I’m a regular contributor to the #ClassicsaDay feed on Twitter. At a speech in Poland on 7/6/17, the President said, “The world has never known anything like our community of nations. We write symphonies.” The next day #WeWriteSymphonies appeared on Twitter, citing all the non-Western — and non-white — composers who do indeed write symphonies.

To celebrate composers of color, I used both hashtags in my feed for the month of September.

Below is an annotated list for the third week of posts.

Julia Perry (1924-1979)

Perry studied with Luigi Dallpiccola in the 1940s and won a Guggenheim Fellowship. She also studied with Nadia Boulanger and spent several years working in Europe. Her compositions incorporate African-American folk music traditions into an adventurous neo-romantic style. Her catalog includes 12 symphonies.

Jeffrey Mumford (1955 – )

Mumford studied with Elliott Carter and Lawrence Moss. His style is modern and complex in structure.

Diedre Murray (1951 – )

Diedre Murray is a cellist and composer known to both the jazz and classical worlds. Most of her classical scores, including her opera “The Running Man” are heavily influenced by jazz idioms.


Adolphus Hailstork (1941 – )

Hailstork has served as composer-in-residence at both Norfolk State University and Old Dominion University. His music combines African-American motifs with an accessible, almost impressionistic classical style. Hailstork’s catalog includes three symphonies, two operas, and several orchestral and chamber works.