MMCM S3E6: The Dean of Black Women Composers – Undine Smith Moore
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.
“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,” by Undine Smith Moore, performed by Angela Brown
Joshua Thompson (00:00): Before we get started with this episode, we wanted to thank everyone for your amazing support of this podcast. As our podcast community grows, we have added resources for each episode. So just visit our website to access blog posts and transcripts for each episode or follow us on social media and email us anytime with your podcast suggestions to [email protected] Music Plays (00:42): [MMCM Theme] Angela Brown (00:43): Welcome back to Melanated Moments in Classical Music. I’m Angela Brown… Joshua Thompson (00:49): And I’m Joshua Thompson. Angela, this has been a killer season, right? We have had some incredible artists to expose or re-expose, if you will, to our listening public. You always come ready with a heavy hitter. So, who’s on the docket today, boo? Angela Brown (01:09): Well today, Mr. Joshua, we have, none other than, the Dean of Black women, composers Undine Smith Moore. I have had the distinct pleasure of performing a few of her pieces throughout my singing career and concerts all over the world. And I tell you, they are always a showstopper. Joshua Thompson (01:31): Now I know you never come to play, but you always show up in slay. You be comin’ correct Auntie, you really do. Angela Brown (01:39): Oh baby. Thank you so much. And I’ll be sure to get your check in the mail! Joshua Thompson (01:43): Hey now! But you and I both know what’s the truth, and it ain’t nothing but the truth. So now! Angela Brown (01:52): [Laughter] Boy, you a mess! Before we get carried away– or should I say before I get carried away– let’s get back to the podcast. Undine Eliza Anna Smith Moore was born August 25th, 1904, in Jared, Virginia. She was an American composer and professor of music in the 20th century and considered, during her lifetime, as the Dean of Black women composers. Moore was originally trained as a classical pianist, but developed a compositional output of mostly vocal music, her preferred genre. Much of her work was inspired by Black spirituals and folk music. Now, Undine Smith Moore was a renowned teacher and once stated that she experienced teaching as an art form in itself. She received many awards for her accomplishments as a music educator. At age seven, Undine Smith Moore began taking piano lessons, and later she was encouraged to attend Fisk University, where she studied piano and organ. Now in 1924, The Julliard School granted Moore their first ever scholarship to a student at Fisk, allowing her to continue her undergraduate studies. Now, you know, we know what that says. That was the first time they gave some money to a Black student of excellence– Joshua Thompson (03:24): And a Black woman at that. That’s huge! Angela Brown (03:25): Hello! And Moore graduated cum laude in 1926. Baby, I was graduating– thank you, Lordy, for real! Joshua Thompson (03:35): [Laughter]. Angela Brown (03:35): In 1927, Moore was hired as piano instructor and organist at Virginia State College– which is now Virginia State University in Petersburg– where she also taught classes in counterpoint and theory, for which she was particularly well known. Okay! Because I tell you theory was not my strong suit, child! Joshua Thompson (04:02): It wasn’t mine either. And it still ain’t. So… Angela Brown (04:03): [Laughter] Well, I can count to four! I can count four! Joshua Thompson (04:03): There you go! Angela Brown (04:03): [Laughter] The college appointed Moore director of the D. Webster Davis Laboratory High School Chorus, and due to the school’s low budget, Moore would write her own music to cater towards the needs of the students. Now, you know– if that, ain’t what you learn in Black home, Black church– if you don’t have it, you make it. Joshua Thompson (04:31): Yes. Each one, teach one. And like you said earlier, teaching is an art form. Angela Brown (04:37): Exactly, exactly. And, uh, in 1969, Undine Smith Moore and Altona Trent Johns became, uh, co-founders of The Black Music Center at Virginia State College, which aimed to educate members about the contributions of Black people to the music of the United States and the world. Now, aside from teaching, Moore considered the center to be her most significant accomplishment… Isn’t that something? Now this is a little something before we bring on a piece of music: Undine Smith Moore described her early compositions, especially her piano music, as not including an African American element. I guess it didn’t have any sauce, it didn’t have much juice, you know? Joshua Thompson (05:32): [Laughter] Angela Brown (05:32): But it wasn’t until 1953, when a marked change took place in her compositional style; after she started studying with Howard Murphy. I think this is a good time for us to listen to the Allegro from her Afro American Suite. Joshua Thompson (05:49): Yes, let’s do that. Music Plays (05:57): [Afro American Suite, Allegro- Undine Smith Moore] Joshua Thompson (07:40): Love that it’s so bright and colorful. And it’s fun to get wrapped up in that, but as an instrumentalist, this ain’t easy. She is throwing a lot in there! Angela Brown (07:51): Oh yeah. And did you recognize the melody that she used? She used [Sings] ‘good news, the J is comin’. Good news!’ Joshua Thompson (07:58): Is that what that is? Angela Brown (08:02): Yeah! I mean, I love how she just wove that theme throughout everything she wrote. And, you know, she was very inspired by the use of the African American spiritual in her music. Of these melodies and her adaptations of them to her music, Moore said “the songs my mother sang while cooking dinner, the melodies my father hummed after work, moved me very deeply in making these arrangements. My aim was not to make something better than what was sung, I thought them so beautiful that I wanted to have them experienced in a variety of ways, by concert choirs, soloist, and by instrumental groups.” Joshua Thompson (08:50): I love that. ‘Cause that’s the, again, the art of teaching. That’s the– the gift of being an artist is to be able to create, recreate and share for others. That’s just– I love that, I really do. Angela Brown (09:04): Oh yes! The works of Undine Smith Moore range from arrangements of spirituals to solo art songs, instrumental chamber music, and multi-movement works for chorus, soloists and instruments. In 1981, Moore’s Pulitzer Prize- nominated oratorio ‘Scenes from the Life of a Martyr’ was premiered at Carnegie Hall. The 16-part oratorio is based on the life of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther king Jr. and written for chorus, orchestra, solo voice, and narrator. Moore had planned the piece for at least five years and considered it her most significant work. I’ve never had the pleasure of witnessing that, uh, in person, but Ooh, can you just see and hear– Joshua Thompson (09:56): I’m eager for it! If we consider where we were, at a point a year ago, nationally and globally; what’s been going on. To all of those orchestras and symphonic choirs out there: if you want a timely piece to remind us, definitely start programming ’cause we want to hear it. We definitely wanna hear it. Angela Brown (10:15): Yeah, definitely. And the next piece we want to listen to is one of her art songs, that was actually written for a wedding, if you can believe it! But it is so beautiful. And you’ll understand, once you hear Undine Marie Moore saying, ‘Love, let the wind cry!’ Music Plays (11:53): [Love, let the Wind Cry- Undine Smith Moore] Angela Brown (13:00): Yes– whew! Joshua Thompson (13:00): You right, you right! It’s this dramatic and sweeping– Angela Brown (13:08): Sweeping into the room! Joshua Thompson (13:08): It reminded me of a, uh, ‘the hills are alive’ moments, and instead of Julie Andrews on the pastures in the Hills, it’s Undine Smith Moore. Angela Brown (13:18): Honey, tearing it up. And I can just feel the passion of a young bride running into the room right after they’ve got married. And she’s just throwin’ up her truth; says, ‘love let the wind cry. C’mon baby, on the dark mountain– I got plenty of dark mountain for ya’– anyway…this is a children’s show. Joshua Thompson (13:42): [laughter] But it does inspire that! And um, I wish people would write more wedding songs in this fashion, right? The vowels that you could have before it– Anyway, I think this was really nice. Angela Brown (13:54): Oh, it was! Well now, Undine Smith Moore was outspoken on her thoughts surrounding The Civil Rights Movement and the impact it had on her music. In her youth, Moore experienced the full effect of the Jim Crow era. She later stated ‘One of the most evil effects of racism in my time was the limits it placed upon the aspiration of Blacks. So that, though I have been making up and creating music all my life– in my childhood, or even in college– I would not have thought of calling myself a composer or aspiring to be one. All liberation is connected. As long as any segment of the society is oppressed. The whole society must suffer.’ Can you believe that? I mean, when I think of, not even– even in doing, creating, embodying, becoming the music that she was writing, she dare not even think that she could be anything other than just the little girl or the teacher sitting in the classroom and only the students in front of me are gonna sing my music. She couldn’t even think that she could aspire to be a composer, or call herself that. Joshua Thompson (15:23): Okay, so we talk about this all the time. This is why it is important for you to see yourself in what you want to do, because there’s a whole vocabulary, and it is important– not just what you call yourself, but also what you answer to. And, um, it’s that self-determination piece that’s huge. Angela Brown (15:40): Yes. And in her opinion, art could be used as a powerful agent for social change. That’s exactly what we’re talking about. Moore was careful to point out that: because of the social issues surrounding African Americans, their music and art could be stereotyped. Now, check this out. I use the term ‘Black music’ to describe music created mainly by people who call themselves Black and whose compositions, in their large or complete body, show a frequent, if not preponderant, use of significant elements derived from the Afro American heritage. Black music is in its simplest and broadest terms: simply, music written by a Black person. Okay? Joshua Thompson (16:32): I’m here for that definition. It works. It works. Angela Brown (16:35): It does… On February 6th, 1989 at the age of 84 Undine Smith Moore suffered a stroke. At her funeral, several of her spiritual arrangements were performed. Adolphus Hailstork wrote a composition in her honor, entitled ‘I Lift Up Mine Eyes’. Moore was named one of the Virginia Women in History for 2017. Joshua Thompson (17:06): Wow. Angela Brown (17:06): You know, she has left such a beautiful and vast body of work, from instrumental compositions to art songs, to spirituals. We have so many pieces that we can look back on and remember her prowess, her grandeur, her talent– Joshua Thompson (17:30): And her intentionality. What I really love, even just learning from the beginning of this episode to now is: her evolution, right? There was that transformative moment when she was speaking that said, hey, there’s a whole culture that I exist within. And it truly elevated her, her music, and her broader purpose. That is– oh man, that gives me chills. Angela Brown (17:53): Well, as I said earlier, I’ve had the opportunity to sing a lot of her music in concert. And one of my favorite pieces, uh, is a spiritual that she penned called ‘Watch and Pray’. Joshua Thompson (18:08): Now I’m sure tons of people have sung it before. I’m hopin’– and I’m gonna cross my fingers, I’m hoping– Can we hear you do it? Angela Brown (18:17): Well, yes… Joshua Thompson (18:19): [Laughter] Angela Brown (18:21): I decided I would just throw this on into the fryin’ pan. Joshua Thompson (18:27): Just- c’mon girl!