Ulysses Kay Project Pre-Concert Talk with Prof. George Lewis & Others, Oct. 21 @ 5:00 PM

Event Date:                 Mon, 10/21/2013 – 5:00pm

Event Location:        Room 754 of Schermerhorn Extension


Event Sponsors:       Department of Music, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Office of Government and Community Affairs

Admission Charge:  Free and Open to the Public


ULYSSES KAY PROJECT@ Columbia University Presents:

A Pre-Concert Talk featuring Prof. George Lewis, Jennifer Lee, Courtney Bryan, and Liz Player


Click for Information on the Tuesday Oct. 22 Concert featuring the Harlem Chamber Players.


On Monday, October 21, 2013 at 5pm in Room 754 of Schermerhorn Extension prior to the concert the Columbia’s Rare Books & Manuscript Library, Music Department and Office of Government & Community Affairs will sponsor a talk focusing on Ulysses Kay and the African American composer.  The panel will be led by George Lewis, Stephen Case Professor of Music and include Jennifer Lee, Curator, Performing Arts, Rare Books & Manuscript Library, Courtney Bryan, composer and DMA candidate in composition at Columbia and Director of the Institute of Sacred Music at Bethany Baptist Church of Newark, NJ and Liz Player, co-founder and Artistic Director for Harlem Chamber Players. They will discuss Ulysses Kay’s role as an American composer in early 20th Century and his impact on other composers and African American composer in particular.

This Ulysses Kay Concert is sponsored by the University Chaplain’s Office, Columbia University Rare Books & Manuscript Libraries, Columbia University’s Music Department and the Office of Government & Community Affairs.

Concert Information (TUESDAY OCT. 22 @ 6PM)

On Tuesday, October 22, 2013, at 6:00 pm Columbia University Office of the Chaplain’s Concert Series will feature the Harlem Chamber Players at St. Paul’s Chapel at Columbia University 117th Street and Amsterdam.  This concert is part of what the Harlem Chamber Players have titled “The Ulysses Kay Project”. The concert will feature performers:

Tia Roper – Flute

Ashley Horne – Violin

Orlando Wells – Violin

Audrey Mitchell – Viola

Lawrence Zoernig – Cello.

They will perform Kay’s: Prelude for Unaccompanied Flute, Flute Quintet and Selected String Quartets

It is a salute to the completion of Columbia University Libraries, Rare Books & Manuscript Library s work archiving, as Jennifer Lee, Curator for Performing Arts noted, “a treasure trove of material relating to all aspects of the composer’s work, from manuscript sketches to finished scores, including correspondence, photographs, programs, and his professional files.”

Michael Ryan, Head of Columbia’s Rare Books & Manuscript Library, at the time the Columbia received these works, commented, that Kay was “[a] prolific and important composer of contemporary symphonic, chamber, and choral music, Kay also wrote five operas, the most substantial and last of which, Jubilee (1976) and Frederick Douglass (1991), were based on themes from African-American history.” Ryan also noted that, “Kay was a formidable and versatile composer.”  It is amazing that we are approaching the 70th Anniversary of the New York Philharmonic premiere of Ulysses Kay’s first major work Of New Horizons: Overture at what was then West Harlem’s stunning Lewisohn Stadium which is now the cite of City College of New York’s North Academic building.

Kay’s connection with Columbia goes back to 1946 when he was awarded the Alice M. Ditson Fellowship in Composition and studied with Otto Leunig.  He also was the winner of the BMI Prize for his work Suite for Orchestra, which Dean Dixon and the American Youth Orchestra premiered in 1945 and A Short Overture, which received the George Gershwin Memorial Award in 1946.

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