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Black History Resource Hub

A celebration of diversity in music

This page was originally created as part of our Black History Month celebrations in 2020, bringing together several resources telling the history of Black musicians and composers in the UK and exploring current issues around diversity and inclusivity. Following a large amount of engagement with this page, we have now made it available all year long, and will continue to keep it updated with new features and resources.


Music by Black Composers

A US-based database of Black composers from around the world (both living and deceased), which also features other resources to inspire young people.

Black History Month Magazine

A wide selection of articles and opinion pieces from across the Black diaspora, as well as listings for events across the month.

Black Cultural Archives

The UK's national heritage centre for preserving the stories of African and Caribbean peoples in the UK.

Chineke! Foundation

A music organisation with two orchestras, which promotes African, Asian, and ethnically diverse classical musicians in the UK and Europe.

Pegasus Opera Company

A diverse opera company, founded in 1992, which champions artists of African and Asian heritage in the UK.


Diversify your music lessons: Next steps

Following on from our recent webinar with Mahaliah Edwards, we have created a blog summarising her experiences and her six steps to help introduce diversity into your music lessons, as well as providing some useful additional resources.

What to do with 'Diversity Fatigue'

Amanda Parker, Director of Inc Arts, discusses the increasing usage of this phrase, which describes a weariness of hearing the narratives of others. In this exclusive opinion piece, Amanda offers fresh perspectives on how to re-imagine your relationship with diversity.

OverRule Britannia

Opera singer and Artistic Director of Pegasus Opera Company, Alison Buchanon, gives her perspective on the annual inclusion of Rule, Britannia! in the Last Night of the Proms, as well as Prom-style events around the UK.

A Black History Month is eleven too few

British composer Philip Herbert reflects on the nature of Black History Month as a contemporary musician, and how we can better celebrate Black History in the national curriculum, wider education, and through representation in the UK music industry.

Black Classical Composers' Playlist

Throughout October 2020, we highlighted a selection of works by just a few of the incredible Black classical composers from history, as well as some of those creating new music today. You can find the complete playlist below, as well as further information about each composer:

Thursday 1 October
Lucien Lambert Jr. (1858-1945) - Overture de Broceliande
A French pianist and composer of African-American Créole descent, who found fame in Portugal.
Listen on Spotify

Friday 2 October
Daniel Kidane (-present) - Aria antica
A British composer whose piece Woke was featured in the Last Night of the Proms in 2019.
Listen on Spotify

Saturday 3 October
Fela Sowande (1905-1987) - African Suite for String Orchestra: I. Joyful Day
A Nigerian composer who is considered the father of modern Nigerian Art Music.
Listen on Spotify

Sunday 4 October
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) - Hiawatha's Wedding Feast Op. 30 No. 1: 1. You Shall Hear How Pau-Puk Keewis
Born in London and often referred to as the 'African Mahler', he studied composition under C.V. Stanford at the Royal College of Music.
Listen on Spotify

Monday 5 October
Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799) - Violin Concerto No. 10 in G Major: Presto
Joseph Boulogne is the first known classical composer of African descent and was a celebrated conductor, violinist, and a champion fencer.
Listen on Spotify

Tuesday 6 October
Ludovic Lamothe (1882-1953) - Evocation
A highly-celebrated Haitian composer who drew influence from Vodou ceremonies in his numerous works for piano.
Listen on Spotify

Wednesday 7 October
Dr Shirley J. Thompson (-present) - Life Sequences: I. Machinery of Replication
Born in Britain and of Jamaican descent, her compositions have been heard in symphony halls, theatres, as well as on tv and radio across the country.
Listen on Spotify

Thursday 8 October
Scott Joplin (1868-1917) - TreemonishaAct 3: "We Will Trust You as Our Leader"
Most famous for his ragtime's like The Entertainer, Joplin also composed this opera in 1911.
Listen on Spotify

Friday 9 October
Hannah Kendall
(-present) - The Spark Catchers
British composer Hannah Kendall has been featured in the BBC Proms and is regarded as one of the finest composers of her generation.
Listen on Spotify

Saturday 10 October
José Maurício Nunes Garcia
(1767-1830) - Abertura em Ré
An Afro-Brazilian composer, famed for his sacred works. He was the grandson of slaves.
Listen on Spotify

Sunday 11 October
Edmond Dédé (1827-1901) - Méphisto Masqué
An American-Créole composer who studied and relocated to France, where he held several conducting positions.
Listen on Spotify

