Since 1979, June has been African-American Music Appreciation Month. The Classics a Day team decided to adopt it for the June 2019 theme as well. Popular music genres will no doubt be well-represented by others. We’ll be focusing on the composers, conductors, and performing artists of color who have contributed to classical music.

For my part, my feed features African-American classical composers. Here are my posts for the fourth and final week of #ClassicsaDay #BlackMusicMonth

6/24/19 Rosephanye Powell (1962-) To Sit and Dream

Powell is primarily known as a choral composer. She’s also considered an authority on the music of William Grant Still, and African-American spirituals.

6/25/19 Hale Smith (1925-2009) – Contours for Orchestra

Smith studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music. He won the first BMI Student Composer Award in 1952 and went on to have a successful career as a composer, pianist, arranger, and academician.


6/26/19 Jeffrey Mumford (1955 – ) – “through a stillness…”

Mumford studied with composition with Elliot Carter. Although not a strict serialist, Mumford writes densely complex music that eschews tonality.


6/27/19 George Walker (1922-2018) Lyric for Strings

Walker was the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize for composition. Lyric for Strings is dedicated to Walker’s grandmother, who died shortly before the work was finished. Lyric remains his most popular work.