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African American composer series to air on KUSC

A new, four-part program exploring the work of black composers – many of whose compositions have never been broadcast for a national audience – airs on KUSC beginning Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 9 p.m.

“African-American Music Tree II,” the continuation of a series introduced last year, comes to KUSC via Public Radio International. The program is the centerpiece of the station’s celebration of Black History Month.

The evening performances, conducted by Kay George Roberts, will treat listeners to some old favorites, such as Scott Joplin’s (1868-1917) “Pine Apple Rag,” written in 1920. But listeners will also be introduced to black composers who may be quite unfamiliar. Consider Frank Johnson (1792-1844) and his “Recognition March on the Independence of Haiti,” and the more contemporary Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson’s (b. 1932) “Blues Forms,” written in 1972. One evening will feature – among several other offerings – six African-American songs by composer Leslie Adams (b. 1932), with texts by African-American poets such as Langston Hughes and Georgia Douglas Johnson. Mezzo-soprano Hilda Harris will sing these poem-songs, as well as doing vocals on Joplin’s “Rag,” “This Little Light of Mine,” arranged in 1995 by Wendell Logan (b. 1940), and other selections each evening.

In all, more than two dozen composers will be featured in music ranging from Afro-Cuban chants to rag to classical to cha-cha and samba, presented by the Black Music Repertory Ensemble under Roberts’ direction.

The series airs at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 13; Wednesday, Feb. 14; Thursday, Feb. 15; and Friday, Feb. 16.u0000

“KUSC is proud to feature these special programs in recognition and celebration of the unique contributions of African Americans,” said Stephen Lama, vice president of broadcasting.

In addition to the special, four-part series, the station will air “Classically Black – Ellington: The Classical Duke,” on Monday, Feb. 12.

All programs will air over KUSC, 91.5 FM, and its affiliate stations: KCPB, in Thousand Oaks, 91.1 FM; KFAC, Santa Barbara, 88.7 FM; and KPSC, Palm Springs, 88.5 FM.u0000

African American composer series to air on KUSC

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