CAFEAFRICANA

CLASSICAL MUSIC

Ivo Pogorelich plays Mozart sonata K 331 A-dur

 

Chopin - Lang Lang - Valse Brilliante


Denyce Graves sings the Habanera from Carmen

Recognized worldwide as one of today's most exciting vocal stars, Denyce Graves continues to gather unparalleled popular and critical acclaim in performances on four continents.-Denyce.com

Yo Yo Ma

Obrigado Brazil

KATHLEEN BATTLE - KARAJAN (Fr¨¹hlingsstimmen - J. Strauss II)

Battle is arguably the only lyric soprano with the ability to bridge the gap between the European bel canto opera and the African-American tradition of vocal improvisation.--IMDb

African Heritage in Classical Music:

Akin Euba

Akin Euba was born in Lagos, Nigeria on April 28, 1935 and spent his early years there. He is a member of the Yoruba ethnic group. His biography is Akin Euba: An Introduction to the Life and Music of a Nigerian Composer  by Joshua Uzoigwe. It is a 1992 publication of the Bayreuth African Studies Series, edited by Prof. Eckhard Breitinger. It explains that his father was an amateur musician:                  

Akin Euba's father, Alphaeus Sobiyi Euba, was in his youth an active musician (although music was not his profession). He was a chorister at the Olowogbowo Methodist Church (now Wesley Cathedral) Lagos and also played the clarinet in the Triumph Orchestra, a Lagos dance band in which Fela Sowande (who later became internationally famous as a composer)was the pianist. Akin Euba's mother, Winifred Remilekun Euba, n¨¦e Dawodu, was a teacher by profession."-AfriClassical.com

Fela Sowande

Sowande was born in Lagos , Nigeria . His father, Emanuel Sowande, was an Anglican priest, musician and music professor. His family was part of the Egba ethnic group. Fela moved with his father to Lagos as a child, and began studying music there. His main instrument was the organ and he gave many popular recitals on that instrument throughout his life. He lived much of his adult life in the United Kingdom and the United States serving as a music director and teacher. He died in Ravenna, Ohio in the United States and is buried in nearby Randolph .

Fel¨¢ S¨®w¨¢nd¨¦ is considered as the father of modern Nigerian Art Music and is perhaps the most internationally known African composer of works in the European 'classical' idiom. He was born in Lagos and son of a priest and pioneer of Nigerian church music. The influence of his father and Dr T.K. Ekundayo Phillips (composer, organist and choirmaster) was an important factor in his early years. At that time, he was a chorister and was introduced to new Yor¨´b¨¢ works being introduced into the churches. During that period, he studied organ under Phillips; this included works by Bach and European classical masters. At that time, he was also a bandleader, playing jazz and popular - 'highlife' music. All of these had considerable influence on his work.

In 1934 he went to London to study European classical and popular music. In 1936, he was solo pianist in a performance of George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. He also played as duo-pianist with Fats Waller, and was theatre organist for the BBC as organist and Choirmaster at Kingsway Hall (unfortunately recently demolished) London and as pianist in the 1936 production of Blackbirds. He also played organ in some recordings by Dame Vera Lyn. Later, he studied organ under George Oldroyd and George Cunningham and became a fellow of the Royal College of Organists (with credit) in 1943.

His orchestral works include Six Sketches for Full Orchestra, A Folk Symphony, and African Suite for Strings and show African rhythmic and harmonic characteristics. He has also written a significant number of secular and sacred choral music, mainly a cappella. Some of these were composed during his period with the BBC Africa Service. He went back to Africa to scholarly work with the Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation and later Ibadan University. From there, he moved to Howard University, Washington then the University of Pittsburgh. There is currently a move to set up a centre to research and promote Fel¨¢ S¨®w¨¢nd¨¦ works, many remain unpublished or out of print.

