Classical Music Recordings of
Black Composers

George Walker, composer     


A Comprehensive Reference Guide to Recorded Works Available on Compact Disc
1990 to the present

Compiled by Richard Greene




Who and where are individuals interested in classical music - specifically the works of African-Americans and African heritage composers?

As I am now again able to devote time to needed updating, please let me hear from you.


 SYMPOSIUM!  The BLACK COMPOSER in CLASSICAL MUSIC: Talent to be Known. An important information/ discussion forum focused on the Black composer to provide improved knowledge and awareness that, hopefully, leads to increased performance considerations. There will be a select panel comprised of composers, musicians and conductors who have pertinent perspectives and knowledge. Research and information resources will be available and provided. A special honor/award is planned for composer George Walker.

Scheduled for the coming Sunday, October 30, 2011, 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., at Philadelphia's Central Free Library Auditorium (along the Parkway on Vine Street). This event is free and open to all.    Info:

Sponsorship: Department of African American Studies @Temple University; Department of Music and Fleisher Music Collection @the Free Library of Philadelphia

SPECIAL CONCERT: Black Composers with Dr. Jay Fluellen and music friends.  Sunday, October 2nd @ 3:00 p.m. @Philadelphia's African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, 6361 Lancaster Avenue.  Contact (215) 473-3065.  ( Location link )

THE SOLOIST: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music by Steve Lopez: a beautifully written and poignant true story of the bond between a journalist and a homeless, classically trained musician. Film (2009) to star Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr.

When Lopez saw Nathaniel Ayers playing his heart out on a two-string violin on Los Angeles' skid row, he found it impossible to walk away. More than thirty years earlier, Ayers had been a promising classical bass student at Juilliard -ambitious, charming, and also one of the few African-Americans- until he gradually lost his ability to function, overcome by schizophrenia. When Lopez finds him, Ayers is homeless, paranoid, and deeply troubled, but glimmers of that brilliance are still there. The Soloist is a story of friendship and the redeeming power of music.

HONOR! A Celebration of the African American Cultural Legacy. Curated by Jessye Norman and presented by Carnegie Hall..Includes George Walker (composer), Imani Winds (wind quintet), Eric Owens (bass-baritone), and others. details →

GRAMMY AWARD NEWS -  Conductor John McLaughlin Williams with violinist Elmar Oliveira were nominated in the category Best Instrumental Soloist Performance with Orchestra. Congratulations!

Be a financial contributor to the Imani Winds Legacy Commissioning Project - a special initiative to commission and to perform ten new works composed by African- and Cuban-heritage composers for wind quintet. This initiative follows a decade of successful performance.  details →

Oxford University Press announces the release of a choral collection, Songs of Africa, compiled and edited by Fred Onovwerosuoke.  Transcriptions and choral arrangements encompass a wide spectrum of Africa’s regions and cultural practices including Nigeria, Ghana, Congo, Benin Republic, South Africa, Namibia, and Gambia.

 Special exhibit: Francis Johnson; music master and composer of early Philadelphia at the University of Pennsylvania Library - through fall 2009.  details →

The Sphinx Organization announces an initiative aimed at bringing more music by Black and Latino composers to the concert hall.  The Sphinx Commissioning Consortium (SCC) will partner with thirteen major U.S. orchestras.

Article SONGS of the SISTERHOOD by Gregory Walker.  A musical glimpse of black women composers: Dorothy Rudd Moore, Valerie Capers, and Jeraldine Herbison.  December 2007 issue of Chamber Music magazine.

An historic Bridge CD (9233) has been released.  It is the re-mastered 1940 concert of soprano Dorothy Maynor.  Her transcendent voice was described as a treasure by many, including Eugene Ormandy - the Philadelphia Orchestra's music director.

BUSKAID SOWETO STRINGS newsletter.  Founded in the 1990s in South Africa.  Students range in age from five to twenty-four.  details →

HARRY T. BURLEIGH HERITAGE and LEGACY WEEKEND - 5th Annual.  Special program to honor Mr. Burleigh's heritage and music legacy. Composers include: Julius Williams, Dwight Andrews, Roland Carter, Janice Mitchell-Misurell, and Nkeiru Okoye. details →

GRAMMY AWARD NEWS -  Conductor John McLaughlin Williams won for the recording of Oiseaux Exotique (Exotic Birds), by Olivier Messiaen, with the Cleveland Chamber Symphony and soloist Angelin Chang, piano.

Last year, Imani Winds received a nomination for their CD, Classical Underground  details →

CD LISTENING GUIDE - Black History Classical Awareness ( document )

ONLINE BROADCASTS, PODCASTS, etc. - In addition to CDs, there are new modes of music listening opportunities.  Selected online options have been identified and are now available.  details →

BLACK COMPOSER and SYMPHONIC ORCHESTRA REPERTOIRE - a special report analyzes their inclusion in orchestra concerts from 1842-1970 and 2001-2006.  Composer name, composition, year and the orchestra are included. PDF report →

- 'Picturing the Banjo': A visual representation of the banjo from the era of slavery through contemporary times. Images track the arrival of an instrument that came from Africa with the slaves.  At the Corcoran Gallery of Art; Washington, D.C. and on National Public Radio.

- The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, by Alex Ross.  An intriguing, one-hundred year overview of "classical music" within prevailing historical, cultural, political, and aesthetic currents. Minimizes the use of traditional labels and categories. Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2007

- I Dream a World: The Operas of William Grant Still, by Beverly Soll, is the first book on Still's eight operas. Publisher: University of Arkansas Press, 2005.

- Towards An African Pianism:  Keyboard Music of Africa and the Diaspora, edited by Cynthia Tse Kimberlin and Akin Euba.  Volume One - Essays.  Volume Two - Music Scores and CDs.  Publisher: MRI Press 2005

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William Grant Still, composer


Copyright © Richard Greene 1998 - 2011