VOL. 18 NO. 20 -- OCTOBER 2, 2023

Our Stories and Features

Reflections/Jonathan Gramling

Jonathan Gramling

Historic Moment

Earlier this year, I had the good fortune to interview Dr. Bill Banfield, the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra’s resident composer and Patrice Rushen, a gifted composer whose work has been heard in film, on the airways and on stage. While Black classical music composers have been hard at work for decades creating gifted pieces, they have remained hidden in the shadows of Mozart, Brahms and others.

The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra has committed to being a vehicle to bring Black composers out of the shadows. For the next several years, the WCO will be performing and recording original works by these artists each fall. And then the following spring, the recordings will be released on CDs created and distributed by Albany Records, a leading classical music record company.

Well, years in the making, the project will commence this Friday at the Overture Center when the WCO will perform symphonies by Banfield and Rushen before a live audience. While their symphonies are classical pieces, their muse, so to speak, are Frederick Douglas and Paul Robeson. In a symphonic way, the stories and voices of Douglas and Robeson will appear before the audience live via the WCO instruments. -- READ MORE