Nassau Music Society to hold exciting “Festival of Afro-Caribbean Composers” on February 20-25


On February 20-25, 2013, the Nassau Music Society will hold a “Festival of Afro-Caribbean Composers” in Nassau, as Italia Watkins reports in this article for The Bahamas Weekly. International Orchestra Ensemble Du Monde will arrive on February 20th and perform five concerts before leaving on Monday 25th. 

The Nassau Music Society has organised an additional concert to start off the Festivities on Wednesday, February, 20th at 7:30 PM with performances by the Bahamas National Youth Choir, JoAnn Callender and College of The Bahamas’ faculty ensemble, C- Force. It will be a fantastic week of music and entertainment not to be missed!

The Chevalier de Saint-George is not a name with which many are familiar. He was, however, one of the most prolific composers of his day, 1745 – 1799. Born to a French noble and freed slave mother in Guadeloupe, his father took him and his mother to live in France. In a nutshell, he was taken under the wing of Louis XVI and became a brilliant violinist, the fencing champion of France and a great composer. He lived at the same time as Mozart and is sometimes referred to as the “Black Mozart” as their compositions are similar. He may have met Mozart in Paris although this is not certain but they did influence each other.

The Nassau Music Society’s Festival is built around his music and music from other composers from the Caribbean region, both past and present, such as Dominique Le Gendre and Cleophas Adderley.

Ensemble du Monde, the orchestra which will showcase their music, is comprised of Afro-American, American and International musicians and is directed and conducted by Marlon Daniel. It includes a quartet – Quatuor Mahogany – as well as a Chamber Group.

The Festival begins with an evening of Caribbean music at the Performance Arts Centre of the College of The Bahamas featuring the Bahamas National Youth Choir conducted by Cleophas Adderley, C-Force with Chris Justilien, Dr Christy Lee and Dr Christine Gangelhoff, and a special guest performance by Bahamian soprano JoAnn Callender.  This will be a very enjoyable evening as all of the artists are well known for their talent.

The following day, Thursday, February 21st, from 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM, a seminar entitled “Bahamas International Symposium on Composers of African & Afro-Caribbean Descent will be held in The Harry C. Moore Library & Information Centre Auditorium of the College of the Bahamas and all are welcome to attend. The 2013 Bahamas International Symposium will engage musicians, composers, and scholars from all over the world in presentations, performances, and conversations around composers and performers of African and Afro-Caribbean descent. It will be organized around the theme “Caribbean Art Music: An Unexplored Tradition”.

Just some of the many performers to expect at the Festival!

Musical genres associated with the Caribbean typically include popular and traditional styles. Although many composers of art music have emerged from Caribbean nations and from the Caribbean Diaspora, information on this subject is scarce. As composers are slowly gaining recognition, a new understanding of and visibility for Caribbean art music is emerging. The mission of this symposium is to explore this topic of regional and international interest, drawing perspectives from a wide range of disciplines.

The Symposium is organised by Dr. Christine Gangelhoff of the College of The Bahamas and Mr. Marlon Daniel of Ensemble du Monde in association with the Nassau Music Society and is free of charge. Details may be seen at:

That same evening, the Chamber Group and the Quatuor Mahogany will hold a private concert for the Governor General, His Excellency Sir Arthur Foulkes and Lady Foulkes.

On Friday, February 22, following a morning rehearsal during which students will be allowed to “look in” and listen on the last half hour, the orchestra will hold an educational concert at the College of The Bahamas entitled  “Before there was Mozart: A Concert for the Youth of The Bahamas”. This 45 minute concert and video presentation relating the story of the Chevalier de Saint- George or the “Black Mozart” will be narrated by Chrissy Love. After the performance students will be given the opportunity to ask questions and mingle with the orchestra before receiving a light lunch.  This event has been sponsored by the Embassy of the United States and the concert, lunch and transportation are free for all students attending. Teachers must reserve immediately to ensure seats for their class.

On Friday evening at 8:00 PM a full orchestral concert entitled: “Diversity at the Time of Mozart” will be held in the Atlantis Theatre. Atlantis has very kindly consented to house the Orchestra for the duration of the Festival. Tickets for this concert can be obtained from the Atlantis Box Office by calling  242-363-6601, by visiting the box office during office hours or by booking directly with This is an excellent opportunity to listen to the orchestra and then enjoy the activities at Atlantis.

On Saturday, February 23rd at 7:30 PM, there is a second full orchestral concert at the College of the Bahamas Performing Arts Centre which is billed as the Nassau Music Society’s contribution to the 40th Anniversary of Independence of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. A highlight of the concert is the performance of a composition written by Cleophas Adderley ,”Sanctus”  – a new world premiere and also the world premiere of a composition written by Dominique Le Gendre, a Trinidadian composer, living in London. They will both be in attendance at the concert.

The Nassau Music Society is proposing VIP tickets for this concert which will include a pre-concert 30 minute lecture by Marlon Daniel and others, VIP seating in the front of the theatre, an after concert-champagne reception and opportunity to meet members of the orchestra.

On Sunday, February 24th, there is a final event at St Paul’s Church Hall, Lyford Cay at 5.30 in the afternoon. A one hour concert will feature the Chamber Group and Quatuor Mahogany, followed by a reception.

This Festival is only possible because of the continued support of the Nassau Music Society’s sponsors, particularly, Societe Generale Private Banking, its principal sponsor.

Atlantis has been very generous in helping to fund the event and the US Embassy is sponsoring the Concert for the Youth of The Bahamas. Regular annual sponsors including Pictet Bank and Trust, RoyalStar Assurance and Colina Insurance and this year the Endowment for the Performing Arts have all made this exceptional event possible and the Society is grateful for their generosity. Other sponsors not included at print time will be mentioned in future press releases.

Tickets for all concerts, with the exception of the Atlantis concert on Friday evening may be reserved on our website or purchased at the following box offices: Logos Book Store, Harbour Bay Shopping Centre; Custom Computers, Cable Beach; Moir and Co, Lyford Cay Shopping Centre and Chapter One Bookstore, Oakes Field.

There are reduced prices for members and in some cases free tickets are available provided membership is renewed or taken out before January 31, 2013. VIP tickets for the Saturday night concert must be purchased in advance.

Tickets will also be available at the door provided that space is still available and on a first come, first served basis. The last time the Nassau Music Society brought an orchestra to Nassau was when it hosted the Moscow Soloists in 2005 and they played to full houses. We anticipate the demand for tickets to this Festival to be heavy so it would be advisable to purchase your seats well in advance.

For the original report go to

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