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Southern Arizona organ guild honors Black composers with special concert

Southern Arizona organ guild honors Black composers with special concert

Sunday’s concert will be performed by five local organists.

African-American composers will take the spotlight on Sunday, Feb. 28, when the Southern Arizona Chapter of the American Guild of Organists hosts a special Black History Month virtual concert.

The program for the concert, which begins at 3 p.m., includes works by Florence Price, the first African-American female composer to have her works performed by a major orchestra; Harry T. Burleigh, whose relationship with Czech composer Antonin Dvorák influenced Dvorák’s “New World Symphony”; and Moses Hogan, who is credited with introducing spirituals in the standard choral repertoire.

Sunday’s concert will be performed by five local organists: Dennis Grannan from Catalina United Methodist Church, University of Arizona student Matthew Lanning, St. Andrews Presbyterian Church’s Mark Gary and Carolyn K. Smith, and Mark Smith, who teaches church music at the Drew Theological School in New Jersey where he also is the music minister of Summit, New Jersey’s Christ Church.

Miller will perform his own works during the concert, which also features works by opera composer H. Leslie Adams, hymnal composer William Farley Smith, Nigerian composer Fela Sowande, symphonic composer Calvin Taylor and George Walker, the first African-American to win a Pulitzer Prize for music.

Sunday’s concert will be streamed through the guild’s website, saago.org; click on “events” and it will take you to the site.

Admission is free but donations are welcomed.


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