RELEASE: KVNO and Dr. Anthony Trecek-King Launch “The Silent Canon”
Omaha native Trecek-King hosts show highlighting Black contributions to classical music
The Omaha Symphony and KVNO partner to bring vital programming to the airwaves
OMAHA, Neb., Feb. 18, 2021 – The history of western classical music is often experienced through a narrow lens that leaves out important figures and works of art. This begs the question: who do we celebrate, and why? Classical 90.7 KVNO and the Omaha Symphony have partnered to commission a new show highlighting the rich contributions of Black artists to the Western classical canon. Written and hosted by Omaha native, musician and conductor Dr. Anthony Trecek-King, “The Silent Canon” explores the work from musicians of African descent, centering their stories and their music.
“The Silent Canon’s” first episode airs at 9 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23 and 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27 on Classical 90.7 KVNO and streaming online at kvno.org.
“There is a wealth of music that has been left out of our normal channels of music education – it’s as if people of color, in particular Black or people of African descent, didn't write classical music at all,” said Dr. Anthony Trecek-King. “To get a chance to explore this wealth of music is really exciting for me – this is the way it should be, this is music that should be part of our common language.”
“We couldn’t be more proud to partner with Dr. Trecek-King and KVNO to spotlight the significant contributions that Black people have made and continue to make in classical music,” said Omaha Symphony Chief Revenue and Advancement Officer Anwar Nasir. “Our role as stewards of the artform is to ensure that all facets of our community are recognized and celebrated, and this is one way the Omaha Symphony can support this vital effort here in our community.”
Composer, musicologist and Columbia Professor of American Music George E. Lewis wrote recently for the New York Times, “A cone of silence hangs over the work of Black composers from Africa and its diaspora. It is not that Black men and women have not written music, but too often it has been ignored — and thus assumed not to exist at all.” It is from the starting point of this thesis that “The Silent Canon” aims not only to celebrate the contributions of Black artists to the Western classical canon, but also begin the work to combat centuries of erasure through the telling of these important stories.
“We are thrilled to partner with the Omaha Symphony on this important program,” said Sherry Kennedy Brownrigg, KVNO Assistant General Manager. “Our goal is to help our listeners experience the vast treasure of works composed, performed and conducted by those of African descent that have largely been ignored.”
About “The Silent Canon”
Created in partnership with the Omaha Symphony, KVNO commissioned Omaha native Anthony Trecek-King to develop this new program. Part historical retrospective, part review of contemporary and rising artists, the program features composers and artists of African descent including William Grant Still, Florence Price, William Levi Dawson, Undine Smith Moore, R. Nathaniel Dett, Billy Childs, Carlos Simon, Jessie Montgomery and more.
“The Silent Canon” airs on KVNO Tuesdays at 9 p.m. and Saturdays at 4 p.m. beginning February 23 through May 22, running for a total of 13 weeks. The program will also be syndicated to other stations around the country on April 1.
Listeners can hear “The Silent Canon” on Classical 90.7 KVNO, at kvno.org, via KVNO’s smartphone app or on smart speakers.
About Dr. Anthony Trecek-King
Dr. Anthony Trecek-King is a graduate of Bellevue West High School and the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a former professor at his alma mater. He carries an international reputation as a choral conductor, scholar and media personality. He is passionate about cultivating artistically excellent ensembles that explore socially relevant issues and is an ardent advocate for the recognition of African American composers and performers.
Ensembles under his direction were integral to projects that have won a Pulitzer Prize, received a Grammy, and earned the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from the Presidential Committee on the Arts. Dr. Trecek-King has worked with a variety of artists and ensembles including Yo-Yo Ma, Leslie Odom Jr., Seraphic Fire, Keith Lockhart and John Williams. He has led performances in world-renowned venues including the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Carnegie Hall, Royal Albert Hall in London and the Sydney Opera House.
Dr. Trecek-King can also be seen on-air and online on the Emmy nominated WGBH television series "Sing That Thing" and two TEDx Boston talks. He was recently named a resident conductor for the Handel and Haydn Society. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Cello Performance from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, a Master of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting from Florida State University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting from Boston University. Trecek-King currently resides in Boston.
The Omaha Symphony is a non-profit organization that presents more than 100 live orchestral performances from September through June. In addition to Masterworks, Symphony Pops, Symphony Rocks, Movies, Symphony Joslyn, and Family series concerts, the Omaha Symphony’s nationally recognized education and community engagement programs touch the lives of more than 40,000 people each year. For tickets or information regarding the Omaha Symphony, call 402-345-0606 or visit omahasymphony.org. Programs, artists, dates, times, prices, and availability are subject to change.
Classical 90.7, KVNO, is non-commercial public radio and Omaha’s only classical music station. Located on the campus of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, KVNO’s mission is to elevate the community by providing high-quality yet accessible classical music.