The Candlelight series is highlighting the evolution of Black and African American composers in celebration of Black History Month!
Fever Originals has recruited Violist and Artistic Director Stefan L. Smith from the Metropolis Chamber Musicians to lead the way on programming this culturally resonating mini-series!
“It is important to be made aware of the presence of black composers in classical music. My goal was to showcase the evolution of writing for the string quartet by black composers. Starting from the 1700s to works composed today, this concert will showcase a variety of pieces that are normally not heard on the main stages of concert halls. But you’ll quickly realize the masterful execution by each black composer featured,” says Smith.
The history of these incredible composers is one that has been buried over centuries due to the tumultuous relationship between racism and America’s history, but now we are starting to see some Black and African American composers break out to the top in the modern classical scene in both music and film scoring!
NPR Music writer Tom Huizenda states that “today, it’s not uncommon for Kanye West or Kendrick Lamar to perform alongside a symphony orchestra, yet African Americans generally aren’t performing in those orchestras themselves. Less than 2% of musicians in American orchestras are African American, according to a 2014 study by the League of American Orchestras. Only 4.3% of conductors are black, and composers remain predominantly white as well.”
At Candlelight: Celebrating Black History ft. Chevalier de Saint George, you can expect to hear historic pieces from Joseph Bologne (or more commonly known as Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745 – 1799). He was dubbed ‘le Mozart noir’ (‘Black Mozart’) and is remembered as the first classical composer of African origins.
Expect to also hear pieces from Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875 – 1912), who was known for his passion for fighting against racial prejudice as well as for pieces like African Suite, African Romances and Twenty-Four Negro Melodies. And of course, be sure to keep an ear out for the works of modern, living day composers, such as Jonathan Bingham, Ahmed Alabaca, and Jessie Montgomery!
Buy your tickets to a special Candlelight concert dedicated to Black History Month, here!
Also published on Medium.