Music to Celebrate: A Tribute to Black Composers

Over the last century, some Black composers have found their place in European-based classical music, while others have been at the forefront of creating distinctively Black styles of American music such as blues, jazz, and Motown. Tonight’s program honors composers from all these traditions.

Julia Perry’s Short Piece for Orchestra (1943) is full of exciting musical contrasts. Orchestral arrangements of popular standards follow, one group by Duke Ellington, another by Louis Armstrong, and a final set of Motown songs.

The main feature is William Grant Still’s Afro-American Symphony (1930), in which the composer merged a formal symphonic structure with the rhythms and idioms of blues and jazz.

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