at Pikes Peak Library District
by Clarence Shivers
Uzee Brown, Jr., a native of Cowpens, South Carolina, is chair of the Department of Music at Morehouse College. For over twelve years he was director of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church Choir. He enjoys a diverse career through the combination of his professional activities as singer/performer, composer/arranger, educator and choir director, which have taken him to more than twenty countries, including Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland, Poland, Russia, Luxembourg, Spain, five countries of Africa and the Caribbean. As Director of the Ebenezer Baptist Church Choir, he led the choir in concert tours of Germany, Switzerland France and Italy.
Dr. Brown holds degrees from Morehouse College, Bowling Green State University and the University of Michigan. In 2011 he was voted Vulcan Teacher of the Year at Morehouse College. He is past president of the National Association of Negro Musicians (NANM, Inc.). During his presidency he spearheaded the completion of the first officially published Documentary History of the NANM by the Center for Black Music Research in Chicago, Ill. Additionally, he initiated and successfully completed a NANM competitive Endowed Scholarship Fund aspiring young African American performers. Among his many performances in opera and oratorio are world premier roles of Parson Alltalk in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s premier of Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha, the title role of King Solomon in Emory University Theater’s premier production, the Alliance Theater’s showcase production of Jubilee and the performance of Mr. Letterlaw in the 2000 premier of Curtis Bryant’s operatic work, Zabette. Among his operatic performances are productions of Porgy and Bess, which he performed with Atlanta Opera in 2005 and 2011, and Frazier, the Lawyer in a Nashville Symphony production and recording by Decca records in 2006 from Gershwin’s originally edited score. He subsequently performed the role in France, Spain and Luxembourg in 2008.
Dr. Brown is a respected educator and lecturer on African American Music. He is founder and director of the Uzee Brown Society of Choraliers (2009), a choral ensemble composed of some of metro Atlanta’s most gifted singers. He studied composition with T. J. Anderson, African American Folk Music with Wendell P. Whalum, and African American Art Song with Willis Patterson. For more than forty years he has engaged in researching and preserving the Negro spirituals. His CDs, Great Day (2006), and My Lord’s Getting’ Us Ready: The Uzee Brown Society of Choraliers sings the Music of Uzee Brown (2015) are compilations of Brown’s solo and choral spiritual arrangements, respectively. They include rare and seldom heard spiritual melodies, and solo spirituals of which there are no known previous arrangements. Recently Dr. Brown was appointed editor of the Morehouse College Choral Series, a new series from GIA Publishing Company in Chicago. His composition commissions include works for National Public Radio and the Atlanta Symphony, including a setting for chorus and orchestra of We Shall Overcome for the 70th birthday of M.L. King, Jr.; commissions for colleges, universities, soloists and ensembles. His works have been performed internationally, including the Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. His most recent work includes three art songs based on poems by Anna Pauline Murray, premiered at the National Festival of Art Songs by Black Composers (Irvine, California, March, 2017). In 2009, he was soloist with the Atlanta Symphony Brass Quintet in performances of Afro-American Suite. He has composed commissioned works for the Festival of New Music and Art in Ohio, choral and instrumental works for the 2006 100th anniversary of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, along with a work for TTBB chorus and chamber orchestra for the 100th anniversary of the Morehouse Glee Club in 2011.
@ 2017 Shivers Fund at PPLD