May 9, 2019
“From Song Came Symphony,” a co-production of the Harry T. Burleigh Society and Urban Playground Chamber Orchestra, has earned critical acclaim. The performance, tracing the symphonic influence of Burleigh’s compositions, included the NYC premiere of Florence Price’s Violin Concerto No. 2 and William Grant Still’s rarely heard oratorio And They Lynched Him on A Tree.
The New York Classical Review praised Still’s piece, saying it “does indeed still pack a wallop” as it “provides a new context for Still’s account of a black life that mattered, and his fervent words of warning at the end.”
San Francisco Classical Voice hailed Burleigh as a “titanic figure in U.S. music history,” praising the performance of his “work’s deft inner voices with great clarity” and the “rich and seamless sound” of the orchestra’s string section. In the Price Concerto, “Kelly Hall-Tompkins covered the solo part with unflappable poise, bringing a luscious radiance to her lower register. The orchestra swooned and incandesced with theatrical fervor.”