– Angela Brown (18:27): Well, now!– And it’s a spiritual that speaks of a mother and a daughter, and the young daughter is questioning her mother about whether they will be sold down to Georgia. It’s very sad, but it’s one that paints– that does a lot of word painting, and you can hear the mother and the daughter clearly. And the mother’s always saying “watch and pray”, but in the end, the daughter turns and says, “mama, don’t worry about me. Watch and pray”. Music Plays (20:15): [Watch and Pray- Undine Smith Moore] Angela Brown (22:54): You know, the first time I heard this song was at Oakwood University and a friend of mine, uh, Janice Chandler, had come back to Oakwood and given a concert, and she sang this piece. And she went to Indiana University, and this was a piece, I believe, that was shared with her by Camilla Williams, who we have covered on, um, Melanated Moments. And, uh, it was actually written for Camilla Williams by Undine Smith Moore, because Camilla was from the same part of Virginia– Petersburg, I believe, Virginia– as well, if I’m not mistaken. But it just lets me know that it’s good to program these important pieces on recitals. Young people, I’m definitely talking to you now: definitely program these pieces because you never know when someone is going to hear a new piece of music, even if it’s someone that has passed on. Going into the archives of their music and bringing them to life and breathing life into them on the stage, it helps to broaden all of us, and Undine Smith Moore I thank you. I thank you so much. I honor you and your memory by keeping your music alive in my vocal cords as well as introducing your pieces to some of my students, so I thank you. Joshua Thompson (24:24): And she is very much, again, you know, writing with this very deliberate intent on, you know, talking about Civil Rights. Just another example of how she is writing for/from her culture, speaking on history, Civil Rights and– a heavy piece, but the composition, the music itself is gorgeous. And I gotta give it to you, girl. You show up to slay, every time! The upper register was just so serene. And then as it meanders down in there, you feel this piece as much, if not more so than you hear it. And because of that, you can hear what the lyrics are and it takes you back to a time where– we all just have to be honest and acknowledge– that existed. And what are we doing to prevent it from happening again?– I could go on forever. Just, both of you, Dr. Undine Smith Moore, your representation and interpretation of this is a wonderful way to end discussing a wonderful composer, luminary and artistic ancestor. Angela, brava, yet again for comin’ with it! Angela Brown (25:38): Thank you all so much for joining us. I’m Angela Brown… Joshua Thompson (25:41): And I’m Joshua Thompson. In Unison (25:43): And this has been Melanated Moments in Classical Music. Angela Brown (25:54): Melanated Moments in Classical Music is a production of Classical Music Indy. Our producer is Ezra Bakker Trupiano. Season Three production assistants are Okara Imani and Samantha Hoyer. Our theme music was composed by Laura Karpman. Joshua Thompson (26:13): Season Three of Melanated Moments in Classical Music was made possible in part by Jim and Sarah Lootens. We thank them for their generous support. Angela Brown (26:23): As a fan of this award-winning podcast, we need your help today to create future episodes. You can make Season Four a reality by texting ‘MMCM’ to 202-858-1233. Your support includes exclusive content, playlists, and other perks to thank you for helping us share the stories of even more exceptional Black artists on the podcast. Our podcast’s educational partner is Morning Brown Incorporated. Joshua Thompson (26:58): And finally, if you’d like to join us in the celebration of the Black experience in the world of podcasting, check out our friends at The Black Podcasting Awards website.
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Nathaniel Dett: Painting Words …
NEW CLASSICAL – JOEL PUCKETT
In this week’s playlist, we are featuring award-winning American composer, Joel Puckett. His music is performed by the leading artists of our day and is consistently recognized by organizations such as the American Composers Forum, BMI, Chorus America, National Public Radio, and the American Bandmasters Association
NEW CLASSICAL – KRZYSZTOF PENDERECKI
2021 marked the one-year anniversary of Krzysztof Penderecki’s death. As a polish composer and conductor, Penderecki became a leader in the world of contemporary music. One of his first groundbreaking works was his avant-garde piece, Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima. His music often confronted subjects such as social injustice, religion, and politics.
LOCAL CLASSICAL – BLACK MUSIC MONTH
Since 1979, June has been known as Black Music Month. In the classical music world, black artists are so often underrepresented. In this month’s playlist, we’ll be highlighting music by black composers, soloists, conductors, and more. This playlist has selections spanning from the 17th century to today.
From a terrifying villain to a …
NEW CLASSICAL – XAVIER BETETA
As a composer, Xavier did most of his studies privately with Rodrigo Asturias. In 2013 he won the Silver Medal at the fourth International Antonin Dvorak Composition Competition in Prague. Xavier studied music theory at the University of Cincinnati where his thesis was ranked no. 4 in the National Best-Seller Dissertation List. He obtained his Ph.D. in composition at the University of California San Diego where he studied with Roger Reynolds, Philippe Manoury, and Chinary Ung.
NEW CLASSICAL – OSCARS
In this week’s playlist, we’ll be featuring music selections from films in honor of the upcoming 2021 Oscars. There is one composer whose works you will hear much of in this playlist and that is the great John Williams. Also included in this playlist is a film score that is a contender for an Oscar this year. It is from the film, Minari and the music is by Emile Mosseri.
