Events & Tickets
The Soundworld of Mary Lou Williams
New World Center, Michael Tilson Thomas Performance Hall, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Stage
Contemplate the heavens with selections from Mary Lou Williams’ Mass and Zodiac Suite, an astrological journey that blurs the lines between jazz and classical music. Joining NWS Fellows are conductor Andrew Grams, pianist Aaron Diehl and his jazz trio, vocalist Carmen Lundy, the Ambassador Chorale of FMU, and FIU’s Jazz Vocal Ensemble. This event is part of the I Dream a World: Mary Lou's Harlem festival. See more festival events at nws.edu/harlem.
Program to include selections from Mary Lou Williams' Zodiac Suite and Mass
Dr. Tammy L. Kernodle is University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Music at Miami University (Ohio), who specializes in African American music (concert and popular) and gender studies in music.
Her scholarship explores the intersection of gender and racial identity, performance practice and musical genre. Her work has appeared in major peer-reviewed journals including American Studies, Musical Quarterly, Black Music Research Journal, The Journal of the Society of American Music (JSAM), American Music Research Journal, The U.S Catholic Historian, and the Journal of the American Musicological Society (JAMS). She also was a contributor to The African American Lectionary Project, the Smithsonian Anthology of Hip Hop and Rap and the Carnegie Hall Digital Timeline of African American Music. Her scholarship also appears in numerous anthologies and reference works including Women’s Voices Across Musical Worlds, John Coltrane and Black America’s Quest for Freedom: Spirituality and the Music, and The Cambridge Companion to Women in Music Since 1900.
Kernodle is the author of biography Soul on Soul: The Life and Music of Mary Lou Williams (new edition, University of Illinois Press, 2020) She also served as Associate Editor of the three-volume Encyclopedia of African American Music and as one of the Editors for the revision of the New Grove Encyclopedia of American Music.
Kernodle served as the Scholar in Residence for the Women in Jazz Initiative at the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City from 1999 until 2001. She has worked closely with a number of educational programs including the Kennedy Center’s Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival, Jazz@Lincoln Center, NPR, Canadian Public Radio, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, and the BBC.
From 2012-2016, Kernodle served as a scholarly consultant for the exhibits entitled “Musical Crossroads” at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. She appears in a number of award-winning documentaries including Mary Lou Williams: The Lady Who Swings the Band, Girls in the Band, Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, and How It Feels to Be Free.
In 2014, she received the Effective Educator Award from the Miami University Alumni Association and in 2018 was awarded the Benjamin Harrison Medallion. The Harrison Award is the highest award given to a Miami University faculty member in recognition of their research, teaching and service. She is the immediate Past President of the Society for American Music.
With a unique combination of intensity, enthusiasm and technical clarity, American conductor Andrew Grams has steadily built a reputation for his dynamic concerts, ability to connect with audiences and long-term orchestra building. He was named 2015 Conductor of the Year by the Illinois Council of Orchestras and has led orchestras throughout the United States, including the symphonies of Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Dallas and Houston, as well as The Philadelphia Orchestra and National Symphony.
Grams became Music Director of the Elgin Symphony after an international search in 2013 and concluded his tenure there after eight seasons. His charismatic conducting and easy accessibility have made him a favorite of Elgin Symphony audiences.
A frequent traveler, Grams has worked extensively with orchestras abroad, including the symphony orchestras of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver; the Orchestre National de France; Hong Kong Philharmonic; BBC Symphony Orchestra in London; the symphony orchestras of Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide; New Zealand Symphony, Barcelona Symphony and Het Residentie Orchestra in The Hague, Netherlands. He has led multiple performances of New York City Ballet’s George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker® and the first performances of the new production of The Nutcracker for the Norwegian National Ballet in Oslo.
Also an educator, Grams has worked with orchestras at institutions such as the Curtis Institute of Music, Cleveland Institute of Music, Indiana University, Roosevelt University, National Orchestral Institute at the University of Maryland and the Amsterdam Conservatorium.
Born in Severn, Maryland, Grams began studying the violin when he was eight years old. In 1999 he received a bachelor of music degree in violin performance from The Juilliard School, and in 2003 he received a conducting degree from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Otto-Werner Mueller. He was selected to spend the summer of 2003 studying with David Zinman, Murry Sidlin and Michael Stern at the American Academy of Conducting at Aspen and returned to that program again in 2004. Grams served as Assistant Conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra from 2004-07, where he worked under the guidance of Franz Welser-Möst and has since returned for several engagements.
As an accomplished violinist, Grams was a member of the New York City Ballet Orchestra from 1998-2004, serving as acting Associate Principal Second Violin in 2002 and 2004. Additionally, he has performed with ensembles including the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Brooklyn Philharmonic and New Jersey Symphony.
Pianist and composer Aaron Diehl mystifies listeners with his layered artistry. At once temporal and ethereal, his expression transforms the piano into an orchestral vessel in the spirit of beloved predecessors Ahmad Jamal, Erroll Garner and Jelly Roll Morton. Following three critically-acclaimed leader albums on Mack Avenue Records — and live appearances at historic venues from Jazz at Lincoln Center and The Village Vanguard to New York Philharmonic and the Philharmonie de Paris — the American Pianist Association’s 2011 Cole Porter fellow now focuses his attention on what it means to be present within himself. His forthcoming solo record promises an expansion of that exploration in a setting at once unbound and intimate.
