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Contact Information: Tanya Klein Public Relations 973-596-3433

Black History Month at NJIT Opens with Free Concert Featuring Pianist Richard Alston: Program to Focus on Composers of African Descent

NJIT will usher in Black History Month with a free concert on Feb. 3, 2010 featuring local pianist Richard Alston. Alston, an assistant professor of music at Essex County College, has been responsible for building the music program there. He is deeply committed to sharing music as both a musician and educator. Classical works by composers of African descent are his specialty.

The NJIT concert, from 3-4:30 p.m. in the Jim Wise Theatre on the NJIT campus, is part of NJIT’s ongoing Technology and Society Forum Series. The event will be free and open to the public.  Parking is available on the street.

Alston during his performance will offer commentary on selections from the music of artists such as Joseph Boulogne (the Chevalier of Saint Georges), Scott Joplin, R. Nathaniel Dett, Margaret Bonds, Florence Price, and George Walker.

After earning his bachelor’s at The Juilliard School, Alston was awarded the prestigious Maria Guerra Judelson Scholarship in piano to return to Juilliard for his master’s. He then embarked on a career in both classical piano performance and performing arts education. His performance credits range from live opera and recitals to radio and television broadcasts as well as recordings. 

Under Alston’s direction at Essex County College, the school’s associate’s degree program in music has flourished to become a full-fledged performing arts department of music, dance and drama. Highlights of his contributions to the department consist of a program that allows high school students to audition for opportunities to study at the college level, and the development of courses in musical computer technology marked by the construction of a new technical music lab.

Alston is also a former member of the faculty at Rutgers-Newark, a member of the Board of Music Advisors for Westminster Choir College’s Educational Opportunity Program and a former member of the Music Advancement Program faculty of The Juilliard School. In addition to balancing his educational and performance commitments, Alston makes time for a variety of volunteer community programs through his role as Minister of Music at Trinity Presbyterian Church, Montclair. He is also the founder of the Crossroads Music Academy in East Orange.

For more information about attending the program contact Jay Kappraff, kappraff@adm.njit.edu or 973-596-3490.

One of the nation's leading public technological universities, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is a top-tier research university that prepares students to become leaders in the technology-dependent economy of the 21st century. NJIT's multidisciplinary curriculum and computing-intensive approach to education provide technological proficiency, business acumen and leadership skills. With an enrollment of more than 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, NJIT offers small-campus intimacy with the resources of a major public research university. NJIT is a global leader in such fields as solar research, nanotechnology, resilient design, tissue engineering, and cyber-security, in addition to others. NJIT ranks 5th among U.S. polytechnic universities in research expenditures, topping $110 million, and is among the top 1 percent of public colleges and universities in return on educational investment, according to PayScale.com.