African American Song Recital Project

The latest collaboration from Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Music showcases graduate and undergraduate students from the departments of Voice and Collaborative Piano. Curated by Douglas Sumi, Lecturer in Music and Voice Department Chair, and Shiela Kibbe, Associate Professor of Music and Keyboard Department Chair, the African American Song Recital Project introduced singers and pianists to a catalogue of repertoire that is immensely rewarding to performers as well as listeners.

As Professor Kibbe notes, “Art songs by African American composers and composers of the African diaspora are rich and diverse in poetic heritage, harmonic language, and compositional style. Although African American composers have set texts by many authors and poets, they have been especially drawn to the words of African American writers. Three of the most influential African American poets were Paul Dunbar, James Weldon Johnson, and Langston Hughes.”

Watch and listen to this compilation of art songs. The recital program notes, written by Prof. Kibbe, provide background information on the composers, poets, and texts.

African American Song Recital Project

Florence Price (1887-1953)

Hold Fast to Dreams (Hughes)
Jillian Agona, soprano (CFA’21)
Jing-Fang Huang, piano (CFA’25)

Song to the Dark Virgin (Hughes)
Jeannette Lee, mezzo-soprano (CFA’23)
Regan Russell, piano (CFA’18,’22)

Undine Smith Moore (1904-1989)

I Want to Die While You Love Me (Johnson)
Tara Dougherty, soprano (CFA’21)
Pierre-Nicolas Colombat, piano (CFA’21)

H. Leslie Adams (b. 1932)

Sence you went away (Johnson) from Nightsongs
Rozime Lindsey, baritone (CFA’23)
Regan Russell, piano (CFA’18,’22)

Love Memory (Dunbar)
Savannah Panah, soprano (CFA’22)
Ann Schaefer, piano (CFA’21)

Harry Burleigh (1866-1949)

Ethiopia Saluting the Colors (Whitman)
Aleksandar Reupert, bass (CFA’22)
Alexandru Prigalo, piano (CFA’21)

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912)

Sweet Baby Butterfly (Easmon)
Grace Christiansen, soprano (CFA’24)
Shiela Kibbe, piano

Oh What Comes Over the Sea (Rossetti) from Six Sorrow Songs
Delaney Finn, mezzo-soprano (CFA’24)
Clera Ryu, piano (CFA’18)

Unmindful of the Roses (Rossetti) from Six Sorrow Songs
Amber Bates, soprano (CFA’24)
Pierre-Nicolas Colombat, piano (CFA’21)

The Willow Song (Shakespeare)
Mirah Johnston, mezzo-soprano (CFA’24)
Clera Ryu, piano (CFA’18)

Florence Price

Four Encore Songs

1. Tobacco (Hemminger)
2. A Flea and a Fly (Anonymous)
3. “Come, come,” said Tom’s Father (Moore)
4. Song of the Open Road (Nash)

Tara Palazuelos, mezzo-soprano (CFA’21)
Regan Russell, piano (CFA’18,’22)

Margaret Bonds (1913-1972)

The Minstrel Man (1913-1972) and I, Too from Three Dream Portraits (Hughes)
Donovan Black, countertenor (CFA’22)
Jing-Fang Huang, piano (CFA’25)

Julius Williams (b.1954)

A Song (Dunbar)
Tatum Robertson, soprano (CFA’22)
Shiela Kibbe, piano

Howard Swanson (1907-1978)

Will Lie Down in Autumn (Swenson)
Devon Russo, baritone (CFA’23)
Regan Russell, piano (CFA’18,’22)

Adolphus Hailstork (b.1941)

Create in Me (Psalm 51)
Sarah Rogers, soprano (CFA’21)
Regan Russell, piano (CFA’18,’22)


Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Music

Founded in 1872, Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Music combines the intimacy and intensity of traditional conservatory-style training with a broad liberal arts education at the undergraduate level and elective coursework at the graduate level. The school offers degrees in performance, conducting, composition and theory, musicology, music education, and historical performance, as well as artist and performance diplomas and a certificate program in its Opera Institute.

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