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Sunday: Benefit concert salutes black composers

 

A concert featuring the music of nine composers who worked in African American traditions -- spirituals, jazz and blues -- will be held on Sunday, Jan. 24, to benefit the music program at Eastside College Preparatory School in East Palo Alto.

The event, "A Tribute to African American Composers," is set for 3 p.m. at Eastside Prep, 1041 Myrtle Ave. in East Palo Alto.

It will feature performances by Menlo Park pianist Josephine Gandolfi, as well as pianists LaDoris Cordell, a former Palo Alto City Council member, Deanne Tucker, and Jefferson Williams. Performers also include soprano Yolanda Rhodes, violinist Susan C. Brown, and cellist Victoria Ehrlich.

Ms. Gandolfi noted that two of the composers whose work will be performed -- Florence B. Price and William Grant Still -- "are recognized and celebrated as the first African American composers to distinguish themselves as symphonic composers."

All of the featured composers wrote works "of great expressive depth in a variety of styles," Ms. Gandolfi said. Some of the settings of spirituals for voice and piano have been performed in concert halls by such legends as Marian Anderson, Leontyne Price, William Warfield and Kathleen Battle, she said.

Songs by Valerie Capers and Billie Holiday "present the jazz style of the Harlem Renaissance era," she added.

Admission is by donation, suggested at $15, general, and $5 for seniors and students. For more information, call 688-0850.

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