A CLASSIC AMERICAN STORY
The term “classical” is used to describe music produced between 1750 and 1820, characterized by an almost obsession with structural clarity. It’s styles include that of the symphony, concerto, and sonata. It is derived from and inspired by European culture and composers such as Haydn, Beethoven and Mozart. As it parallels with American History, Black artists rarely had a place or found success in classical music, although there were a few exceptions with composers Daniel Bernard Roumain, T. J. Anderson and George Walker. Even with the success of composers such as William Grant Still, who was the first Black American to conduct a professional symphony orchestra (adding his own twist with Jazz and Blues), some argue that their contributions to the genre were minimal.
Black embraces were met with measures of exclusion, marginalizing artists to other genres such as Jazz. This can be seen with Duke Ellington, who wrote symphonic works but was always reduced the to one lane of music that he is most famous for. In my opinion, this as well as the minimal reach and popularity of classical music in black culture has kept this genre from gaining any real popularity in our communities. There have, however, been recent strides by other genres such as Hip Hop to be inclusive by incorporating elements of this genre into its sound. Because of this, increased diversity among classical composers, and the effort to redefine black narratives, the outlook of classical music as it pertains to black culture is very promising.
Classical Hip Hop: