Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Takeaway: Birthday of Langston Hughes; Collaborated with William Grant Still on Opera 'Troubled Island'

[Langston Hughes (1939) (Library of Congress); Just Tell the Story: Troubled Island; Judith Anne Still and Lisa M. Headlee]

Celebrating Langston Hughes and a Personal Connection 
Wednesday, February 1, 2012 
Wednesday is the 110th birthday of Harlem Renaissance author and social activist Langston Hughes. Celebrated around the world for his emotionally charged yet economic use of language, one of the lesser-known aspects of Hughes' legacy is that of lyricist. In a collaboration with the African-American classical composer William Grant Still - and grandfather of The Takeaway's own Celeste Headlee - Hughes created an opera based on the life of Haitian revolution leader Jean-Jacques Dessalines titled 'Troubled Island.'

“Terrance McKnight is weekday evening host on WQXR, New York Public Radio's classical music station. He will also host 'I, Too Sing America: Music in the Life of Langston Hughes,' which premieres tonight at 9pm Eastern on WQXR. The program tells the story of Hughes’ life in music, including the dramatic tale of his collaboration with William Grant Still.”

[William Grant Still (1895-1978) is profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works List by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma, Recordings, sheet music and books of William Grant Still are available at, which is operated by the composer's daughter Judith Anne Still]

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