Dayton Philharmonic Will Present Uniquely American

Ruzan Haruriunyan's picture

On Thursday, December 4 and Saturday, December 6 at 8 pm in the Schuster Center, as part of the William Grant Still Festival 2008 the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra will present Uniquely American, a musical program featuring the works of arguably the world’s greatest African American composer and Wilberforce University alumnus William Grant Still.

DPO Music Director Neal Gittleman will open the program with Still’s Festive Overture. The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra then performs Antonin Dvoak’s Symphony No. 7, which many consider “the pinnacle of his achievement as a composer.” Still’s Kaintuck’, a Poem for Piano and Orchestra follows with guest pianist Everett Jones performing.

The program concludes with Still’s Afro-American Symphony featuring guest Herbert Martin narrating the poetry of Dayton native Paul Laurence Dunbar. The symphony’s blues inflections and energetic cross-rhythms are “a landmark in the history of American music as the first symphonic work by an African-American composer performed by a major orchestra.”

"William Grant Still was not only a pioneering African American composer,” Everett Jones states,” but an American composer who sought to unite different cultures through music; the festival is a celebration of his life and works, and it commemorates the 30th anniversary of his death.”

At 6:30 pm on both evenings in the Mead Theatre, Judith Still (William Grant Still's daughter) will be conducting a Take Note discussion, which includes a PowerPoint presentation.

On December 4 from 7 pm to 7:45 pm in the Wintergarden as part of the Stars of Tomorrow program, Stivers School for the Arts Ringing Tigers – Henrietta Cissy Matthews, Director – will perform.

Hauer Music Company is the December 6 concert co-sponsor, Everett Jones is the Bill and Dianne Schneider Endowed Guest Artist. --


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Dr. Everett Jones is absolutely correct about William Grant Still being a quintessentially American composer as well as an African American composer. The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra has chosen a most appropriate title for its contribution to the 2008 William Grant Still Festival. This post is republished on A complete Works List of the compositions of this outstanding composer has been compiled by Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma; it can be found at the William Grant Still page at

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