Junteenth: Celebrating the Bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln

Junteenth Bicentennial Symphony

Roy Harris 14th Symphony, also known as the “Bicentennial Symphony” premiered in Washington D.C., February 10-12, 1976 with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. It is the strongest musical statement on U.S. History, slavery, and race relations ever made by an American composer.

The west coast premiere and first performance of the “Bicentennial Symphony” since the 1976 premiere will be held June 13, 2009 as centerpiece of ‘Junteenth: Celebrating the Bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 1950 Lemon Ave. starting at 12:00 noon.

Roy Harris 14th Symphony, also known as the “Bicentennial Symphony” premiered in Washington D.C., February 10-12, 1976 with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. It is the strongest musical statement on U.S. History, slavery, and race relations ever made by an American composer. The work was written for orchestra with large chorus. The chorus carries the larger part of the work with passages from the Preamble to the Constitution, the Gettysburg Address, and the Emancipation Proclamation as well as original passages.

The introduction is a musical representation of dawn to daylight. The first movement is a setting of the Preamble of the Constitution. The second movement is an exposition of the bitter disagreement about slavery between the North and the South. The third movement is a statement in music about the ferocity of the Civil War, brother against brother. The fourth movement is a musical setting of Abraham Lincoln’s “Freedom Proclamation”. The fifth movement is a musical setting of new attitudes of free black people. The coda is a setting of portions of the Preamble of the Constitution proclaiming freedom “for all of us”.

Roy Harris was born in log cabin in Lincoln County, Oklahoma, on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, February 12, 1898. He was the first American composer recorded by an American record company (CBS-1933). Roy Harris completed more major symphonies than Beethoven. He is best known for his Third Symphony popularized by Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic. Among Harris’s many honors were the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Medal, a Naumburg Award for his Symphony No. 7, election to the American Institute and Academy of Arts and Letters, and the title of Composer Laureate for the State of California. Teaching posts included those at Princeton, Cornell, Peabody College for Teachers, Indiana University, and UCLA. National Public Radio and the British Broadcast Corporation have produced radio and video programs covering his life and music. Roy Harris lived in Pacific Palisades at the time of his death on October 1, 1979.

Roy HarrisJohn Malveaux befriended Roy Harris in 1977 and was subsequently granted performance/promotional rights to the “Bicentennial Symphony”. The west coast premiere and first performance of the “Bicentennial Symphony” since the 1976 premiere will be held June 13, 2009 as centerpiece of ‘Junteenth: Celebrating the Bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 1950 Lemon Ave. starting at 12:00 noon. Please see the Long Beach Parks, Recreation & Marine website.

JUNTEEENTH is the oldest celebration in the nation commemorating the ending of slavery. For additional information, please see www.Junteenth.com. On June 2, 2005, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proclaimed Juneteenth a state day of observance. Abraham Lincoln 200th birth year is 2009 and the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, a federal agency, endorsed ‘Junteenth: Celebrating the Bicentennial of Abraham Lincolnas an official musical celebration of the commission.

After many years of unsuccessful efforts to convince major and community orchestras to perform the “Bicentennial Symphony”, John Malveaux organized MusicUNTOLD Orchestra and Chorale with Joseph Taylor as Conductor and Zanaida Robles as Choral Director.

 

June 13, 2009 Martin Luther King Jr. Park

12:30 p.m. Opening Ceremony

1:00 p.m.Bicentennial Symphony, West Coast premiere: MusicUNTOLD Orchestra & Chorale Joseph R. Taylor, conductor, Zanaida Robles, chorale director.

1:50 p.m. Homeland B-Boy Breakers

2:20 p.m. Hmong Association of Long Beach

3:05 p.m. Mighty Mo Rodgers-The New Bluez

4:15 p.m. Bobby Rodriguez-Latin Jazz

Download the Junteenth: Celebrating the Bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln Poster junteenth_poster1

Endorsed by the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission

Click here to visit the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission website.

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