Category: William Grant Still

  • The DNA of American Classical Music

    While driving to Target to buy a new vacuum on Black Friday (oh, the glamorous life of an adjunct!), I turned on the radio to the classical station, which was in the middle of this piece, in a new arrangement for piano quintet (piano, two violins, viola, and cello). At first I thought it was […]

  • Classically Black, part III: Nationalism and Internationalism in the 20th Century

    In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, some African-American composers working in classical music chose to compose in the standard forms of the European classical music traditions — i.e, an international style. William Grant Still, for instance, known as the “Dean of African-American Composers,” could be considered an “internationalist.” Among many other works, Still wrote five […]

  • Pierrot

    Pierrot and Harlequin (Pablo Picasso, 1920). Pierrot is one of the stock characters of commedia dell’arte, an improvised form of theater that was performed by traveling players throughout Italy and France in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. He is a sad clown, in love with the stock heroine of commedia, Colombina (Columbine), who in turn is […]