April 20, 2023

UCalgary String Quartet presents program dedicated to Black composers

A Celebration of Music by Black Composers V takes place April 20
The UCalgary String Quartet, School of Creative and Performing Arts

On Thursday, April 20, the UCalgary String Quartet, a quartet-in-residence at the University of Calgary, presents A Celebration of Music by Black Composers V — a program uniquely dedicated to Black composers who have made tremendous contributions to classical music.

For centuries, there were Black composers who contributed to Western classical music, but many of them struggled to be recognized for their accomplishments.

“This concert series, comprising solo and chamber music by Black composers, was initiated in 2020, in support of the Black Lives Matter movement,” says Edmond Agopian, a professor of violin at the School of Creative and Performing Arts and the first violinist of the UCalgary String Quartet.

“This, the fifth concert in this series, presents music by Black composers written for string quartet. Next year’s programs will include a concert at the Bella Concert Hall with the Calgary Youth Orchestra, featuring orchestral music by Black composers, including a violin concerto, with UCalgary Music student and UCalgary String Quartet member Isaac Willocks as soloist.

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875 - 1912)

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875 - 1912)

In this concert, the quartet will perform music from over three centuries — from the 19th century Romantic style of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, to the 21st century modernist style of Eric Brian Lacy.

“These works shed light on the creativity of Black composers who, despite racism and oppression, were able to excel as composers of music that ranges from solo works, to chamber music, to symphonic music, to opera,” says Edmond.

The concert will feature two works by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875 - 1912), Five Spirituals and Dances and Fantasie – Stucke Op. 5. The son of an English mother and a Creole man from Sierra Leone, Coleridge-Taylor had a key role in British and American civil rights movements around the turn of the 20th century.  

The programme also includes music by Florence Price (1887 - 1953), the first African-American woman to have her music performed by a major symphony orchestra — in 1933, as well as works by 20th century composers Daniel Bernard Roumain (b. 1971) and Eric Brian Lacy.

The concert takes place 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 20, 2023 at Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall, Rozsa Centre.

This concert is part of the Claim Your Seat program. UCalgary students can request their free ticket in person online or at the box office (limited quantity). UCalgary employees and alumni receive 50 per cent off for themselves and one guest.

Learn more

Tickets are $26 (adults) / $19 (students/seniors) and are available online through arts.ucalgary.ca/tickets or at the door.


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