Allen University to Premiere Colour of Music Festival ‘Petit’

Poster promoting the Colour of Music

Allen University is pleased to announce it will host the Columbia, SC debut of the Colour of Music Festival’s Colour of Music Festival ‘Petit’ September 11-15, 2019 at the historic Chappelle Auditorium, 1530 Harden Street, Columbia SC. The  five-day festival will feature black classical artists and scholars from France, Britain, Colombia, the Caribbean and the United States who will perform organ, piano, vocal, chamber and orchestral works that showcase the impact and historical significance of black classical composers and performers on American and world culture.

Allen University is also the first Historically Black College and University in the nation to present the Colour of Music Festival ‘Petit.’

Since 2013, the Colour of Music Festival has brought classically trained black musicians together to offer the public an opportunity to experience the talent of prodigiously gifted classical principals, composers and performers of African descent share their musical talents, knowledge, and inspiration.

“I am delighted Allen University is partnering with the Colour of Music Festival to recognize contributions of classical artists of African descent,” said Dr. Ernest McNealey, president and CEO of Allen University. “This event will allow our students and classical music fans to experience new voices and perspectives and showcase successful black artists.”

“The festival supports the vision of Allen University’s board in leveraging music and the arts to make higher education accessible and relevant to the widest possible cross-section of our diverse Columbia community with music and artists of the highest caliber in an event unlike any we have seen to date,” added Dr. McNealey.

The Festival  honors the tremendous contributions of Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges, an African-French composer, and contemporary of Mozart, whose opera and classical masterpieces equaled or far exceeded those of his 18th century contemporaries. Though highly recognized overseas, his contributions have gathered little notice in the U.S.

Today thousands of tremendously talented black classical principals, composers and performers have few opportunities to grace concert stages of major American orchestras.

Leading black maestros Leslie B. Dunner and Jeffery L. Ames will serve as guest conductors to lead the Masterwork Series and Anyango Yarbo-Davenport will lead an all-female Colour of Music Festival Virtuosi.

“We look forward to reaching new musical heights in Columbia with talent from around the globe as we highlight black women and their contributions to the classical genre featuring an all-female chamber orchestra led by conductor and soloist Anyango Yarbo-Davenport honoring opera legend Leontyne Price,” said Lee Pringle, founder and artistic director.

2019 Colour of Music Festival ‘Petit’ highlights include:

  • An all-female Colour of Music Festival Virtuosi honors opera legend Leontyne Price, the most famous soprano of her generation and a major contributor to black classical music advancement, highlighting her work with composer Samuel Barber featuring soprano Laquita Mitchell performing Barber’s Hermit Songs.
  • Paris-based chamber artists Grimbert-Barré Trio, featuring brothers Romuald, Jonathan, and Maxence, make their Columbia début with Jonathan Grimbert-Barrés’ Triple Concerto for String Trio and Orchestra.
  • Three spotlight recitals include Kyle P. Walker, piano, German violinist Anyango Yarbo-Davenport, violin and Jacqueline Pickett, double-bass in a special chamber presentation highlighting the double bass. Organist Charles D. Frost presents a special organ afternoon and will be showcased as soloist in the Sunday, September 15 performance of Robert Nathaniel Dett’s Chariot Jubilee. Jordan W. Thomas will present a harp recital and perform the South Carolina début of William Grant Still’s Harp Concerto Ennanga for Strings and Harp September 14.
  • Opening the Festival’s Masterworks Saturday, September 14 is Michigan-based Maestro Leslie B. Dunner conducting Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer 1915 featuring soloist Laquita Mitchell and Tribal Triple Concerto for Trio and Orchestra featuring the Grimbert-Barré Trio.
  • Nashville’s Belmont University conductor Jeffery L. Ames will lead the Colour of Music Festival Chorale to honor black composers along with the Benedict College, Claflin University, and Morris College concert choirs presenting Robert Nathaniel’s Chariot Jubilee with Rodrick Dixon, tenor and organist Charles D. Frost. Franz Joseph Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass will feature guest soloists Icy Monroe, soprano, Lucia R. Bradford mezzo soprano, Johnnie Felder tenor, and Washington Isaac Holmes, baritone.
  • A  symposium series featuring thought leaders will highlight academic perspectives of the cultural contributions of black artists including An Ode to Leontyne Price, facilitated by Dr. Christopher Brooks and joined by her brother and manager retired Brigadier General, George B. Price, and a literary presentation on the life and legacy of tenor Roland Hayes.
  • The Festival will also engage the area’s K-12 schoolchildren with education and engagement activities throughout Richland County.

Colour of Music Festival Tickets and Information: $15-$45

In person: Allen University, Chappelle Auditorium, 1530 Harden Street, Columbia SC
Advance tickets by phone: (866) 811-4111
Series packages with discounts up to 30% off available

Literary Presentation • 12 p.m.
Thu., Sept. 12      
The Life of Roland Hayes In Words and Song
Dr. Christopher Brooks

Symposium Presentation • 10:30 a.m.
Sat., Sept. 14         
Ode to Soprano Leontyne Price
Dr. Christopher Brooks and Brigadier General Retired, George B. Price

Chamber Music Vocal Matinees • 2 p.m.
Wed., Sept. 11
Rodrick Dixon, tenor

Thu., Sept. 12            
Laquita Mitchell, soprano

Chamber Music Series • 7 p.m.
Wed., Sept. 11          
Grimbert-Barré Trio

Thu., Sept.12              
Colour of Music Female Virtuosi (all-female chamber orchestra)

Fri., Sept. 13               
Anyango Yarbo-Davenport, violin, Kyle P. Walker, piano, Jacqueline Pickett, double-bass

Harp Recital Spotlight • 2 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 13            
Jordan W. Thomas, harp

Organ Recital Spotlight • 12 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 14            
Charles D. Frost, organ

Ebony and Ivory Piano Spotlight • 2 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 14             
Kyle P. Walker, piano

Masterworks Series I

Sat., Sept. 14   Opening Night Performance
7:30 p.m.          Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer 1915 featuring soprano Laquita Mitchell, William Grant Still’s Ennanga Harp Concerto for Harp and Strings, Jordan W. Thomas, harp and Maestro Leslie B. Dunner conducting the Colour of Music Festival Orchestra

Masterwork Series II

Sun., Sept. 15  Matinee Memorial Performance
5 p.m.              Robert Nathaniel Dett’s Chariot Jubilee featuring tenor Rodrick Dixon and Charles D. Frost, organist and Franz Joseph Haydn’s Missa in Angustiis (Lord Nelson Mass), Jeffery L. Ames, conducting the Colour of Music Festival Orchestra and Chorale