James Abbington’s 2019 Fall Institute Events
Thursday, October 17
Samples of New Music in the African American Church Music Series and Morehouse College Series
Breakout 1 (9:00 AM – 10:15 AM) | Gratz Room 4E
In this workshop, James Abbington will showcase a few of the newer choral anthems in GIA’s AACMS and Morehouse College Series. This session will function as a small reading session where Dr. Abbington will give background information and performance suggestions on each piece while also providing thoughts on when it might be appropriate to use during the church year.
Using the Negro Spiritual in Worship and Concert Performance
Breakout 4 (2:45 PM – 4:00 PM) | Gratz Room 4E
This session will examine the differences between the Negro folk, or congregational spiritual and the concert, or arranged spiritual in worship and concert performance. These sacred folk songs, created by anonymous individuals or groups of individuals and by arrangers are truly an American creation and have been captured in four-part settings in hymnals and collections and in extended arrangements for choirs. Using various examples from current denomination hymnals and concert choral arrangements of Negro spiritual, the session will focus on their appropriate liturgical uses and general performance practices of this genre.
Friday, October 18
The Music of the People: Dvorak Revisited
Keynote Address (9:00 AM – 10:00 AM) | Buchanan Chapel
On 21 May, 1893 an article appeared in the New York Herald, part interview, part manifesto, part advertisement for the National Conservatory in New York entitled “Real Value of Negro Melodies” by the Bohemian Director of the conservatory Antonin Dvorák. A week later, the composer amplified his viewpoint in an article entitled “Antonin Dvorák on Negro Melodies.” In it Dvorák stated, “It is my opinion that I find a sure foundation in the Negro melodies for a new National school of music…The new American school of music must strike its roots deeply within its own soil.” It was the beginning of his great influence on the future of American music and his challenge “to go after our own folk music.” In this keynote Dr. James Abbington will focus on Dvorák’s contribution to and influence on American music with a particular focus on how our own folk music and the “music of the Negro” informed the works of some of the greatest American composers.