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Bennington College History: Black Music: Concerts and Events

A guide to the history of Black Music at Bennington College.


  • Milford Graves, visiting musician, gave performances in Tishman and Dance Workshop. May 18 & 19. Quadrille vol. 5 no. 4
  • Faculty member Jimmy Garrison and visiting musician Dominic Messinger. Concert Week of November 15th as part of the Black Student Union's week-long event "Third World Perspectives: Cultural and Political Expressions. Quadrille vol. 6 no. 1


  • Black Music Festival. "Under the direction of Bill Dixon, a four day musical festival took place in Commons Theatre from May 17-20. Entitled, 'Sequences and Events in Black Music' it featured student, faculty and guest musicians and dancers, as well as rare film sequences of past jazz greats: from Louis Armstrong, Billy Holliday to John Coltrane, Lester Young and Charlie Parker. "One of the principal reasons why a black music festival happened stemmed from Dixon's desire to have people listen to the art. He feels that attempts to define black music are either too simplistic or have been too allusive. 'Jazz' he feels is a term 'now no longer serviceable because it has become offensive'."  Quadrille vol. 7 no. 3/4
  • Ted Joans, Hadley Fellow in Black Music, Reading. Friday Nov 9. 8:00 pm. Tishman Hall. Announcement 
  • Bill Dixon's Advanced Ensemble plays at Comstock Prison. November. PhotographPhotograph


  • Bill Dixon and Advanced Black Music Ensemble concert. March 5. Quadrille vol. 7 no. 2
  • Clayton Riley, Writer and Critic, Hadley Fellow in Black Music. Barn 1. 8:00 pm May 1. Announcement
  • Black Music Workshop with members of Ensemble III. The Topic: "The Solo". Monday, October 14 at 4:30 p.m.Carriage Barn. Announcement
  • Jimmy Lyons, Musician Composer - a Workshop in improvisation. Monday November 4 , 4:30 p.m. Carriage Barn Announcement
  • Black Music Workshop, Monday, November 18, at 4:30 p.m.Carriage Barn Announcement
  • Black Music Workshop. Monday, December 9 at 4:30 p.m Carriage Barn Announcement
  • Black Music Division Final Concert. Tuesday December 17, 10:00 pm Carriage Barn. Announcement