Women & The Orchestra
Women & The Orchestra Word …
Ignatius Sancho: Composing the Hypocrisy of Colonialism & Convention
Ignatius Sancho: Composing the …
NEW CLASSICAL – DAVID LANG
In this week’s playlist, we are excited to feature American Composer David Lang. Lang is already an accomplished composer as he is a Grammy and Pulitzer prize winner. Lang is one of America’s most performed composers and many of his works resemble each other only in the fierce intelligence and clarity of vision that inform their structures. His catalog is extensive, and his opera, orchestra, chamber, and solo works are by turns ominous, ethereal, urgent, hypnotic, unsettling, and very emotionally direct.
Laura Karpman: Catch the Fire of Storytelling in Stereo
Laura Karpman: Catch the Fire …
NEW CLASSICAL – AMPLIFY Pt. 2!
The second segment in guest host Clare Longendyke’s Amplify! series presents a program of works by female-identifying composers of color as a celebration of the intersection between Black History Month and Women’s Month. This eclectic program highlights works that celebrate multicultural musical styles from around the world. Enjoy pieces by some of Clare’s favorite living female composers mixed with some of the most important female voices of classical music’s past, voices that continue to influence the aesthetics and compositional approaches of composers today.
Instrumental Interrogation: Ho …
NEW CLASSICAL – ANNA CLYNE
As Women’s History Month begins, we are highlighting women musicians, composers, and conductors of the past and present. In this week’s playlist, we are featuring London-born composer Anna Clyne. Anna Clyne is a GRAMMY-nominated composer of acoustic and electro-acoustic music. Described as a “composer of uncommon gifts and unusual methods” in a New York Times profile and as “fearless” by NPR, Clyne’s work often includes collaborations with cutting-edge choreographers, visual artists, filmmakers, and musicians. From 2010–2015, Clyne served as a Mead Composer-in-Residence for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
NEW CLASSICAL – ROBERT PATERSON
In this week’s New Classical playlist, we’ll be featuring works by American composer Robert Paterson. Robert Paterson was named Composer of The Year in 2011 by the Classical Recording Foundation at Carnegie’s Weill Hall. His music has been on the Grammy ballot for the past six seasons, and his works have appeared on National Public Radio’s Best of the Year lists for classical music and regularly appear on radio playlists across the United States.
NEW CLASSICAL – DR. BILL BANFIELD
This week we bring you the music of Dr. Bill Banfield. Dr. Banfield is an award-winning composer whose symphonies, operas, chamber works have been performed and recorded by major symphonies across the country. Few have a wider, performed professional composing output, that has had public concert performances, reviews, radio, recordings of some 12 symphonies, 7 opera, 9 concerti, chamber, jazz, and popular forms. This alone making Dr. Banfield one of the most performed, recorded composers of his generation. In 2010 and 2016, Dr. Banfield served as a Pulitzer Prize judge in American music.
Angela Brown: The Making of a Mentor
Angela Brown: The Making of a …
NEW CLASSICAL – GRAMMY NOMINEES
In this week’s programming, we bring you music that has been nominated for the 2021 Grammy Awards! The Grammy’s take place near the beginning of each year, however, this year the awards have been pushed back to March 14, 2021, due to Covid-19 precautions. We’ll be featuring music by composers Shulamit Ran, Jennifer Higdon, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. This dynamic trio released their album in collaboration with the Pacifica Quartet entitled, Contemporary Voices in 2020. It has been nominated in the category of Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance. The Indiana University-based quartet is also joined by alto saxophone soloist and Indiana University faculty member, Otis Murphy.
Teaching Your Kids At Home? Here’s How Music Can Help.
Teaching Your Kids At Home? He …
LOCAL CLASSICAL – NICHOLAS SOKOL
Nicholas Sokol is a composer, conductor, and pianist specializing in solo, chamber, orchestral, choral, and electronic music. Nicholas’ music has been performed throughout the United States and at prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall. His music has been performed by members of the Chicago Civic Orchestra, members of the New World Symphony, the Atlantic Music Festival Orchestra, and the Atlantic Music Festival New Music Ensemble.
The Life of Margaret Garner and These United States
This is not a story to pass on …
LOCAL CLASSICAL – ERIC SALAZAR
Eric Salazar holds a B.M. in Clarinet Performance from Ball State University and an M.M. in Clarinet Performance from Bowling Green State University. He has performed as a soloist and group musician in 8 states of the US and overseas in Belgium. Salazar was also a part of 2020’s Micro Composition Project, in which Classical Music Indy commissioned six different Indianapolis-based composers to create new engaging works to disrupt the genre’s traditional listening experience.
NEW CLASSICAL – AMPLIFY!
The first segment in guest host Clare Longendyke’s Amplify! series presents a program of works by black composers. As performers and audiences around the world aim to expand the classical music stage to include a more equitable and diverse array of voices, this radio program strives to do the same by introducing listeners to new names in classical and contemporary music, new works from these composers, and new aesthetics within classical composition. As music is truly a universal language, let us work to fight inequality and injustice in classical concert music by amplifying the voices that have too long been silenced. Connect with Classical Music Indy’s New Classical Streaming channel to hear Clare Longendyke’s Amplify! playlist.
LOCAL CLASSICAL- MINA KEOHANE
Composer Mina Keohane’s self-titled group is undeniably jazz but draws more influences from rock and hip-hop grooves rather than the standard swing or bop styles. The Group has been steadily making a name for themselves with a fanbase in the midwest, New England, Down South, and parts of Europe. The beautiful emotional pieces on the album are complemented by tunes with dissonance and edgy bass and drum grooves. Fans of creative modern instrumental music will love the Mina Keohane Group’s Doppelganger.
NEW CLASSICAL – PHIL KLINE
As the Christmas holiday approaches, we wanted to get you in the spirit in a new way. Composer Phil Kline came up with a unique way of Christmas caroling in 1992 where he made the audience become the performer. Phil Kline composed four tracks of music that each participant gets in the form of a CD, cassette, or mp3. Every participant gets a different track and the tracks are meant to be played at the same time, creating a unique mobile sound sculpture that is different from every listener’s perspective.
LOCAL CLASSICAL – TIMOTHY GONDOLA
Timothy Gondola, 26, was born in Ithaca, NY, grew up and resides in Indiana. He majored in geography and minored in music at Macalester College (St. Paul, MN). He’s pursuing a Master’s in GIS at IUPUI. At age four, Timothy started learning piano from his mother. At Macalester College he discovered jazz, delving into the jazz piano repertoire by learning Oscar Peterson and Art Tatum transcriptions, including ones he transcribed himself. In 2013, he also started taking lessons in jazz with Mike Vasich, and classical lessons with Lauri Saeger-Wright.
Recognizing the Remarkable: Thomas Wiggins
Recognizing the Remarkable: Th …
NEW CLASSICAL – NADIA BOULANGER
This week we bring back guest streaming host, Clare Longendyke. Clare is an award-winning pianist who is nearing completion of her doctorate in piano performance at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music and is the founder and artistic director of the Music in Bloom Festival, a series of concerts in Indianapolis highlighting classical music from the 21st century. She is a sought-after pianist, performing over 50 concerts a year in North America and Europe. This week, Clare explores the music of French musical pedagogue and composer Nadia Boulanger.
LOCAL CLASSICAL – ROB FUNKHOUSER
Rob Funkhouser is an Indianapolis-based composer, performer, and instrument builder. He recently received an M.M. from Butler University in Music Composition, and most recently completed confidently, but with an awkward gait for the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet.
NEW CLASSICAL – NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH
Since 1990, November has been established as National Native American Heritage Month. America has always had a mosaic of cultures dating back thousands of years to the original inhabitants of the land. This week on Classical Music Indy Streaming’s New Classical channel, we feature music by two Native Americans, R. Carlos Nakai, and Brent Michael Davids.
New Classical – Andy Akiho
Composer Andy Akiho has been recognized with many awards during his career, including the Rome Prize, Lili Boulanger Memorial Prize, Harvard University Fromm Commission, the American Composers Orchestra, Carlsbad Commission for the Calder Quartet, Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, and Chamber Music America.
Local Classical – Gabrielle Cerberville
Part of Classical Music Indy’s Micro Composition Project, this week we’ll be featuring Indianapolis-based American composer, multi-media artist, and pianist, Gabrielle Cerberville. Originally from New York State, Cerberville holds a degree in composition from Butler University.
Birds Calling in Fort Ben
Birds Calling in Fort Ben Word …
Local Classical – Stuart Hyatt
Stuart Hyatt is an Indianapolis-based and Grammy-nominated artist and musician who creates interdisciplinary creative projects. He curates the Field Works series, in which experimental musicians transform his locational audio field recordings into music.
New Classical – Hispanic Heritage Month
Running from September 15, the anniversary of independence for several Latin American countries, to October 15, National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
New Classical – Peck Expansion Highlights
Classical Music Indy recently expanded our Peck Classical Music Library to include significant holdings of underrepresented artists, including women composers and musicians of color.
New Classical – Peck Expansion Highlights
New Classical Featured Artists …
Local Classical – Video Game Playlist
We all know the film scoring industry produces a great deal of the contemporary music we might consider to be in classical styles these days. Perhaps a less obvious source for new music comes from another entertainment industry, video games.
New Classical – Vox Clamantis
This week we feature music recorded by the vocal ensemble Vox Clamantis. Formed in 1996, Vox Clamantis comprises a diversity of musicians – singers, composers, instrumentalists, and conductors – who have a common interest in the Gregorian chant.
Local Classical – Classical Pairings
To celebrate the release of Classical Pairings Season Two, we will be streaming a collection of works by the many artists that were featured throughout our weekly host challenges.
A Basic Guide to Podcasts
Podcasts: A Very Basic Guide f …
Meet Podcast Host Nicholas Johnson
Interested in improving your q …
Classical Music Indy stands with our Black community. We are here to listen, learn, and lend our support. We believe that classical music is powerful; that it evokes a range of human emotions and creative expression.
Local Classical – Amy Williams
As part of CMI Streaming’s mission to feature local musicians, we also want to include the artistic voice of experts in the community in our programming choices. To that end, this week we bring in a guest host, Clare Longendyke.
New Classical – String Quartets
In the world of classical music, the string quartet is one of the most commonly-composed and performed genres of instrumental music.
