The Interdisciplinary Artist…
From being selected as one of the White House Millennium Committee’s top Community Playwrights/Composers to receiving the first opera commission as Composer and Librettist/Lyricist from the Smithsonian and Sultanate of Oman where the world renowned Denyce Graves served as Artistic Director, Tony has served as an Interdisciplinary Arts Guru and Resident Artist worldwide for over 30+ years. He has won national composer/lyricist awards in 4 genres including Jazz, Gospel (Stellar), Classical and Musical Theatre. He has also curated and managed world-class multidisciplinary, cultural, Edutainment and STEM + Arts = STEAM programs in four major cities including: Chicago, Indianapolis, Baltimore, and the Greater Washington DC (that includes Maryland and Virginia serving over 20,000+ youth each year 2008-2010).
Tony is a graduate of the Tony award winning BMI Musical Theatre Project whose graduates have produced some of Broadway’s most amazing works – A Chorus Line, Little Shop of Horrors, Nine, Ragtime, Avenue Q, Next To Normal and The Book of Mormon (New York Times calls “The Harvard of Musical Theatre) and the National Arts Strategy Ivy League Executive Program at the University of Pennsylvania.
As a piano prodigy at 4 years of age, Tony began playing hymns for the church at the tender age of 6 and became the paid Music Director at 11 for the adult and youth choirs; today he has over 30+ years of ecumenical expertise from serving as Music Minister/Worship Arts Director for churches with 5,000+ memberships in 6 denominations; thus hired also as an Ecumenical Music Director and consultant to create original music and conduct mass choirs for celebratory Sacred and especially Martin Luther King community day programs across the country. Tony’s classical music skills were honed by starting private lessons at the age of 5, ongoing recital performances and then being selected an Illinois state classical piano runner-up by performing Chopin’s Revolutionary Etude in high school. Tony continued classical piano studies at Anderson University where he was the first African America male pianist to be featured in the yearly honor’s recital his Sophomore year performing the Grand Scherzo by Gottschalk and Impromptus #2 in E-Flat Major/Allegro by Schubert. It was many years later that Tony fully understood the deliberate intentions of his private piano instructor Gail Steward to not only expose him to a healthy repertoire of Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Schumann but also from classical musicians of color that included Cantos de España by Albéniz, Gottschalk the Mulatto and works that matched Tony’s interest in post-modern works through Scriabin or one of his favorites Sergei Prokofiev’s Concerto in D-Flat.
Today, as a versatile artist, Tony has had cameo actor appearances on BET shows and HBO’s WIRE television series -- that featured his Baltimore Booker T. Washington Boys’ Choir on the sound track. He is a veteran musical theatre director from Urinetown at John Hopkins University to the WIZ and his original musical debuts on stages across the country. Tony’s original musicals, artworks, operetta and Holiday performances have been featured yearly at the Kennedy Center for 10 years -- from the Terrace Theatre to Orchestra Hall.
Tony founded the TAP (Teen Arts Program) and residential camp that received the nation’s highest honor for America’s Top 50 out-of-school Arts and Humanities Award from President Obama’s Committee on the Arts & Humanities in 2016. His original creations have been featured at the nation’s most celebrated stages and include 4 musicals, 3 Holiday musicals, 1 Cultural anthology, 1 Easter cantata, 1 opera, The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry Underground Song exhibit premiere with Bill Nye The Science Guy and a national FOX TV feature of his 911 memorial United America song and video. Notable awards include: 2009 National Meet The Composer Award, 2008 American Composer Forum Award Winner for his Shine Through Musical, 2008 Stellar for ”I Am” recorded by Maurette Brown Clark (Grammys of Gospel), 2007 Maryland State Arts Composer Award, and a 2000 White House millennium/NEA Composer/Playwright Residency (America’s top 55 Community Artists) served in Durham North Carolina at the Hayti Heritage Foundation in partnership with Duke University’s Zoology Department.
Tony currently serves as Regional Artistic Director for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington where he has also held positions as Director of Cultural Arts, STEAM Director and Director of SPEARS (Strategic Partnerships in Education, Arts, Research & STEM). He has served as a Consultant for Philadelphia’s national Sacred Arts Places pilot, Artistic Director for the Historic Madame Walker Theatre Center in Indianapolis, Director of Worship Arts & Outreach at Sherman St. Church in Indiana, Executive Director for the Bethel Outreach Center in Baltimore, Lecturer of Fine Arts at Chicago Loyola University, Training Director for the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Linkages Program (a national STEM pilot) and partnership with Chicago Loyola University’s Center for Urban Research, Artistic Director for the La St. WIZ Factory (serving over 300 youth from the notorious Cabrini housing projects), Founding Director of the Urban League’s Camp Smart (North Chicago/Waukegan) and as an Arts Educator in Chicago public and private schools.
Artist Residencies include: Baltimore School of the Arts (TWIGS Middle School Choir Director), Baltimore Office of Promotion and Arts (8 Baltimore public schools from 2005-07 utilizing Tony’s Edutainment/STEAM curricula), Baltimore and Chicago Arch-Diocese Schools, Baltimore Parks and Recreation, Morgan State University Summer Arts Camp (Baltimore, MD), Y.E.P.A.W. - Youth Performance Arts Workshop (Akron Ohio and Cape Town, South Africa), Howard Street Alternative School for high school for juveniles (Chicago, IL), City Lights (Chicago’s oldest after-school program) and YMCA/YWCAs in Chicago and Indianapolis.
All of Tony’s original works and a plethora of other artists are being published and marketed through his new “Small World Edutainment and Publishing” company in 2020. Stay tuned…..