Great Organ Music at Yale: Program for Sunday, Sept. 18
View the printed program here
See below for full details of the performers, composers and music (not included in the printed program)
Nathaniel Gumbs (M.M. ‘11) is a concert organist and ISM graduate who has performed at many venues in the USA and abroad. Dr. Gumbs is a native of the Bronx, NY and has performed throughout the United States and abroad, including in Antigua, St. Thomas, Ghana, France and Germany. He currently serves as Director of Chapel Music at Yale University where he works with students, faculty, and guests to coordinate music for three worshiping communities: the University Church in Battell Chapel, and Marquand Chapel and at Berkeley Divinity School, both at Yale Divinity School.
Dr. Gumbs earned his undergraduate degree from Shenandoah Conservatory in Virginia, his Master of Music degree from Yale University, and in 2021 completed a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the Eastman School of Music. His principal teachers include Steven Cooksey, David Higgs, and Martin Jean.
Prior to his position at Yale, Dr. Gumbs served as Director of Music and Arts and Church Organist at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC, where he led several hundred volunteer musicians and staff in four choirs and other ensembles. He has also been a frequent guest musician at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem and served as organist and clinician for the Hampton University Ministers’ Conference.
In 2017 The Diapason magazine recognized Dr. Gumbs as one of 20 outstanding organists under 30 years old for his achievement in organ performance and church music. In 2018, he curated the opening Hymn Festival (Singing Diverse Music in The New Church) for the Hymn Society’s annual conference.
Kenneth Joseph a Trinidadian native is the director of St Luke’s Steelband in New Haven Connecticut. There he teaches, directs, and performs with four of their ensembles. Additionally, Joseph serves as the Family and Community Engagement Manager at Booker T. Washington Academy.
His early formal musical training began at Parry’s Pan School, Tacarigua Trinidad.
He studied with music school founder Selwyn “Parry” Paul and notable late musician Eddie Quarless. Joseph continued his musical studies and graduated from the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago, and Northern Illinois University USA, with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music respectively. Joseph also had the pleasure of studying and working with other notable musicians: Satanand Sharma, the late Dr. Pat Bishop, Liam Teague, the late Dr. Cliff Alexis, Harold Headley and Dr. Pelham Goddard, to name a few. Joseph’s formal training also includes conducting. He has studied with Dr. Ronnie Wooten, Dr. John Ginocchio, Dr. Amy Roisum-Foley, Dr. Jack Stamp, Jessel Murray and Craig Kirchhoff.
Joseph has over thirty years of steelpan experience, including performing, teaching, adjudicating, arranging, and composing music; he has performed as a soloist and with chamber groups and large ensembles in the United States and internationally. In the summer of 2021, Joseph served as the feature artist of the Chamber Series held by New Haven Symphony Orchestra.
As an arranger, Joseph’s music can be heard from the various ensembles he directs. He has served as a guest clinician at the summer camp of the Rhythm Project in Norfolk, Virginia. He returned to Virginia multiple times, most recently in 2022, serving as a clinician and adjudicator for the annual PANorama Competition held in Virginia Beach. Joseph has also served as a judge for the New York Panorama Competition from 2014 to present.
Minister Freddie Moore is a native of Jersey City, NJ. Freddie Moore’s professional career as a dancer, master teacher and choreographer began with his formal dance training at The Ailey School. After graduating from the school’s certificate and scholarship programs, he went on to being a featured artist with Ailey II, Donald Byrd/The Group, Forces of Nature, Gallman’s Newark Dance Theater, and Blue Mercury Dancing Company. During his distinguished 36-year career, Mr. Moore has amassed credits in musicals, national and international television shows, music videos, and documentaries.
His transition from being a performing artist to a full-time minister for Christ began in the fall of 1990, when he became the co-founder of Footprints Dance Company. Minister Moore’s innovative choreography has received national and international recognition. His career as a master teacher has led to him traveling across the United States, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, South America, and the Caribbean. A noted master of the Modern Horton technique, Minister Moore conducts artist-in-residence workshops in public and private schools. He has developed performing arts curriculum for schools and community-based programs and he works with churches around the world to develop liturgical dance ministries.
A recognized community leader, he has received many honors for community service including commendations from the NAACP, the New Jersey Senate, the National Black Police Association, the Jersey City Community Outreach Team, and the Public Advocate for the City of New York. Mr. Moore is currently the Rehearsal Director for Ailey Student Performance Group (ASPG), Ailey Certificate Program Advisor and a faculty member at The Ailey School, Restoration Youth Arts Academy, Hudson Repertory Dance Theater as well as the Founder and Artistic Director of Footprints Dance Company.
