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This month, the Charlotte Symphony is shining a spotlight on the contributions of Black composers and artists in classical music. We'll share notable performances of works by Black composers, the history of Black pioneers in classical music, and composers/artists of today that are enriching the classical music scene and inspiring countless future musicians. 

Lift Every Voice on WDAV

Join WDAV in celebrating contributions Black and African-American artists have made to classical music. Hosted by Charlotte Symphony bassoonist Joshua Hood, Lift Every Voice is a four-episode, hour-long series that will air Saturdays at 4 pm throughout the month of February.

Learn More >

Spotlight on Black Composers

Nia Imani Franklin

A multi-talented musician, composer, actress, conductor, and singer, Nia Imani Franklin was born and raised in Winston-Salem, NC. Her journey in music began at a young age, taking classical voice lessons and composing her first piece at just six years old. >> Learn more

Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges

In 18th century France, Joseph Bologne was an unrivaled superstar. Until recently, however, Bologne's talent and achievements had faded to near-obscurity. >> Learn more

Daniel Bernard Roumain

Daniel Bernard Roumain is a Haitian-American composer, violinist, educator, & activist. His signature violin techniques fuse electronic and African American music influences, creating a distinct genre-bending sound. >> Learn more

William Grant Still

William Grant Still (18951978), often called The Dean of African American Composers, was an American composer, arranger, conductor, and pioneer of early 20th-century classical music. >> Learn more

Dr. Frederick C. Tillis 

A trailblazer in the American classical music tradition, Dr. Frederick C. Tillis bridged jazz and European classical music as a renowned composer, jazz saxophonist, and educator. Born in Galveston, TX in 1930, Dr. Tillis began composing when he was 20 years old. >> Learn more

Valerie Coleman

A visionary composer, flutist, and entrepreneur, Valerie Coleman has made significant contributions to modern music. She was named 2020 Classical Woman of the Year (Performance Today), one of the Top 35 Woman Composers in Classical Music (Anne Midgette, Washington Post), and received a Grammy nomination. >> Learn more

Florence Price

A composer, pianist, organist, and music teacher, Florence Price is recognized as the first African-American woman to have a symphonic work performed by a major national symphony orchestra. >> Learn more

Jessie Montgomery

Jessie Montgomery is an acclaimed composer, violinist, and educator. Her music interweaves classical music with elements of vernacular music, improvisation, language, and social justice, placing her squarely as one of the most relevant interpreters of 21st-century American sound and experience. >> Learn more

Upcoming Concerts Featuring Black Artists & Composers


Feb. 10 | 11 am | Knight Theater

Hoping to become the next great pop sensation, a young girl discovers her music teacher was the biggest star in 18th century France. In this time-bending musical adventure, Giselle learns about life's triumphs and tragedies from the most accomplished man in Europe, the Chevalier de Saint-Georges!


March 1 & 2 | 7:30 pm | Belk Theater

Celebrate the 100th anniversary of Gershwin's jazz-infused Rhapsody in Blue with your CSO and acclaimed pianist Michelle Cann alongside the composer's energetic An American in Paris. Cann will also perform Florence Price's spirited Piano Concerto in One Movement -- a work she has championed. >> Details & Tickets


April 5 & 6 | 7:30 pm | Belk Theater

Kwam√© Ryan returns to Charlotte for the first time as the Symphony's Music Director Designate to conduct Brahms's monumental First Symphony and Tchaikovsky's charming Variations on a Rococo Theme featuring cellist Sterling Elliott. >> Details & Tickets


April 12 & 13 | 7:30 pm | Knight Theater

Superstar vocalist Dee Daniels will dazzle Charlotte in this program featuring hits by Swing legends Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Peggy Lee, and Sarah Vaughan. Hear her and the Charlotte Symphony perform classics like "A Tisket, A Tasket," "Fever," "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man," "Makin' Whoopee," and "Mack The Knife." >> Details & Tickets


May 17 & 18 | 7:30 pm | Belk Theater

Journey into the heavens with a program inspired by space including Holst's mesmerizing celestial showpiece, The Planets; Caroline Shaw's The Observatory; and CSO cellist Jeremy Lamb's A Ride on 'Oumuamua, inspired by the first known interstellar object to travel our solar system. >> Details & Tickets

CSO Musicians in Performance

Scott Joplin's "Solace"
Sarah Markle, cello; Jeremy Lamb, cello; & Taddes Korris, bass
Florence Price's "Elfentanz"
Kari Giles, asst. concertmaster & Mark Lewis, piano

Read About Black History in Classical Music

More Ways to Celebrate Black History Month in Charlotte