Monday 12 October
William Grant Still
(1895-1978) Symphony No. 1 "Afro-American": II. Sorrow
A prolific African-American composer of almost 200 works, he was the first black person to conduct a major US orchestra.
Listen on Spotify

Tuesday 13 October
Philip Herbert
(-present) - Elegy (In Memoriam Stephen Lawrence)
British composer Philip Herbert's studied in the UK and USA. His compositions have been heard on TV and radio across the UK.
Listen on Spotify

Wednesday 14 October
Ulysses Kay
(1975-1995) - Overture to Theater Set
An American composer, well known for his symphonic and choral repertoire, Kay also composed five operas.
Listen on Spotify

Thursday 15 October
Florence Beatrice Price
(1887-1953) - Symphony No. 4 in D Minor: III. Juba Dance
An American composer thought to be the first female symphonist of African-American heritage. She composed over 300 works.
Listen on Spotify

Friday 16 October
Thomas 'Blind Tom' Wiggins
(1849-1908) - Cyclone Gallop
An American pianist and composer who was blind from birth and was a child prodigy.
Listen on Spotify

Saturday 17 October
José White Lafitte
(1836-1918) - Concerto for Violin and Orchestra: I. Allegro
A Cuban violinist and composer who became a French citizen after studying in Paris. He was highly praised by Rossini.
Listen on Spotify

Sunday 18 October
Errollyn Wallen
(-present) - Photography: I. —
A Belize-born British composer, whose works are performed internationally. Her re-worked version of Jerusalem featured in this year's Last Night of the Proms.
Listen on Spotify

Monday 19 October
Justin Holland
(1819-1887) - The Prima Donna Waltz
An American musician and civil rights activist, famed as a guitarist and arranger. Born a free man, Holland helped to free slaves on the Underground Railroad.
Listen on Spotify

Tuesday 20 October
Will Marion Cook
(1869-1944) - My Lady
A student of Dvořák, Cook is best known for his Broadway musical song-writing and he founded the New York Syncopated Orchestra, which toured to the UK and performed for King George V.
Listen on Spotify

Wednesday 21 October
Roderick Williams
(-present) - Three songs from Ethiopia Boy
Famed as an international baritone, Williams' compositions have been premiered at major venues across the UK.
Listen on Spotify

Thursday 22 October
Harry Burleigh
(1866-1949) - Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
An American composer and arranger who increased the appreciation of spirituals by arranging them in classical styles.
Listen on Spotify

Friday 23 October
George Walker
(1922-2018) - Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra: I. Allegro
An American composer who was the first African-American to win a Pulitzer Prize for music.
Listen on Spotify

Saturday 24 October
Francis Johnson
(1792-1844) - La Sonnambula Quadrille Number Two
An American composer who was the first African-American to have sheet music published. He brought the Promenade concert style to America after travelling to the UK in 1837.
Listen on Spotify

Sunday 25 October
William L. Dawson (1899-1990) - Negro Folk Symphony: I. The Bond of Africa
An American composer and musicologist, who is best known for his arrangements of spirituals, which are performed by choirs regularly across the USA.
Listen on Spotify

Monday 26 October
Ignatius Sancho
(1729-1780) - Minuet 11th in G Minor
A British composer, actor, and writer, who played a crucial role in the abolition of the slave trade through his influence and reputation.
Listen on Spotify

Tuesday 27 October
Chevalier J.J.O. de Meude-Monpas (18th Century) - Violin Concerto No. 4 in D Major: I. Allegro
A French composer and violinist, of whom very little is known. He was a staunch Royalist and held the position of a musketeer for King Louis XVI.
Listen on Spotify

Wednesday 28 October
Robert Nathaniel Dett (1882-1943) - In the Bottoms: I. Prelude - Night
A Canadian-American composer who incorporated rhythms and melodies of spirituals into his European Romantic-style compositions.
Listen on Spotify

Thursday 29 October
Justin Tamasuza
(-present) - Ekitundu Ekisooka ("First Movement")
AUgandan composerwho blends together western classical and traditional Ugandan styles. He is recognised as one of the leading contemporary African composers.
Listen on Spotify

Friday 30 October
Wynton Marsalis (-present) - Violin Concerto in D Major: 2. Rondo Burlesque
An American composer and trumpeter who is the only composer to win a Grammy in both the classical and jazz categories in the same year.
Listen on Spotify

Saturday 31 October
Evelyn Simpson-Currenton (-present) - My Soul Hath Refuge in Thee, "Psalm 91"
An American composer, pianist, organist, and singer who was a child prodigy on the piano. She lectures in early 18th-century Black religious music.
Listen on Spotify