More go to Fela Sowande

Maria Callas

One of the greatest and most versatile operatic singers in recent history. She sang an incredible variety of roles; from Wagnerian to light coloratura; from high soprano to mezzo. But it is not just the range of roles she was capable of singing, but how she sang them that makes her special. She had a distinctive vocal timbre which she could colour in a seemingly infinite number of manners. She could also act, a rarity with opera singers still today. She was a joy to listen to and watch. True her voice was flawed, but her artistry was unmatched.
Scott Eric Smith

Of Callas's artistic pre-eminence there can be no doubt. Among her contemporaries she had the deepest comprehension of the Classical Italian style, the most musical instincts and the most intelligent approach. There was authority in all that she did on the stage and in every phrase that she uttered... [N]umerous recordings, including many complete operas, remain to show that her technical defects were outweighed by her genius.
Desmond Shawe-Taylor, New Grove Dictionary of Opera

Maria Callas was born in New York on 1923-12-04 (or 12-02) and died in Paris on 1977-09-16. Here is a brief biography from Encarta '95. Here is a longer but more interesting biography by Coen Steegeling.

i Midori

In the 2002-03 season, violinist Midori will celebrate her 20th year of performing before the public. Her performing schedule, balanced between recitals with Robert McDonald and appearances with the most prestigious symphonic ensembles, will take her to the great concert stages of Europe, North America and the Far East. The new season also marks the 10th anniversary of Midori & Friends, the non-profit organization Midori founded to bring free music instruction programs throughout the school year to thousands of children who need them. The violinist has been an exclusive Sony Classical artist throughout her career; this Fall, the label releases her latest recording French Violin Sonatas, featuring sonatas by Claude Debussy, Francis Poulenc and Camille Saint-Saëns, with pianist Robert McDonald.

Midori's 2002-03 season began with an energetic schedule of European summer festival appearances, in which she performed either in recital with McDonald or as orchestra soloist, including concerts at Aldeburgh, Schleswig-Holstein, Rheingau, Stresa, Amsterdam and Ludwigsburg. This year Midori made her debut at the Salzburg Festival and, as the summer came to a close, performed at the Proms in London. Midori's U.S.

More on Midori go to Links



Ivo Pogorelich

'Ivo Pogorelich was born in Belgrade in 1958. He received his first piano lessons at the age of seven, and went to Moscow at the age of twelve to study at the Central Music School and then at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory. In 1976 he began intensive studies with the renowned pianist and teacher Aliza Kezeradze with whom he was married from 1980 until her premature death in 1996. Ivo Pogorelich won the Casagrande Competition in Terni (Italy) in 1978 and the Montreal International Music Competition in 1980; but it was the prize he failed to win that made him world-famous. In 1980 he entered the International Chopin Competition in Warsaw where his elimination in the third round sparked a fierce controversy which drew the attention of the whole musical world to the pianist. Martha Argerich called him a genius and left the jury in protest. Ivo Pogorelich gave his debut recital in New York's Carnegie Hall in 1981'--Sony Classical. Photo: Unknown Artist. Details: http://www.cafeafricana.com/links1.html

Kathleen Battle

'Kathleen Battle's lyric soprano voice and unique artistry have captivated audiences around the world, making her one of the most acclaimed singers of her time. Her latest recording for Sony Classical � Classic Kathleen Battle � brings together the best of her recent recordings for the label, embracing a repertoire that includes opera, Baroque and sacred music, jazz, spirituals and an excerpt from Vangelis ' Mythodea, released in 2001. A five-time Grammy Award winner, Miss Battle has made many recordings and television appearances that have brought her voice and musicianship into millions of homes worldwide. Her repertoire embraces jazz and spirituals as well as an uncommonly wide range of classical music, from the Baroque to composer Andr¨¦ Previn 's song cycle Honey and Rue, commissioned by Carnegie Hall for Miss Battle, with texts by Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison.' Details: http://www.cafeafricana.com/links1.html Photo: Unknown Artist

