The American Sound Celebrates Black History Month Saturday at 6 pm

A detail from the mural celebrating composer Scott Joplin in Texarkana, Texas where Joplin grew up.(Photo: Steve Snodgrass (Flickr))
A detail from the mural celebrating composer Scott Joplin in Texarkana, Texas where Joplin grew up.(Photo: Steve Snodgrass (Flickr))

February is Black History Month, and there’s no better place or time to celebrate the rich and beautiful tradition of African-American musical contributions than on The American Sound, Saturdays at 6 pm.

So much of what gives American classical music its distinctly American sound comes from the musical contributions of America’s black community. Ragtime, jazz and the blues all emerged from black American culture and, often blended with European classical influences, found their ways into the concert hall.

From the famed black ragtime composer Scott Joplin to George Gershwin’s intentional melding of jazz with concert music in the European tradition in works like Rhapsody in Blue, there is no way to hear and appreciate American classical music in all its richness without acknowledging the debt it owes to America’s black musicians.

This Saturday on The American Sound we’ll begin our month-long celebration of Black History Month with music by two of America’s most important black composers – Scott Joplin and William Grant Still. We’ll also feature one of American composer David Amram’s works that pays homage to the tradition of blues.

Join me Saturday at 6 pm as The American Sound launches its celebration of Black History Month on Classical 101!

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