by Jarrett Hoffman
Think of the people from the past who lived in your town, crossing the same crosswalks, pushing open the same doors as you. Or, as the thought occurred to violist Chris Jenkins and pianist Dianna White-Gould, performing in the same room as them.
Collaborating in a piece by H. Leslie Adams in January 2020 for a concert at The Music Settlement honoring Martin Luther King, they realized that White-Gould’s parents — composer-pianist Dolores White and cellist Donald White — had performed together as a duo decades earlier in the very same space.
More ties came to mind between past and present, time and place. “We thought, it’s so interesting to be here,” Jenkins (pictured) said during a recent interview over Zoom. “Leslie is here, and Dianna’s parents have played in this space, and we’re here now. Leslie and Dianna went to Oberlin, and her mother went to Oberlin and CIM, and I work at Oberlin.” (Jenkins is the Associate Dean for Academic Support, Visiting Assistant Professor of Musicology, and Liaison to the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion). “All those connections — it was so interesting.”
The thought of those connections led to the creation of Linking Legacies, a chamber collective headed up by Jenkins that features multiple generations of African American classical musicians performing classical works by African American composers — with a focus on deep ties to the area for both performers and composers.