We Classy, Too.

African Americans that were trained in classical music recieved their instruction from immigrant European musicians who settled in large metropolitan centers. The Emancipation period caused oppurtunities to sky rocket for Black compusers. At the start of the twentieth century several composers emerged that taught at HBCU’s.

Before the Emancipation period African Americans also thrived in classical music. Such as Newport Gardner, who originated from Rhode Island. Gardner is considered the earliest Black singing schoolmaster and composer. Newport Gardner was sold as a slave , and studied music with Andrew Law, who was also a composer.

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Newport Gardner (1746-1826)

Classical music is described a light and clear. Instruments that thrived during the classical period were the Oboe, bassoon, clarinet, piccolo, and trumpet. Black composers have made classical music in a variety of styles, some even incorporating the sounds of urban Black America.

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An Oboe

Some keynames are William Grant Still, Michael Abels, Harry T Burleigh, Frederick Tills, and Olly Wilson. I believe African Americans thriving in a genre that wasn’t originally created by us shows our versatility and our overall love for music. It also shows that African Americans are able to dominate in different styles as well.




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