Mr. Diehl conjures three-dimensional expansion of melody, counterpoint and movement through time. Rather than choose one sound or another, he invites listeners into the chambered whole of his artistry. Born in Columbus, Ohio, he traveled to New York in 2003, following his success as a finalist in JALC’s Essentially Ellington competition and a subsequent European tour with Wynton Marsalis. His love affair with rub and tension prompted a years-long immersion in distinctive repertoire from Monk and Ravel to Gershwin and William Grant Still. Among other towering figures, Still in particular inspires Mr. Diehl’s ongoing curation of Black American composers in his own performance programming, unveiled this past fall at 92nd St. Y.
Mr. Diehl has enjoyed artistic associations with Wynton Marsalis, Benny Golson, Jimmy Heath, Buster Williams, Branford Marsalis, Wycliffe Gordon, Philip Glass and multi-Grammy Award-winning artist Cecile McLorin Salvant. He recently appeared with the New York Philharmonic and The Cleveland Orchestra as featured soloist.
Mr. Diehl holds a bachelor of music degree in jazz studies from The Juilliard School. A licensed pilot, when he’s not at the studio or on the road, he’s likely in the air. Follow both his earthbound and aerial exploits via Instagram at @aaronjdiehl.
Aaron Diehl Trio includes David Wong, bass and Quincy Davis, drums.
The Ambassador Chorale of Florida Memorial University was founded by the late Professor Roosevelt Williams during the 1975-76 academic year with four eager members to officially represent the University as its public relations entity.
Today, under the direction of Dr. Argarita Johnson-Palavicini (“Dr. J”), the Chorale has upwards of 50 members that not only perform as an independent academic ensemble, but enjoy exposure to sight-reading, vocal technique, and performance pedagogy.
Members of the Chorale also hold leadership responsibility for the organization through appointed administrative positions.
The Chorale performs a wide range of music, and experiments with various musical genres as well as student compositions. The Chorale has performed in the United States and Europe to great acclaim.
Grammy Award-nominated jazz singer, composer and arranger Carmen Lundy hails from Miami, Florida and received her bachelor of music degree from the University of Miami. After an early career in Miami, Lundy moved to NYC in 1978 and in 1985, where she released her first solo album entitled Good Morning Kiss, which topped the Billboard chart for 23 weeks.
Currently on the Afrasia Productions label, Lundy is a two-time Grammy Award-nominated artist for her 16th and newest album Fade To Black, released in 2022, and her previous album Modern Ancestors, both for best jazz vocal album. Her 2017 release Code Noir debuted at #6 on the Billboard Jazz Chart and received both critical and popular acclaim. Her other releases and discography consist of Moment To Moment (Arabesque/Afrasia Productions), Night And Day (CBS/SONY and re-issued by Afrasia in 2011), Old Devil Moon (JVC), Self Portrait (JVC), Something To Believe In and This Is Carmen Lundy (both for Justin Time), Jazz and The New Songbook – Live at The Madrid (2-disc set and DVD, Afrasia Productions), Come Home, Solamente, Changes and Soul To Soul. All have topped the best albums and top ten albums lists on JazzWeek, Downbeat and JazzTimes.
Among Lundy’s other awards and recognitions are a Grammy Award for Terri Lyne Carrington’s Mosaic Project, winner for Best Jazz Vocal Album of 2011, which features the Carmen Lundy composition “Show Me A Sign,” with Lundy’s original performance from the album Solamente reinvented on the arrangement.
In 2018 Lundy received the RoundGlass Music Award for her song “Kumbaya” from Code Noir. In 2016 she was given the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award in Jazz by Black Women In Jazz and The Arts in Atlanta. Additionally, she was honored with Historymaker status by the esteemed The Historymakers® organization, the nation’s largest African American video oral history collection based in Chicago. Among her other awards and recognitions, especially rewarding was Miami-Dade’s County Office of the Mayor and Board of County Commissioners proclaiming January 25th “Carmen Lundy Day, along with handing her the keys to the City of Miami.
As a composer, Lundy’s catalogue numbers over 150 published songs, one of the few jazz vocalists in history to accomplish such a distinction. Her compositions have been recorded by such artists as Kenny Barron, Ernie Watts, Terri Lyne Carrington, Straight Ahead and Regina Carter. Lundy’s far-reaching discography also includes performances and recordings with such musicians as brother and bassist Curtis Lundy, Ray Barretto, Bruce Hornsby, Mulgrew Miller, Kip Hanrahan, Courtney Pine, Roy Hargrove, Jimmy Cobb, Ron Carter, Randy Brecker, Oscar Castro-Neves, Robert Glasper, Jamison Ross, Patrice Rushen and the late Kenny Kirkland and Geri Allen, among others.
Lundy’s work as a vocalist and composer has been critically acclaimed by JazzTimes, Downbeat, Jazziz, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Variety, The Washington Post and Vanity Fair, among numerous other foreign publications. Lundy acted as Resident Clinician at Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. for 20 years. She has conducted master classes around the world, among them the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and The Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.
Lundy is also a gifted actress active in theatre. “Acting,” as she told Dr. Billy Taylor in 2006, “helps me to get more comfortable and acquainted with the art of performance.” She performed the lead role as Billie Holiday in the Off-Off Broadway play They Were All Gardenias by Lawrence Holder, as well as the lead role in the Broadway show, Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies, and she made her television debut as the star of the CBS Pilot-Special Shangri-La Plaza in the role of Geneva, after which she relocated to Los Angeles, where she currently resides.
Lundy is also a celebrated mixed media artist and painter, and her works have been exhibited in New York at The Jazz Gallery in Soho, at The Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles and at a month-long exhibition at the Madrid Theatre in Los Angeles. Several of her sculptures are currently on exhibit at The Carr Center in Detroit.