Black History Month on, 2013: Blacks in Classical Music:

Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799), 1789
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This page is dedicated to classical music composer Margaret Allison Bonds on the centennial of her birth.

The presence and role of persons of African ancestry in what is commonly known as classical music remains a mystery to most people including many of those who count themselves among the most dedicated admirers of those arts.  This year in observance of Black History Month the volunteers of have gathered on one page most of the leading composers, conductors, and performers from the world of ballet, opera, and symphony music.  Beginning with the 18th Century Afro-Brazilian and Afro-French composers, the 68 individual profiled below span four centuries and four continents.  Each profile is a brief introduction to the individuals who have and continue to enrich our lives with their talent.  While there are a number of resources that have additional information on the people profiled below, we recommend one website,, as a good starting point for those interested in assessing the global influence of these individuals. Finally, the link immediately below will take you to our page which has samplings of the performances of these artists on YouTube.

Black Composers and Musicians in Classical Music History

Black Classical Artists On Youtube
Curating the History of Blacks in Ballet

Ignatius Sancho (1729-1780)
Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799)
Jose Mauricio Nunes Garcia (1767-1830)
José Manuel Jiménez Berroa (1855-1917)
Edmund Dede
Charles Lucien Lambert (1828-1896)
Lucièn-Léon Guillaume Lambert (1858-1945)
Harry Thacker Burleigh (1866-1949)
Will Marion Cook (1869-1944)
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912)
H. Lawrence Freeman (1875-1954)
Florence Beatrice Smith Price (1888-1953)
William Grant Still (1891-1978)
William Levi Dawson (1898-1990)
Fela Sowande (1905-1987)
Howard Swanson (1907-1978)
Margaret Allison Bonds (1913-1972)
Ulysses Kay (1917-1995)
George T. Walker (1922–  )
Julia Amanda Perry (1924-1979)
Hale Smith (1925-2009)
Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson  (1932-2004)
Paul Freeman (1936–  )
Olly Wilson (1937-2018)

Opera Performers:
Lawrence Brownlee (1972- )
Lillian Evanti (1891-1967)
Roberta Alexander (1949- )
Marian Anderson (1897-1993)
Caterina Jarboro (1903-1986)
Todd Duncan (1903-1998)
Dorothy Maynor (1910-1996)
Portia White (1911-1968)
Anne Wiggins Brown (1912-2009)
Lawrence Winters (1915-1965)
Carol Brice (1918-1995)
Camilla Williams (1919-2012)
William Warfield (1920-2002)
Robert McFerrin, Sr. (1921-2006)
Mattiwilda Dodds (1925–  )
Leontyne Price (1927–  )
Shirley Verrett (1931-2010)
Gloria Davy (1931-2012)
Reri Grist (1932–   )
George Shirley (1934–  )
Martina Arroyo (1937–  )
Grace Bumbry (1937–  )
Simon Estes (1938– )
Jessye Norman (1945–  )
Kathleen Battle (1948–  )
Measha Brueggergosman (1977– )
Gordon Hawkins (1959– )

Ballet Performers:
Arthur Mitchell (1934–  )
Raven Wilkinson (1935–  )
Misty Copeland (1982–  )
Lauren Anderson (1965– )
Andrea Long (1966–)

Tai Jimenez (1970–)
Aesha Ash (1977–)

Concert Singers:
Sissieretta Jones (1869-1933)
Roland Hayes (1887-1976)
Paul Robeson (1898-1976)

Concert Instrumentalists:
George Bridgetower (1780-1860)
Jose Silvestre de los Delores White (1835-1918)
Hazel Harrison (1881-1969)
Phillippa Duke Schuyler (1931-1967)
Natalie Hinderas (1927-1987)
Kermit Moore (1929–  )
Andre Watts (1946–  )
Sanford Allen (1939–)

James DePreist (1936-2013)
Dean Dixon (1915-1976)
Henry Lewis (1933-1996)
Michael Morgan (1957- )
Rafael Payare (1980- )

Francis Johnson (1792-1844)
Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield (1819-1876)
Emma Azalia Hackley (1867-1922)
Robert Nathaniel Dett (1882-1943)
Francis Hall Johnson (1888-1970)
Eva Jessye (1895-1992)
Zelma Watson George (1903-1994)
Eileen Jackson Southern (1920-2002)