The latest ASO Online release was performed live this past September during a socially-distanced chamber music performance at the Washington Lake Park Amphitheater in Sewell, NJ. A string quartet of ASO members performed Trevor Weston‘s Juba as part of a program of works by Black composers, curated by ASO violinist Philip Payton. The term “Juba” is an African word used by many African-American Composers to indicate African- influenced African-American music. The piece incorporates a traditional and distinct folk fiddle technique, which requires the musicians to stomp their feet throughout the piece.
Juba honors the lives and contributions of African and African American forced laborers who cultivated various crops during slavery. The work makes a musical journey from Africa to the United States through traditional African music and traditional folk music by African Americans…This work highlights the musical contributions by African Americans and celebrates the lives of those who helped create our American economy, industry, and culture. —Trevor Weston
Born in Brooklyn, NY, Trevor Weston (b. 1967) is a contemporary composer whose music has been called a “greatly syncopated marriage of intellect and feeling,” (Detroit Free Press). Dr. Weston grew up in Plainfield, NJ and originally got his musical start at the age of 6, singing in the choir at Grace Episcopal Church. He later attended the prestigious St. Thomas Choir school in New York City but as he continued his musical education, Dr. Weston transitioned to learning to play the organ. Upon attending Tufts University, he once again shifted his focus to composition while studying with composer T.J. Anderson whom he credits with expanding his view on music. In 2010, he completed the re-orchestration of Florence Price’s Piano Concerto for the Center for Black Music Research. Currently, Dr. Weston is a Professor and Chair of the Music at Drew University in Madison, NJ and teaches at the Juilliard School in their pre-college division and their MAP Program.
Violinist Philip Payton speaks about Juba’s many influences and members of the quartet provide musical demonstrations.
Juba for string quartet (2017)
by Trevor Weston
Cyrus Beroukhim, violin
Philip Payton, violin
William Frampton, viola
Alberto Parrini, cello