William Grant - African-American Composer of Classical Music - Book Report/Review Example

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The paper "William Grant - African-American Composer of Classical Music " discusses that William Grant’s first work was in 1924 and was called Darker America. The Land of Dreams which was composed also in 1924 but was lost and found in 1997. Levee land was composed in 1925…
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William Grant - African-American Composer of Classical Music
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William Grant Still
1. Biographical information of the composer
William Grant was an African-American composer of classical music who was born in 1895 and died in 1978. He had over150 classical music compositions before his demise. He was born in Woodville, Mississippi but grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas where he was raised by his mother and step father after his biological father passed away when he was only three months old. It is his step father who made him develop and even nurtured his love for classical music. He started attending recordings of different classical music as well as performances by classical musicians.
In order to be well rounded in classical music, he started teaching himself to play different musical instruments such as the violin, clarinet, double bass, viola, oboe and even cello among others. He attended university to complete a Bachelor of Science Degree course but still played various instruments in the university band as well as composing and doing orchestrations. One of his legacies is that he was the first African-American who conducted a major American symphony orchestra and which was the first to be performed on national television.
His first official study of composition was at Oberlin Conservatory of music in Oberlin, Ohio. He later proceeded to go in New England Conservatory of Music, Boston to expand his knowledge.
2. Discussion of his compositions
William Grant’s first work was in 1924 and was called Darker America. The Land of Dreams which was composed also in 1924 but was lost and found in 1997. Levee land was composed in 1925 and was soon followed in 1926 by Black Belt. From this time onwards until his demise, he composed the classical music almost after every two years (Fisk & Jeff, Nichols 86). He was involved in black history and his compositions were geared towards black history or freedom of the blacks as well as the elimination of racism and especially which was directed towards emancipation of the African-Americans.
His other compositions from 1926 were La Guiablese in 1927, Sahdji ballet in 1930, Africa in 1930, a deserted plantation 1933, Blue Steel opera in 1934 and Lenox Avenue in 1937. His last works before he died were the Lyric Quarter in 1960 and Highway 1 USA opera in 1963 among others (Andre & Bryan 298).
3. Effects of this persons work on the history of music
His courage in the orchestra as an African-Africa gave the rest of the upcoming classical musicians and even other musicians in other genres courage and motivation to also venture the industry and showcase their work and talent. The fact that he was always proud of his heritage and race and used music to pass messages of emancipation made him a hero. This made his legacy extend even wider and is still remembered to date (Reef 167).
His works showcased a love and passion for Africa and this made Africa known to the Americans and the other jazz and classical musicians who were African-Americans compose music about Africa their heritage. This was a way to appreciate Africa, a tradition that has remained to date. William Grant’s live performance on national television was the first step towards many other live performances on the national television to be aired.

Work Cited
Andre, Naomi. & Karen, Bryan. Blackness in Opera. Illinois: University of Illinois Press. 2012. Print.
Fisk, Josiah & Jeff, Nichols. Composers on Music: Eight Centuries of Writings. Massachusetts: UPNE. 1997. Print.
Reef, Catherine. William Grant Still: African-American Composer. New York: Morgan Reynolds. 2003. Print. Read More
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