This piece is inspired by the rich tapestry my African-American heritage and experience. The listener may find the influences of "low-church", early blues, and musical "godmothers" Undine Smith Moore, Julia Perry, and Margaret Bonds. This piece expresses the strength of community, and the enduring presence of vibrant passion in spite of adverse circumstances.
Dave Ragland (daveragland.com) is a two-time EMMY nominated composer, vocalist, pianist, and conductor. Hailed as “über-talented” by The Nashville Scene, Dave's recent commissions include ONE VOTE WON for Nashville Opera and STEAL AWAY for OZ ARTS. Dave's compositions have been presented by Washington National Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Nashville Symphony, and Portland Opera. Previous commissions include Nashville Ballet, Cincinnati Song Initiative, Frist Art Museum, African-American Art Song Alliance, and the GRADY-RAYAM Negro Spiritual Foundation. As a conductor and vocalist, Dave has performed with Brandi Carlile, Ruby Amanfu, Jennifer Hudson, John Prine, and GRAMMY-winning songwriter Marcus Hummon.
As the artistic director of Center for Musical Excellence, I am always on the look out for new and undiscovered talents. They come to me, sometimes, by my colleagues’ recommendations and other times through young artists’ own research about our organization. Tyson Davis and Andrew Bambridge are currently on our roster of CME Young Artists, whom we mentor. Patricio Molina is a CME alumnus. Theo Chandler, Ji-Young Ko, and Daniel Newman-Lessler applied for our Grant program, and I got to know their work through that process. I decide on young artists when I notice a deep passion and drive within them, plus a certain kind of sparkle in the personality and lots of humility. In addition to musical talents, I believe these are the qualities that will take the young artists far. CME’s motto is "Moving Musicians Forward". I’ve chosen our Discovery Composers based on these qualities, whom we felt we could easily move forward.
- Min Kwon