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Northampton, MA — The Smith College Department of Music presents Music Mondays, a series of free half-hour chamber concerts on the first Monday of the month starting at 1:00 PM in Sweeney Concert Hall. The series is a continuation of the popular Music in the Noon Hour concerts, rescheduled for a later start time on Mondays. The Fall 2022 performances on October 3, November 7, and December 5 feature works by Black composers in a number of different musical styles for piano, voice and strings performed by Smith College faculty and guest artists.
Inspired by last year’s 100th anniversary celebration of the composer George Walker and his wife, Helen Walker-Hill, a musicologist who spent her career focusing on compositions by Black women, the Smith performance faculty decided to continue to explore and elevate the often lesser-known work of African American composers. “Our students performed some pieces by these composers last year as part of the George Walker centennial, and we all fell in love with the repertoire,” explains Paige Graham, Assistant Director for Choral Activities. Selected pieces include William Grant Still’s Seven Traceries for piano, I Want to Die While You Love Me by Undine Smith Moore, and Courtney Bryan’s And What I Mean is This for viola and violin.
Pianist and Smith Professor Emerita Monica Jakuc Leverett presents piano music by African American composers, including William Grant Still’s Seven Traceries on October 3. In the words of Still’s wife, pianist Verna Arvey, these pieces are “abstractions bearing the imprint of mysticism… They are really tonal poetry, evoking their own images in the minds of their hearers.” Shorter works by Julia Perry, Dorothy Rudd Moore, and Scott Joplin complete the program.
On November 7, Smith voice faculty members Sarah Vincelett Dredge, Justina Golden, Paige Graham, and Katherine Saik are joined by Smith faculty pianist Lemuel Gurtowsky in presenting art songs by African American composers. Music by Betty Jackson King, Undine Smith Moore, and Florence Price, among others.
Smith faculty violinist Colleen Jennings joins Amherst College faculty violist Charlotte Malin on December 5 for a program featuring music by three remarkable Women and two African American composers: Lili Boulanger, Adolphus Hailstork, Courtney Bryan and Rebecca Clarke. With Smith faculty artist Jiayan Sun at the piano.
Music Mondays are free and open to the public in Sweeney Concert Hall on the Smith College campus. Masks are required.
At A Glance:
Monday, October 3 - 1-1:30pm - Sweeney Concert Hall
Music Mondays I: Piano Music by Black Composers
Monday, November 7 - 1pm - Sweeney Concert Hall
Music Mondays II: Songs by Black Composers
Monday, December 5 - 1pm - Sweeney Concert Hall
Music Mondays III: Music for Strings by Black Composers