  • "Three Events in Black Music" Monday, March 21- Jimmy Steward, critic and historian, workshop. Carriage Barn. Wednesday, March 23 - Concert feature Milford Graves, Art Brooks, Henry M. Letcher. Commons Theatre 8:45 pm. Thursday, March 24 - Concert featuring senior Jay Ash. 8:30. March. Carriage Barn.  Article
  •  Workshop 2 "Aspects of Contemporary Improvisational Practices" The guest artist - Frederick D. Waits (Freddie Waits). Monday April 28 4:30 p.m. Carriage Barn. Announcement
  • Workshop 3 "Aspects of Contemporary Improvisational Practices" The guest artist  - Ted Daniel, Musician-Composer Trumpet Player. Monday, May 5, 4:30 p.m. Carriage Barn.  Announcement 
  • Jimmy Lyons and the Advanced Black Music Ensemble concert. 8:15 p.m. Carriage Barn. June 6. Announcement
  • Concert of works by Bill Dixon and Jeff Hoyer and various soloists. 8:00 p.m. Carriage Barn. June 7. Announcement
  • Black Music Division Lecture by Larry Neal. Monday October 20, at 4:15 p.m. Carriage Barn. Announcement
  • Lecture / Demonstration. November 3. Announcement 
  • Concert included work by Bill Dixon; by a String ensemble directed by Stephen Horenstein with Lyn Bertles, Amy Leventhal. Jane Gil, Glynis Loman, Jane Weiner and Derrick Hottsman; by Black Music Ensemble IIIalso directed by Stephen Horenstein, with Don Kaplan, Nicholas Stephens, Dominic Messinger, John love, Jay Ash and Leslie Winston. The final piece of the evening was played by Bill Dixon's Ensemble IV with Arthur Brooks, Don Kaplan, George Menousek, Stephen Horenstein, John Love, Nick Stephens, Jay Ash, Jeff Hoyer, Marc Long, Susan Feiner, Glynis Loman, Jane Weiner, Lawrence Jacobs, Prent Rodgers, Leslie Winston, Henry Letcher, Jackson Krall, Bill Eldridge, Sydney Smart, Dennis Warren, John Clink. Carriage Barn. Nov 7 Quadrille vol 9 no. 2
  • Concert Art Brooks' Ensemble V which included Lynne Salomon, Don Kaplan, Nick Stephens, Jim Tifft Leslie Winston, Barry Hyman and Jackson Kroll. Ensemble II, directed by Henry Letcher, Sydney Smart and Lindo Roper, involved, besides the directors, Cristin Mortinez, Dennis Warren, John Clink, Jim Means, Barry Bell, Morty Gil. Don Pack, Michael Stern, Jone Weiner, Lisa Sokolov, Cristino Svone, Diane Davis, Lynne Salomon. Excerpts from on Ensemble Piece, with music by Henry Letcher, was directed by Joe Bracy and performed by him .and Rosalyn Alexander, Marc long and Kathy Williams. Henry Letcher's Ensemble VI performed with Jim Tifft, Don Kaplan, John Love, Jay Ash, Marc Long, Gregg Brown, Buddy Booker, Barry Hyman, Bill Eldredige, Leslie Winston, Lisa Sokolov and Joe Bracy. Carriage Barn. Nov 8. Quadrille vol. 9 no. 2
  • "September to December in Black Music" a multi media presentation. In addition to numerous photographs on display hours of video tapes, films, slides, were shown as well as paintings and scores which span the work that Dixon has done at the College, in New York and with the Judith Dunn-Bill Dixon Company over the post eight years. Two late-evening concerts were offered, with most of the Block Music Division students participating were performed in the College. Included on the rostrum for the two concerts are: presentations by Bill Dixon's advanced Block Music ensemble, Ensemble IV; by Ensemble VII, directed by teaching associate Jeff Hoyer; The Small Group Workshop directed by teaching associate Art Brooks; Ensemble Ill and the String Ensemble, directed by teaching assistant Stephen Horenstein; and the Student Ensemble. Among the compositions presented were arrangements written by members of Bill Dixon's "Orchestration, Instrumentation and Arranging" course: including Naima by John Coltrane ; "Ruby, My Dear," by Theolonious Monk; "Feathers,'" by Eric Dolphy; "Nordis," by Miles Davis; Bag's Grove," by Milt Jackson; "Trio," by Bill Dixon and others. There was also a performance of "Anemone (1970) a solo for tenor saxophone written for Stephen Horenstein by Bill Dixon. And finally there was a dance piece choreographed and performed by Holly Schiffer to music composed by Susan Feiner. December. Quadrille vol. 9 no. 2


"Six Days in December" Series. Event list

  • Alan Shorter, lecture and performance - demonstration dealing with ideas and the implementation of those ideas based on his concerns centering around Black Music aesthetics. A performance of solos by faculty members and others will follow. Dec 8
  • Lecture - Performance by Bill Dixon, with Alan Silva, double bass and Stephen Horenstein, tenor saxophone. Excerpts from "Autumn Sequences from a Paris Diary'' Dec 9
  • Works-in- progress by Alan Silva, Artist-in- Residence; works for solo bass and cello. Dec 10
  • Ensemble Works by Arthur Brooks and Jeff Hoyer. Dec 11
  • Performance-Demonstration by the Percussion Workshop and Voice Tutorial directed by Milford Graves. Dec 12
  • Ensemble III, directed by Stephen Horenstein. Work-in-progress for Ensemble by Alan Silva. Dec 14. 