Local Classical – A Love Letter to Local Artists
With many arts events cancelled, the staff at Classical Music Indy misses seeing our arts colleagues in person, going to concerts, and seeing audiences react to the great work our local arts organizations provide in our community.
New Classical – John Duffy
This week on CMI Streaming we feature music by American composer John Duffy. Though he passed away in 2015, Duffy’s contribution to new music goes far beyond his over 300 works for symphony orchestra, opera, theater, television and film.
Local Classical – A Love Letter to Local Artists
With stay-at-home restrictions and many arts events cancelled, the staff at Classical Music Indy miss seeing our arts colleagues in person, going to concerts, and seeing audiences react to the great work our local arts organizations provide in our community.
New Classical – Osvaldo Golijov
May is Jewish American Heritage Month and we celebrate this week by featuring music by composer Osvaldo Golijov. Though he was born in Argentina to Romanian parents and spent time living in Israel, Golijov joined the faculty of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1991.
Local Classical – Rob Funkhouser
Despite the fact that we’re all stuck inside, and aside from the occasional random overnight freeze, spring has sprung in Indiana. To celebrate spring, we’re digging into the CMI archives this week to bring you Rob Funkhouser’s “Three Peacetime Images for Fort Benjamin Harrison State Park.”
Angela Brown Brings her Unbridled Zeal to a New Podcast.
Angela Brown brings her unbrid …
Local Classical – Frank Felice
This week on CMI Streaming we feature local composer and Butler University faculty member Frank Felice. Felice is an eclectic composer who writes with a postmodern mischievousness: each piece speaks in its own language, and they can be by turns comedic or ironic, simple or complex, subtle or startling or humble or reverent.
New Classical – Hanna Benn
As we wrap up our Women’s History Month programming, we feature music this week by composer and vocalist Hanna Benn. Benn’s multi-disciplinary approach has incorporated dance, opera, and theatre — submerging boundaries and discovering new sonic landscapes in the process.
A Look At Composer Gabriela Ortiz
Gabriela Ortiz Words by Anna H …
New Classical – Gabriela Ortiz
CMI continues to celebrate Women’s History Month with the music of Mexican composer Gabriela Ortiz. Her music combines elements of Mexican folk music and popular music with twentieth- and twenty-first century compositional styles.
Meet New Podcast Host Joshua Thompson
In a new podcast, co-host Josh …
New Classical – Jennifer Higdon
All this month on CMI Streaming, we celebrate Women’s History Month by featuring the musical contributions of women artists, including composers and performers. American composer Jennifer Higdon taught herself to play the flute at age 16 before beginning formal music studies at age 18 and composition at age 21. Despite the late start, Higdon has become one of the most often-performed contemporary composers.
Local Classical – David Baker
We wrap up our Black History Month programming this week with music by Indiana composer David Baker. Born in Indianapolis, Baker served as professor of jazz studies at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, founding the jazz studies program.
Local Classical – Angela Brown
We continue our Black History Month programming this week with our featured artist, soprano Angela Brown. Born in Indianapolis, Brown has led a world-renowned career as a vocal soloist. Her highly successful Metropolitan Opera debut in the title role of Aida captured instant attention from international print and broadcast media and catapulted Angela onto the world’s prestigious opera and symphonic stages.
New Classical – Arvo Pärt
Featured Artist 1/20/20 – 1/26 …
Local Classical – Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
This week on CMI Streaming, we’re featuring a couple of pieces by Ludwig van Beethoven in conjunction with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.
New Classical – Eighth Blackbird
This week on CMI Streaming’s New Classical channel, we feature an ensemble that has made a name for themselves performing music by living composers. Eighth Blackbird has been hailed as “one of the smartest, most dynamic ensembles on the planet” by the Chicago Tribune.
Local Classical – Elizabeth Crawford
Clarinetist Elizabeth Crawford, a faculty member at Ball State University’s School of Music and CMI Streaming’s featured artist for this week, is originally from Louisville, Kentucky, and later studied at Furman University, the University of Michigan, and Florida State University. A longtime member of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Crawford spent the early 2000’s living in London, where she had the opportunity to perform with nearly all the major orchestras in England.
New Classical – Rick Sowash
Ohio-based composer Rick Sowash strives for a sense of authenticity in his music. In an interview with Minnesota Public Radio, Sowash spoke of the influence of his grandmother, who, though she has passed away, still influences his compositional process, keeping him grounded in music that truly comes from who he is.
Local Classical – Indianapolis Children’s Choir
This week on CMI Streaming’s local channel, we feature the Indianapolis Children’s Choir. Founded in 1986 by Henry Leck, each year, the ICC serves more than 2,500 singers between the ages of 18 months and 18 years who are enrolled in the ICC’s various music education programs.
New Classical – Holiday Special
This week on CMI Streaming’s New Classical channel, we feature holiday music by living composers. We’re all familiar with our holiday favorites, but contemporary composers are still writing new holiday pieces to celebrate the season.
Indianapolis Symphonic Choir: Festival of Carols
Local Classical – Dover Quartet
The Dover Quartet rose to international prominence following a sweep of the 2013 Banff Competition, at which they won every prize. Named the Cleveland Quartet Award-winner, and honored with the coveted Avery Fisher Career Grant, the Dover Quartet has become one of the most in-demand ensembles in the world, performing more than 100 concerts in North America in 2018 and 2019
New Classical – Joseph Horovitz
This week on CMI Streaming’s New Classical Channel, we feature a couple of pieces by English composer and conductor Joseph Horovitz. Born in Austria in 1926, Horovitz family fled to England in 1938 to escape the Nazis.
