Sence You Went Away



Sence You Went Away




Contemporary African American


art songs & spirituals








Dedication to Willis C. Patterson




It is common practice in scholarly circles to honor an individual or institution with a festschrift, a collection of essays or articles written by close associates, former students, colleagues, or those with interests relevant to the life's work of the honoree.


In that spirit, Videmus offers this CD as a musical celebration of Dr. Willis Patterson's commanding achievements in performance, education, and administration. If a composer like William Grant Still is considered the “Dean of African-American composers,” then “Dean” Patterson, as he is affectionately known by many, could certainly be considered “Dean” of a long line of distinguished black performer/educators that stretch back at least to the 19th century. His commitment to the music of African Americans exemplified by the 1977 Anthology of Art Songs by Black Composers (E.B. Marks) fostered the scholarly research and performance of this literature by many artists including those on this recording and soprano Jessye Norman.


Like their mentor Dean Patterson, the artists presented here draw on a long history of musical traditions. As James Monroe Trotter's mid-19th century study, Music and Some Highly Musical People documents, African-American musicians have participated eagerly and earnestly in the Western Art music tradition in spite of neglect by critics and a skeptical public that doubted whether blacks possessed the wherewithal to succeed in these endeavors. But they did. As Trotter, the nation's first black music historian noted in 1878, black musicians were not just “interpreters” of classical music and performers of black folk music but composers able to “originate and scientifically arrange good music.” The history of African-American music is populated not only with a host of composers who adhered to this mandate but singers and instrumentalists who have excelled and helped to shape the development of American concert music, especially in the 20th century.


If the musical creed of the Harlem Renaissance ideology of the 1920s was to “lift” the vernacular forms of black music into opera, symphony, and chamber works, then we can certainly see this cultural agenda in full effect at century's end. The compositions featured on this project continue this imperative. In this collection of previously unrecorded works of African American composers, many draw on the traditions of the Negro spirituals and gospels; others abstract the secular influences of jazz and blues conventions. The materials of musical modernism can also be heard in many of these compositions; in fact, some pieces combine modernist techniques of abstract form, rhythmic irregularity, and atonalism with the traditional musical materials of black vernacular culture. The mix of old and new, traditional and experimental is exhilarating. The “interpreters” of these compositions—the singers and accompanists—bring stunning musical sensibilities and brilliant technique to what are difficult works to perform. These performances represent a fitting tribute to a man who has given unselfishly to scores of young musicians.




Guthrie P. Ramsey, Ph.D.


Assistant Professor of Musicology


The University of Pennsylvania






The Composers




Leslie Adams (b.1932) studied at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and earned his Ph.D. from Ohio State University. The Cleveland, Ohio native has performed widely as a pianist and received many commissions, including the Kansas Composers Forum of Kansas Music Teachers Association, Borg-Warner Foundation/Center for Black Music Research, Cleveland Chamber Symphony, and The Cleveland Orchestra, among others. He has composed for solo instruments, small ensembles, orchestra, solo voice and choral music.




Valerie Capers (b.1937) a native New Yorker, Capers came from a musical family and studied piano in childhood. After becoming blind at the age of six, she continued her piano lessons and later earned degrees from the Juillard School of Music, becoming the school's first blind graduate. She has held teaching posts at several New York area schools, including the Manhattan School of Music. After turning to jazz in the 1960s, she worked with Ray Brown, Slide Hampton, James Moody, Max Roach, and Dizzy Gillespie. Capers has also worked as an arranger with the Santamaria Afro-Cuban band.




John Carter (1937-1989) obtained his education at Oberlin College and received grants from


the Rockefeller Foundation, the American Music Center, and ASCAP. He was Composer-in-Residence in 1968 with the Washington National Symphony Orchestra. He taught at the new Federal City College in Washington, and in 1967 a program of his works was given at the New York City Public Library Performing Arts Museum. He received recognition both as a pianist and composer. Among his works are Cantata, Requiem Seditiosam, In Memoriam: Medgar Evers, Japanese Poems, and others.




Adolphus Hailstork (b.1941) A composer and conductor, Hailstork was born in Rochester, NY, and studied at Howard University, the Manhattan School of Music, and earned a Ph.D. from Michigan State University. He has composed for many mediums, including works for orchestra, organ, flute and piano, and band. Hailstork has taught composition at Youngstown State University and Norfolk State University and his compositions have been celebrated by awards such as the Ernest Block Award and the Max Winkler Award. He has received numerous commissions for his compositions, among them the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Boys Choir of Harlem.




