Current Times
Music by under represented BIPOC composers

Anamarie Diaz, flute | Russell Wilson, piano

Move It for solo flute

Carlos Simon

The pandemic of COVID-19 has continued to influence my social, professional and personal life in ways that I never imagined. I’ve been frustrated by not being able to function in normal routine of life, but also grateful to have the time to think and explore ideas and thoughts that I would not have done normally. This piece is meant to represent my desire to get out MOVE.

My intent is to make this piece an imaginary syncopated joy ride. I wanted to explore the percussive and rhythmic nature of flute; something that moves with energy and forward motion. I’m so excited to be working with Brice and grateful for those who supported this commission.

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Homeland for solo flute

Allison Loggins-Hull

Homeland was written shortly after Hurricane Maria stormed through Puerto Rico in 2017. Maria represented the increasing strength of natural disasters and the intense, sometimes deadly, repercussions of climate change. While this was going on, there was also a rise of political and social turmoil in the United States, and global unrest throughout the world, including the Civil War crisis in Syria. For weeks, the news was flooded with these stories. With so many people throughout the world dealing with tragic domestic issues, I began to think about the meaning of home during a crisis. What does home mean when the land has been destroyed? What does it mean when there’s been a political disaster, or a human disaster? How does a person feel patriotic when they feel unwelcome at the same time? Homeland is a musical interpretation and exploration of those questions. 

The flute opens with timbral trills representing troubled waters, then transitions into passages that are anxious and distorted. There is a moment of hope and optimism, a remembrance of past struggles that have been overcome, followed by an off-putter play on the Star Spangled Banner, representing an unraveling of patriotism. In the end we come full circle, still with unanswered and unresolved questions.

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•brief intermission•

Fanmi Imèn for flute and piano

Valerie Coleman

The title of Coleman's tone poem, FANMI IMÈN, is Haitian Creole for Maya Angelou's famous work, Human Family. Both the musical and literary poems acknowledge differences within mankind, either due to ethnicity, background, or geography, but Angelou's poetic refrain: "we are more alike, my friends, than we are unlike," reaffirms our humanity as a reminder of unity.

Within the flute and piano parts are motifs representing cultural differences, that come together to form a tapestry, united through tempi, and quasi cadenza-like transitions. The work begins and ends with a patriotic Americana feel, to symbolize and recognize the contributions immigrants have made towards the building of a nation as a whole.

The work includes harmonies and thematic material that represent French flute music blending with an underlying pentatonicism found in Asian traditions, a caravan through Middle Eastern parts of the world that merge with Flamenco music within the Quasi-Cadenza, and an upbeat journey southward into Africa with the sounds of Kalimba (thumb piano). Here, the flute imitates the thumb piano as it playfully taps out a tune that spells out a morse code message of U-N-I-T-Y within the rhythm. The many twists and turns come together to create a sound that symbolizes a beautifully diverse human race. 

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Simon’s latest album, MY ANCESTOR’S GIFT, was released on the Navona Records label in April 2018. Described as an “overall driving force” (Review Graveyard) and featured on Apple Music’s “Albums to Watch”, MY ANCESTOR’S GIFT incorporates spoken word and historic recordings to craft a multifaceted program of musical works that are inspired as much by the past as they are the present.

As a part of the Sundance Institute, Simon was named as a Sundance Composer Fellow in 2018, which was held at the historic Skywalker Ranch. His string quartet, Elegy, honoring the lives of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner was recently performed at the Kennedy Center for the Mason Bates JFK Jukebox Series.

With support from the US Embassy in Tokyo and US/Japan Foundation, Simon traveled with the Asia/America New Music Institute (AANMI) on a two-week tour of Japan in 2018 performing concerts in some of the most sacred temples and concert spaces in Japan including Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Japan.

 

Simon earned his doctorate degree at the University of Michigan, where he studied with Michael Daugherty and Evan Chambers. He has also received degrees from Georgia State University and Morehouse College. Additionally, he studied in Baden, Austria at the Hollywood Music Workshop with Conrad Pope and at New York University’s Film Scoring Summer Workshop.  

