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http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/entertainment/classical-music/sd-me-music-rafael-payare-20180213-story.html

The San Diego Symphony just announced the appointment of 37-year-old Venezuelan native Rafael Payare as its new Music Director, to succeed Maestro Jahja Ling in July 2019.

Payare was raised in the same Venezuelan education program, El Sistema, as his friend and fellow conductor the 37-year-old Gustavo Dudamel, music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

S. Richards

Last summer, when Musa Ngqungwana made his debut in the title role of the Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess at the Glimmerglass Festival, he discovered that life had prepared him to play an outsider.  

The bass-baritone was raised by a single mother in what he calls a “ghetto” of Port Elizabeth, South Africa.  He says that growing up in apartheid, a system of institutionalized racial segregation and discrimination that existed in South Africa until 1991, almost guaranteed him a life of poverty and perhaps an early death.

But music saved him.

Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson, one of the avant-garde's most beloved film scorers, died Friday in Berlin, Germany. His death was confirmed by his manager, Tim Husom, but according to an official statement, the cause is unknown at this time. He was 48 years old.

By her own admission, composer Florence Price had two strikes against her.

"To begin with I have two handicaps – those of sex and race. I am a woman; and I have some Negro blood in my veins," is how she began a 1943 letter to Serge Koussevitzky, the revered conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She added later, "I would like to be judged on merit alone."

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

“My dear Dr. Koussevitzky, To begin with I have two handicaps—those of sex and race. I am a woman; and I have some Negro blood in my veins.”  - Florence Price

In this New Yorker article, Alex Ross tells the story of a 2009 house renovation which led to the discovery of lost music by a ground-breaking American composer. 

At first, there's just a drip: a gentle pulse from a marimba. Then a bewitching melody played on a set of tuned cowbells enters and the music comes into focus. The four musicians in the Chicago-based Third Coast Percussion let the piece unfold deliberately. They play as if they're a single, eight-armed organism.

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