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Alumnus/Composer to Perform at Nobel Peace Prize Concert

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Author: By Ramon Warner, student intern

Release Date: Apr 19, 2017

Dr. Gregory A. McPherson has been tapped to perform at the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Awards Concert in December.

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Alabama State University alumnus and composer, Dr. Gregory A. McPherson, has recently accepted an invitation to conduct one of his original pieces at the Nobel Peace Prize Awards Concert in Oslo, Norway, in December of 2017.

McPherson, Senior Artistic Director and Principal Researcher for Integrative Arts Technologies for The Justified Media Group, was invited to perform his original song, "Let There Be Peace: Just A Little Bit!!!" at the concert. The song, which is performed by his group, The Peace Syndicate, along with members of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and singer-rapper Tony "T-Rep" Betton, is focused on the need for unity and understanding, and what he calls “the strong necessity for global peace.”

career day mcphersonMcPherson (pictured left in photo with student) said he was invited to participate in the concert by the primary screening committees for the Nobel Peace Prize in the East-Southeast Region of the United States.

“I have been afforded a plethora of opportunities to share many of my varied composition and production-led activities, including songs, soundtracks for films, original commissioned works, and several other music and audio-engaged collaborations,” McPherson said. “I am always reminded…that we all share some responsibility for continuing the tremendous legacy as has been set forth by the numerous extraordinary folk who look like us, came before us and have paved the way for us time and time and time again.”

McPherson graduated from ASU in 1980 with a BFA in Music Composition and Performance, and a minor in Music Education. During his career, he has received numerous accolades for his accomplishments and has worked with world-renowned artists (see below).

“I count as one of the most humbling moments in my career when I was responsible for creating, producing, arranging, conducting and doing some of the audio engineering for the 1990 Coca-Cola Classic ad titled "Magic Cans, Magic Summer" which featured almost forty musicians from The New York Philharmonic Orchestra,” he said.  

 

McPherson is very thankful for his career and for the education that he received at ASU. He has high praise for his professors, particularly Van Tony Free III.

“(He) immediately became both a big brother and a father figure to ASU’s current band director, Dr. James B. Oliver, and me,” McPherson said. “He would continue to do so for numerous others who studied percussion performance with him privately, and also in our nationally renowned ASU Percussion Ensemble. Prof. Free directly mirrored what professional musicians should espouse in every artistic outlet, and we were destined to be great if we did nothing but simply follow the example set before us.”

McPherson’s Professional Collaborations

McPherson’s career has been extensive and varied. He has worked with some of the top names in musical genres ranging from jazz and pop to gospel and musical theatre.

His collaborations have included working with Grammy Award winners Lalah Hathaway, The Temptations, Peabo Bryson and Diana Krall; Tony Award Winner, Jennifer Holliday; instrumentalists The Roots of the “Tonight Show;” singer-bassist Esperanza Spaulding; renowned trumpeter, Clark Terry; choreographers Patrick La'Croix, Debbie Allen and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; filmmakers Topper Carew and Spike Lee; and the renowned director of theater and stage, Larry Leon Hamlin. McPherson also has participated in live and recorded performances with the great jazz vibraphonist, Lionel Hampton; saxophonist, James Moody, Drummer Terry Lynne Carrington, Jazz vocalist, Sarah Vaughn; gospel artist, Marvin Sapp; and saxophonist, Branford Marsalis and myriad artists on Broadway and various theater entities. He has also been involved with compositions for Disney, The Cartoon Network, Pixar, SONY Music, Motown, The Boston Pops, The Louisville Symphony Orchestra and Quincy Jones' QWEST Records.

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