Classical Music seems to be a genre dominated by Europeans. Pictures of mainly white people pop up when you check them out on Google but the truth is, this music genre has just as much diversity as many others.
There is just simply less coverage for them, but we’re here to fix that. Here’s a quick list of black classical music composers to check out and diversify your taste
Samuel Coleridge Taylor
Samuel Coleridge Taylor was raised in England with his mother, studying violin and learning how to sing in church choirs before officially entering the Royal College of Music in 1890 as a violin student.
Samuel Coleridge Taylor is best known for his song, Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast. Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast is the first of three songs, although the next two were not as successful as the first. This song helped jump-start his music career as a composer and performer.
Florence B Prince
Florence B Prince is the first Black woman composer to gain such wide recognition as a symphonic composer. Her first performance was at the age of four before officially studying at the New England Conservatory of Music.
With her entire career devoted to music, it’s hard not to believe that she would then go on to win the Wanamaker Prize for her own composition, Symphony in E Minor
Not only was she well known in the classical music world, but she would also go on to play the organ for silent films and create popular commercial jingles.
Overall, Prince had created over 300 musical pieces, each one with their own unique sound however one thing remains similar about throughout many of her works. Each one takes its influence from her own cultural heritage as well as the beginning of the Harlem Renaissance.
William Grant Still
William Grant Still has a list of huge achievements notched on his belt, each one being much more impressive than the last. Still, he would go on to be known for being the first African American composer to conduct a major American symphony orchestra.
As well as be the first African American to have an original opera produced by the New York City Opera. Still, he was also the first to have a symphony performed by a leading orchestra and the first to have an opera performed on national television.
His most famous composition is Afro-American’ Symphony No. 1., a song that combined blues progressions and rhythms, a sound that described popular African American music at the time.
Scott Joplin is known as the ‘King of Ragtime’ — a title fitting for his complex bass patterns and spontaneous syncopation. Joplin picked up the piano himself at a young age and began working as a traveling musician.
He is best known for his song, The Entertainer
Chevalier de Saint-Georges
Saint-Georges is perhaps one of the better-known musicians in the Classical Musician World. His work was widely renowned and was even considered the “Black Mozart”
He is the first African composer in the classical music world, with even the president John Adams deeming him as the most accomplished man in Europe.
HIs list of accomplishments don’t stop there. King Louis XVI even appointed him as director of the Paris Opera, unfortunately only to have a group of divas refuse to perform under a man of color.
However, this is still a great accomplishment.