GO Arts: Second City Chamber Series goes to Africa with pianist William Chapman Nyaho

Tacoma News TribuneApril 23, 2014 

Seattle pianist William Chapman Nyaho, who'll play African classical music this Sunday for Second City.


Hearing African music is rare in the South Sound – hearing African classical music is even rarer. But Tacoma audiences will get the chance this weekend as the Second City Chamber Series features Seattle pianist William Chapman Nyaho with local musicians playing chamber works by composers from Nigeria, Egypt and the African diaspora in “Voices of Africa.”

Born in Ghana with music degrees from Oxford, the Geneva music conservatory, the Eastman School and the University of Texas at Austin, Nyaho is a pianist and teacher in demand around the country, with two CDs and a large part of his performing career devoted to music by African composers.

When SCCS director Svend Rønning came up with the series’ season theme of musicians performing their specialty, he immediately thought of Nyaho.

“It seemed like a great opportunity,” says Rønning, a violinist, who along with soprano Tracy Satterfield, violinists Ruth Maria Ballance and cellist Jared Ballance will play alongside Nyaho in a program that’s as varied as Africa itself.

From the 19th-century English-born Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, who had Sierra Leone connections and an Elgar aesthetic and New York jazz pianist Valerie Capers’ “The Seasons,” the program goes to Nigerian composer Joshua Uzoigwe, whose “Uko” replicates the sound of that African drum (the uko) in a 12-tone piano landscape, avant-garde jazz composer Coleridge Taylor Perkinson (named after the English composer) with a “Scherzo” and a piano trio by Egyptian composer Gamal Abdel-Rahim.   

4 p.m. April 27. $27 general/$25 senior, military/$10 student/free for under-18. Great Hall, Annie Wright School, 827 Tacoma Ave N., Tacoma. 523-572-8863, scchamberseries.org, brownpapertickets.com, nyaho.com

Rosemary Ponnekanti: 253-597-8568 rosemary.ponnekanti@thenewstribune.com

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