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The Souls of Black Folk: Rediscovering Black Classical Music

Sun, November 14, 2021 – 5:00 pm

The Souls of Black Folk: Rediscovering Black Classical Music

PostClassical Ensemble explores the roots of Black classical music, from the sorrow songs that speak to the suffering of enslaved Africans in the United States to the spiritual arrangements of composer Harry Burleigh and the musical prophecies of Antonin Dvorak.

With music by Burleigh, Florence Price and Margaret Bonds, and readings from W. E. B. Du Bois and from unpublished letters from Bonds to Langston Hughes, we look back at the founders of Black classical music, recall their words, and experiences and examine the times in which they lived.

This concert is the first of three in PostClassical Ensemble’s season-long project, The Rediscovery and Renewal of Black Classical Music, which seeks to elevate consequential composers who have too long been neglected for all their profound contributions to American orchestral music.

PostClassical Ensemble has long been a national leader in unearthing this buried history. By contextualizing this story – where the music came from, why it disappeared, and what to make of it today – we reflect on our nation’s complex cultural history and gain insight into how to nurture understanding and dialogue.



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