First Sunday | March 1, 2020 at 5:00PM

First Sunday | March 1, 2020 at 5:00PM

Centre Theater in Norristown

208 DeKalb St, Norristown, PA 19401

In celebration of Black History Month, Independence String Ensemble performs a First Sunday concert featuring works by African American composers who have shaped the course of music in the United States and around the world. The Centre Theater’s Director of Music, Steve Kramer is joined on stage by composer, violinist, and pianist, Michael Shingo Crawford. Listeners will be delighted by ragtime works by Scott Joplin, in their original form played by Michael Shingo Crawford on the piano, as well as a version arranged for the violin and cello duo. The program also showcases Michael’s riveting arrangement of Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal.

first sunday flyer march 2020

Admission is free, and donations are appreciated. For more information, contact Steve Kramer at 610-710-6100 or visit the ensemble’s website at

Please note that this concert begins at 5:00PM—a change from the usual First Sunday schedule.

Artist Biography: Michael Shingo Crawford

Michael Shingo Crawford is a Philadelphia-based composer and violinist who explores narrative and extramusical ideas through sound. His work is inspired by literature, visual art, dance, and his Japanese heritage.

Michael holds a Master’s in Music Composition from Temple University, where he studied with Emiliano Pardo-Tristan, Jan Krzywicki, and Adam Vidiksis. Within these two years, he received twenty-four premieres of his works, presented by performers including the PRISM Quartet, Sound Energy Trio, and Philadelphia Orchestra Musicians. His opera scene, Maximum Capacity, produced in collaboration with writer Traci Williams, was performed by ENAensemble as part of their Serial Opera Project and received repeat performances as part of the Fringe Festival in Philadelphia. His interest in collaborations has also led him to work with choreographers in projects that brought together live musicians and dancers. He has been commissioned by the Network for New Music and OWLchestra.

Michael is active as a violinist and performs with cellist, Steve Kramer, as part of the Independence String Ensemble. The ensemble performs in both classical and popular styles, bringing a unique array of arrangements and original compositions to their audiences, reaching their home in Philadelphia as well as the neighboring cities of New York, Baltimore, and Washington D.C. Michael also performs regularly with ENAensemble, a multimedia chamber opera company. Recent engagements include a recital of Baroque and Classical works presented at the historic Laurel Hill Mansion’s Concerts by Candlelight series with internationally recognized pianist, Lance Wiseman, as well as a performance in Yerevan, Armenia as a member of the 2019 World Congress for Information Technology Orchestra. For both 2018 and 2019, he was concertmaster of Temple Composers Orchestra, a chamber orchestra dedicated to performing Temple student compositions. While studying at Emory University, he served as concertmaster of the Emory University Symphony Orchestra and was the winner of the 2015-2016 Concerto and Aria Competition with his performance of the Barber Violin Concerto. Over the summers, he has attended the Dalí Quartet International Music Festival, Fresh Inc Festival, Eastern Music Festival, National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute, and Franklin Pond Chamber Music College Festival. He currently teaches private violin and piano lessons at Music & Arts Lawrence Park.

During his undergraduate studies at Emory University, he studied composition with Richard Prior and John Anthony Lennon and violin with Shawn Pagliarini. He presented an honors composition recital in his senior year, where his music was performed by the Vega String Quartet, Elena Cholakova, and Emory’s student and alumni musicians. He was a recipient of the Louis B. Sudler Prize in the Arts, a prestigious award presented to the graduating senior who demonstrated the highest proficiency in one or more of the performing or creative arts at Emory.

Michael Crawford- headshot1