Glenn Gould

'Glenn Gould was born in Toronto on 25 September 1932 into a musical family: Edvard Grieg was a first cousin of his mother's grandfather, his father was an amateur violinist, and his mother played piano and organ. Gould's mother was his only teacher until he was ten. When he was three years old, it became evident that he possessed exceptional musical aptitude, including absolute pitch and even the ability to read staff notation. At five, he began to compose, and played his own little compositions for family and friends. At the age of six Gould was taken to his first live musical performance which was Josef Hofmann's last appearance in Toronto. It created a lasting and important impression upon the boy' . --Glengould.com: Details: Links: Photo: Unknown Artist

Yo Yo Ma

'The many-faceted career of cellist Yo-Yo Ma is testament to his continual search for new ways to communicate with audiences, and to his personal desire for artistic growth and renewal. Whether performing a new concerto, revisiting a familiar work from the cello repertoire, coming together with colleagues for chamber music or exploring cultures and musical forms outside of the Western classical tradition, Ma strives to find connections that stimulate the imagination': From Yo-Yo Ma.com. Details :  http://www.cafeafricana.com/links1.html  Photo: Unknown Artist/Property of Sony Classical

Leontyne Price

'The 1960s welcomed Price to packed houses and rave reviews the world over. From 1961 to 1969, she sang in 118 performances. On October 23, 1961, she opened the Met's new season, playing Minnie in The Girl of the Golden West . That same year, Musical America voted her Musician of the Year with a poll of editors and critics all over the country. In 1964, she was awarded the Presidential Freedom Award, and the following year, she won the Italian Award of Merit. Price also was chosen to open the Met's 1966-67 season as Cleopatra in Samuel Barber's Antony and Cleopatra . Over the years, Price has won 15 Grammy Awards for vocal recordings she has made, and she has been on the cover of Time and 27 other magazines. In addition, she was the only opera singer to be represented in the list of "Remarkable American Women: 1776-1976" in Life Magazine's Bicentennial issue in 1976. She now lives quietly in a cozy house in New York's Greenwich Village.'--Carnegie.com Details: http://www.cafeafricana.com/links1.html Photo: Unknown Artist

Denyce Graves

'Recognized worldwide as one of today's most exciting vocal stars, Denyce Graves continues to gather unparalleled popular and critical acclaim in performances on four continents. USA Today identified her as one of the "singers most likely to be an operatic superstar of the 21st Century," and after a recent performance in Atlanta, the Journal-Constitution exclaimed, "if the human voice has the power to move you, you will be touched by Denyce Graves'--Denyce.com . Details: http://www.cafeafricana.com/links1.html Photo: Unknown Artist

Jessye Norman

'In opera, in recital and in concert appearances with symphony orchestras and chamber music collaborators, Jessye Norman's thoughtful music-making, innovative programming and fervent advocacy of contemporary music share equal acclaim with the majesty of her voice. In recent seasons, she has premiered the song cycle woman.life.song by composer Judith Weir � commissioned for her by Carnegie Hall, with texts by Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou and Clarissa Pinkola Estes � and performed the sacred music of Duke Ellington in a dramatic musical production. She has also released her first jazz CD, Jessye Norman Sings Michel Legrand' .--Sony Classical. Details: http://www.cafeafricana.com/links1.html Photo: Unknown Artist

Vladimir Horowitz

'On October 1, 2003, the music world celebrated the 100th anniversary of the birth of Vladimir Horowitz, the 20th century's most acclaimed pianist and the last of the true Romantic masters of the keyboard. Sony Classical marked the anniversary with the September 30, 2003 release of Horowitz Live and Unedited - The Historic 1965 Carnegie Hall Return Concert, the first-ever unedited release of the historic live recording of Horowitz's 1965 concert at Carnegie Hall.' Sony Classical. Photo: Unknown Artist.  Details: Links: Classical Music http://www.cafeafricana.com/links1.html

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