Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra to perform Banfield’s Symphony No. 8, “Here I Stand,” based on life of Paul Robeson

Posted on: January 11, 2022

“It’s a sad story that has a happy ending. Composer Bill Banfield’s Symphony No. 8—Here I Stand, based on the life of Black activist/actor/bass-baritone Paul Robeson—was commissioned in 2000 by the New England Conservatory of Music, where Banfield did his undergraduate work,” writes Michael Muckian in Sunday’s (1/9) Isthmus (Madison, WI). “The planned concert was canceled. Banfield’s … digital version of the score [was lost] during a technology upgrade…. Banfield’s copyist, Peter Kienle, located a copy of the score. So finally Here I Stand will receive its world premiere on Jan. 28 at the Overture Center as the first concert of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra’s 2022 Masterworks series…. Banfield … has composed 13 symphonies, nine operas, seven concerti, two ballets, and countless pieces of chamber, jazz and popular music….. HBanfield will continue expanding the understanding and appreciation of Black concert composers and their music. Next up on the orchestra’s calendar will be Banfield’s … Tones, Tunes and Time, that [music director Andrew] Sewell describes as ‘an approximately 12-minute work with narrator, saxophone soloist, strings and piano, based upon the speeches and words of Frederick Douglass.’ It’s scheduled for a Concerts on the Square performance in July.”