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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 Thursdays at 7 pm and Sundays at 5 pm throughout the month of February.

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Spotlight on Black Composers

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. From being named 2020 Classical Woman of the Year (Performance Today), one of the Top 35 Woman Composers in Classical Music (Anne Midgette, Washington Post), and a Grammy nomination, Coleman has earned high acclaim. >> 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

MOREHOUSE COLLEGE GLEE CLUB

March 4 | 7:30 pm | Belk Theater

This special collaboration, led by Resident Conductor Christopher James Lees and Morehouse Glee Club conductor Dr. David E. Morrow, raises money for scholarships for Charlotte area students attending Morehouse College. >> Details & Tickets

BARBER VIOLIN CONCERTO

March 25 & 26 | 7:30 pm | Knight Theater

"Inventive" (ArtsKnoxville) conductor Joshua Gersen leads a program anchored by the haunting and poetic Violin Concerto by American composer Samuel Barber with violinist Jinjoo Cho. Plus, Errollyn Wallen's Mighty River>> Details & Tickets

BEETHOVEN MEETS 90s VIBE

April 1 | 7:30 pm | Knight Theater

Experience the duality of Atlanta's Orchestra Noir as they join your Charlotte Symphony for an evening of 90s vibes. Led by conductor Jason Ikeem Rodgers, this program features works by Beethoven alongside music from R&B and hip-hop icons like TLC, Color Me Badd, Usher, Brandy, LL Cool J, Biggie Smalls, Ginuwine, and more. >> 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
 

One Work You Should Know: "Charlotte Mecklenburg"

"I'm a scholar, a composer, and I work with different cultures to tie them together. One of my strengths is a universal knowledge of music, [which gives me the] ability to be authentically inclusive and talk about history in a musical framework." - Okoye for The Charlotte Observer

In 2018, your Charlotte Symphony commissioned Okoye to write an orchestral piece, "Charlotte Mecklenburg," in celebration of the city's 250th anniversary. Okoye's genre-bending compositions reflect her many influences - from Sondheim to Copland, gospel, and jazz. >> Learn more
 

Read About Black History in Classical Music

More Ways to Celebrate Black History Month in Charlotte