Free - “Choral Improvisation: Collective Improv for Singers”
Raised in Blackwell, Arkansas, Amina Claudine Myers’ musical calling came at the age of four. At age seven she began formal piano training and, after her family moved to Dallas, Texas she helped form a preteen gospel group and later served as choir director and pianist in several Dallas-area churches. Upon returning to Arkansas she co-founded “The Gospel Four and The Royal Hearts. The group consisted of the same personnel. One singing Gospel music and the other one singing Rhythm and Blues performing in high schools and churches. Ms. Myers studied European concert music at Philander Smith College in Little Rock, from which she graduated with a B.A. degree in Music Education. The next stop on her musical journey was Chicago. In addition to teaching music for six year in Chicago’s public school system, Ms. Myers joined the AACM in 1966, honing her craft as a composer and performing alongside such visionary artists as pianist/composer Muhal Richard Abrams, percussionist Ajaramu (Jerold Donovan) and reedmen Henry Threadgill and Kalaparusha (Maurice McIntyre). In 1970, Ms. Myers hit the road with Sonny Stitt, followed by a two and a half-year stint with The Gene Ammons Quartet. Since 1976, when she moved to New York City, Myers taught at SUNY for a year. She also received several grants, four from the NEA (National Endowment for the Arts), one each for Meet The Composer and NY Foundation for the Arts. Ms. Myers began touring Europe with the Lester Bowie Quintet and The New York Organ Ensemble in 1978. This began her European, Japanese, Canadian and U.S. performances for concerts, festivals and clubs as soloist, trio, quartet, sextet and voice choir. Myers began concerts for the pipe organ in the late eighties. This included workshops, master classes, seminars and residencies in universities and schools in the U.S. as well as Europe. Ms. Myers had the opportunity to perform in Cape Town, South Africa and the North Sea Jazz Festival with Saxophonist/Composer Archie Shepp, and to Accra, Ghana, West Africa with composer/vibraphonist Cecila Smith during their Jazz Festival. Years later Myers had a solo performance in St. Louis, Senegal, West Africa. Ms. Myers has received many awards and plaques for her contributions in music including being inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall Of Fame in 2001 and The Arkansas Jazz Hall Of Fame in 2010. Andrew Young, former mayor of Atlanta, Georgia presented her a Certificate of Citizenship of Atlanta. She has received the key to the city of Little Rock, plaques and awards from the A.M.E. Zion Churches of Arkansas, Delta Sigma Theta, The Myers Family, Italy, The Alumni and Philander Smith College awards, The Society of Writers and Editors and the 2017 JOY award presented by the Jazz Organ Fellowship, San Hose, Ca.
Myers was commissioned by the Jazz Institute of Chicago to compose a composition in honor of the late Pianist/composer Mary Lou William’s 100th birthday. Myers was later commissioned to compose a composition for Baritone singer Thomas Buckner titled “I Will Not Fear The Unknown.” Ms. Myers has eleven CDs under her name with two self produced. The last one titled SAMA ROU is honoring her ancestors with a few of her favorite Negro Spirituals and improvisations for voice and piano. She continues to perform and lives in NYC where she teaches privately.
Saturday, November 2 at 11:00 a.m.