Featured Artist – John Adams
John Adams is one of the most …
Featured Artist – Leonard Slatkin
Los Angeles-born conductor Leo …
Michael Toulouse Interviews Jeff Nelsen of the Canadian Brass
Canadian Brass performs at Clo …
Born to Lead
It’s no secret that learning t …
The Art of Noise
Blurring the lines between mus …
A Good Morning
Traveling the world as an inte …
The Gray Area
Hanna Benn’s exploration of wh …
Joshua Thompson: Opening Indy’s Eyes
Born and raised in Indianapoli …
Rebecca Clarke: Viola Master and Composer
Rebecca Clarke is a name many violists know. She was an internationally acclaimed soloist, chamber musician, and composer during post-Victorian Era England. Despite a controlling and abusive father, she was able to leave her mark on the world with her musical achievements.
George Walker: ‘Life Enhancing’ American Master
When George Walker won the Pulitzer Prize in Music for his work in 1996, famed conductor Zubin Mehta wrote in the Star Ledger, “this composer has finally gotten the recognition he deserves.” With an active career as a pianist and composer, Walker has made incredible contributions to the classical music world.
Women Composers: CDs in our Music Library
The F. Bruce Peck Jr. Music Library at Classical Music Indy contains a wealth of classical recordings, many what you would expect – Beethoven, Bach, Brahms. We are also thrilled to house a number of albums that feature works by outstanding women composers like Clara Schumann, Nadia Boulanger, Valerie Coleman, and Jennifer Higdon. See what music is in our library and why we love it!
Margaret Bonds: A Unique Voice Crafted in the 20th Century
Margaret Allison Bonds is an often-unsung master of classical music. Her first-rate works blend styles of African and European origin, and her compositions for voice and piano have profoundly moved audiences. Bonds is best known for her collaborations with the great African American poet Langston Hughes. Read below about Bonds’ life, career, and musical contributions to the American classical music world.
The Valkyrie and the Dame: Two Musicians You Should Know About
This week, we kick off Women’s History Month by putting two fantastic musicians in the spotlight: Teresa Carreño, “Valkyrie of the Piano,” and Ethel Smyth, Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. These amazing women composed, conducted, and performed all around the globe and made dynamic contributions to the classical music world. Read below about their unique voices and careers.
NOTE Magazine is Relaunched
Indianapolis has a robust local classical music scene, worthy of being treasured as one of our city’s defining assets. And with NOTE, Classical Music Indy aims to tell stories that will delight and surprise avid classical fans, as well as welcome those new to the world of classical music. For this first issue, we chose to feature Women in Music, to celebrate local influencers past and present that have made stunning accomplishments not only with their talent, but also with their leadership in the genre.
Unsung Masterpieces Playlist
We put together a playlist of often unsung masterpieces by composers of African descent. Featuring music with a distinctly American sound by composers like William Grant Still and Florence Beatrice Price, and classical era music by French composer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges.
Strauss Writes Striptease into Opera, Does Not Go Well
It’s not fake news, it’s very real. This Month in Classical Music History is a series dedicated to finding stories of the good, the bad, and the downright weird. In this article, read about a Beethoven historian who blatantly made things up, the NY Phil’s Young People’s Concerts under Leonard Bernstein, and a scandalous dance scene from an opera that was so seductive, all subsequent performances were cancelled.
Nadia Boulanger: Mentor of Modern Composition
It’s National Mentoring Month! What better time to take a look at one of the most influential music mentors in recent history? Nadia Boulanger was an incredible educator and taught the likes of Stravinsky, Copland, and Quincy Jones out of her apartment in Paris. Read about her life and lasting impact on some of the most recognized composers of the 20th century.
New Year, New Music Playlist
2018 is finally here! To celebrate the new year, we created a playlist made up of music composed in the 21st century. This playlist features works by some of today’s greatest living composers like Missy Mazzoli, Judd Greenstein, Terry Riley, and more!
Freeway Flyer Roots in Indy
Robin Cox is a violinist and composer bringing unique performance projects to Indianapolis. Previously based in L.A., Cox has found accessibility and inclusivity in the Midwest arts scene, allowing the composer more freedom in his own work. Read below about the music and watch the amazing performances created by Robin Cox.
Happy Birthday, Jean Sibelius Playlist
Classical Music Indy now bring …
Hallelujah! Handel Survives Duel
It’s not fake news, it’s very real. This Month in Classical Music History is a series dedicated to finding stories of the good, the bad, and the downright weird. For December read about Handel fighting his best friend in a duel, an atonal composer thought to be a Nazi sympathizer, and one of Indiana’s own Jazz legends.
Mood Music by Michael Toulouse
This week we asked Classical Music Indy’s own Program Director, Michael Toulouse, to reflect on emotions in music. Read below about the long history of music describing human expression, and how though our modern attention spans have shortened, music can almost instantaneously evoke a feeling.
Local Classical Playlist
We ♥ Indianapolis! Enjoy this playlist of local performers and composers by some of our favorite Indy musicians. And don’t forget to shop local for the holidays, local businesses are a vital part of our community and need our support!
