Opera in the Coalfields

With Good Reason

Photo of Allie Mae Burroughs by Walker Evans.

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Aaron Copland, considered one of America’s greatest composers, wrote the opera The Tenderland after seeing the Depression-era photographs of Walker Evans in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. That famous work was recently performed by a new opera company in Southwest Virginia. Under the direction of  David Volk and Amber Burke (University of Virginia’s College at Wise), this first season of opera gave participants the chance to learn about a type of music not often taught in the region.

Also featured: Weldon Hill (Virginia State University) is a jazz pianist who has played with some of the greats in the field. He takes us on a musical tour of his own music and also plays recordings of some of the giants of jazz piano like Oscar Peterson and Nat King Cole, discussing the influence they had on American jazz.

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