The story begins with a young singer named Harry Thacker Burleigh, who was working as a custodian at the National Conservatory in New York City during the 1890s to fulfill the requirements of his scholarship. One evening, Antonín Dvo?ák, the newly appointed director, overheard Burleigh's deep baritone voice singing the spirituals that his grandfather had taught him. This chance encounter marked the beginning of a remarkable friendship and Dvo?ák's introduction to the world of African-American spirituals.
Chamber Music Charleston’s program brings together the music of Burleigh and Dvorak, alongside those of other important but long-neglected composers such as Florence Price and William Grant Still. Through their music, the program paints a vivid portrait of a distinctive yet classically-informed, American sound rooted in the country's diverse cultural heritage.
PROGRAM selections from
Antonin Dvo?ák String Quartet in F Major, Op. 96, “American”
H.T. Burleigh Southland Sketches for String Quartet
Florence Price String Quartet No. 2 in A Minor
William Grant Still Lyric Quartet
Frances Hsieh and Jenny Weiss, violins; Ben Weiss, viola; Tim O’Malley, cello
June 7, 2023
South Carolina Society Hall 72 Meeting Street