Companion to AfriClassical.com
Black History Quiz
(52 questions on 3 levels of
William J. Zick, Webmaster,
William J. Zick
All rights reserved for all content of AfriClassical.com
African Heritage in Classical Music
Here you will meet 52 composers, conductors and
performers - Africans, African Americans and Afro-Europeans.
Many are alive today, but one lived 500 years ago! These
artists are unknown to most of us, yet are so numerous this site can present
only a fraction of them. They have
made enduring contributions to Classical Music. Several have composed, conducted and
performed Classical Music. Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges
(1745-1799) of Guadeloupe is one of those multi-talented musicians. Cuban classical guitarist Leo Brouwer (b. 1939) is another.
Over 100 sound samples can be heard at the Audio page and at the
biographical pages. The links at left lead to a Black History
Quiz covering everyone profiled at the site and a Guest Book
in which you are invited to leave your comments.
is a near-daily companion to
AfriClassical.com. A blog post which refers to many Black
Dominique-René de Lerma: Scholar of Black Classical Music for 40
Years. It is an extended
interview with Dominique-René de Lerma, a Professor of Music at
Lawrence University Conservatory. He is a Musicologist who has
specialized in Black Classical Composers and Musicians for four
decades. His research material on the lives of composers and
musicians, along with his comprehensive Works Lists and
Bibliographies, which often run to hundreds of entries, are
the heart of this website. In the interview
Prof. De Lerma recounts many of his interactions with students who
have profited from his wisdom and support.
Visit the blog often to learn of current issues involving Composers
and Musicians of African Descent!
Listen to an interview of Webmaster Bill Zick on
WWFM A Tempo, March 2,
Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges
Arion 68093 (1990)
Composers of African Descent
Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges was a very fashionable
composer, violinist and conductor as well as Colonel of Black
volunteers in the French Revolution. The U.S. composer and
arranger William Grant Still blended jazz and the Blues in his
emblematic Afro-American Symphony. Another 39 composers
have been selected from Brazil, Canada, Cuba, France, Guadeloupe,
Haiti, Jamaica, Nigeria, Puerto Rico, South Africa, the U.K. and the
U.S. Quality links provide
access to still more biographies.
Musicians of African
Ludwig van Beethoven wrote his Bridgetower Sonata to display
the talents of a violin virtuoso, George Augustus Polgreen
Bridgetower. Before the work was published, the two had a falling
out and the work was renamed the Kreutzer Sonata!
Girma Yifrashewa saw a piano for the first time at age 16, yet
he became the first
Ethiopian classical pianist to tour widely in Africa.
Thomas "Blind Tom" Wiggins was a musical genius born into
slavery in 1849, blind and autistic. Nearly all of his enormous
earnings went to slave owners, and later to guardians, even after
Black History and Classical Music
The Black trumpeter John Blanke served
England's Kings Henry VII & VIII. A tapestry shows him
performing in 1511. Ignatius Sancho was born on a slave ship
near West Africa, and was soon orphaned. He
was raised as a house slave in England but escaped at age
20. Before long he was a composer, anti-slavery
activist and author of A Theory of Music. A Black History Quiz
includes interesting facts on all 52 composers and musicians.
The Audio page features over 100 samples of music by
33 composers, conductors and instrumental performers.
Black Opera and Concert Singers; A Resource Book
is the working title of a book in progress by
Dominique-René de Lerma, Professor of Music at Lawrence University
in Appleton, Wisconsin, and former Director of the Center for Black
Music Research at Columbia College Chicago. He wishes
to alert schools, studio teachers, singers, managers, and an
interested public that he is seeking information on current or past
professional opera singers and recitalists. He intends to
include data on the more than 1,600 figures (already identified)
that have been active in recitals and opera (including musical
theater). This includes performers from outside the U.S. There will
also be a directory to more than 700 operas by Black composers.
The manuscript presently runs more than 1,000 pages. It will not
include excerpted quotations of critics or biographies. Please pass
this information on to other interested persons. As soon as
Professor De Lerma is comfortable that the field is well covered, the manuscript will be delivered to the
publisher. Anyone who wishes to communicate with the author may send
him E-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
This page was last updated on
March 19, 2014