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Podcast: United at Last. 2 Operas by James P Johnson.

October 20, 2023

JOHNSON, J.P.: Organizer (De) / The Dreamy Kid (excerpts) (R. Davis Dunn, O. Duval, E. Gray, L.C. Hicks, University of Michigan Symphony, Kiesler)

JOHNSON, J.P.: Organizer (De) / The Dreamy Kid (excerpts)
R. Davis Dunn • O. Duval • E. Gray • L.C. Hicks • University of Michigan Symphony • Kiesler

This podcast features Raymond Bisha in conversation with conductor Kenneth Kiesler about the rediscovery, rescue and reconstruction of two operas by James P. Johnson (1894–1955). Renowned as an influential jazz pianist but with a lower profile as a composer of opera, it was Johnson’s express hope that two of his short stage works, written in the late 1930s, would one day form a double-bill. Which they did, but not until 2006, after a long swathe of tender loving care.