers. The program was initiated in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Featured composers include one of the earliest documented Black composers of Classical music, Joseph Bologne (1745 –1799). The other composers on the programme are David Baker, Adolphus Hailstork and Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson. The featured musicians are Isaac Willocks, violin and viola, Edmond Agopian, violin, Patricia Lee, violin, Cindy Chen, violin, Ethan Mung, viola, Jasmine Long, cello, and Teresa Serafini, piano.

Live-stream production by Emil Agopian Film – Stagestream Live
Laurie Radford, audio engineer

Composer biographies

Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799), was born on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, the son of an enslaved woman of Senegalese origin and a French plantation owner. From the age of eight, he was educated in France. In 1757, his father was named Gentleman of the King's Chamber, serving as a personal assistant to King Louis XV. At the age of 17, Joseph was made an officer of the king’s guard and given the title “Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges.”
He began his professional career as a musician with Les Concerts des Amateurs. He made a sensational debut as a soloist with that orchestra in 1772, playing two violin concerti of his own composition. In 1773, he was named the conductor of the orchestra. Under his leadership, it became regarded as the finest orchestra in Paris and one of the finest in all Europe.

In 1781, Bologne became director of the newly formed orchestra Le Concert Olympique. Queen Marie Antoinette, an accomplished musician herself, frequently attended its concerts. Under Bologne's baton, the orchestra notably premiered Haydn's six "Paris Symphonies" in 1786 with the queen in attendance. Throughout this decade, he composed string quartets, violin concertos, symphonies concertantes, operas and other works.

When the French Revolution broke out in 1789, he joined the National Guard in Lille. In 1791 he was appointed the colonel of the newly created Légion Franche de Cavalerie des Américains which was comprised mostly of men of color; it soon became known as the Légion Saint-Georges. Bologne served on the front lines, successfully driving back an attack by Austrian forces. Even though he was a war hero, his close ties to the aristocracy made him the object of suspicion. He was jailed without a trail in 1793.
After his release, having unsuccessfully attempted to return to his command, he is believed to have traveled to Saint-Dominingue (present-day Haiti). In 1797, after returning to Paris, he became director of a new orchestra, Le Cercle de l'Harmonie.*
*Program note from ”Joseph Bologne” https://www.laopera.org/about-us/artists-2/creative-team/joseph-bologne/ . Accessed February 21, 2021

David Baker (1931 - 2016)
As a composer, he wrote hundreds of pieces, including jazz works and jazz-inflected concert music, for instrumentalists and ensembles including the violinists Josef Gingold and Ruggiero Ricci, the cellist Janos Starker, the Beaux Arts Trio, the Audubon String Quartet, The New York Philharmonic and the Fisk Jubilee Singers.
For his work, Mr. Baker was named a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2000 and a Living Jazz Legend by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 2007.

Mr. Baker’s laurels are all the more noteworthy in that he had been forced to reinvent his musical career three times: first when he was barred from making his way as a classical trombonist because of his race; second when, as a jazzman, he had to forsake the trombone after a devastating jaw injury; and third when he was driven from a teaching job because he had married a white woman.
Widely recorded as a composer and performer, he was the author of many books, including “Jazz Styles & Analysis — Trombone: A History of the Jazz Trombone via Recorded Solos” (1973) and “David Baker’s Jazz Pedagogy” (1989).*
*Program note from “David Baker, Who Helped Bring Jazz Studies Into the Academy, Dies at 84”
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/30/arts/music/david-baker-who-helped-bring-jazz-studies-into-the-academy-dies-at-84.html Accessed February 21, 2021

Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson was born in New York City, and was named by his mother who was a musician, for the African-British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. He entered New York’s High School of Music and Art in 1945, where he came to meet Igor Stravinsky. In 1949, after he began composing, he won the LaGuardia Prize for music. From 1949 to 1951 he majored in education at New York University then transferred to the Manhattan School of Music where he was a composition major and where he also studied conducting and jazz. He also studied conducting at Princeton University, Berkshire Music Center, Netherlands Radio Union in Hilversum, and spent part of a summer at the Mozarteum, in Salzburg, Austria. During his career he composed and conducted scores for numerous award-winning theatrical productions, television shows, ballets, and documentary films. He co-founded the Symphony of the New World. From 1998 until his death in 2004, Perkinson was a member of the Center for Black Music Research at Columbia College, Chicago.*
*Program note from African Heritage In Classical Music, https://chevalierdesaintgeorges.homestead.com/Perkinson.html . Accessed September 1, 2020.