Eugene Hancock (1929-1994) Born in St. Louis, Mo., Hancock received a Bachelor's degree from the University of Detroit, a Masters Degree from the University of Michigan, and studied at the School of Sacred Music of Union Theological Seminary in New York. He began his career as a church organist and held many posts. He published compositions based on spirituals in An Organ Book of Spirituals and some of his vocal works are included in The Anthology of Art Songs by Black Composers, compiled by Willis Patterson.




Wendell Whalum (1931-1987) Born in Memphis,Tenn., Whalum was educated at Morehouse College, Columbia University, and the University of Iowa. He was conferred with an honorary


doctorate from the University of Haiti in 1968. Whalum held a teaching post at Morehouse for over thirty years and received international acclaim as an organist, musicologist, and arranger of spirituals. During his career, his standards of excellence were legendary at home in Atlanta and abroad.






The Artists




Michelle Beaton is a frequent collaborator with singers and instrumentalists in both Canada and the United States. The Canadian pianist has served as a repetiteur for the Canadian Opera Company and her special interest in vocal literature has led to partnerships with such artists as Maureen Forrester and French soprano Norah Amsellem. She has been a resident artist at festivals in Canada, Central America and the United States and will join the faculty of the University of Michigan's Art and Music in Florence program in 1999. In 2000, she will graduate from the University of Michigan with a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Chamber Music and Accompanying.




Byron Burford is a 1999 graduate with a bachelor of music in piano performance from the University of Michigan. A student of Anton Nel, he has played throughout the U.S. and Canada as a piano soloist. He has accompanied for such artists as Sergei Babayan (Oxford Arts Center) and Jerome Rose (Hot Springs Music Festival).




Christina Clark, has sung with the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, Charlotte, Rhode Island, Detroit, Greater Lansing and Toledo Symphonies and with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra both in Russia and in the U.S. She has also performed leading roles with New York Harlem productions, Florida Grand Opera, Cleveland and Toledo Opera Companies. She was a participant in the Tanglewood, Banff and Ravinia music festivals. Her numerous awards include finalist in the Great Lakes region of the Metropolitan Opera Competition. The 1993 Master of Music (voice) graduate of the University of Michigan has recorded with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra and is scheduled to sing the title role in Scott Joplin's Treemonisha with Opera Theatre of St. Louis in 2000.




Cedric Dent is a member of TAKE 6, a Warner/Reprise Gospel recording group. TAKE 6 has released six recordings, two of which went gold and one platinum. The group has to their credit eight Grammy Awards and seven Dove Awards. As co-arranger with Mervyn Warren, he received a Grammy nomination in 1991 for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying a Vocal for Come Sunday from the Donna McElroy release A Bigger World, and his orchestral arrangement of Bless This House which was performed as accompaniment for TAKE 6 by the Boston Pops Orchestra conducted by Marvin Hamlisch in 1993. He is a 1985 graduate of the University of Michigan (bachelor of music, vocal music education) and earned a doctorate in music theory from the University of Maryland.




Susan Keith Gray, pianist, has performed throughout the United States and abroad as a soloist and collaborative artist, including a tour of South America as a USIA Artistic Ambassador. Recordings include American piano trios on Albany Records and a CD of works by women composers for violin and piano. She served on the Instrumental Accompanying Faculty at the Music Academy of the West and on the staff for numerous national competitions. She is an assistant professor at the University of South Dakota where she plays with the Rawlins Piano Trio. Awards include the Accompanist Prize at the Matinee Musicale Richardson Voice Competition and the Music Teacher's National Association Wurlitzer Collegiate Artist Competition. She holds degrees from Converse College, the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and earned a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Chamber Music and Accompanying from the University of Michigan in 1990. Her teachers were George Lucktenberg, Louis Nagel, Martin Katz, Eckart Sellheim, Penelope Crawford and Edward Parmentier.




Timothy Holley, cellist, was a member of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra and the Festival of Two Worlds in Charleston, S.C. and Spoleto, Italy in 1993-94. He appears currently with the Mallarmé Chamber Players and the North Carolina Symphony. He is an assistant professor of music at North Carolina Central University and also teaches at the Duke University String School. He holds masters and doctorate degrees from The University of Michigan.




