As the Classical Programmer here at Pandora, I am endlessly inspired by the contributions of Black Classical musicians, composers, vocalists and conductors. Western classical music is an art form that was built of the backs of their ancestors, and these individuals excelled in creating music that is beautiful, true to the art form and BLACK. I've created a number of playlists and stations to celebrate their contributions. Check them out!
And a Black History Month pop up on Classical Radio combining it all!
Enjoy the music of William Grant Still, Florence Price, Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Shirley Verrett, Grace Bumbry, George Walker, Margaret Bonds, and so many more. Enjoy!
@jfreedman Thank you for this post. I enjoy a variety of music including classical. I'm a Mozart fan but listen to other classical works as well. I just collected the "Celebrating Black Composers" playlist. I will definitely check it out.
You will love Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges then! Not only did he write some beautiful high Classical music, he was the son of a slave and her owner on the Caribbean island of Guadalupe. He was only ten years older than Mozart and there's evidence that they crossed paths in Paris, were Saint-Georges was a conductor of a major Parisian Orchestra. He was also a competitive fencer and a captain in the French Revolution. His story is pretty extraordinary to say the least! I saw some reports that they are making a movie about his life.
@jfreedman That's awesome. I love stories about artists. I want to show this post to my niece's daughter who I have raised since she was a baby...she's like a daughter to me. She's biracial and I love for her to hear a variety of music and expand her cultural knowledge.
Florence Price has an amazing story too, she was pretty successful while she was alive (for a black woman composing classical music) in the first half of the 20th Century (she's the first black woman to have her music played by a major American Orchestra) and most of her music was lost to time after she died in the 50s until someone found boxes and boxes of her sheet music in an attic in 2009. Her music is American in the same way Copland's music is American, and just gorgeous. I love her piano music so much. There is currently an explosion of her music being recorded, and expect a lot more of it in the next few years.
Here's a Florence Price playlist.
Thanks for reading by the way, I'll tell anyone about these people that wants to listen!