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Beautiful Music NOW - Elayne Jones

Courtesy of the San Francisco Symphony Archives

Today's Beautiful Music is an exciting piece of music given a thrilling performance by some top-tier instrumentalists!

Bela Bartok composed his Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion in 1937, and as you listen to the third movement (Allegro non troppo) you'll instantly hear how extraordinary it is as a composition. This performance is from a recording that features soloists Gerson Yessin, Raymond Viola, Elayne Jones, and Alfred Howard, as well as the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and Stokowski Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leopold Stokowski.

Groundbreaking percussionist Elayne Jones is the subject of a documentary film about her life and career. The Barbados-born New Yorker lived from 1928-2020, and graduated from The Juilliard School thanks to a scholarship from Duke Ellington. She performed as Timpanist of the New York City Opera, the American Symphony Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, and the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. She was a member of the Percussive Arts Society's (PAS) Hall of Fame -- only its fourth female member -- and when she joined the San Francisco Symphony in 1972 she became the first Black member of the orchestra. You can also use the link below to watch an interview with the filmmakers behind the documentary THE ELAYNE JONES PROJECT.

Suzanne Bona is the host and executive producer of Sunday Baroque, a nationally syndicated weekly radio show of Baroque and early music which she originated on WSHU in 1987.