Poster William Dawson
A drawing of composer William Dawson in 1935 by Aaron Douglas.
Aaron Douglas/Tuskegee University Archives
Performance Today®

William Dawson

Two decades after he wrote his Negro Folk Symphony, composer William Dawson traveled to West Africa. Based on what he heard there, he revised his music to convey “...the missing elements that were lost when Africans came into bondage outside their homeland." On today's show, hear Dawson's Negro Folk Symphony played by The Orchestra Now with conductor Leon Botstein.

Episode Playlist

Hour 1

Dmitri Shostakovich: Prelude & Fugue No. 21 in B flat major
Jenny Lin, piano
Album: Shostakovich: 24 Preludes & Fugues
Hanssler 98530

Reinhold Gliere: Three Duets for Violin and Cello, Op. 39
Sarah Oates, violin | Amir Eldan, cello
Maui Classical Music Festival, Makawao Union Church, Makawao, Maui, HI

Piano Puzzler
Contestant: Danusha Goska calling from Paterson, NJ

Dmitri Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 9 in E-flat Major, Op. 117
Maxwell Quartet
Bay Chamber Concerts, Rockport Opera House, Rockport, ME

Hour 2

Anton Arensky: String Quartet No. 2 in A Minor, Op. 35: III. Finale: Andante Sostenuto - Allegro Moderato
Kirsten Johnson, viola | Lynn Harrell and Zuill Bailey, cellos | Soovin Kim, violin
Album: Dohnanyi: Serenade In C Major - Arensky: String Quartet No. 2
Delos

William Dawson: Negro Folk Symphony: Movements 1, 3
The Orchestra Now | Leon Botstein, conductor
Bard College - The Orchestra Now, The Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

Zoe Cutler: Obstacle Illusion
Timothy McAllister, saxophone | Liz Ames, piano
Interlochen Presents, Dendrinos Chapel and Recital Hall, Interlochen, MI

Ludwig van Beethoven: Variations on an Original Theme in E-flat Major, Op. 44
Chien-Kim-Watkins Trio
String Theory at the Hunter, The Hunter Museum of American Art, Chattanooga, TN

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American Public Media’s Performance Today® is America’s most popular classical music radio program and a winner of the 2014 Gabriel Award for artistic achievement. The show is broadcast on hundreds of public radio stations across the country, including at 1 p.m. central weekdays on Minnesota Public Radio. More information about our stations can be found at APM Distribution.

Performance Today® features live concert recordings that can’t be heard anywhere else, highlights from new album releases, and in-studio performances and interviews. Performance Today® is based at the APM studios in St. Paul, Minnesota, but is frequently on the road, with special programs broadcast from festivals and public radio stations around the country. Also, each Wednesday, composer Bruce Adolphe joins host Fred Child for a classical musical game and listener favorite: the Piano Puzzler.

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