Untold Legacies Launches at the Crane School of Music

SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music was proud to present “Untold Legacies of Black Composers,”a campus-wide event  held from April 4-11 that  helped to raise awareness of black musicians in classical music. Crane School of Music alumnus Burt Mason was joined by Kelly Hall-Tompkins to educate and perform with students during their residency in Potsdam. The event cultivated an appreciation for diversity in classical music.

An opening reception was held at the Performing Arts Center lobby on Tuesday, April 4 at 5:30 p.m. followed by a film viewing of “Le Mozart Noir.” The film tells the story of Chevalier de Saint Georges, a man who dealt with the adversities of class, race and society to become a well-respected musician in 18th century France and the first black man to lead France’s most important orchestras. A panel discussion will follow.

Mason and Hall-Tompkins  lead masterclasses on Wednesday April 5 at 10:30 a.m. for high school students and non-music majors, a trombone masterclass at 3 p.m. and a string masterclass at 6 p.m. There was a chamber music concert on Thursday, April 6 in the Proscenium Theater at 7:30 p.m. “Untold Legacies of Black Composers” concluded as Mason and Hall-Tompkins performed with the Crane Symphony Orchestra on Tuesday April 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the Helen M. Hosmer Hall. For the full schedule of events please visit:

“The Crane School of Music is very proud of its outstanding alumnus Burt Mason for his wide-ranging accomplishments as a musician and for his vision in creating “Untold Legacies” residencies, which we count it a great privilege to host here at Crane in early April, bringing Burt and his fellow artist, celebrated violinist Kelly Hall Tompkins, to Potsdam,” said Dr. Michael Sitton, the dean of SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music.

“Through these residencies, Burt not only sheds light on the neglected heritage of contributions to Western classical music by black musicians, but brings affirmation and encouragement to a new musical generation, contributing to and helping to foster the widening diversity in our field.  While there is much still to be done, we are gratified that Burt, one of Crane’s own, is leading the way by bringing his strongly compelling message to young musicians everywhere,” Sitton said.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Film Screening 7 PM
Le Mozart Noir

Panel Discussion 8 PM
Proscenium Theater, PAC

Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Masterclass presentation
Inclusive of H.S. students and SUNY Potsdam non-music majors (Proscenium Theater, PAC)

Thursday, April 6, 2017
Chamber Music Concert 7:30 PM (Proscenium Theater, PAC)
Saint Georges – Quartet no 4. in C minor
Still – Lyric Quartet (1960)
Taylor Perkinson – String Quartet no. 1 “Calvary”
Walker – Music for Bass (Sacred and Profane)
Mason – Steel-Drivin’ Man: The Struggle of John Henry

Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Orchestra Concert 7:30 PM (Hosmer Hall)
Mason – Awake and Rejoice
Saint George – Violin Concerto
Walker – Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra
Still – Symphony No. 1 “Afro-American” (1930)