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Columbia College Chicago
Opera and Concert Music

Opera and Concert Music

Definition of Style

Black composers and musicians have impacted styles and genres normally associated with the music of Europe, such as opera and concert music, from the sixteenth-century to the present. This broad category includes symphonies, chamber works, operas, art songs, experimental and electronic works from the fringes of the avant-garde, and other forms of "classical" music. Among the few elements able to tie this large category together are the use of Western instruments and compositional forms and an emphasis on the creation of musical works, primarily for contemplative listening. Among the principal African-American composers who have worked, and still work, in this category are William Grant Still (1895?-1978), Ulysses Kay (1917?-1995), George Walker (born 1922), Hale Smith (born 1925), T. J. Anderson (born 1928), Olly Wilson (born 1937), and Anthony Davis (born 1951).

Musical Examples

Black Music: The Written Tradition, an album of performances by the Black Music Repertory Ensemble.