Music Unites Jamaica Foundation
Under the Patronage of Austrian Ambassador H.E. Sylvia Meier-Kajbic
The Jamaican -Austrian Felsted Celebration
Launching the first complete YouTube recording of
Samuel Felsted’s ‘Six Voluntarys for Organ' by Austrian Organist Franz Zebinger
In Recognition of the 220th Anniversary of
Jamaica’s First Documented Composer Samuel Felsted
On Tuesday, March 29, 2022, 1 p.m., at the Kingston Parish Church
Another milestone in preserving and promoting the history of Jamaica’s Classical Music has been achieved, initiated by the Austrian-born musician Rosina Christina Moder, OD, who has performed and taught in Jamaica since 1985. It was Rosina’s original intention to invite prominent Austrian organist Franz Zebinger to Jamaica to play the complete set of ‘Six Voluntarys for Organ or Harpsichord’ by Jamaica’s first documented composer Samuel Felsted at the church of its origin, the Kingston Parish Church. Felsted served as organist at this church from 1783 until the time of his passing on March 29, 1802. However, due to the worldwide Covid crisis this plan was changed to Franz Zebinger’s recording of these six organ pieces for worldwide viewing on YouTube, on a baroque organ at the ‘Marienkirche’ in Gleisdorf, a town in the Austrian Province of Styria. This will be these Voluntarys’ inaugural performances in modern times.
Rosina worked diligently to source the sponsorship for this undertaking within her close circle of friends from her youth, contacting the now prominent company ‘Saubermacher’ in Graz, who replied favourably.
On the occasion of the 220th anniversary of Felsted’s passing, the launch of this unprecedented first complete recording will be presented in the form of a collaboration concert taking place simultaneously on both sides of the ocean. This concert will feature works by Samuel Felsted (1743 - 1802), and one of our contemporary Jamaican composers Peter Ashbourne.
In Graz, as part of the series of ‘Evening Concerts’ at the Church Mariahilf, Rosina will team up with Franz Zebinger, who was in fact a member of her Baroque Ensemble ‘Point d’ Arret’ before her arrival in Jamaica. Other performers include Kornelia Pilz, a star former recorder student of Rosina’s, and two young Jamaican musicians, bass player Alvis Reid and pianist Luke Dixon (both of whom now reside in Austria). The programme in Graz (where Rosina gained her Bachelor and Masters degrees on the recorder) will include four of the Voluntarys by Felsted, as well as Peter Ashbourne’s composition for String Quartet ‘Jamaica Folk’, and his recorder compositions ‘Elena and her Variations’ and ‘Crystal Spring’.
Here in Jamaica, the collaborative live-streaming will initially feature the new Ashbourne song ‘Jamaica Fair’ performed by the intriguing voice of boy soprano Oscar Kremer. Samuel Felsted’s Grand Chorus, the “Jamaican Hallelujah” from the oratorio ‘Jonah’ will be the finale of the programme, sung by the National Chorale of Jamaica, featuring soprano Christine McDonald and tenor John McFarlane, CD, and accompanied by the organist at the Kingston Parish Church, Dwight McBean. Conducting will be Winston Ewart, OD, who also serves as the Chairman of the organizing NGO, Music Unites Jamaica Foundation. It is worth mentioning that the oratorio ‘Jonah’ by Samuel Felsted is internationally known to be the first complete oratorio composed in the Western Hemisphere!
In her role as Executive Director of the NGO, Music Unites Jamaica Foundation, Rosina and her team have tirelessly pursued groundbreaking research on the life and works of Jamaican composers for over a decade. This effort has been made possible through a grant from the Jamaica National (JN) Foundation, documented at www.musicunitesjamaica.com.
Another of Rosina’s successful milestone goals was to make the two preserved works by Felsted, the oratorio ‘Jonah’, and the ‘Six Voluntarys for Organ or Harpsichord’, available for purchase. Her close musical associate, Argentinean-German Professor Manfredo Zimmermann recently published these on: www.music-ornaments.com
This unprecedented moment in Jamaican musical history is guaranteed to be a most memorable and momentous occasion and will be uploaded for public viewing on YouTube at a later date to be announced.