Lost & Found: Black American Classical Music (Replay)


A special holiday program is our latest collaboration with the PostClassical Ensemble of Washington, DC.

It includes highlights from a concert hosted by 1A host Jenn White at All Souls Church in the neighborhood.

It was the curtain raiser to a season-long project that explores the roots of black American classical music. You are invited on a journey of rediscovery – from songs of sorrow to composer Harry Burleigh’s spiritual arrangements and Antonin Dvorak’s musical prophecies.

PCE Executive Director Joseph Horowitz previously acted as our guide as we explored the relevance of composers Antonin Dvorak and Aaron Copland to America’s cultural history.

The centerpiece this time is “Negro Folk Symphony” by William Levi Dawson. Horowitz says “it is one of the most formidable, moving and uplifting symphonies in the American symphonic repertoire”. So why after its premiere in 1934 did it fall into oblivion?

Highlights are courtesy of PostClassical Ensemble as part of its partnership with Howard University and the Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts. The performances also featured other great black composers. They include Florence Price and Margaret Bonds, with readings by WEB Du Bois and Langston Hughes.

It is a “More Than Music” production, written and edited by Joseph Horowitz. The technical producer was Peter Bogdanoff.

Music used with permission from Naxos. More information can be found here on the film “The Souls of Black Folk” and five other “Dvorak’s Prophecy” documentary films produced by Joe Horowitz Naxos.

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