Hi, I'm Angi
Welcome to my corner of the internet! My passions include travel, photography, books, music, Japanese language and culture, Italian language and culture, and art.

Here at Abbott Lane you'll find my thoughts on these topics and much more. Thanks for stopping by to visit!

Preserving the Legacy of Black Composers

This past weekend I had the honor of performing a few pieces at a local church service in celebration of Black History Month. It was a lovely day, and I was happy to be part of the event. Afterwards, people kept coming up to me and saying things like, "I'd never heard of any of these composers before! The music was beautiful so, why aren't they performed more often?"

Of course there are numerous answers to that question. And I agree - these works *should* be performed in public more often. These composers and their works are a wonderful part of the classical music canon that have, for far too long, been overlooked and ignored. My hope is to put together a recital next year, where I'll perform a few of their wonderful pieces. In the meantime, here's a small intro to some of my favorite compositions by Black classical composers...

Andante Moderato from Florence Price's String Quartet in A Major
Florence B. Price was the first female African-American woman to be recognized as a composer of classical music. Her mother was a music teacher who trained her in her early years. Price graduated from high school as valedictorian at age 14, and attended the New England Conservatory, majoring in piano and organ. She ultimately landed in Chicago, where her Symphony in E minor premiered with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Over her lifetime, Price composed over 300 works.

Summerland by William Grant Still
Still is considered one of the most important American composers of classical music. He was born in Woodville, MS and raised in Little Rock, AK. Still attended Wilberforce Academy and Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He composed over 150 pieces, including five symphonies and eight operas, and was the first African-American to conduct a major American symphony orchestra.

Strum by Jessie Montgomery
Jessie Montgomery is an acclaimed composer, violinist, and educator. She is the recipient of the Leonard Bernstein Award from the ASCAP Foundation, and her works are performed frequently around the world by leading musicians and ensembles. 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.