The Classic Maplewood Concert Series returns to The Woodland on Sunday, Feb. 16, at 4 p.m. with a free open-to-the-public concert titled A Celebration of Composers of African Descent. In honor of Black History Month the special selection of inspiring music spans 250 years. Featured pieces from legendary composers of African Descent range from Le Chevalier to David Baker.

The Audience will enjoy beloved spirituals and some rarely heard musical masterpieces performed by Richard Alston on piano, Ashley Horne on violin, James Pierce on baritone, and Leo Grinhauz on cello. 

Maplewood’s Mayor, Frank McGehee is “proud to host such impactful, meaningful masterpieces performed by renowned local musicians that capture the history of the African-American experience from sorrow-filled and lamenting to festive and celebratory.” According to the notes of David Baker, who wrote the work entitled Roots to be performed at the event, "this tradition, which includes work songs, field hollers, blues, ragtime, boogie woogie, rhythm & blues, spirituals, gospel songs, calypso, rock & roll, rap, and of course jazz, provided the rich resources on which I drew. In composing this work, I made use of some of the musical features common to these varied styles.” 

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“The Department of Community Services is delighted to offer such an enriching concert experience in Maplewood’s very own Historic Great Hall, where the youngest among us can listen alongside the seasoned concert-goer,” says Melissa Mancuso, Director of Maplewood Community Services. 

The Classic Maplewood Concert Series is organized through the Maplewood Department of Community Services and the Maplewood Office of Cultural Affairs in partnership with cellist and Maplewood resident Leo Grinhauz who will be performing at the event. Leo Grinhauz describes the event as an “illuminating musical journey.”

The ninety-minute program including intermission is free, open to all ages, and is the fifth Classic Maplewood Concert with two more planned for 2020.



  • Petite Suite de Concert, op.77, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor 
  • Adagio in F Minor, Chevalier De Saint Georges
  • Theme and Variations from Piano Sonata No.1, George Walker
  • Fantaisie Negre, Florence Price
  • Suite for Violin and Piano, William Grant Still
  • Wings of A Dove, Margaret Bonds
  • Weary Blues, Dorothy Rudd Moore
  • It's Me, O Lord, Betty Jackson King
  • Roots 2 Piano Trio, David Baker


About the musicians:

Richard Alston: A native of East Orange. Graduate and post graduate degrees from Juilliard. A leading exponent of classical music by composers of African descent at the keyboard and on the lecture circuit-lecture series “Classically Black.” A gifted educator is responsible in crafting a degree program in music at Essex County College, where he is a professor of music and coordinator of the performing arts department. Besides being the music minister at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Montclair, continues his active performance career. Currently residing in Maplewood.

Ashley Horne: Originally from Los Angeles, one of the most sought after violinists on the New York Freelance scene. Musical director of the Antara Ensemble and a vital core member of the Harlem Chamber Players. Broadway veteran. A resident of Jersey City. Filmgoers can see Mr. Horne in “Le Mozart Noir,” the PBS documentary of violinist and composer Chevalier de Saint George.

James Pierce: Baritone who has sung leading roles throughout the world. Made his NYC Opera debut in the title role of the company’s highly acclaimed production of Porgy and Bess. A resident of Union, NJ.

Leo Grinhauz: Argentine cellist has been cultivating a diverse musical career spanning the last four decades. Historical collaborations include Rudolf Serkin, Ruth Laredo, Charles Dutoit, George Walker, Tania Leon and Paquito D’Rivera. Leo was the musical coordinator for the Emmy Award-winning “The Wonder Pets” on Nickelodeon. More recent work centers around Leo’s membership in the Sweet Plantain String Quartet.