Westminster Musician, 81, To Feature In Prestigious Exhibition At Harvard University

Published: 13/08/2021

Well-known musician, Professor Ian Hall, has been invited as a guest of honour to an exhibition at Harvard University, in which he is to be featured.

This exhibition will showcase the work of Professor Eileen Southern and celebrate the history and current state of black women and black music in American universities. Professor Hall featured alongside Professor Southern at the FESTAC ’77 Festival, a major international festival held in 1977 to celebrate African music and art.

Hall, 81, who resides in Westminster, was the first black musician to graduate from Oxford Music University in 1962, and again with the highest honours in 1966. and played in Westminster Abbey, has been well-known in the jazz scene. His ambitions and music allowed him to play all over the world in venues that include Westminster Abbey.

The prestigious university first contacted Bluebird Care Westminster & City of London, the home care service that provides care for Professor Hall. After getting in touch, Customer Care Manager Miguel Guilhermino thoroughly explained the achievement to Professor Hall to see if he would accept the invitation, furthermore, setting up a video call for both parties to connect.

Miguel said, “ We know how important Professor Hall's legacy is to him, so allowing Harvard to share his career journey has lifted his spirits and improved his wellbeing after a challenging year. We were delighted to be a part of this journey and to help make it happen for him. "

Professor Oja, a professor at Harvard University, said,

“Their presence at FESTAC '77, the global festival held in 1977 in Lagos, was of such significance due to their accomplishments as scholars of prestigious Universities from both the UK and the United States made them advocates for Black American history and African music & culture.

Professor Hall's letter is certainly an invaluable addition and centrepiece in the exhibition."

The letter, which features an interview of Professor Hall, reveals that he and Eileen Southern were both in attendance at FESTAC '77. The festival involved scholars, artists, and musicians from around the world to gather and celebrate African culture and discuss the issues facing Black and African artists and performers at the time. The letter will be part of a digital, interactive map that showcases Eileen Southern’s international correspondence and influence which will help to bring to life the people and powerful stories behind each pin on the map.

Professor Hall expresses his thoughts on featuring at the exhibition,

"The invitation to join the most prestigious Harvard University as a Visiting Professor, to memorialise the historic Professor Eileen Southern, is at once an honour and an astonishing achievement.

At the Harvard celebration in November, I shall be able to share the essence of the FESTAC with the distinguished guests."

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