No Song is Safe From Us

No Song Is Safe From Us - The NYFOS Blog
 |  Justin Austin

“I Dream a World” is one of the most beautiful and loving poems by Langston Hughes I have come across. It was set to music by composer Damien Sneed in 2017. Langston speaks about a dream world where every person is equally as valuable and should be treated with respect. As farfetched as this idea may seem, I believe that this world Hughes is speaking of can actually come to fruition. He didn’t see it in his lifetime and I probably won’t see it in mine, but he contributed to that becoming a reality one day.




 |  Justin Austin

“Ballad of the landlord” is a poem by Langston Hughes. It basically is a dialogue between an African American tenant and a white landlord. It’s interesting to me that Langston doesn’t offer any opinions. He tell’s the story as it happens and the reader/ listener has no choice but to develop their own opinion.




 |  Justin Austin

During my rehearsals with Ricky Ian Gordon for our concert on September 18, I noticed that in his home there was a framed poem on top of the door to his studio. I asked him about it, and he expressed to me that it meant a lot to him, and was one of the most significant settings of a poem that he’s written. The poem is “Luck” by Langston Hughes.




 |  Justin Austin

Right after I left Opera Theatre of St. Louis last summer, I went to West Palm Beach Florida. I was competing in the national rounds of a year long competition presented by NANM (National Association of Negro Musicians) NANM is the oldest organization for the preservation of African American Music. Each year, there is a different instrument that is the focus of the competition. Knowing that it was the year for “voice” my teacher helped me put together a solid program. The singers were required to present an Aria, Lied, African American Art Song, and a Spiritual. Surprisingly, I had never even heard of an African American Art Song.