NOTEWORTHY: Noted musician takes on new artistic role with the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra
by Patrick D. McCoy
Across the globe, in response to the conversations about diversity in the arts, many organizations are finding new ways to create a platform for these important conversations.
The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra recently announced Lester Green to its artistic team,
as Artistic Advisor. Green joined the ASO in October, furthering an overall organizational
commitment to social equity that the orchestra established with its strategic plan in 2019.
Green serves on the music faculty at the University of Maryland at College Park and maintains a voice studio
at Morgan State University. He previously served on the faculty at Peabody Institute, Morgan State University,
Howard University, and the Duke Ellington School for the Arts. For ten years, he was Minister of Music at the
historic Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. He has since taken leadership
roles as Artistic Director of the Coalition of African Americans in the Performing Arts and Assistant Director
for the Children’s Chorus of Washington.
Executive Director George Hanson offered comment on the appointment. “Lester is a tremendous addition to the ASO artistic and creative team,” “He will help ASO connect with diverse new projects, artists, composers and particularly vocalists. He will expand our collaborative reach within the community.” As a part of these efforts, Green moderated a question-and-answer session with filmmakers Jane Pittman and Annette Brieger as part of the Alexandria Film Festival. Pittman’s and Brieger’s An American Scene: Black Lives Matter was commissioned for the AFF’s and ASO’s joint project, Homegrown: American Stories in Music and Film.
Additionally, he is curating the program for one of ASO’s spring chamber concerts, serving as advisor for singers and soloists, and advising on all projects that build relationships with the Black community and people of color. He will contribute to ASO’s initiative to combat racism in classical music and provide a much-needed voice for
social justice. Plaudits also came from Alexandria Symphony Orchestra music director James Ross. “Lester Green is a deeply inventive thinker and performer whose breadth of ideas will provide a new source of vital impetus for the ASO in these times when classical music is expanding the canon and looking for ways to dismantle its role in systemic racism…“He understands ‘voice’ as something beyond beautiful sounds emanating from people’s throats, but as an open expression and confirmation of heritage, personhood, and conviction.” Green has contributed to a wide variety of genres through performances of solo piano, chamber, and vocal music. He has conducted opera performances in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore and worked as a coach and assistant conductor with opera companies and initiatives, both in the United States and abroad.
“As the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra continues to open doors to adventurous music-making, we are thrilled
to have Lester join us in this exciting and important work,” says ASO Board President Melynda Wilcox. “The
ASO aims to take a leadership role in advancing the cause of social and racial equity in classical music.”
Green has served at various times as artist faculty for various institutions including the Peabody Institute,
Morgan State University, Howard University, and the Duke Ellington School for the Arts in Washington,
D.C. Dr. Green joined the faculty of the UMCP School of Music’s Division of Voice and Opera as Vocal
Coach in January 2020 and maintains a voice studio at Morgan State University. As a performer, Green
has contributed to a wide variety of genres through repertoire presentations in numerous solo piano,
chamber, and vocal music recitals. He has conducted opera performances in Washington, DC and Baltimore
and worked as a coach and assistant conductor with small and large opera companies and initiatives,
nationally and internationally.
Green earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Collaborative Piano Performance from the University of Maryland College Park (2005), the Graduate Performance Diploma in Piano (1999) and Master’s degree in Piano Performance from the Peabody Conservatory (1997) as well as an undergraduate degree in Piano Performance with a concentration in German Language Studies from the University of South Carolina.
A native of Petersburg, VA, Patrick holds a BM in Vocal Performance from Virginia State University and a MM in Church Music from Shenandoah Conservatory. Formerly the Performing Arts Columnist for Washington Life Magazine, he currently is a freelance writer, publishing articles for several noted publications, including The Washington Post, Early Music America Classical Music Voice North America, The Afro-American Newspaper, CBS Washington and Examiner.com. He is a member of the Music Critics Association of North America, National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc., The American Choral Directors’ Association, a member of the Shenandoah University Alumni Board of Directors and a Life Member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He serves as Organist/Choirmaster at Saint John’s Episcopal Church, Zion Parish in Beltsville, MD and serves on the music faculty of Virginia State University where he teaches applied voice, music appreciation and assist with the University Concert Choir. Visit http://www.patrickdmccoy.com