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Ahmed Alabaca is a composer and conductor.
Courtesy of the artist
Rhapsody in Black

Composer Ahmed Alabaca says, 'Be your dream'

Rhapsody in Black - Ahmed Alabaca

“I make a point to shine a light on specific topics that I feel strongly about. Being a product of a music program for innercity children, I know that through music and the arts, anything is possible. As I grow as an artist, I wish to continue that line of inspiring those who are living in dark places,” composer Ahmed Alabaca says.

Their vision for the future is “a new renaissance” for underrepresented composers. With a focus on the works of people of color and creating opportunities for them to perform, record and archive their work. Their work and their aspirations have been an influence and masterclass on how to uplift the community around you.

Musical arrangements from Ahmed Alabaca

"The Cash in the Can Rag" (Day 7)from The Crown Suite

The Crown Suite is Alabaca’s musical journey of reflection on the emotional and physical weight of living through a global pandemic. It started with composing a piece for a different instrument every day of Los Anglea’s lockdown order. They asked Facebook what instruments they should write for and a 40+ list was formed.

“This would be a great way to showcase not only my music but also showcase all the Black and Brown musicians that are out there, along with educating communities on all the different instruments that exist,” said Alabaca.

Ascension for Solo Clarinet & String Orchestra

This work is dedicated to their friend Rex, who had passed away. They said that Rex left a significant impact on their life even though they fell out of contact after attending Cal-State. This work shows and allows us to reflect on the passing of friends from our past.

Across the Calm Waters of Heaven

From the composer:

Across the Calm Waters of Heaven is an emotional journey that explores the nature of loss, grief, and love that transcends time and space. The piece begins by capturing the mixed feelings of loss and anticipation felt by the victims as they leave behind their bodies and their lives here on earth and begin their ascension into the love and care of their new eternal home. The workflows forward, capturing the awe and joy felt by the arrivals to their new home, a place of peace, love and beauty. There, they are jubilantly greeted and reunited with their loved ones and a community of loving and caring souls. The victims’ terror, loss, grief, and fear dissolve as they bask in their new surroundings and community. A calm lake, represented by the piano solo, is a moment of reflection as they look back on their lives and those they left behind. They are so filled with joy and love, and they radiate down comfort and reassurance. The victims will always guard over and bask in the warmth and love for their beloved on Earth as they wait to welcome them to this place of love and light. This work captures the inextinguishable spark of human goodness, our unfathomable capacity to give and receive the love that burns brightly in the souls of all humanity. This spark of God can never be extinguished even through violence, terror or injustice. This work celebrates the power of love and aims to bring peace, reassurance, and healing to others.


Host: Vernon Neal

Producer: Dan Nass

Writers: Andrea Blain and Scott Blankenship

Additional music selections: Jeffrey Yelverton

Executive Producer: Julie Amacher

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Where we turn up the voices of Black artists in the world of classical music, with host Vernon Neal.

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