The College of Arts and Architecture

African American Music Festival: Meet the Composer

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Friday, February 10, 2017 - 5:30pm
Esber Recital Hall - University Park, PA

Free admission

Meet African American Music Festival guest conductor and composer Rollo Dilworth. This session is designed to provide aspects of Dilworth’s creative approach to preserving the musical, stylistic, and historic elements of the African American spiritual, both in his arrangements as well as his original compositions. Audience members will be invited to ask questions, with Penn State faculty member Anthony Leach serving as moderator.

The Penn State African American Music Festival celebrates the music of African Americans and African American composers. Typically occurring in February (Black History Month), the annual festival includes performances by Penn State faculty and students as well as guest artists. In February, 1995, Essence of Joy presented the first concert titled “Celebration of African American Spirituals,” and in 1997, Anthony Leach coordinated the first symposium on the African American Spiritual, involving guest artists, lectures, and choral performances. Since that time, the event has developed into a multi-day collaborative venture within the School of Music and beyond. In 2009, the name of the festival was changed to the "African American Music Festival" in order to be more inclusive of the variety of music offered by the performers. The festival is coordinated by faculty member Anthony Leach.all in logo

The African American Music Festival  is part of the 2016-17 initiative titled “All In at Penn State: A Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion.”  This event is generously supported by the University Park Allocation Committee (UPAC).


Rollo Dilworth serves as chair of music education and music therapy at Temple University. He holds degrees from Case Western Reserve University, University of Missouri-St. Louis, and Northwestern University. Rollo Dillworth

More than 150 of Rollo Dilworth's choral compositions and arrangements have been published—many of which are a part of the Henry Leck Creating Artistry Choral Series with Hal Leonard Corporation. Additional publications can be found in the catalogs of Santa Barbara Music Publishing and Colla Voce Music, Inc. Dilworth is a contributing author for the Essential Elements for Choir and the Experiencing Choral Music textbook series, both published by the Hal Leonard Corporation/Glencoe/McGraw-Hill Publications, and for Music Express! Magazine.  He has authored three books of choral warm up exercises intended for elementary and secondary choral ensembles, entitled Choir Builders: Fundamental Vocal Techniques for General and Classroom Use (2006); Choir Builders for Growing Voices (2009); and Choir Builders for Growing Voices 2 (2014).

A frequent presenter at local, state, regional and national conferences, Dilworth has conducted 43 all-state choirs at various levels (elementary, middle school, high school), and has conducted 6 regional honor choirs and 4 national honor choirs (ADCA, OAKE and NafME). He has most recently appeared as guest conductor for international choral festivals and master classes in Australia, Canada, Taiwan, Ireland, and China. For the 2015-2016 season, Dilworth was invited to conduct all-state choirs in North Carolina, Oklahoma, Ohio, Arizona and Massachusetts. He has also conducted honor choirs for the Central and Southwest regions of the American Choral Directors Association. International festival and clinic invitations include Canada, Singapore, Austria and France.

Dilworth is currently national board chair for Chorus America. He is an active life member of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). He also holds memberships with several other organizations, including the National Association for Music Education (NafME), the National Association of Negro Musicians (NANM) and the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).                        

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