Allison Loggins-Hull is a flutist, composer and producer with an active career performing and creating music of multiple genres. In 2009 she and Nathalie Joachim co-founded the critically acclaimed duo Flutronix, which was praised by The Wall Street Journal for being able “to redefine the instrument.”

Allison has performed or recorded with a wide-range of artists including the International Contemporary Ensemble, Imani Winds, Lizzo, The National Sawdust Ensemble and others. As a member of The Re-Collective Orchestra, Allison was co-principal flutist on the soundtrack to Disney’s 2019 remake of “The Lion King,” working closely with Hans Zimmer.

Allison has composed for Flutronix, Julia Bullock and others and has been commissioned by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Carolina Performing Arts, Alarm Will Sound and The Library of Congress. She was a co-producer of Nathalie Joachim’s celebrated album “Fanm d’Ayiti,” which was nominated for a 2020 GRAMMY for Best World Music Album.

 

Allison is on the flute faculty of The John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University. She’s a teaching artist at The Juilliard School’s Global Ventures and is a former faculty member of The Juilliard School’s Music Advancement Program.

Valerie Coleman is regarded by many as an iconic artist who continues to pave her own unique path, as a Grammy® nominated flutist, composer and entrepreneur. Named Performance Today's 2020 Classical Woman of the Year, and regarded as “one of the Top 35 Women Composers” as listed in the Washington Post by critic Anne Midgette, she is also an alumna of Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center CMS Two, laureate of Concert Artists Guild, the flutist and founder of the performer-composer trio Umama Womama. Perhaps most notably, she is the creator, founder, and former flutist of the acclaimed Imani Winds, an ensemble whose performances and original works have redefined wind chamber music with performances that span the globe.

Imani Winds’ legacy is documented and featured in a dedicated exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. 

 

Coleman’s multi-faceted career has led her to be featured with the Philadelphia Orchestra, The Atlanta Symphony, the Hartford Symphony, Boston University Tanglewood Institute, Boston Symphony Orchestra Tanglewood Learning Institute (TLI), New Haven Symphony, Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Music at Angelfire, Banff, Spoleto USA, Bravo! Vail, Carnegie Hall, and the Kennedy Center, to name a few. Her career as a recitalist and clinician has led her to be the featured guest flutist for the Mid-Atlantic Flute Fair, New Jersey Flute Fair, South Carolina Flute Society Festival, Colorado Flute Fair, Mid-South Flute Fair, and the National Women’s Music Festival, among many others. 

Valerie studied flute with Julius Baker, Judith Mendenhall, Doriot Dwyer, Leone Buyse and Alan Weiss; composition with Martin Amlin and Randy Wolfe. She is published by Theodore Presser and has her own company, VColeman Music.  Valerie currently is an Assistant Professor and Director of Chamber Music at the Frost School of Music and the University of Miami.

Russell Wilson, a native of Memphis, Tennessee, is an outstanding classical and jazz pianist who received his bachelor’s and master’s of music degrees in performance from Memphis State University now the University of Memphis. Mr. Wilson is formerly a member of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, the Joe Kennedy Quartet, Virginia Union University’s faculty and, most recently, an Assistant Professor of Music at Virginia State University. Currently he is a piano instructor at Virginia Commonwealth University and serves as pianist for worship services at Second Baptist and Crown and Joy. Wilson enjoys a distinguished career as a solo and chamber music performer and is the principal pianist of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra where he has performed as a soloist and has accompanied world class artists including Mel Tormé, Dick Hyman, Cab Calloway, Chet Atkins, Steve Allen and Carol Lawrence.

Anamarie Diaz is a flutist, performer, educator, and entrepreneur in Richmond, Virginia. She is the owner of DiazFlute Studio where she teaches privately and believes in personal growth through music education. Anamarie is a strong advocate for contemporary music especially contemporary music written by underrepresented composers. As an entrepreneur, Anamarie works with a team of 2 other flutists to help prepare, educate, and equip classical musicians with the necessary skills to be successful in the music industry. Anamarie hopes to continue to bring music education to disadvantaged communities in Richmond.