Wendy Carlos: Innovator, Composer, Pioneer
For Transgender Awareness Week we wanted to highlight a truly innovative individual from classical music, Wendy Carlos. During her 40 year career, she has pioneered new technology and been wildly successful, while also being true to herself and inspiring the LGBTQ community with her openness about transitioning. Read below about her recording career, success as a composer, and reflections on her life.
Native Voices Shall Be Heard
November is National Native American Heritage Month, and Classical Music Indy is always looking to highlight unique projects that impact our music world. This year, we were thrilled to discover the Native American Composers Apprenticeship Project, a part of the Grand Canyon Music Festival. We spoke with Clare Hoffman, Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the festival, about how their program trains Native American students from rural Arizona to compose music.
Free Speech Week: Shostakovich
In recognition of Free Speech Week read below about composer Dmitri Shostakovich and the restrictions he faced under Stalin’s Soviet Union. He created an incredible piece of music under great threat from the government, and today his Fifth Symphony is regarded as a masterwork of subtle communication to the Russian people who were suffering under “The Great Purge.”
Happy Birthday, Clara Schumann
Clara Schumann was a German musician and composer and was one of the most distinguished pianists of the Romantic era. Her concert career changed the format and repertoire of the piano recital. In honor of Clara’s birthday on September 13, 1819, we put together this playlist of our favorites by her!
Classical Revolution: Casual Classical Night
Classical Revolution: Casual C …
Steve Reich: America’s Music Innovator
This week Classical Music Indy continues to honor Jewish American Heritage Month by taking a look at “the most original musical thinker of our time” – Steve Reich. Over the course of his 60 year career, Reich has helped pioneer and develop American Minimalism and Postminimalism, through the innovative use of phasing and electronics. Read below about Reich’s life and how his Jewish heritage influenced his work.
A Step-by-Step Method for Teaching Jazz Improvisation
Ever wondered how to improvise like a Jazz pro? For this week’s blog, Shawn Goodman shares with us her step-by-step method for teaching Jazz improvisation. Shawn Goodman is an Indianapolis Jazz musician and educator. Her method focuses on learning how to hear chord changes. Musicians and music educators, take note of this great method!
Highlighting our Female Performers
Classical Music Indy employs a diverse range of musicians for our events around Indianapolis. In 2016 we hired 95 musicians. Classical Music Indy has dedicated our blog articles to outstanding women musicians this month. We’ve shared about great women music educators in America and about under-recognized women musicians throughout history. This week, we take a look at a few of Classical Music Indy’s top performers – women who are doing great work here and now in the city of Indianapolis. Read below about these incredibly talented musicians, and hopefully you’ll hear them at one of our events in the near future!
Four Women Who Defied Expectations in Classical Music
In honor of Women’s History month, Classical Music Indy takes a look at four important figures from Classical Music history. Hildegard von Bingen, Barbara Strozzi, Fanny Hensel, and Amy Beach were all women who impacted future generations with their musicianship. Each of these four women had their own struggles during their time, but still made their voices heard. Read below to learn about each musician’s life and musical works!
Black History Month: Musicians to Explore
There’s a subversive joy in be …
Quartet for the End of Time: A Prisoner of War Composition
We’ve asked composer Dr. Scott Perkins to write about his experience overseas exploring Silesia, where famed composer Olivier Messiaen was a prisoner of war during World War II. Dr. Perkins writes how Nazi guards encouraged Messiaen’s continued music-making once they realized his stature. Crowds of prisoners and Nazi guards gathered to listen to performances. Messiaen found some semblance of freedom despite the captivity. He continued communicating in the language he knew best – his music.
My Music. My Story. Maya Nojiri Sutherland.
My Music. My Story. is one of Classical Music Indy’s initiatives to feature music, musicians, and music lovers in a fun way. This week we talked with cellist Maya Nojiri Sutherland who regularly performs with Classical Music Indy. She moved to the US to continue her music education and is currently pursuing her PhD at Indiana University Bloomington. Read Maya’s thoughts on music, life, and community below.
Mes de la Herencia Hispana
In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, we had Samantha Stutsman, author for Indianapolis Monthly, speak with composer Jorge Martín, and pianist Eugenio Urrutia Borlando about how their heritage has influenced them both professionally and personally.
The Impact of New Immigration Laws on Music and Musicians
Our country is a melting pot of diverse people and cultures that define the breadth of music we know and enjoy in our daily lives. For this reason, CMI asked our contributor Patrick Hanley, Texas-based teacher and writer to share his thoughts about how new immigration laws are impacting music and musicians, and the ways in which our country embraces and disrupts diversity.
My Music. My Story. Trish Crowe.
My Music. My Story. is one of Classical Music Indy’s new initiatives to feature music, musicians, and music lovers in a fun way. In this excerpt from “I Walked Naked Through My House Today…..and So Should You,” our friends at Speak Your Story spoke with Trish Crowe about how music saved her life.
How to Pronounce My Name: Leonard Bernstein
In recognition of Jewish American Heritage Month in May, we hope you enjoy this light-hearted look at Leonard Bernstein by one of NOTE’s newest contributors – Philadelphia-based writer, Michael Silverstein.
Random Acts of Music: SPARK @ Monument Circle
One of Classical Music Indy’s …