Colour of Music Festival celebrates black classical musicians

Colour of Music Festival celebrates black classical musicians

The Charleston Symphony Orchestra Spiritual Ensemble, in association with Buster-Elsie Productions, is pleased to announce the Colour of Music Festival, a five-day all-black classical musicians festival featuring black musicians, vocalists, and orchestra leaders performing piano, organ, and voice recitals, chamber ensembles and orchestra and a newly formed Colour of Music Chorale. More than 20 performances will showcase the breadth and influence of blacks on the classical music world past and present, including work by acclaimed composers such as William Grant Still (pictured above) and George Walker, who received the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1996.

The festival runs Oct. 23-27 with events scheduled throughout the day and evening at a variety of Charleston venues including churches and theatres. Visit the Colour of Music website for a complete schedule and ticket information.

Chevalier de Saint-GeorgeFew classical music enthusiasts are aware of the contributions of an African-French composer, Joseph Boulogne, also known as Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges (pictured left). Preceding Mozart by 11 years, Saint-Georges composed four operas and many mid-18th century works on par with or exceeding his contemporaries. His compositions are known around the world but garner little notice in the United States.

For years, black classically trained voice professionals have made enormous strides beginning with Marian Anderson’s groundbreaking 1955 debut at the Metropolitan Opera. Leontyne Price, Jessye Norman, Kathleen Battle, Denyce Graves and many others have followed, showcasing the “colour” of voice. On the orchestral stage, however, the prevalence of black classically trained instrumentalists in America lags behind their vocal counterparts.

Within the U.S. military, the corporate world, professional sports and politics, black Americans have moved beyond the boundaries that held back their ancestors. Yet today, only on rare occasions does a black conductor, concertmaster or principal classical musician grace the concert stage of a major American city or regional orchestra.

Join in this celebration of the enormous contributions these talented musicians have offered the world!

Via: Charleston Symphony Orchestra Spiritual Ensemble