  • Master's project in theatre was presented by the Drama Division. The play, "Facials" and was written and directed by Margaret Ann Holloway, choreographed by Ron Dabney, with musical direction by Bill Dixon. April 25. Quadrille, Vol 11, No 3
  • David Smith. Senior concert in Back Music. May 22 Quadrille, Vol 11, No 3
  • "BettyCarterBettyCarterBetty," a composition by Margaret Holloway, was presented by the Black Music Division on June 8. The performance included three compositions by Stephen Horenstein. June 8  Quadrille, Vol 11, No 3
  • June '77/ Black Music series. Including Milford Graves presenting music by the voice and percussion ensembles on June 7 and Bill Dixon a lecture / demonstration on June 9. June 6-9. Quadrille, Vol 11, No 3 
  • The Black Music Division presented a senior concert by Maureen Hoy, including a performance by Ensemble V directed by Arthur Brooks. June. Quadrille, Vol 11, No 3
  • Milford Graves "Impressions of Japan" slide show and tape recording of his performances with Japanese musicians. October 11 Quadrille vol 12. no. 1
  • Sidney Smart. Concert. Commons Theatre October 12 Quadrille vol 12. no. 1
  • Winter Festival. Works by Faculty and graduating seniors. Nov 28-Dec 3. Faculty performances: Arthur Brooks, Bill Dixon, Milford Graves, Stephen Horenstein. Student performances: Buddy Booker, Larry Jacobs, Nadi Qamar, Steven Simon, and Leslie Winston. Quadrille vol 12. no. 1


  • Spring Festival I. March 20-24. Common Theatre. Visiting artist Alison Felsenthal performed under the direction of Arthur Brooks. Bill Dixon, Milford Graves held an open rehearsal, Stephen Horenstein and Nadi Qamar performed completed works. Bill Dixon performed works in progress. Quadrille col 12. no. 1
  • Spring Festival II.  May 22-27.  Quadrille col 12. no. 1, Schedule
    • Piece for Two Guitars - Larry Jacobs, guitar. Stephen Haynes, trumpet.  Ifé Tayo, dancer, vocalist, poetist. Commons Theatre. 8:15 pm. Monday, May 22.
    • Milford Graves A Performance by the Voice and Percussion Workshop. Commons Theatre. 8:15 pm. Tuesday, May 23.
    • Seymour "Red" Press and Members of the Black Music Division in a Panel Discussion - "Business Aspects of Music" Commons Theatre - 3:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 24.
    • George Barrow presents "A Statement in Black Music" George Barrow, Hadley Fellow in Black Music with guest musicians Warren Smith, percussionist and Charles Israels, bass player. Commons Theatre - 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, May 24. photographs by Alex Brown.
    • Bill Dixon lecture / demonstration with his Ensemble. Commons Theatre - 8:15 p.m. Thursday, May 25.
    • The Black Music and Literature Divisions present Rashida Ismaili, reading poetry to the music of Nadi Qamar and Arthur Brooks performing works in progress with class Ensemble V. Commons Theatre - 8:15 p.m. Friday, May 26.
    • Stephen Horenstein  performing "Cycles - Third Stage" Commons Theatre - 8:15 p.m. Saturday, May 27.
  • Abraham Adzenyah. Concert Greenwall Nov 18. Quadrille col 12. no. 3
  • Beth Kantor Senior Concert. Commons Theatre. November 30. Poster


  • Spring Term visiting artists: Dave Baker, Stanton Davis, the ensemble Brass Proud, the photographer Arnold Hinton, poet Malkia Mbuzi, and singer Jeanne Lee. Quadrille vol.12 no. 4
  • Arnold Hinton Photography Exhibition and Lecture. Carriage Barn 7:30 pm May 1. Poster
  • Malkla Mbuzi. Poetry reading and workshop. Sponsored by the Black Music Division. Carriage Barn. (1979 May 5-7) College Week vol 76 n 9
  • A program of musical and choreographic offerings in honor of the birthday of Erik Satie. May 11 8:00pm Greenwall. Announcement
  • Black Music Division presents "Summer Sequences" a festival of events including student and faculty works, a lecture by visiting artist Burne Hogarth and a panel discussion on teaching and performance. An event wiII be held each evening at 8 p.m. in the Carriage Barn. May 21-25. College Week vol 76 n12
    • An evening of music by BIack Music students; solos and ensemble works. May 21
    • A  solo concert by Black Music faculty Nadi Qamar. Followed by a lecture by Burne Hogart. May 22
    • Senior Project: Video Presentation by Marta Stevens. May 23
    • An evening of music by Arthur Brooks and Stephen Horenstein, with guest artist Sonny Brown on drums. 
    • Followed by a panel discussion on teaching and performance as they relate to BIack Music, conducted by the faculty. May 24
    • An Evening of Music by Bill Dixon, including a performance of a piece for Iarge ensemble, as well, as "Places 1" (1979). Guest artists will include Stanton Davis and Sonny Brown. In addition guitarist Larry Jacobs will perform a solo piece for guitar. May 25
  • Henry Tylbore. "The Politics of Desocialization" Co-sponsored by the Black Music Division and the Social Science Division. "The lecture will deal with an analysis of late nineteenth and early twentieth century European culture as it relates to the development of the Nazi movement in Germany." May 30. College Week vol 76 n 12
  • David Moss concert. July 19. Audio 


