Interesting Concerts And Talks On Black Composer Linked To Saratoga Springs

The Bethesda Episcopal Church and Skidmore College are hosting a series of events celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Harry T. Burleigh, one of America’s most important composers, mentor to and friend of Marian Anderson and Paul Robeson, and a specialist in African-American spirituals. 

Mr. Burleigh worked for a period in Saratoga Springs where he got his musical start.

Stephen Salters, a leading interpreter of Burleigh’s music, will be performing both at Skidmore and Bethesda.

Here is a link to an excellent interview with Gordon Boyd about the celebration.  Mr. Boyd, himself an accomplished singer and a member of the Episcopal Church, gives a fascinating history of Mr. Burleigh. 

                The Burleigh observance schedule is as follows: 

•             Friday Dec. 2, 12:15 p.m. A talk by Myra Young Armstead (Bard College), “Blacks in Saratoga Springs: Then and Now.” 

•             Friday Dec. 2, 7:00 p.m. Pre-concert talk by historian Jean Snyder, author of  “Harry T. Burleigh: from the Spiritual to the Harlem      Renaissance” (2015), Ladd Concert Hall, Zankel Music Center.

•             Friday Dec. 2, 8:00 p.m. Concert by Salters, Ladd Concert Hall.

•             Saturday Dec. 3, 3 p.m., Service of Advent Lessons and Carols.  Bethesda Church, 26 Washington Street, featuring Salters, the Bethesda choir and several works by Burleigh. 



One thought on “Interesting Concerts And Talks On Black Composer Linked To Saratoga Springs”

  1. Dear John, I thought in reading this article that perhaps this might be also be of interest:

    Re: Honoring my Grandfather Ignatz Waghalter: Suite in the Ghetto Movie Project and Fundraising Dinner

    Dear All,

    It seems that a film about my grandfather’s creation of the Negro Orchestra in 1938 is really going ahead! A fundraising event is taking place in New York in December
    Apparently, the film makers have been able to establish where my grandfather met with Black musicians in Harlem, and it will be the locale of
    an event which will honor his memory. This is a link to the Face Book page with the details relating to the Waghalter Project:

    This is really a wonderful development! Nearly 70 years after his death,my grandfather is getting the recognition about one of his accomplishments.

    I wanted to share the information about the special fundraising event that is being organized on *Wednesday, December 7th, at 6 pm at Settepani Restaurant in Harlem*>. The location is very symbolic – this is where the my grandfather whom they are honoring in this event, was seeking and meeting the amazing African-American musicians for his first all-Black orchestra that he organized in 1938. The attached announcement of this event to build support for a film about Ignatz Waghalter’s efforts to create an Afro-American Symphony Orchestra that was forwarded to me.

    More later,



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