Anita Johnson is a 1995 national winner of the Metropolitan Opera Auditions. While at the Metropolitan Opera, she performed as Giannetta in L'Elisir d'Amore with both Roberto Alagna and Luciano Pavarotti; Javotte in Manon; and Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro. She has appeared as soloist with the Colorado Symphony and Wheeling Symphony Orchestras and in opera roles with the Augusta Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Chautauqua Opera, Opera Festival of New Jersey, as Konstanze in Die Entf¸hrung aus dem Serail with the Spoleto Festival in Italy and Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro with San Francisco Opera's Merola Program and Western Opera Theater National Tour. A 1990 graduate of the University of Michigan with a Master of Music degree (voice performance). Ms. Johnson is represented by Randsman Artists Management.




Timothy Jones, bass-baritone, earned his masters (1991) and doctorate (1995) degrees from The University of Michigan, where he studied with George Shirley. His operatic performances have included Marcello in La BohËme, Master Ford in Falstaff, the title role in Mozart's Don Giovanni, and several productions at the Aspen Summer Music Festival, including the title role in Benjamin Britten's Owen Wingrave. He has appeared with the Shreveport Symphony, Colorado Springs Symphony, Greater Lansing Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Charlotte Symphony and Houston Symphony orchestras. As a recitalist, he has performed in Mexico, the Czech Republic, Germany, Canada and throughout the United States. He was formerly assistant professor of Music at the University of Texas at San Antonio.




Sam McKelton has appeared with many major symphony orchestras and chamber ensembles including the Detroit Symphony, the Atlanta Symphony, the Helsinki Orchestra (Finland), the Warren Symphony, the Ravinia Festival Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony and the Harlem Festival Orchestra. He spent three years traveling around the world with Harry Belafonte with whom he was featured in the PBS Special, Harry Belafonte and Friends which aired throughout the world in 1997. He recently starred in an off-Broadway revival of Five Guys Named Mo' and was a member of the Broadway cast of the Disney musical, Lion King. He is a 1989 graduate of the University of Michigan (Master of Music, voice).




Patrick O'Donnell, coach/accompanist, holds degrees from Yale University, the University of Maryland at College Park and received in 1990 a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Chamber Music and Accompanying from the University of Michigan, where he studied with Martin Katz and Eckart Sellheim. As opera coach for Ohio State University, he assists in the preparation of both opera productions and scenes and has taught courses in both French diction and art song history. He appears frequently as a collaborator on recitals and has performed at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, where he teaches piano. In addition to his university work, he currently accompanies opera outreach programs for the education division of Opera/Columbus.




Jorge Parodi, Argentinean-born pianist, studied accompanying and chamber music with Martin Katz at the University of Michigan (Master of Music, 1998). Formerly engaged by the world-famous Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires and the Opera Company of Philadelphia, he lives in New York City where he is on the faculties of the Juilliard School of Music and New York University.




James Patterson, bass, began his career as an Adler Fellow with the San Francisco Opera in 1983 and has since given more than 150 performances with that company. His concert repertoire is extensive, having also performed with the Vienna Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, San Jose Symphony and Pacific Symphony. Recent opera engagements have included Don Basilio in The Barber of Seville for the Manitoba Opera, Zuniga in Carmen for Vancouver Opera and Michigan Opera Theatre, and Sparafucile in Tosca for Michigan Opera Theatre. He has also performed with the Seattle Opera, Edmunton Opera, the Canadian Opera Company and the Chicago Lyric Opera. He earned his bachelor of music degree from the University of Michigan, where he studied with Willis Patterson.




Alvy Powell, sang the role of Porgy in Houston Grand Operas tour of Porgy and Bess with San Diego, Seattle, Cleveland, Dallas, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Costa Mesa, Portland, Florida Grand Opera, La Scala, Paris Opera and Spoleto Festival (Australia). He has sung in the Kennedy Center and appeared as soloist with the symphonies in San Antonio, Colorado Springs, Honolulu, Washington, Hollywood Bowl, Cleveland Orchestra and toured in Italy with the Orchestra International d'Italia. He has toured Germany, France, Switzerland, Japan and Spain and sung roles with opera companies in Tulsa, Connecticut, and numerous other cities. While a member of the United States Army Chorus, he was chosen by President and Mrs. George Bush to appear as the soloist for the presidential inauguration. He is represented by Ann Summers Artist Management.




Darryl Taylor enjoys an international reputation as an interpreter of art song and oratorio. Particularly active in Europe, he has completed 19 tours of Spain performing in that country's most highly regarded halls. His specialized recital programs regularly introduce audiences to lesser-known works by American composers, particularly African-Americans. A recorded artist for Cambria Records, he currently teaches voice at the University of Northern Iowa and is the founder of the African-American Art Song Alliance hosted on the Internet. He holds masters (1991) and doctorate (1995) degrees from the University of Michigan.




