When we think about African American music, we tend to think about spirituals, jazz and gospel genres. To be sure, these are genres that have been created and shaped by Black composers and musicians. However, something we often overlook is Black classical music and Black classical composers.
Though I have been trained in classical music my entire life and studied music in college, I never heard names such as William Grant Still or Florence Price until recently. Many Black composers have been largely absent from the study of classical music. Let’s take a moment to learn about three of these brilliant composers and their contributions to classical music.