This week we’ve been surveying the Spaniards. But today I had an extraordinary discussion with my class at Hunter College. I teach a single class in the Theater department. It is called Singing. We sing of course, but today we had a deep discussion about race and music. In Dahomey, Shuffle Along, Porgy and Bess, Four Saints In Three Acts, Flower Drum Song, etc. and of course Hamilton. Everyone came alive. The discussion was amazing. I think the young people of NYC are wonderful and I am grateful to my students. I led off the class with this recording of Gershwin (from Porgy and Bess) by Nina Simone. Check out her Chopin/Debussy piano chops just before she lets loose with her full voice at the end.
Nina Simone sings I Loves You, Porgy
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Michael Barrett is the co-founder and associate artistic director of New York Festival of Song, as well as the co-founder and music director of the Moab Music Festival in Utah. A conductor and a pianist, Michael was a protégé of Leonard Bernstein and serves as music advisor to the Leonard Bernstein Estate.