Euba’s Dance (2021)
from the composer
Euba’s dance is named after the Nigerian scholar, ethnomusicologist, and composer, Dr. Akin Euba [ah KEEN YOU bah]. Dr. Euba famously coined the phrase, “African pianism” to describe the inclination of many African composers to use the piano’s percussive effects. I had been doing this for years before meeting Dr. Euba, using some of the same “color chords” that are in this lively dance etude. “Euba’s dance” is dedicated to Matt, and my Oberlin sister Luna who introduced me to this project.
A composer with a gift for incorporating many influences and styles within her work, Nkeiru Okoye is perhaps best known for her opera, “Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed that Line to Freedom,” the orchestral work, “Voices Shouting Out,” which is an artistic response to 9/11, and her suite, “African Sketches,” which has been performed by pianists around the globe. Dr. Okoye is a Guggenheim Fellow. She is profiled in the, “Music of Black Composers Coloring Book,” and Routledge’s “African American Music: An Introduction” textbook. She is the inaugural recipient of the International Florence Price Award for Composition. A recent New York Times article mentioned, “Okoye’s work would make a fitting grand opening for an opera company’s post-pandemic relaunch.”
The State of Michigan issued a proclamation acknowledging Dr. Okoye’s “extraordinary contributions” to the history of Detroit, Michigan, for “Black Bottom,” a symphonic experience commissioned by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, in celebration of the centennial season of Orchestra Hall. Her other recent works include “Tales from the Briar Patch,” commissioned by The American Opera Project, and “Charlotte Mecklenburg,” commissioned by the Charlotte Symphony. Some of her upcoming compositions for the 2021-2022 season include “Euba’s Dance,” for cellist Matt Haimowitz, “When young spring comes” for pianist and NPR Host, Laura Downes, and a micro-opera, “600 Square Feet,” for Cleveland Opera Theatre.
Dr. Okoye is a board member of Composers Now!. She holds a BM in Composition from Oberlin Conservatory, and a PhD in Music Theory and Composition from Rutgers University.