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News Release

Date: April 1, 2008
Media Contact: Elizabeth Homan, 240-567-7970; Steve Simon, 240-567-7952

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Montgomery College, University of Maryland Professors and Students Collaborate on World Premiere of Original Music Composition
Performances of “Hera” to be Presented April 15 at MC-Rockville; May 5 at Maryland

EDITORS: For a high-resolution image to accompany this release, click on this link: avery.jpg.

Montgomery College Professor Dawn Avery and University of Maryland Professor Amadou Kouyate will premiere their new musical composition, “Hera,” at Montgomery College on Tuesday, April 15 at 8 p.m. in the Theatre Arts Arena on the Rockville Campus, 51 Mannakee Street, Rockville, Md. “Hera” will be performed on Monday, May 5 at 7:30 p.m. in the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center’s Ina and Jack Kay Theatre at the University of Maryland.

“Hera,” which means “peace” in the Manding language of West Africa, is scored for chamber orchestra and features performances by a choir, guitar ensemble, djembe and dunun orchestras and solo kora. The work is a suite in nine sections, based upon traditional and contemporary Kora themes from the African Manding tradition. The Montgomery College World Ensemble, a world music group of 45 community and student musicians, will perform alongside the University of Maryland’s African Drum Ensemble and the Djembe and Dunun Orchestras. Professor Kouyate will play the kora solo.

Dawn Avery is a professor of music at Montgomery College, cellist and the producer of the College’s World Arts Festival. She created the Montgomery College World Ensemble six years ago. Since then, the ensemble has collaborated with local and international artists such as R.C. Nakai at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. As a composer, Professor Avery has received awards from the American Composer's Forum, First Nations Composer Initiative's Common Ground and Community Engagement Grant Program, and many others, and was most recently selected as the recipient of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian's grant for a collaboration of three Classical Native compositions with mixed media.

A professor of African drumming at the University of Maryland, Amadou Kouyate is also an artist-in-residence at Montgomery College’s World Arts Festival. Born in Washington, D.C., Kouyate is the 150th generation of the Kouyate lineage. He has studied and performed Manding music since age 3. He plays djembe and koutiro drums and the 21-string kora. Currently, Kouyate performs as a solo artist and as a member of Farafina Kan, the Manding Griot Ensemble, the Kouyate Family, and other musical groups.

For more information about the concerts, contact the Montgomery College-Rockville Music Department at 240-567-5209.

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Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring, plus workforce development/continuing education centers and off-site programs throughout Montgomery County, Md. The College serves nearly 60,000 students a year, through both credit and noncredit programs, in more than 100 areas of study.

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