The Music and the Composers
Alfred Hollins (1865-1942)
Born blind in Yorkshire, England, Alfred Hollins quickly rose to prominence in Victorian England as both a concert organist and pianist. After a program at London’s Crystal Palace in the presence of Queen Victoria, in which he performed Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto, he studied with the famed conductor/composer/pianist Hans von Bülow in Berlin. A series of concerts in Germany, where he played three concertos in one evening (by Liszt, Schumann, and Beethoven), catapulted him into international notoriety that led to decades of international touring as a pianist and organist. In 1904, he was in New Zealand and Australia; between 1907 and 1916. he made numerous trips to South Africa, and in1925-26, he undertook a 65-city tour of the United States, sponsored by the Skinner Organ Company. It is estimated that he traveled more than 600,000 miles as a touring artist. The Concert Overture in C minor is a brief sturm und drang work whose language is reminiscent of another favorite of Queen Victoria: Felix Mendelssohn. Hollins died in Edinburgh in 1942 at the age of 76.
César Franck (1822-1890)
César Franck stands as a cornerstone of the French organ tradition, leading an intrepid group of younger composers in Paris at a time when the imposing heights of Wager’s chromaticism influenced French music as much as a rediscover of earlier French traditions. Written in the last year of his life, his Three Chorals for organ represent a mastering of motivic development. In Choral No. 1 in E major, Franck invites a patient observer to discern and discover relationships
between motives in a form which is basically a theme followed by three variations. At the same time, the almost hypnotic alternation between three manuals, all carefully indicated in the score, suggests not only antiphonal use of the instrument, but symbolism assigned to each manual as well.
Marco Enrico Bossi (1861-1925), Giga
In 1898, the great French organist Alexandre Guilmant singled out Marco Enrico Bossi for “making a praiseworthy effort to restore the Italian school of organ composition and playing to its old-time preeminence.” The scion of a family of Italian provincial organists, Bossi studied piano and composition at the Milan Conservatory—one of his fellow pupils was Puccini, who became a close friend and admirer—and went on to write more than 150 works ranging from operas to keyboard solos. Originally conceived for flute and piano, this short Giga “in stile antico” (in olden style) features a sprightly, skipping theme that bobs up and down in the fast-flowing musical current. It exemplifies the “clearness, richness and variety of colour” that Bossi believed the Italian school of organ music should aspire to.
Florence B. Price (1887–1953), First Sonata for Organ
Florence B. Price was the first African American woman to gain recognition as an black woman accomplished composer. Price’s output includes incidental music for the organ, an organ sonata, an organ suite, choral music, orchestral works, and solo vocal music. She was the first black woman composer to have her music performed by a major American orchestra. Her Symphony in E minor was performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1933. Price was also an accomplished organist and graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music, where she received her Artist Diploma in organ, studying with Henry M. Dunham. While a student at conservatory, Price was given the honor to perform Alexandre Guilmant’s organ Sonata in D minor, Op. 42 for him upon his visit to the school. The successful performance of this work and affirmation from the composer must have inspired Price to compose her First Sonata for Organ. This work shares many similarities with Guilmant’s sonata, which, like Price’s sonata is in d minor, three movements, and share the same key relations; i-V-i. Both works open with a triumphant, maestoso introduction in common meter, followed by a pedal solo in cut time which serves as the first theme in sonata allegro form. The second movement of both works are lyrical, beginning with an oboe solo line, followed by imitative writing. The work then closes with a fiery toccata in two, ending with harmonically slowing moving big chords in the relative major key and a coda resembling the opening of the movement.
Gioachino Rossini (1792–1868)
The William Tell Overture premiered in 1829 at the Paris Opéra. It sets the scene for the opera by evoking a picture of life in the Swiss Alps. The overture is divided into four distinct sections: the prelude (dawn), storm, Ranz des vaches (pastorale), and the finale (March of the Swiss Soldiers). The prelude begins with a cello solo accompanied by the lower strings section (cellos and basses) of the orchestra. This pleasant scene develops into a boisterous storm played by the full orchestra. The calm after the storm is shown with a traditional Swiss pastorale melody, the Ranz des Vaches, played on the english horn. The farmers of the Swiss Alpine used this form of song as they led their cattle around. The finale, in the form of a galop, is perhaps Rossini’s most famous musical creation and theme song for The Lone Ranger.
John Stoddart is a native of Philadelphia, where he grew up singing and playing piano in church. As a recording artist, music producer, educator, and singer/songwriter, Stoddart’s credits range from Grammy nominations to appearances at the Inaugural Prayer Breakfasts of Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. The program concludes with one of the most powerful songs to come out of the Black church: “We Shall Overcome, in an arrangement by Carl Haywood. The song is believed to have become popular as a protest song during a cigar workers’ strike in Charleston, SC, in 1945, but its origins date back to a gospel hymn, “I’ll Overcome Some Day.” Written by Rev. Charles Albert Tindley of Philadelphia in 1901. It was published in 1947 and was taken up in the ’50s and ’60s by Pete Seeger and Joan Baez, to name just two. President Johnson famously used the phrase in a 1965 congressional address following the “Bloody Sunday” riots, and the words were recited by Martin Luther King, Jr., in his final sermon, delivered in Memphis, TN, four days before his assassination.
Carl Haywood is internationally recognized as a composer/arranger, educator, and organist. He has an impressive catalog of choral and keyboard works and currently serves as Director of Choral Activities and Conductor of the Concert Choir and Spartan Chorale at Norfolk State University.