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Classical Music

Music In The Making: Honoring MLK

Featuring the music of DBR and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.


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On Monday, January 16th, we observed Martin Luther King Junior Day, honoring his tireless work in the Civil Rights Movement and commemorating his commitment to nonviolent protest against racial discrimination. On this week’s episode, we celebrated by listening to music by prominent black composers from the past and the present.

Violinist and Composer DBR
Courtesy of the Artist
Violinist and Composer DBR

Daniel Bernard Roumain: Hip-Hop Study Nos. 5, 9, and 16

Performed and arranged by Ingrid Gerling, violin; Leah Cables, marimba and percussion; Duke Hunter, drumset; Rebecca Poole, flute; Kerry Bird, clarinet

Composer Daniel Bernard Roumain, better known by his initials DBR, fuses his classical training as a violinist and composer with contemporary popular genres. One such example is found in his “Hip Hop Studies and Etudes,” written in 2006. Of it, he wrote, “[My] Hip-Hop Studies and Etudes tries to speak to and legitimize black folk music in the same way that Bartok tried to legitimize Hungarian folk music, and Stravinsky tried to legitimize Russian folk music.”

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Public Domain
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast, Op. 30

MSSO, MS Concert Chorale, Prairie View A&M University Concert Chorale, Zachary Averyt, tenor, and conducted by Franz Anton Krager


Moores Opera House

Born in 1875, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor was one of the first internationally acclaimed black composers. His musical prowess was recognized and nurtured early on, and after a successful tenure at the Royal Academy of Music, his career took flight. His first major work, Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast, a cantata based on the poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, was immediately well received. Throughout his life, Coleridge-Taylor was keenly aware of his own heritage, leading to works such as “African Romances,” and participating in the first Pan-African Conference, which was held in London in 1900.

This episode originally aired Sunday, January 15th, 2017. Catch Music in the Making every Sunday at 7:06 PM on Classical.