Ray Briggs Interviewed for Black History Month

The CSULB Office of Media and Government relations featured an interview with Dr. Ray Briggs for Black History Month. Dr. Briggs spoke about the inextricable link between African-American history and African-American music. He is quoted as noting, “‘Spiritual song lyrics such as ‘Go Down Moses, tell old Pharaoh to let my people go’ reflected the crux of slave theology. They were saying, ‘We are like those Hebrews. We are like those people who were enslaved in a foreign land and just like God worked on their behalf he will work on ours.’ If they had said that directly to the slave owners there would have been serious consequences. So, they had to sing it and code it in a way that could not easily be detected, but still allowed for them to express themselves. For one’s psychological well-being we know that expression is important. It’s a human desire, a human need. For them, in a sense, it was a means of survival’.”



Beth Peregrine to Ravinia Festival

Alumna Beth Peregrine will perform Tan Dun’s “Water Passion after St. Matthew” with 32 singers of the Los Angeles Master Chorale at the Ravinia Festival this June. Ravinia, North America’s oldest music festival, stands today as its most musically diverse, presenting over 140 different events throughout the summer. These concerts run the gamut from Yo-Yo Ma to John Legend to the annual summer residency of The Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Alan Shockley’s Toy Piano Miniature at International Toy Piano Festival

Pianist Mark Robson played Alan Shockley’s toy piano miniature “the reverse balducci” on his program at the International Toy Piano Festival in Tampa, Florida in mid-January.

In addition Dr. Shockley’s paper “Inversions of all this chambermade music”: ‘Napoleon Symphony, the Wake,’ and Mature Counterpoint’ has been accepted for the 25th International James Joyce Symposium hosted by the University of London this June.

Mostly Kosher on PBS

Mostly Kosher with alumni Leaav Sofer, Casey Solow, Mike, King, and Eric Hagstrom performed at the annual Christmas Eve concert at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, broadcast live on PBS.

Josh Nelson Nabs LA Weekly Top Album of 2015

LA Weekly named alumnus Josh Nelson’s Exploring Mars one of the best albums of 2015.

The article notes, “Nelson has been a fixture on local piano benches since the end of the last century but has increased his profile lately by adding art installations to his live shows, tying intricate, swirling immersions of flickering light with his churning chamber ensemble — the perfect soundtrack to another night in a Martian bunker. The resulting album is an engaging work of swinging theatricality, brimming with soaring musicianship unbound from jazz’s usual gravitational pull.”