“The music and rich history of William Grant Still will be the focus of the opening performance in the inaugural Chamber Music Concert Series during the Palm Beach Symphony’s 2017-18 season,” writes Ben Crandell in the October 5 Sun Sentinel (Florida). “Hosted by Rufus Jones Jr., ‘Playing Still: The Dean of Afro-American Composers’ will take place Jan. 10…. Jones’ scholarship on leading black classical musicians includes ‘Dean Dixon: Negro at Home, Maestro Abroad,’ published in 2015, [a] biography of the Harlem native who became the first black conductor of the New York Philharmonic in 1941…. For the Palm Beach Symphony presentation, Jones has selected a sample of Still’s works for string quartet, which will be interspersed with his perspectives on the composer’s life and music, which includes eight symphonies and eight operas.… [Jones says that] ‘We don’t realize the significance of William Grant Still in this fusion of African-American idioms, that is to say, folk songs, blues, jazz, spiritual, and incorporating that into the European tradition….’ Jones says he’s grateful to the Palm Beach Symphony for the opportunity to re-introduce Still’s music. He hopes it encourages scholarship on the subject of black classical musicians, composers and conductors, and more performances of their work.”

Posted October 17, 2017