Pioneer Valley Symphony launches new virtual series on racial diversity, Musical Mosaic: America’s Composers of Color

January 7, 2021

Greenfield, MA

For many years, Tianhui Ng, Music Director at the Pioneer Valley Symphony (PVS), has been curious about the future of classical music, particularly symphonic music.  “I often ask young people if they’ve ever heard an orchestra, and I hear things like, ‘you just don’t play anything that looks or sounds like me.’” said Ng. “It’s clear to me that the future of symphonic music relies on how we engage the peoples of the world so that they see and hear themselves in it.”

 

In 2021, the PVS is hoping to help more people “see themselves” in classical music by elevating important and diverse voices, beginning with a five-part virtual series called Musical Mosaic: America’s Composers of Color. Musical Mosaic features composers and scholars from across the country, each reflecting on the inextricable link between identity and music. Topics include Black choral music, the Asian immigrant experience, and the personal artistic journeys of award-winning contemporary Indigenous, Arab and Latinx composers. See the full list of speakers and programs below. 

 

“If we claim there is a universality of music, then we must represent that universality,” said Ng. “We know there are composers whose contributions reign large but are not recognized in the Euro-centric space that is Western Classical music. That’s why we created this series. We wanted to shed light on how composers of color are actively shaping our field, and how they always have.” 

 

This series follows the PVS’s successful fall speaker series Hidden Figures: Women Composers through the Ages, which received audiences from across five time-zones. “We were delighted to see that there is a real appetite for this kind of programming,” said Kristin Donohue, President of the PVS. “People are hungry to learn about composers and musicians that have been overlooked or underemphasized.” 

 

The Musical Mosaic series kicks off Saturday, January 16 with conductor, composer, and educator Marques L. A. Garrett’s interactive presentation Celebrating Black Composers.  Garrett has devoted much of his career to uncovering and promoting lesser-known works by Black composers, and has selected some of his favorites to highlight in the interactive program.

 

Tickets ($15/event) and Series Passes ($60 for all five events, a 20% savings) can be purchased here. Complimentary access to PVS events is also available through a partnership with more than 30 regional libraries. Readers are encouraged to ask their local library about free access to PVS events. Students and groups can also access discounted tickets by contacting the PVS at admin@pvso.org or 413.773.3664.

 

Musical Mosaic Five-Part Series Line Up

 

Saturday, 1/16 at 7PM

Celebrating Black Composers 

Marques L. A. Garrett shares the music of often overlooked Black choral composers and their lasting influence on American music.

Sponsored by Greenfield Savings Bank

 

Wednesday, 1/27 at 7PM

What is a Chickasaw Classical Composer?

Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate discusses his ethnic identity in classical composition and how identity impacts the fine arts. 

Sponsored by River Valley Co-op

 

Sunday, 2/7 at 4PM

Three Generations of Asian American Music 

Eric Hung and Nancy Rao explore the connection between Asian American composers and the immigrant experience through their musical expertise and personal stories.

Sponsored by Florence Bank

 

Wednesday, 3/24 at 7PM

Juzoor wa Ghusoon (Roots and Branches): A Composer's Journey 

From Ottoman era rhythms to contemporary harmonies, composer Kareem Roustom discusses music from his native Syria and how it has shaped his artistic voice.

Sponsored by Fink & Perras

 

Sunday, 4/18 at 4PM

Musical Mosaic: A Latin-American Perspective 

Jorge Villavicencio Grossman shares how his Brazilian roots influence his work and experience as an international teacher, conductor and award-winning composer.

Sponsored by LifePath, Inc.

 

The 2020-2021 PVS Presents Season is also made possible in part by generous support of the Greenfield Cooperative Bank, Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, and New England Public Media.

 

About: The Pioneer Valley Symphony, one of the oldest community orchestras in the nation, has been bringing exceptional live symphonic and choral music to the Pioneer Valley for more than 80 years. The PVS ensembles perform primarily in Franklin and Hampshire Counties of Massachusetts, drawing its volunteer musicians and eager audiences from across the Pioneer Valley and the Northeast. The PVS also provides education programming through youth ensembles and in-school music appreciation curricula, serving more than 1,000 local students and teachers each year.