Thursday, October 18, 2007
OU instructor to perform in New York Philharmonic ConcertOn Nov. 10, Mark Stone, special Instructor of world music, will perform with the Bernard Woma Ensemble as part of the New York Philharmonic's annual Young People's Concert Series at Avery Fisher Hall. The series, now in its 84th year, was made famous under the direction of the legendary conductor/composer Leonard Bernstein. This season's Young People's Concert Series is directed by maestro Delta David Gier, who will lead the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in a performance of composer Derek Bermel's “Dust Dances." Prior to "Dust Dances,” a composition inspired by music traditions of Ghana, the Bernard Woma Ensemble will take the stage to perform two selections of traditional music from Northern Ghana.
Stone first traveled to Ghana, West Africa in 1992 as an exchange student from the University of Michigan. Traveling with him was Bermel. Bermel and Stone were both quickly taken by Dagara gyil music (a xylophone with gourd resonators played in Northern Ghana). They spent much of their time studying this music and working with masters of the tradition including Bernard Woma of the Ghana National Dance Ensemble.
After returning to the University of Michigan, Stone and Bermel introduced Dagara gyil music to their teachers and peers through concerts and workshops at the university. Bermel began composing orchestral music inspired by the Dagara gyil tradition while Stone continued to delve deeper into the Dagara gyil repertoire.
Fifteen years later, Bermel has achieved international recognition as a composer of concert music having won the Rome Prize, Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships, and awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and Faber Music. He currently serves as the 2006-2009 Music Alive Composer-in-Residence of the American Composers Orchestra and has recently completed commissions for the National Symphony and St. Louis Symphony.
Stone is now a member of the Bernard Woma Ensemble, performing regularly with their former teacher. The Bernard Woma Ensemble has achieved national and international recognition performing in concert throughout the U.S. and West Africa. Stone also directs the African Ensemble and Steel Band at OU while teaching courses in music history and international studies. He has brought Bernard Woma to campus several times in the past five years as a guest artist.