European tradition reimagined by African American artists.
Black-American classical music is a story of resilience. Black composers and performers have had a tremendous impact in shaping and reshaping the classical music landscape, but their contributions have often been ignored or undervalued throughout history. Despite the barriers of human bondage, segregation, Jim Crow, and cultural bias, Black musicians forged an innovative path in American classical music that impacted the world.
Though birthed from European classical tradition, Black-American artists and composers incorporated musical stylings that descended from Africa and were influenced by the Black experience in America. With a history that stretches back to colonial America, Black composers reached critical mass and begin mainstream cultural breakthroughs in the early 20th century with artists such as William Grant Still, Florence Price, and singer Roland Hayes, among many others.
Composer and musician Frances Johnson became the first African American to have his works printed as sheet music when his Collection of New Cotillions was published in 1818.
The dean of African-American composers.
Trumpet virtuoso and ambassador of jazz and classical music.
Born in the Mississippi Delta.
Born in New Orleans with roots in ragtime and the blues.
The dominant form of American dance music for over a decade.
Black musical tradition is a part of its core.
The progeny of spirituals and cousin to the blues.
A blend of African-American oral and musical traditions.