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Home » Orchestra News » National Philharmonic Salutes Black Classical Composers

National Philharmonic Salutes Black Classical Composers


African-American violinist Melissa White, of Local 802 (New York City), was a featured soloist with the National Philharmonic Orchestra in a Black History Month celebration, “Black Classical Music Pioneers.” The concert, which occurred at The Music Center at Strathmore on Feb. 22, featured works by African-American composers of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Featured works included: Local 802 (New York City) member Wynton Marsalis’ “Wild Strumming of Fiddle,” a 12-movement work that fuses jazz and symphonic music to create a dizzying array of sounds, rhythms and melodies; Violin Concerto No. 1 by Florence Price (1887-1953), a highly accomplished work in the models of the European classical concerto by the first African-American woman to be widely recognized as a symphonic composer; “The Lyric for Strings” by George Walker (1922-2018), the first African-American composer to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music; and The Symphony No. 1 by William Grant Still (1895-1978), the first symphony written by an African-American composer.

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