Arkansas composers Florence Price and William Grant Still topic of noon Clinton School program today

In advance of the Beethoven & Blue Jeans concert, join conductor Andrew Grams and Linda Holzer, professor of music at University of Arkansas at Little Rock, on a discussion about the music of Arkansas composers William Grant Still and Florence Price.

It will take place at 12 noon at the Clinton School of Public Service.

American conductor Andrew Grams has steadily built a reputation for his dynamic concerts, ability to connect with audiences, and long-term orchestra building. He’s the winner of 2015 Conductor of the Year from the Illinois Council of Orchestras and has led orchestras throughout the United States. Now in his 7th ESO season, Andrew Grams became music director of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra after an international search.

Florence Price was the first African-American female composer to have a symphonic composition performed by a major American symphony orchestra. Born in Little Rock in 1887, she was valedictorian of her class at Little Rock’s Capitol Hill School.  After college, she returned to Little Rock, was married, and established a music studio, taught piano lessons, and wrote short pieces for piano.

The Prices moved to Chicago, Illinois, in 1927. There, Price seemed to have more professional opportunity for growth despite the breakdown and eventual dissolution of her marriage.  In 1928, G. Schirmer, a major publishing firm, accepted for publication Price’s “At the Cotton Gin.” After winning several composition awards, she had a piece premiere with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on June 15, 1933.

Price’s art songs and spiritual arrangements were frequently performed by well-known artists of the day. For example, contralto Marian Anderson featured Price’s spiritual arrangement “My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord” in her famous performance on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC on Easter Sunday, April 9, 1939. European orchestras later played Price’s works.

William Grant Still was long known as the Dean of African American composers. Though not born in Little Rock, he spent much of his youth in the city.

Dr. Still, who wrote more than 150 compositions ranging from operas to arrangements of folk themes, is best known as a pioneer. He was the first African-American in the United States to have a symphonic composition performed by a major orchestra.

He was the first African American to conduct a major symphony orchestra in the US; the first to conduct a major symphony in the south; first to conduct a white radio orchestra in New York City; first to have an opera produced by a major company. Dr. Still was also the first African-American to have an opera televised over a national network



Pianist to celebrate classic and contemporary in UALR recital Feb. 5

University of Arkansas at Little Rock professor Linda Holzer will perform a piano recital, “Ear-Opener! A Celebration of the Known and the New,” at 7:30 p.m Friday, Feb. 5, in Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall.

Admission is free and open to the public.

Holzer enjoys presenting concerts that combine familiar repertoire with works that “deserve to be heard more often.”

Accompanied by baritone Ferris Allen, Holzer will open the concert with the premiere of a poignant new work, “Prayers and Blessings,” by composer Gwyneth Walker.

It is a setting of three texts: “Ubi Caritas,” “Lord Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace,” and “Gaelic Blessing.”

“We think this piece is a musical antidote for a turbulent world,” said Holzer.

The remainder of the program will feature solos by Holzer including the majestic piano Sonata in E Minor by celebrated composer and Little Rock native, Florence Price.

She will also perform selections by Scarlatti, Mozart, and Bach.

Holzer, a UALR faculty member since 1995, is an active soloist and chamber musician who has played in 30 states, and most recently, abroad in Melbourne, Australia. She was a featured performer at the Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference held at the Victoria College of the Arts. An advocate for contemporary music, Holzer was featured in performance and as host on a special KLRE broadcast last summer, “A Celebration of American Music.”

For more information, contact the Music Department at 501.569.3294.

Piano recital this afternoon by UALR Music Professor Dr. Linda Holzer

Piano recitalDr. Linda Holzer, professor of music at UALR, will hold​ a piano recital at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22, in the Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall in UALR’s Fine Arts Building.

Admission is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the UALR Department of Music at 501.569.3264​

The music will present something for everyone, from the jazz stylings of Bill Evans piano solo “Peace Piece” to a poetic masterpiece, “Sonata Op. 109,” by Beethoven​,​ to three selections by award-winning U.S. composers.

For one the three selections, Dr. Holzer will perform “Love Twitters” by Augusta Read Thomas.

She will be joined by Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s English horn player, Beth Wheeler, for John Steinmetz’s Suite from an “Imaginary Opera.” The program will conclude with Lowell Liebermann’s “Sonata for Flute and Piano,” featuring guest artist Diane McVinney of the ASO.

An active soloist and chamber musician, Holzer has delivered performances in 29 states, including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in New York, the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, and New York Public Radio Station WNYC-FM.

She has performed at Qingdao University in mainland China, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and the Palffy Palace in Bratislava, Slovakia. An advocate for contemporary music, Holzer has participated in numerous premieres, and her concert recordings have been broadcast internationally.

She has served as chair of the Committee on the Pedagogy Student for the 2007 and 2009 National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy in Chicago and is an active member of the Network of Music Career Development Officers.

She is a founding member of the duo Mariposa with violinist Sandra McDonald, assistant concertmaster of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. Holzer was also named College Teacher of the Year by the Arkansas State Music Teachers Association in 2001.

Holzer is a native of Chicago and holds degrees in piano performance from Northwestern University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Florida State University.