February 2018

  1. Obscure Music Monday: Joplin's Treemonisha

    Scott Joplin (c. 1867/68 - April 1, 1917) was an African-American composer and pianist, who came to be known as the "King of Ragtime Writers". Joplin was born in to a family of railroad laborers in Texas, but got as much musical knowledge as he could from local teachers, and ended up  forming a vocal quartet, and teaching mandolin and guitar. He later left for the south to work as a itinerant musician, and eventually found his way up  to Chicago for the World's Fair of 1893, which contributed towards the ragtime craze. Continue reading →
  2. Obscure Music Monday: Price's Adoration

    Florence Beatrice Price (April 9, 1887 - June 3, 1953) was an African-American pianist and composer, and the first African-American woman to have a piece played by a major symphony orchestra. Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, Price's first piano teacher was her mother, a music educator, and Price's first recital was at the age of 4. After high school (which she graduated top of her class), she studied piano and organ at the New England Conservatory, and pretended to be Mexican, due to the stigma that African-Americans faced during that era. She also studied composition and counterpoint with George Chadwick and Frederick Converse, and graduated in 1906 with honors. Continue reading →
  3. Obscure Music Monday: Europe's Castles' Half and Half

    James Reese Europe (Feb. 22, 1880 - May 9, 1919) was an African-American bandleader, arranger, violinist, pianist and composer. Continue reading →
  4. Obscure Music Monday: Cook's Three Negro Songs

    Will Marion Cook (Jan. 27, 1869 - July 19, 1944) was an African-American violinist, conductor, and composer born in Washington, D.C. His father was dean of the Howard University School of Law, but died when Cook was ten. He was then sent to live with his maternal grandparents in Chattanooga Tennessee, who were able to buy their way out of slavery. He said that was his "soul period", and where he experienced "real Negro melodies". Continue reading →

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