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.