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December 2018
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American Music Week

14 American Composers and Their Furry Friends


Ever wondered if Leonard Bernstein was a dog or cat person? Or if Glass had a feline helper while composing at the keyboard? Check out this collection of photos that proves that even the best music is better with a furry friend.

Why the American National Anthem Isn’t Even American


Yup. You read that correctly. The American National Anthem isn’t American. Well, it has become American. But ironically, the tune to “The Star Spangled Banner” is actually a British pub more…

How One Man Built the Great American Orchestra

Theodore Thomas pic_745

  The names inscribed on the façade of Chicago’s Orchestra Hall – Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Wagner – are familiar to every concertgoer. But another name that is proudly more…

Countertenor David Daniels on Finding His Voice, Finding Himself, and Being Married by Justice Ginsburg


David Daniels is “the most acclaimed countertenor of the day, perhaps the best ever,” to use the words of the New York Times. Though many know him best for portraying some of opera’s greatest heroes from Julius Caesar to Orpheus, he is also passionate about civil rights.

QUIZ: What American Composer Are You?


Take this quiz to find out which dean of American music you’re most like! Are you sparse and minimal like Philip Glass? Or do you prefer the sis-boom-bah John Philip Sousa? Do you prefer Samuel Barber’s sonic landscapes of America, or Scott Joplin’s Ragtime portraits of American life?

Our Country, ‘Tis of Thee: How Marian Anderson Broke Boundaries for Singers of Color


The U.S. Department of Treasury announced that contralto Marian Anderson will be featured on the new $5 bill. Learn more about how Anderson broke boundaries for singers of color in a segregated United States.

Signifyin’ in Song: How the Sounds of Slavery Changed Music Forever


African-American spirituals are not just a cornerstone of the American choral tradition, they have impacted countless genres of music heard everywhere from saloons to symphony halls. Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 in E minor, “From the New World,” borrows heavily from African-American musical traditions, and spirituals in particular.

9 Living Black Composers You Need To Know


If you’re not familiar with these 9 composers, we’ve got 2 things to say:

1. You’re missing out on a lot of great music.
2. Now’s your chance to catch up! June is African-American Music Appreciation Month.

Composer Leila Adu Fights Racial Violence With Music


Can you imagine a day when senseless violence does not plague our society? In light of recent events, that’s no easy task. In response to racial violence against African Americans, composer Leila Adu has turned to music.

The Brush Is Mightier Than The Sword: Kerry James Marshall On Art, Music for Social Change


On a rainy Monday, I arrived at Kerry James Marshall’s studio dripping wet – not exactly how I envisioned meeting one of my favorite living artists. And he isn’t just any artist. He’s a MacArthur Genius! His paintings were just featured in the Central Pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale.