Note: Supplementary references and information will continue to be added.  Please offer suggestions and visit again.

Selected Reference Bibliography
Historical LP Recording of Note
Scores and Library Holdings
Web Information Links


SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY                                                                                                                         (return to top)

Abdul, Raoul. (1977) Blacks in Classical Music: A Personal History.  New York, N.Y.: Dodd, Mead.

Arsenault, Raymond (2009) The Sound of Freedom: Marian Anderson, the Lincoln Memorial, and the concert that awakened America. New York: Bloomsbury Press. (A tightly focused, civil rights narrative of 1900s America.  Provides a useful historical context regarding classical music performance challenges and racial inequality. Based on the life of an iconic and talented music figurine, Marian Anderson.)

Ayers, Julie. (2005) "Segregated Musicians Union Locals, 1941-1974." in More than Meets the Ear: How Symphony Musicians Made Labor History.  Minneapolis, MI: Syren Book Company.

Banfield, William. (2003) Musical Landscapes in Color: Conversations With Black American Composers.  Scarecrow Press.

_____. (2004) "Black Artistic Invisibility: A Black Composer Talking ’Bout Taking Care of the Souls of Black Folk While Losing Much Ground Fast."  Journal of Black Studies, Vol. 35, No. 2, 195-209.

Brooks, Tim. (2004) Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry, 1890-1919. Chicago, IL. University of Illinois Press.  (ISBN: 0-252-02850-3)

De Lerma, Dominique-René. (1981-1984) Bibliography of Black Music. (4 vol) Westport, CT: Greenwood Press

_____. (1981) Volume 1: Reference Materials.

_____. (1981) Volume 2  Afro-American Idioms.

_____. (1982) Volume 3  Geographical Studies.

_____. (1984) Volume 4: Theory, Education, and Related Studies.

Ficher, Miguel et. al. eds. (1996) Latin American Classical Composers. Rowman & Littlefield (ASIN: 0810831856)

Floyd, Samuel ed. (1999) International Dictionary of Black Composers. Chicago, IL: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers. (2 volumes)

_____.  The Power of Black Music: Interpreting Its History from Africa to the United States.  Oxford University Press.

Guédé, Alain  (2003) Monsieur de Saint-George: Virtuoso, Swordsman, Revolutionary: A Legendary Life Rediscovered. St. Martins Press (ISBN: 0312309279)

Gray, John. (1988) Blacks in Classical Music A Bibliographical Guide to Composers, Performers, and Ensembles.. Westport, CT: Greenwood.

Green Jeffrey P. (1982) Edmund Thornton Jenkins: The Life and Times of an American, Black Composer, 1894-1926.   Connecticut : Greenwood Press.  (ISBN: 0-313-23253-9)

Greene, D. Richard  (2005) Black Classical Music Composers: A Comprehensive Listing of Recordings Available on Compact Disc.  Ardmore, PA:  Monograph

_____. (2006) An Overview of Black Composers and U.S. Symphony Orchestra Repertoire: 1899 - 1970 and 2001 - 2006.  Ardmore, PA:  Monograph

Handy, D. Antoinette. (1995) Black Conductors. Rowman and Littlefield (ISBN: 0810829304}

_____. (1981) Black Women in American Bands and Orchestras.  Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow.

Handy, William Christopher. Negro Authors and Composers of the United States.  New York: Handy Brothers Music Co.

Horne, Aaron. (1990) Woodwind Music of Black Composers: A Bibliography. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

_____. (1991) String Music of Black Composers: A Bibliography. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. (Note: Also includes strings with other instruments.)

_____. (1992) Keyboard Music of Black Composers: A Bibliography. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

_____. (1996) Brass Music of Black Composers: A Bibliography. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Karpf, Juanita. (1997) "The Early Years of African American Music Periodicals, 1886-1922: History, Ideology, Context"  International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music, Vol. 28, No. 2.  pp. 143-168.

Kimberlein, Cynthia Tse and Akin Euba  (2005) Towards An African Pianism:  Keyboard Music of Africa and the DiasporaVolume One - Essays.  Volume Two - Music Scores and CDs.  MRI Press.

La Brew, Arthur R. (1994) Captain Francis Johnson (1792-1844): Great American black bandsman : life and works Volumes I and II.  Michigan Music Research Center. (availability uncertain

Mack, Elaine. (2009) Black Classical Musicians in Philadelphia: Oral Histories Covering Four Generations. Writing Our World Press.

Maultsby, Portia and Mellanee V. Burnim. (1998) “African American Musics: Overview.” in Ellen Koskoff, ed. The United States and Canada: The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music (Volume 3). pp. 572 – 591.

McGinty, Doris Evans.  (2004)  A Documentary History of the National Association of Negro Musicians  Center for Black Music Research.

Mensah, Attah Annan. (1998) “Compositional Practices in African Music.” in Ruth M. Stone, and James Porter, eds. Africa: The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music (Volume 1), pp. 208 – 231.

Njoku, Johnston Akuma-Kalu. (1998) “Art Composed Music in Africa.” in Ruth M. Stone, and James Porter, eds. Africa: The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music (Volume 1), pp. 232 – 253.

Nyaho, William C. ed. (2007) Piano Music of Africa and the African Diaspora.  Oxford University Press.

Onovwerosuoke, Fred. (2008) Songs of AfricaOxford University Press.

Peress, Maurice. (2004) Dvorák to Duke Ellington: A Conductor Explores America 's Music and Its African American RootsOxford University Press..

Ramsey, Guthrie P. Jr. (2003) Race Music: Black Cultures from Bebop to Hip-Hop. University of California Press. (ISBN: 0520210484)

Ross, Alex. (2007)  "Invisible Men: American Composers from Ives to Ellington" in The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Sadie, Stanley ed. (2001) New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.  Oxford University Press.

Smith, Catherine Parsons.  (2000) William Grant Still: A Study in Contradictions. University of California Press (ISBN: 0520215427)

Smith, Jessie Carney  (2003) "Arts and Entertainment - Music" in Black Firsts, Canton, MI.Visible Ink. pp. 30 - 55.

Soll, Beverly. (2005) I Dream a World: The Operas of William Grant StillUniversity of Arkansas Press.

Southall, Geneva Handy. (1999) Blind Tom, the Black Pianist-Composer (1849-1908): Continually Enslaved.  Lanham , Md. : Scarecrow Press .(ISBN 0-8108-3594-0)

Southern, Eileen. (1997) The Music of Black Americans: A History. New York, N.Y.: W.W. Norton & Company

_____. (1982)  Biographical Dictionary of Afro-American and African  Musicians.  Westport, CT: Greenwood.

_____ and Doris Evans McGinty, eds. (2003) National Association of Negro Musicians: A Documentary History. Chicago, IL: Center for Black Music Research.

Still, Judith Anne. (1996) William Grant Still : A Bio-Bibliography. Greenwood Publishing Group (ISBN: 0313252556)

Tortolano, William (2003) Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: Anglo-Black Composer, 1875-1912.   Lanham, MD.: Scarecrow Press.

Turner, Diane D. (2007) Feeding the Soul: Black Music, Black Thought.   Chicago, IL.: Third World Press.

Walker, George (1991) Make Room for Black Classical Music.   New York Times.  (November 3)

Walker-Hill, Helen (1992) Black Women Composers: A Century of Piano Music (1893-1990). Bryn Mawr, PA : Hildegard Press,

_____. (2002) From Spirituals to Symphonies : African-American Women Composers and Their Music. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Wright, Josephine. (1998) “African American Musics: Concert Music.” in Ellen Koskoff, ed.  The United States and Canada: The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music (Volume 3). pp. 603 – 613.

_____. (1992) “Black Women in Classical Music in Boston during the Late Nineteenth Century,” in New Perspectives in Music, Josephine Wright and Samuel Floyd, Jr. eds. Warren, MI: Harmonie Park Press.


HISTORICAL RECORDINGS OF NOTE                                                                                                        (return to top)

CBS Records' Black Composers Series (recorded on LP between 1974 and 1979): This Black Composers Series reissue, by The College Music Society, is an important component of the documentation of Black achievement in western culture. It contains music written by Black composers during the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries and, in part, it demonstrates the working out of the Black aesthetic in the western concert music tradition over a two-hundred-year period.

For information regarding orders, click here. 9 vinyl LP records + 16 page booklet / $35

For inquiries, send e-mail to: The College Music Society, or write to CMS at 312 East Pine Street Missoula, MT 59802, or call the CMS office at (406) 721-9616


Filmed by CBC, this Documentary of Le Chevalier Saint-Georges (musician/composer) portrays the life of a man who overcame the adversities of class, race and society to become a leading musician in 18th century France.  Born in Guadeloupe to a slave and a French colonialist, Saint-Georges eventually led some of France’s most important orchestras.

The DVD was released in 2005.  For additional information and orders, click here.


COMPOSER SCORES: LIBRARY HOLDINGS & AVAILABILITY                                                           (return to top)

A special Black composer name listing has been developed, by Temple University Library, that connects to WorldCat: the world's largest online network of library catalogs, holdings, and services.  A composer name links to work titles and scores throughout this worldwide catalog; also indicating specific library locations where works are held.  Musicians and artistic administrators should find this tool facilitates score research and the use of interlibrary loan.  Many works are unrecorded; therefore the titles in this special listing may easily outnumber the actual recorded works included in this discography.   

Hopefully, this tool will lead to increased performances of classical works by Black composers,

For name listing with WorldCat links, click here


WEB LINKS                                                                                                                                                      (return to top)

African American History & Heritage Site : Offers wide-ranging information regarding history - including music.  Focuses on teacher resources and information.

African-American Sheet Music; 1850 – 1920:  From the collections of Brown University, this includes 1,305 pieces of African-American sheet music dating from 1850 through 1920.  Post-Civil War music reflects the problems of Reconstruction and the beginnings of urbanization and the northern migration of African Americans. Selected African-American composers include James Bland, James Reese Europe, and Will Marion Cook.

African Chorus  Based in St. Louis, the African Chorus Project is dedicated to promoting world peace through intercultural understanding and cultural enrichment.  Program components include: a Concert and Touring Program; African Choral Workshops; Community Outreach Programs; along with Symposia and Festivals.  There is an emphasis upon African heritage composers.

Afrocentric Voices in Classical Music : Focuses on African-American performers and composers and on the vocal music forms they influenced; especially opera, art songs and Negro spirituals composed for concert performance.  Includes an extensive bibliography, a chronology of major events and accomplishments, a list of libraries and research centers with significant resources by and about African-American musicians.

Archives of African American Music and Culture : The Undine Smith Moore Collection includes a collection of original scores and manuscripts by African-American composers.  The Archives of AAAMC is devoted to the collection, preservation, and dissemination of materials for the purpose of research and study of African-American music and culture.

Center for Black Music Research (CBMR):  The center is an academic unit of Columbia College Chicago.  Its mission is to document, collect, preserve, and disseminate information about black music and to promote musicians and composers of the global African diaspora.  The center was founded in 1983 by Dr. Samuel A. Floyd Jr.

Center for Southern African-American Music: at the University of South Carolina's School of Music.  There are three components: an Archive, Curriculum Initiatives, and an Educational Outreach Program.

Classical Music in Black and White: a National Public Radio interview with musicologist Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma.

Dictionary of African Composers:  This project aims to more properly document the music of Africa and its composers.  The dictionary is a research project of the University of Pretoria's music department (South Africa).  Edited by Alexander Johnson and Chris Wallon.  Where possible, each composer entry is given in both English and their mother tongue.

Dr. Estrella's Incredibly Abridged Dictionary of Composers :  Accurate biographical information on more than 500 composers of Western art music.

Jamaica's Classical Musicians: Identifies and provides background information on individuals who have achieved an international classical music reputation - composers and musicians.  There is also some emphasis on those who have pursued their careers chiefly in Jamaica.

Marian Anderson: A Life in Song: University of Pennsylvania Rare Book & Manuscript Library special collection, established in 1996.  This biographical exhibit is a comprehensive presentation of Ms. Anderson's artistic development and musical career.  She placed her personal papers - including letters, music scores, programs, photographs, and sound recordings - with Penn's library.  An online registry and inventory of the papers and images is available.   Of note to this website is Anderson's black composer arrangements and collaborations with Harry T. Burleigh, Nathaniel Dett, and Hall Johnson. : An international directory of classical musicians, composers and conductors.  It offers the performing arts marketplace an in-depth source of information featuring biographical details on performing artists.  In addition, it provides the latest information on concert performance updates, new record releases, press releases from cultural institutions, industry news as well as video presentation of classical musicians around the world.

Myrtle Hart Society :  Strives to serve as an information resource and as a forum for classical musicians of color.  Can sign-up for a monthly newsletter.

(The) National Association for Music Education : Includes resource Lift Every Voice: Celebrating African American History Month that includes online teaching materials, suggested resources, and links to other organizations celebrating African American history and heritage.  MENC: The National Association for Music Education, the world's largest arts education organization, is an association that addresses all aspects of music education.

National Association of Negro Musicians : Founded in Chicago in 1919, the National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc. is the country’s oldest organization dedicated to the preservation, encouragement and advocacy of all genres of the music of African Americans.  Since its inception, NANM has provided encouragement and support to thousands of African American musicians, many of whom have become widely respected figures in music and have contributed significantly to American culture and music history.  A listing of luminaries includes some such as: Marian Anderson (first scholarship award recipient in 1919), William L. Dawson, Florence B. Price, Margaret Bonds, Warren George Wilson, James Frazier, Julia Perry, Grace Bumbry, Leon Bates, Joseph Joubert, Awadagin Pratt, along with many others.

William Grant Still Collection : Includes the Still Papers, 1877-1992, which chiefly contain photocopies of music, writings, correspondence, diaries, pictures, printed material, clippings, and recordings, which primarily document his work as a composer.  Additional materials from Verna Arvey, Still's second wife, form an integral part of the collection.  Documents include historical and critical study of Still's music, as well as being a valuable source of arrangements for performances.



Return to the home page

Updated:  August 2011