photo: Jon Christopher Meyers

Dr. Diane Retallack has been Artistic Director of the Eugene Concert Choir organization since 1985 and is the founding director of the chamber ensemble Eugene Vocal Arts and the Eugene Concert Orchestra. She earned a Doctor of Music in Choral Conducting from Indiana University where she studied conducting with Margaret Hillis, founding director of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, and score analysis with master choral scholar Julius Herford. She has also drawn experience and inspiration from workshops and festivals with Helmuth Rilling and Robert Shaw. 


Black is Beautiful

Release Date: February 9, 2024
Catalog Number: NV6599
21st Century
Vocal Music
BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL from Dr. Diane Retallack and The Eugene Concert Choir is an ode to hope in the face of injustice. This Navona Records release showcases music by Black composers that shed light on the Black experience including two choral masterworks: Seven Last Words of the Unarmed by Joel Thompson and the world premiere recording of Dr. Undine Smith Moore’s oratorio Scenes from the Life of a Martyr. Thompson’s composition is modeled after Haydn’s The Seven Last Words of Christ; in this work, Joel Thompson quotes the last words of seven unarmed African American men killed by police or authority figures. Moore’s oratorio depicts the life of Martin Luther King, Jr, from birth to carefree childhood, young love, a calling to amplify the voice of his people, the hatred he experienced for his commitment, the grief of his untimely death, and the power of his message. These works are joined by the world premiere of The Hymn! by Stacey V. Gibbs and an arrangement of Glory from the film Selma by Dr. Eugene Rogers.