Celebrating Black History Month

William Grant Still, Florence Price, George Walker

William Grant Still, Florence Price, George Walker

Black artists have made an indelible mark on classical music. This Black History Month, we invite you to experience a selection of pieces by Black composers Jean R. (“Rudy”) Perrault, George Walker, and William Grant Still.

This February, and throughout our seasons, The Philadelphia Orchestra highlights the artists, organizations, and activists who are working to make our industry and communities more inclusive. In addition to this selection of pieces by Black composers, enjoy a Digital Stage performance of Florence Price’s Piano Concerto in One Movement and the continuation of our HearTOGETHER podcast and the Our City, Your Orchestra free concert series.

Chamber Works by Black Composers

Filmed on stage in Verizon Hall, these newly recorded performances feature works by three boundary-breaking Black composers from three different generations.

 

In this piece, Haitian-born composer and former Philadelphia resident Jean “Rudy” Perrault explores the often treacherous journey many immigrants face as they aspire to a better future for their children.

 

George Walker was the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music, in 1996.

 

William Grant Still was the first African American to have a symphony performed by a major American orchestra. (Please note: This video will be available only until March 16)

Florence Price’s Piano Concerto in One Movement

Michelle Cann makes her Philadelphia Orchestra debut with the Orchestra’s first-ever performance of Florence Price’s Piano Concerto in One Movement. Price’s manuscript for the Piano Concerto—long thought to be lost—was recently discovered among a trove of scores and papers in her former summer home. This will be the first time the piece has been played in North America in its original orchestration since the composer’s death in 1953.

Price was a prolific composer of more than 300 works and was the first African-American woman to have a symphony performed by a major American orchestra. A grossly underappreciated composer, the discovery at her summer home has sparked renewed interest in Price’s music. Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin is committed to championing her orchestral works and complete symphonies in the years ahead.

Purchase a ticket to this performance at www.philorch.org/Michelle-Cann-Florence-Price. Available February 18–February 25.

HearTOGETHER Podcast

Listen to the latest episode of HearTOGETHER—out now—featuring special guest Brandi Waller-Pace, the founder, executive director, and co-editor of Decolonizing the Music Room.

HearTOGETHER explores racial and social justice, and creative equity and inclusion, through the lens of the orchestral music world. New episodes are released monthly. Learn more and listen at www.philorch.org/HearTOGETHER.

Our City, Your Orchestra Free Concert Series

Join us for the next installment of Our City, Your Orchestra on February 22. This concert was recorded at AR Workshop Chestnut Hill, a Black-owned business run by Philadelphia native Rikki-Quinn James-Renz. First Associate Concertmaster Juliette Kang, Associate Principal Cello Priscilla Lee, and narrator Charlotte Blake Alston perform Thomas Kraines’s Hansel and Gretel and Kile Smith’s The Bremen Town Musicians.

Our City, Your Orchestra is a series of free online concerts performed by small ensembles and recorded at Black-owned businesses and iconic cultural locations throughout the Philadelphia region. Experience the rich history of Belmont Mansion, the Marian Anderson House, Harriett’s Bookshop, and more through these beautiful digital performances. Learn more and watch at www.philorch.org/OCYO.

Sponsors

Michelle Cann’s performance is supported by ONEcomposer, an initiative dedicated to musicians whose contributions have been historically erased, housed at Cornell University. In providing a platform for the study, performance, and discussion of a single, underrepresented composer’s life and legacy, ONEcomposer promotes a more complete understanding of musical histories.

Lead support for the Digital Stage is provided by:

Claudia and Richard Balderston
Elaine W. Camarda and A. Morris Williams, Jr.
The CHG Charitable Trust
The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation
Innisfree Foundation
Gretchen and M. Roy Jackson
Neal W. Krouse
John H. McFadden and Lisa D. Kabnick
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Leslie A. Miller and Richard B. Worley
Ralph W. Muller and Beth B. Johnston
William Penn Foundation
Peter and Mari Shaw
Dr. and Mrs. Joseph B. Townsend
Waterman Trust
Constance and Sankey Williams
Wyncote Foundation

The Philadelphia Orchestra’s HearTOGETHER series is generously supported by lead corporate sponsor Accordant Advisors. Additional major support has been provided by the Otto Haas Charitable Trust.

Accordant Advisors
Creating inclusive cultures through stakeholder engagement

Our City, Your Orchestra is supported in part by the William Penn Foundation, with additional support provided through the Connelly Foundation, the PNC Arts Alive initiative, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Presser Foundation.

William Penn Foundation

Connelly Foundation

PNC Arts Alive

National Endowment for the Arts

The Presser Foundation