HANNIBAL LOKUMBE (b 1948 )
The journey of composer Hannibal Lokumbe, trumpeter of the Music Liberation Orchestra, has taken him from the cotton fields of Elgin, Texas, where he was first inspired by the spirituals and hymns of his grandparents, to the stages of Carnegie Hall and much of the world. He spent twenty five years in New York City playing trumpet and recording with some of his jazz heroes (including Gil Evans, Pharaoh Sanders, Roy Haynes, Elvin Jones, and McCoy Tyner) and is the recipient of numerous awards including The USA Artists (Cummings Fellow), The Joyce, Bessieʼs, NEA, and Lifetime Achievement Award from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
Lokumbe is a leader in expressing the African-American experience through orchestral and choral music, with a particular focus on civil rights leaders. In 1998, the New Jersey Symphony commissioned and premièred God, Mississippi and a Man Called Evers about the slain civil rights activist Medgar Evers. Other works include Soul Brother, inspired by the life of Malcolm X, and A Great and Shining Light, about former Atlanta mayor and United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young.
He has composed works for Carnegie Hall, The Kronos String Quartet, as well as the Philadelphia, Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit and Houston Symphonies. His groundbreaking African Portraits was performed and recorded by the Chicago Symphony under the direction of Daniel Barenboim and has been performed numerous times since its November 11, 1990 Carnegie Hall début. In addition Dear Mrs. Parks, which pays homage to Rosa Parks in the form of imaginary letters to the civil rights heroine, was commissioned, performed and recorded by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in March 2009 and released by Naxos [8.559668]. He recently played the rôle of Luke in a major production of James Baldwinʼs play The Amen Corner at The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, MN.