The New Haven Symphony Orchestra in performance.

In Wednesday’s (11/21) New Haven Independent, Adam Matlock writes that on November 19, “Music Director Alisdair Neale and the New Haven Symphony Orchestra presented an afternoon that embraced the symphonic idiom, but largely from the viewpoint of Black composers in the 20th and 21st centuries. The earliest piece presented was Florence Price’s First Symphony, dating to 1931, while the entire first half of the program was made up of compositions from 2020 and 2021. The second choice was to pick works that, in the first half, all addressed contemporary events…. The concert began … with Daniel Bernard Roumain’s ​‘Why Did They Kill Sandra Bland?,’ a piece for solo cello, which for this performance was paired with a poem by local poet and activist Sun Queen…. Cellist Jeffrey Ziegler took to the piece, a grieving meditation in C minor, with great restraint … The orchestra then [performed] Joel Thompson’s ​‘breath/burn: an elegy for solo violoncello and orchestra….  Despite its mournful subject matter … Thompson approached the music with real fluidity of expression…. Next was Mark Adamo’s ‘Last Year: Concerto for Cello and String Orchestra.’… A reaction to the climate crisis and a musical response, in some oblique ways, to Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons,’ the concerto was at its best when the orchestra swirled uneasily … The third and fourth movements [of Price’s Symphony No. 1] provided an energetic ending to the program.”