  • Black Music Concert: A Student Trio. April 12. Audio
  • Black Music Division Senior Recital by Stephen Haynes. May 19 Announcement

  • Spring '80 / Workshop Series. 7:00 PM. Paul Robeson House (Carriage Barn) Poster  

    • March 11 Jeanne Lee (voice)
    • March 18 Chuck Israels (ensemble techniques) 
    • March 25 Stanton Davis (trumpet & lead playing)
    • April 8 Art Davis (bass) 
    • April 15 Nick Brignola (saxophone)
    • April 29 Jimmy Stewart (improvisation)
    • May 6 Freddie Waits (drums) 
    • May 20 John La Porta (ear training & improvisation) 
  • Black Music Concert: A Student Trio (Audio) John Shepler; Kevin Zoernig; Noah Rosen. December 4 Audio


  • Kevin Soernig Trio. October 19th.  Audio


  • The Black Music Division of Bennington College presents. The Kevin Zoernig Trio with Spin Dunbar, John Shepler Jr and Kevin Zoernig. Paul Robeson House (Carriage Barn). 8:00 pm. April 10. College Week
  • Nadi Qamar of the Bennington College Black Music Division performing a concert lecture of original Likembi-mbira works and piano improvisations. Guest Artist: Bassist Jeffrey Levine. Presented by the Bennington July Program. July 14. College Week
  • A concert by Vance Provey, a teaching assistant in the Black Music Division; on bass, Spin Dunbar. Fall term. Quadrille, Vol 15, No 2 


  • Linda Dowdell - Senior Concert. Paul Robeson House (Carriage Barn) April 15. Poster
  • Black Music Division Concert. Paul Robeson House (Carriage Barn) May 14. Inauguration Reunion Parents' Weekend Schedule of Events
  • Black Music Division in Concert. Paul Robeson House (Carriage Barn) May 31. Poster
  • A Bill Dixon Concert Performance to Benefit Silo. Appearing with Bill Mario Pavone & Lawrence Cook.  Paul Robeson House (Carriage Barn) May 8. Poster 
  • Black Music Division Concert. Robert M. Miller; John Clay; Linda Jane Dowdell.Paul Robeson House (Carriage Barn) June 6 Poster
  • Black Music Division senior concert. Paul Robeson House (Carriage Barn) November 19. Poster


