OLLI presents, “Mary Lou Williams: Composer, Pianist, Pioneer”

Erik Nielsen, who will teach the OLLI program, “Mary Lou Williams”. Photo provided

SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – Erik Nielsen, composer and music historian, will present the next Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) program, “Mary Lou Williams: Composer, Pianist, Pioneer” on Tuesday Oct. 4, 2022, at 2 p.m. at the Nolin Murray Center next to St. Mary’s Church on Pleasant St. in Springfield.

Mary Lou Williams was one of the foremost jazz musicians of the 20th century. She is not as well known on the list of important Black American composers as Duke Ellington and Dizzy Gillespie, but she deserves to rank with all of them. Not only was she a great arranger, composer, and pianist, and highly respected amongst her peers in a jazz world largely dominated by men, but she created choral and large ensemble works that bridged jazz and concert music. She also mentored and encouraged young musicians to explore new paths. Her influence continues today through some of the contemporary Black women composers who are her heirs.

Sponsored by the University of Vermont, OLLI is run by local volunteer members and is geared mainly towards seniors who are 50 years of age and over who enjoy learning for the fun of it. Anyone who would be interested in this type of program, regardless of their age, is welcome.

Registration can be done online at www.learn.uvm.edu/olli/springfield. You may also register over the phone by calling 1-802-656-5817 during regular office hours Monday –Friday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

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