Daniel Bernard Roumain’s diversity quest

Posted on: March 16, 2012

In Thursday’s (3/15) Detroit News, Lawrence B. Johnson writes about the violinist and composer Daniel Bernard Roumain, whose symphonic suite Dancers, Dreamers and Presidents will be performed this weekend by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. “Nine orchestras participated in the commissioning consortium under the Sphinx Organization banner, and several of them have performed the work, including the New World Symphony in Miami, the Cincinnati Symphony, the Richmond Symphony and the Nashville Symphony. The composer will attend the Detroit performances. Roumain, a Chicago native who received his Ph.D. in composition at the University of Michigan as a protégé of William Bolcom, is known as a blender of musical styles from pop to hip-hop.” In the article Roumain describes the piece as “virtuoso music” comparable to Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra or one of Ives’s symphonies. But, Roumain says, “What’s more important is the message behind it, that there’s a lack of conversation happening in the concert hall. Where are the black composers—of any ethnicity, Haitian-American, East Indian, African-American or composers from the heart of Ghana? … I want to see music in our concert halls that reflects the whole range of our cultural references.”

Posted March 16, 2012