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Fargo Moorhead Symphony Features Women of Color

Fargo Moorhead Symphony
Fargo Moorhead Symphony

The Fargo Moorhead Symphony's concert — Saturday, September 24th at 7:30 and Sunday, September 25th at 2:00 — breaks some new ground, in the composers who are featured — three out of four are Women of Color. Christopher Zimmerman, Music Director, explains that the first piece, Jessie Montgomery's "Banner" was written for the bicentennial of the "Star Spangled Banner," and incorporates multiple national anthems from various countries, mixing sometime with harmony, sometimes not.

Valerie Coleman's "Umoja" is based on an East African melody (Umoja means Unity in Swahili). The flautist-composer has fun elaborating and building with the melody in a symphonic setting.

Then there is "Ethiopia's Shadow in America" by Florence Price. He was a mid-century composer who received some recognition in her time, but her reputation faded as new styles became popular. There has recently been a stir of interest caused by the discovery of a trove of her manuscripts (most never performed) in her old summer house. Some of her work, including this one, draws on folk melodies. That connects her to Dvorak, who was an exponent of using folk material. His Ninth is well known for including African-American melodies — however, this concert features his Fifth, which reflects his own Czech experience.

Linda Boyd explains that Laetitia Mizero Hellerud will draw on her own experience as a refugee in making introductions to the pieces. She expects it to be an affecting experience.

The concert will be at Festival Concert Hall on the NDSU campus.

FM Arts is a special radio series of profiles, performances, and discussions with artists in the Fargo-Moorhead area. This series is funded by The Arts Partnership, with support from the Cities of Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo.

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