'Black Composers: Our Time to Listen' with Daniel Newman-Lessler

Fifty and Better Lecture Series

'Black Composers: Our Time to Listen' with Daniel Newman-Lessler

In light of the Black Lives Matter movement, musical ensembles and academic institutions are at long last beginning to "do the work" of studying and performing the music of Black composers, past and present, on a platform equal to that of the Western classical tradition (Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, etc.). This lecture will partake in a brief survey of the lives and music of Black composers from around the world from the 18th century to new music being written by today's composers. Disclaimer: This course will be taught through the lens of a white man who has committed to fighting against systemic racism within the musical community.

Daniel Newman-Lessler serves as the program administrator and choral director of Music Academy of the West’s Sing! program and conductor for Kadima Conservatory of Music’s Senior Philharmonic. He was chorus master for Santa Barbara Symphony, interim director of choral activities at UC Santa Barbara, assistant conductor for Grand Opera San Luis Obispo, a regular guest conductor of Channel Islands Chamber Orchestra, and conductor for Rubicon Theatre’s production of “West Side Story.” He also held assistant conducting positions with Los Angeles Zimriyah Chorale, Diamond Youth Symphony Orchestra and CSU Channel Islands Choir. He studied under Gerard Schwarz at Eastern Music Festival as a conducting scholar and has conducted numerous premieres of works by microtonalist composers at UnTwelve Summer Festival.

Newman-Lessler graduated cum laude from University of Southern California with an MM in Sacred Music and BM in Piano Performance. He is currently studying at Cal Arts as a Lilian Disney Scholar in the MFA Performer-Composer program.

The Fifty and Better program was designed to offer university-level courses (no tests, no homework) taught by experts in the field, and to host social engagement activities for individuals age 50 and older. When COVID-19 erupted and the first-ever offering of in-person courses had to be postponed indefinitely, we responded by moving the courses to a virtual environment using Zoom.

Cost for the two-hour lecture is $8.


Register by Friday, Feb. 5, at 5 p.m.

Sponsored By
Fifty and Better


Christina Tierney