Louise Toppin, Artistic Director of Videmus, is a frequent performer of operas, recitals and orchestra soloist throughout the United States, Spain, Germany, the Czech Republic, Sweden and England. She has won numerous competitions and awards and appeared as soloist in the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, the Licieu and Lincoln Center. She has recorded six CDs of American music on New World, Cambria and Albany labels. She is a 1990 graduate of the University of Michigan, with a Doctorate of Musical Arts (voice). She also holds bachelor and masters degrees in piano performance and a masters in voice. Represented by Rile Artist Management and currently touring throughout the U.S. A Gershwin Party with William Brown, tenor and Leon Bates, piano, they have appeared on such concert series as the Minnesota Orchestra's Cabaret Pops in Orchestra Hall and Spivey Hall in Atlanta and been heard nationally on NPR's Performance Today. She is a professor of voice at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C.




Ray M.Wade Jr., tenor with the Mannheim Opera, Germany, has also sung with the Deustche Oper Berlin, Ft. Worth Opera Theater, San Francisco Opera (Merola Program Western Opera Theater), the European Center for Opera and Vocal Arts (Gent, Belgium) and Dayton Opera where he performed the tenor role in the world premiere of Paul Laurence Dunbar: Common Ground by Adolphus Hailstork. Symphonic appearances include The Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra, The Monnale Symphony Orchestra, The Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Mons and De Vlaams Opera Orchestra in Belgium, Das Rundfunk Orchester des Südwestfunk (Kaiserslauten, Germany), and The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra in St. Paul, Minnesota conducted by Bobby McFerrin. He was a 1993 national winner of the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, winner of the International Enrico Caruso Competition in Milan, Italy (he is the second American to ever win this competition), winner of the Stewart Awards National Operatic Competition in Oklahoma City, Okla. and laureate in the Queen Elizabeth International Music Competition (Brussels).










Funding provided by Dr. Lester Monts Associate Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Dr. Paul Boylan, Dean of the School of Music and Vice Provost for the Arts, N.C. of The University of Michigan, and individual contributors.




Special thanks to Dr. Lester Monts, Dr. Paul Boylan, Professor George Shirley, Faye Burton, Dr. Lynn Bridges, Brenda Cummings and the committee for the Willis Patterson Scholarship Fund for all the financial, administrative and logistical assistance. Thanks to all the participants for the hard work, musical talents, time and personal finances sacrificed in order to participate in this project. Thanks to the composers for generously donating scores for this recording.




In loving memory of Dr. Lynn Bridges (1960-1999) who served as project coordinator, production assistant, board member of Videmus and received both master and doctorate degrees from the University of Michigan.




Producer: Louise Toppin


Production Assistant: Lynn Bridges


Engineers: Rob Martens, Will Spencer, Chris Goosman and John Monforte


Recorded by: Solid Sound Studio, Hill Auditorium and Recital Hall,


The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, May 22,


June 17-20 and August 22, 1998


Design/Illustration: Kristi Stainback


Photography: Dwayne Frutiger of ASAP Studios, Greenville, NC








Sence You Went Away




Sweet Jesus 4:22


Wendell Whalum


Sam McKelton, tenor


Louise Toppin, piano




Song of


the Seasons 11:31


Valerie Capers


Anita Johnson, soprano


Timothy Holley, cello


Susan Gray, piano




Slave Song 7:23


Adolphus Hailstork


Alvy Powell, bass-baritone


Byron Burford, piano








at your Door 3:43


Arr. Cedric Dent


Cedric Dent, piano


Absalom 3:04


Eugene Hancock


James Patterson, bass-baritone


Patrick O'Donnell, piano




Five Millay Songs 14:46


Leslie Adams


Darryl Taylor, tenor


Patrick O'Donnell, piano




Cantata 12:25


John Carter


Ray Wade, tenor


Susan Gray, piano




Sence You Went Away 3:13


Leslie Adams


Louise Toppin, soprano


Patrick O'Donnell, piano




Recitative: Has he come?


Duet: O Miranda


(from Act II of Blake) 5:54


Leslie Adams


Timothy Jones, baritone


Christina Clark, soprano


Michelle Beaton, piano


Jorge Parodi, piano




God is a God 3:50


Wendell Whalum


Sam McKelton, tenor


Louise Toppin, piano




Total Time: 70:30