Adolphus Hailstork (b. 1941) received his doctorate in composition from Michigan State University, where he was a student of H. Owen Reed. He had previously studied at the Manhattan School of Music, under Vittorio Giannini and David Diamond, at the American Institute at Fontainebleau with Nadia Boulanger, and at Howard University with Mark Fax. Dr. Hailstork has written numerous works for chorus, solo voice, piano, organ, various chamber ensembles, band, and orchestra. Significant performances by major orchestras (Philadelphia, Chicago, and New York) have been conducted by leading conductors such as James de Priest, Paul Freeman Daniel Barenboim, Kurt Masur, Lorin Maezel, Jo Ann Falletta and David Lockington. Recent commissions include RISE FOR FREEDOM, an opera about the Underground Railroad, premiered in the fall of 2007 by the Cincinnati Opera Company, SET ME ON A ROCK (re: Hurricane Katrina), for chorus and orchestra, commissioned by the Houston Choral Society (2008), and the choral ballet, THE GIFT OF THE MAGI, for treble chorus and orchestra, (2009). In the fall of 2011, ZORA, WE’RE CALLING YOU, a work for speaker and orchestra, was premiered by the Orlando Symphony. I SPEAK OF PEACE commissioned by the Bismarck Symphony (Beverly Everett, conductor) in honor of (and featuring the words of) President John F. Kennedy was premiered in November of 2013. Hailstork’s newest major works are ROBESON, an operatic theater work (written for the Trilogy Opera Company of Newark, New Jersey), and HERCULES (“the veriest dandy slave”) a concert overture for the Grand Rapids Symphony, which was premiered in October 2014. Current projects are BOUND FOR THE PROMISED LAND for the Atlanta Festival (November 2016) and NDEMARA for the Myrelinques Festival of France (May 2017). Dr. Hailstork resides in Virginia Beach Virginia, and is Professor of Music and Eminent Scholar at Old Dominion University in Norfolk.*
*Program note from the African Diaspora Music Project, http://africandiasporamusicproject.org/adolphus_hailstork

Programme

Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745 –1799)
Sonata for Two Violins No. 3 in A major
-Allegro
-Aria con variatione

Isaac Willocks, first violin
Edmond Agopian, second violin

David Baker (1931 - 2016)
Ethnic Variations on a Theme of Paganini (1976)

Edmond Agopian, violin
Teresa Serafini, piano

Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson (1932-2004)
Blue/s Forms for Violin Solo (1979)
-Plain Blue/s
-Just Blue/s
-Jettin’ Blue/s

Edmond Agopian, violin

Adolphus Hailstork (b. 1941)
Divertimento for Violin and Viola
- Brioso
- Lento e espressivo
- Allegretto con grazioso

Edmond Agopian, violin
Isaac Willocks, viola


Adolphus Hailstork (b. 1941)
Three Spirituals (2005)
- We Shall Overcome
- Kum Ba Yah
- Great Day

Edmond Agopian, violin
Isaac Willocks, viola
Jasmine Long, cello

Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745 –1799)
Deux Symphonies Concertantes

Symphonie in E flat Major
-Allegro
-Rondeau

Symphonie in G Major
-Allegro
-Rondeau

Isaac Willocks, Violino Primo Principale
Edmond Agopian, Violino Secondo Principale
Patricia Lee, Violino Primo
Cindy Chen, Violino Secondo
Ethan Mung, Viola
Jasmine Long, Violoncello

The Musicians

Isaac Willocks is in his second year of studies in the Bachelor of Music in Performance degree at the University of Calgary, School of Creative and Performing Arts, where he studies violin with Edmond Agopian. He is also a student in the Advanced Performance Program at Mount Royal University Conservatory. Previous violin teachers include Laurel Tym, Cristian Neacsu and Jeremy Van Dieman. He has played with many different orchestras in the past, including the Rosedale Valley Strings, the Burman University Orchestra and more recently, the Calgary Youth Orchestra. Presently he is a member of the University of Calgary Orchestra. He has also been a guest performer in the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and has performed often in the Calgary Performing Arts Festival. Along with continuing his education, his future plans include bringing musical opportunities to, and working with, underprivileged students and communities.

