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Mon Feb 8, 2021, 07:26 PM

How Black Composers Shaped the Sound of American Classical Music

A new project seeks to elevate artists like Harry T. Burleigh and Florence Price, whose work has been ignored by white audiences.

'Classical pianist Lara Downes knew she was onto something profound when audiences began to react to her show-closing rendition of “Fantasie Negre,” a 1929 composition by the African American composer Florence Beatrice Price. Instead of relying on motifs typical of the time period, Price injected a new musical influence by adapting the melody of the soulful spiritual “Sinner, Please Don’t Let This Harvest Pass.”

“People would go nuts,” recalls Downes. “It was this sound that people hadn't heard before.” Although Price was the first black female composer to have a symphony performed by a major American orchestra, her works remained outside the mainstream of classical concert music, not to mention beyond name recognition of the most casual classical music fan. Downes, who also hosts Amplify with Lara Downes on NPR, first came across Price’s music in the mid-aughts, in a dusty library copy of a collection of compositions by Price and her contemporaries.

Downes’ new project, Rising Sun Music, aims to reframe the history of American classical music by embracing its diverse origins and composers of color like Price, while building a more inclusive future for the genre. The project, created and curated by Downes and assisted by veteran classical music producer Adam Abeshouse, is a series of newly recorded works written by black composers—including many works that have never been recorded before—performed by Downes with guest artists. She plans to release one song per week to streaming platforms, with a new theme every month, beginning February 5.'>>>

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/black-classical-music-composers-180976924/?

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Reply How Black Composers Shaped the Sound of American Classical Music (Original post)
elleng Feb 8 OP
Aristus Feb 8 #1
BeyondGeography Feb 8 #2
dhill926 Feb 8 #3

Response to elleng (Original post)

Mon Feb 8, 2021, 07:29 PM

1. I remember how pleased I was when music scholars reclassified Scott Joplin from

"Ragtime Composer" to "Classical Composer".

His piano compositions really are brilliant. They represent some of the best of American music.

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Response to elleng (Original post)

Mon Feb 8, 2021, 07:41 PM

2. Still's Lyric Quartet eg

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Response to elleng (Original post)

Mon Feb 8, 2021, 08:12 PM

3. good stuff...

gotta wonder how much title or unknown music is to there. Dudamel and the LA Phil, are good at highlighting little known composers...

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