Deanna on WQED Pittsburgh:
Listen to Deanna’s WQED interview from March 2019 that aired just prior to her Pittsburgh Symphony debut playing music of Mary Lou Williams. Deanna and host Jim Cunningham discuss Deanna’s book in progress focusing on Mary Lou’s spirituality.
MUSIC FOR PEACE:
A CELEBRATION OF MARY LOU WILLIAMS
Music for Peace: A Celebration of Mary Lou Williams features award-winning pianist/composer Deanna Witkowski (“consistently thrilling” playing and “boundless imagination” –All Music Guide) leading an instrumental trio and an SATB choir in a performance of works by the preeminent African-American jazz pianist/composer Mary Lou Williams (1910-1981).
The featured work on the program is Williams’ 1967 “Music for Peace,” a monumental work of sacred jazz informed by the Civil Rights movement and Williams’ own deep personal faith. Her remarkably original settings of traditional liturgical texts embrace a compendium of jazz styles, from blues to bossa nova. The program also includes excerpts from Witkowski’s “Evening Mass” from her 2009 recording, From This Place.
Music for Peace is available as a 90-minute concert program with Deanna’s instrumental trio, a core group of vocal soloists, and choirs of various sizes. Perfect for college, community, or church choirs, this jubilant program can be done in conjunction with Deanna’s workshops on jazz and spirituality.
Listen to live performance audio samples below.
AUDIO SAMPLES FROM MARY LOU WILLIAMS: A CELEBRATION
Gloria (Williams): Sara Serpa, Craig Walter, Deanna Witkowski, soloists
The Lord Says (Williams): Miles Griffith, soloist
In His Day/Peace I Leave With You (Williams): Tammy Scheffer, Dylan Pramuk, soloists
Creed (Williams): Dylan Pramuk, Brenda Earle Stokes, Virginia Mayhew, soloists
Praise the Lord (Come, Holy Spirit) (Williams): Jonathan Hampton, Dylan Pramuk, Roosevelt André Credit, soloists
Evening Mass: Gloria (Witkowski)
Evening Mass: Sanctus (Witkowski)
Evening Mass: Agnus Dei (Witkowski): Leena Conquest, soloist
MOVING WITH THE SPIRIT:
THE SACRED JAZZ OF MARY LOU WILLIAMS
Moving with the Spirit combines spoken historical narrative with musical excerpts from Williams’ liturgical work in illustrating how Williams’ legacy has provided a foundation for current jazz artists who compose sacred music.
Moving was the official educational component of the 2009 Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center. It has also been presented at Duke University, Loyola University Chicago, the International Association for Jazz Education conference, and the College Music Society conference.
Moving is available with the Deanna Witkowski Trio or with Deanna solo.
Deanna is also a frequent presenter on jazz and spirituality. Visit the main sacred music page for a list of past topics and venues.