  • Home Front Memo: Senior Project in Black Music and Drama by Jennifer Wollerman. The performance is a retrospective of the period 1939-1943 and includes writings of Carl Sandburg, Janet Flanner, Thomas Wolfe and others, Songs by Duke Ellington, played by Vance Provey, Linda DowdelI, Spin Dunbar and Rick O'Neal. Paul Robeson House (Carriage Barn) April 20. Poster | College Week
  • Film Screening Paul Robeson: A Tribute To An Artist the Academy Award winning documentary. Sponsored by the Black Music Division. Tishman April 21 College Week
  • Dennis Charles, drummer. Paul Robeson House (Carriage Barn) May 29 College Week
  • Black Music Division Concert. Paul Robeson House (Carriage Barn)  May 31 Poster, College Week 
  • Concert-lecture by chordophonist/idiophonist Nadi Qamar at the garden. The program, entitled "The Likembi Mbiri Tradition," will include poems of Nadi Qamar, Christopher Oklgbo, David Rubadiri, William Kgostile and Isaac Toussaint L'Overture. Crossett Library Garden. June 7. College Week
  • The Chorus will present a concert of new student and faculty works in GreenwalI Music Workshop. Nadi Qamar, Jeffrey Levine, and others will appear as guest artists. June 9. College Week
  • The Black Music Division presents it Fall Concert Series beginning today and running through Saturday, Nov. 10. In addition, the works of artist Albert Peters will be displayed in Paul Robeson House gallery through Nov. 10. Tonight, Milford Graves, a percussionist and Bennington College faculty member and guest musicians will perform. November 6. College Week | Quadrille, Vol 17, No 2 
  • Fall Concert Series of Black Music Division. Marco Eneidi, alto saxophonist and Bennington College faculty member, and guest musicians. November 7. College Week
  • Fall Concert Series of Black Music Division. Arthur Brooks, musician-composer and Bennington College faculty member, and guest musicians. Paul Robeson House. November 8. College Week
  • Fall Concert Series of Black Music Division. Kunto: with Jimmy Stewart, musician and composer from Philadelphia. Paul Robeson House. November 9. College Week
  • Fall Concert Series of Black Music Division. Bill Dixon, musician-composer and Bennington College faculty member, and guest musicians. November 10. College Week


  • The Black Music Division Spring Concert Series College Week
    • Stephen Horenstein, former Black Music Division faculty member presently residing in Israel  and a member of the teaching faculty of the Rubin Academy of Music, Tel Aviv University will present a lecture, "The Influence of Black Music in Israel." Paul Robeson House (Carriage Barn). 2:00 pm Monday April 1. 
    • Landscapes: a staged musical work for soloist and sound environment composed and performed by Mr. Horenstein. Paul Robeson House. (Carriage Barn). 8:00 pm Monday April 1.
    • Milford Graves / percussionist and Eric Zinman - senior presentation. Paul Robeson House (Carriage Barn) 8:00 pm Tuesday April 2. 
    • Marco Eneidi and guests. Paul Hobeson House (Carriage Barn) 8:00 pm Wednesday April 3. 
    • Arthur Brooks and guests. Paul Robeson House. (Carriage Barn) 8:00 pm Thursday April 4. 
    • Bill Dixon and guests. Paul Robeson House. (Carriage Barn) 8:00 pm Friday April 5. 
    • Dr . Clyde Criner, musician/composer/lecturer, will present a video presentation on Black Music History. Performances and interviews of Black Music artists from the 1920s to the present. Paul Robeson House. (Carriage Barn) 1:00 pm -6:00 pm Saturday April 6.
    • The Black Music Division in Concert. One in a series of faculty concerts, exhibits and lectures sponsored by the Dean of the Faculty.  Paul Robeson House. (Carriage Barn) 8:15 p.m. May 31. College Week


  • Weekly Black Music Listening Session conducted by Authur Brooks regularly scheduled every Wednesday from 6:30-8:.30 p.m. College Week


  • A Senior Concert by Anthony Wilson Wednesday, December 7 at 9:00pm Carriage Barn. Program


  • A Senior Concert by Jared van Dongen. May 12, 8:30 pm Greenwall Program


  • A Senior Concert by Mark Pennington. May 2 Program


  • Arthur Brooks talk  "Blake Music, Process and  Water Keys" Monday November 4 at 8:15 p.m. in Deane Carriage. College Week 
  • Shep Richards & Plan Be.  Saturday May 1110:00 p.m Cafe. College Week
  • Music for the 21st Century. Concert and Residency. Milford Graves, percussion. Charles Gayle, reeds. Hugh Glover, reeds. William Parker, bass. Oct 15-17. ProgramCollege Week 


  • "Three Days in October" a series of concerts and panels commemorating the 30th anniversary of the 1964 October Revolution. Quadrille Winter 1994.
  • Shep Richards: A Guitar Concert of Improvisational Music with Bill Dixon, Arthur Brooks, David Serodeack, Matt Hutchinson, Dave Brandt. Sunday, May 29 at 8:30 p.m. Carriage Barn. Program
  • Jonah Tristman's Senior Concert. May 11, 9:30 pm Carriage Barn. Program