Edmond Agopian has been awarded the Calgary Arts Award, and the Alberta Centennial Medal “in recognition of outstanding achievement and service to the people and province of Alberta”. At the University of Calgary he was awarded the J. P. L. Roberts Distinguished Professorship in Fine Arts.
A graduate of the Juilliard School and the University of Toronto, Edmond Agopian began his music studies in his native Romania. In 1991, he relinquished his post at Acadia University to take up positions as Professor of Violin and Conductor at the University of Calgary, and Artist-in-Residence at Mount Royal Conservatory. He was appointed Music Director of the Calgary Youth Orchestra in 2002.
As a violinist, he has been featured on regional and national CBC, French and English radio programs, Radio Europa, and as soloist with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. He is First Violin of the University of Calgary String Quartet in Residence, whose recording on the American label MSR Classics has received enthusiastic reviews from radio broadcasters and magazines, including Fanfare Magazine (USA).
Conducting work has included performances with the Canadian Chamber Orchestra (conductor and concertmaster), the Shanghai Opera Orchestra, the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Polish Baltic Philharmonic Orchestra, and conductor and soloist with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. His Sundogs CD recording with the University of Calgary Orchestra, of Canadian orchestral music, was described by one critic as a "hands-down winner". Under his direction, the Calgary Youth Orchestra has toured, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and New Zealand.
For thirteen seasons he was Music Director/Concertmaster of Calgary’s professional string orchestra, the Kensington Sinfonia and for twenty summers he was on the faculty of the Morningside Music Bridge International Music Festival at Mount Royal University Conservatory, in Beijing, Shanghai, and Gdansk, Poland.
His violin method “The No Time to Practice Technique Companion” has been on the SHAR Music Company’s Bestseller List since 2002 and has been positively reviewed in the American String Teacher magazine. His students have won local, national and international awards, including the Rose Bowl – Calgary Performing Arts Festival, and are members of major orchestras, including four violinists in the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.

Patricia Lee, recently graduated from a Bachelor of Music in Performance degree at the University of Calgary, where she studied violin with Edmond Agopian. Patricia has been studying the violin since the age of six. At the age of seventeen she received her ARCT Diploma in Violin Performance from the Toronto Royal Conservatory of Music. She has attended many music festivals and competitions, including the Kiwanis Music Festival / Calgary Performing Arts Festival, and the Canadian Music Competition. She has been a member of the Calgary Youth Orchestra and has been Concertmaster of the University of Calgary Orchestra. As a soloist she has recently performed the first movement of Mendelssohn’s violin concerto with the Centre Street Church Orchestra; she is also Concertmaster of that orchestra. Last year, Patricia had the opportunity to attend the Domaine Forget Summer Academy in Quebec, where she studied with a number of eminent teachers, including Erica Raum, David Gillham, Sheila Jaffe, and Marina Thibeault. Patricia is also very interested in Music Therapy and will be pursuing a Masters in Music Therapy at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario this coming Fall.

Cindy Chen completed her Minor in Music at the University of Calgary. She studied violin with Edmond Agopian. Besides music, she is also studying electrical engineering at Schulich School of Engineering. While at the University, Cindy participated in the UCalgary Orchestra, a variety of chamber and small ensembles, as well as the Fairy Queen Production. She also played with the Calgary Youth Orchestra and was in the Mount Royal University Conservatory Academy program. A highlight of her performance career was receiving the gold certificate for a performance class in 2017 from the Calgary Performing Arts Festival.

Jasmine Long graduated with a Master’s degree in Performance from the University of Calgary where she studied cello with John Kadz and Johanne Perron; she also studied at Mount Royal University Conservatory. She earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Performance from McGill University and a Bachelor degree in Music Education and French from the University of Windsor.
She has performed as soloist with orchestras, has toured with a number of ensembles, and has attended music festivals, nationally and internationally. She is currently working at the Alberta School of Music as Head of Administration and Social Media Coordinator, music instructor and freelance musician. Ms. Jasmine is a multi-faceted musician and teacher who emphasizes self-inquiry, joy, creativity, and sensitivity to music. Her pedagogical approaches are a blend of Royal Conservatory of Music, Suzuki method, Kodaly method, and other various methods. Ms. Jasmine has a passionate interest in chamber music and is a member of the Anju Trio.

Teresa Serafini was born in Calgary in 2001 and grew up in a family of seven children. She studied piano with Marianne Bleile from 2005 to 2016 and Marilyn Engle since 2016, with whom she currently studies Piano Performance at the University of Calgary. From September 2010 to May 2015, she was a piano student at the Mount Royal University Conservatory’s Academy of Music for Gifted Youth. Teresa has a broad range of piano experience in solo performance, chamber music, accompaniment (strings, vocal, musical theatre, ballet), background music, and teaching. Over the years, she has played for dozens of guest artists including Catherine Ordronneau, Jean-Paul Sevilla, Gabriela Montero, Helmut Brauss, Jin Zhang, and Dmitry Nesterov. She has received numerous awards and scholarships from the Mount Royal University Conservatory, the University of Calgary, the Contemporary Showcase, and the Calgary Performing Arts Festival. Teresa has also performed as a four-time national finalist in the Canadian Music Competition.