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.
Watch our video Hidden No More: Classical Music by Artists of African Descent
Blogis a near-daily companion tothewebsite,
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!
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.