February 10, 2010

Pianist Delphin returns to campus for concert

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Pianist Wilfred Delphin returns to Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where he is both an alumnus and a professor emeritus, for a free concert beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 17 in the Old Baptist Foundation Recital Hall.

Delphin brings with him musical partner Valerie Jones-Francis, and David Dillard, assistant professor in the School of Music at SIUC and a noted baritone, takes the stage as well. The concert, “A Celebration of African American Operatic Divas,” features arias, art songs, opera duets and spirituals with selections from such composers as Brahms, Copland, Mozart, Verdi and Wagner.

Delphin is currently Artist-in-Residence at Xavier University of Louisiana. The three musicians recently performed together as part of the University of New Orleans Musical Excursions Series.

Delphin came to SIUC as half of the piano duo Delphin and the late Edwin Romain, a partnership that began when the two were undergraduate students at Xavier University. Both earned advanced degrees at SIUC, then second doctorates at the University of Southern Mississippi, before returning to SIUC as members of the faculty.

Delphin retired in 2004. He volunteered with the United States Peace Corps for several months in the West African country of Senegal, and then volunteered in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Delphin made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1977 with Romaine. The two toured the United States, South America, Europe and Asia. Among the highlights of their duo career was a performance for President Jimmy Carter in the East Room of the White House. Delphin is part of Baldwin Piano’s “World’s Best” promotion, and is a South Carolina Arts Commission Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award winner.

Delphin and Francis have performed together many times, including Duo Benefit Concerts performed in Carbondale for AIDS relief in Zambia.

This concert is part of Black History Month events at SIUC. The School of Music sponsors the concert.