Karen Walwyn, concert pianist, performs with the Colorado Springs Chamber Orchestra in the spring of 2019. This is a historic concert as this is the first concert for the chamber orchestra to feature an African American female concert pianist, and it is the first orchestral concert to perform a concerto by an African American female composer. Florence Price is the first noted African American female composer to gain national status as a composer. The Florence Price Concerto in One Movement at Ent Center for the Arts, Colorado Springs, CO is seen in performance via this video.
Karen Walwyn performs at the Black Lives Matter Conference at Harvard University in 2017. Her composition entitled A Journey from Afar, from her suite “Mother Emanuel” depicts the events of the tragedy that led to nine lives lost at The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on June 17, 2015.
Composer Karen Walwyn’s Spangled Hearts for Viola and Cello is performed on 11/17/20 Network for New Music: Extraordinary Measures. This work was commissioned for the 16th anniversary of 9/11 and asks the question “Are We Still Listening?” in her composition. For viewing of the concert, please advance to 12.23 to see Ms. Walwyn immediately followed by the performance:
To view her full interview please visit: https://www.networkfornewmusic.org/events.
Go to Events, shover and view 2020-2021 season, and then
scroll down to October 17, 2020.
Ms. Walwyn premiers her debut composition, Reflections on 9/11 at the Kennedy Center. Her work is for solo piano in seven movements depicting the American tragedy and the days following this historic time. Her recording of this work is on Albany Records. For viewing,
As sunrays frolic, Curious clouds Darkness nears. Whisht! Quashed! Lynched! Ashes
As the piano begins and sweeps through the passage work illuminating what is seemingly a beautiful day, it exposes this very beautifully majestic tree, the Hyperion, the septuplets in the piano eventually lend towards the uneasiness that is to soon follow though the ostinato -like passage. It eventually conversely suggests wind breezing through the massive 379-foot tree symbolized by the Horn. The intrusion of the double thirds passage growing into the alternating octaves carry the pieces into the darker revelation that the tree is symbolic for the hanging of a body. As the clouds move in, (5 against 7 groupings), the eventual reality of the lynching has been revealed. Heather Heyer’ death was symbolic of a lynching. The return of the opening theme suggests of hope in life moving forward in unity.
A Musical Tribute on the Life of Nelson Mandela: Of Dance and Struggle by Dr. Walwyn is a 67- minute work for choir, African drums, dance, narration and solo piano that represent the 67 years of President Mandela’s years of work towards equality and freedom. This work was commissioned and premiered by the Elon Choral from Elon University. Ms. Walwyn is the composer for the work and the featured pianist:
Watch excerpts here.
Angels Nine was written to honor the fallen nine angels due to the tragedy of The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Commissioned by Debra Sherill-Ward, this was written for three Horns and Piano. Ms. Ward resides in Charleston, South Carolina and is a prolific performer and teacher in Charleston.The performers include hornists Debra Sherill-Ward, Mary Beth Orr and Jennifer Kummer and Pianist Laura Ball.