Every once in a while, a truly original arts idea comes to Charleston, and our city is the better for it. Gian Carlo Menotti may have been the founder of Spoleto Festival USA but he also taught our city the value of the performing arts, and how to bring them to our stages with vibrancy and originality.
So when the Colour of Music Festival was formed, the first for all-black professional classical musicians, vocalists and orchestra leaders, it was an idea whose time has come.
Masterminded by Lee Pringle, president and founder of the CSO Gospel Choir and CSO Spiritual Ensemble, this five-day festival will present 20 performances showcasing the breadth and influence of black artists and musicians on the classical music world.
It’s not that there have never been black classical musicians and composers. In every country, classical music is there for the study. It’s just that their presence, particularly in America, has been a muted one and many of their works have not been highlighted or celebrated.
While Adam Parker wrote about the festival two weeks ago, this is a good space to remind everyone that it’s time to buy those tickets.
Starting Wednesday and running through Sunday in downtown Charleston, these performances will run the spectrum from piano, organ and voice recitals to chamber ensembles and two all-black orchestral performances at Memminger Auditorium.
The maestro is Marlon Daniel, considered one of the most dynamic conductors of his generation. He has performed at some of the most prestigious venues in Europe and the United States, including New York’s Carnegie Hall and Prague’s Rudolfinum.
He’s a leading advocate of music by composers of African and African-American descent, and is artistic director of the Saint-Georges International Festival in Guadeloupe and principal conductor of the Festival of African and African-American Music where he collaborates with some of today’s most prolific black composers to premiere new works.
The festival is meant to blur the lines between genre, showing how European- and African-influenced musical styles inform one another and showcase the work of prominent African-American artists.
Here’s some of the special events:
8 p.m. Friday, The Ordering of Moses Oratorio conducted by Daniel at Memminger Auditorium. Admission: $35/seniors $25/students $10
1 p.m. Saturday, Free Community Symposium featuring Musicians of African Descent in Classical Music, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. Admission: Free
8 p.m. Saturday, Ode to Black Composers at Memminger Auditorium. Admission: $35/seniors $25/students $10
5 p.m. Sunday, Mozart Requiem & Chariot Jubilee at Memminger Auditorium. Admission: $35/seniors$25/students$10.
For festival tickets, go to www.colourofmusic.org or call the Dock Street Theatre box office at 577-71823.
Rocking good time
Laura Ball and her friends at the crew at Uned!ted are getting ready to move their very fun chamber musics concerts around town. They have been performing at the Charleston Library Society, but the series is growing and so are the exploration and the ideas.
So at 7 p.m. Thursday, they will present “Beatles Bach and Beer: Vol. 4 Bach in Church” at the Circular Congregational Church, 150 Meeting St. After the concert, toast Charleston’s Creative Class with libations by Cannonborough Bev. Co. and Westbrook Brewery.
The tickets are $20 for adults; $10 for students/children or at the door. They are available at Brownpapertickets.com. For more, call Laura Ball at 810-9708. She’ll be glad to let you know what’s going on.
There will be more concerts throughout the fall and spring. It’s a casual evening with the classics.
Dance comes full circle
Annex Dance Company opens its seventh season with “Full Circle” at the Woolfe Street Playhouse at 7 p.m. today.
“Full Circle,” a collection of modern dance pieces, investigates life’s ups, downs, and the unexpected changes that somehow lead us right back to where we started.
Annex Dance Company is a professional modern dance company committed to supporting and promoting the arts through collaboration.
The show features two new pieces inspired by the works of Charleston visual artist Mary Walker and an original composition by Andrew Walker.
Annex is a company that is growing in popularity and its modern vibe gives contemporary dance an extra splash in this town where professional dancers are definitely needed to round out our arts offerings.
This is a great opportunity to support the company and see what they can do.
Tickets are $15 and are available at fullcircle.brownpapertickets.com.
Reach Stephanie Harvin at 937-5557 or sharvin@ postandcourier.com.