Friday, February 5, 2016

Texarkana Gazette: Professor performs 'beautiful and compelling' music [by Florence Price, William Grant Still, Scott Joplin and Teddy Wilson]

William Grant Still (1895-1978), Florence B. Price and Scott Joplin are featured at

Florence B. Price (1887-1953)

Scott Joplin (c.1867-1917)

Doris Davis performs "Sonata in E Minor" by Florence Price on Thursday Feb. 4, 2016, at Texas A&M University-Texarkana. Davis commented on and performed music by four African-American composers in honor of Black History Month.
Photo by Joshua Boucher /Texarkana Gazette.

Texarkana Gazette

Four black composers from Arkansas and Texas are recognized

February 4th, 2016 by Jennifer Middleton 

The influence and exceptional contributions of African-American composers was the focus of a lecture/performance Thursday at Texas A&M University-Texarkana.
A&M-Texarkana professor Dr. Doris Davis performed piano compositions by Florence Price, William Grant Still, Scott Joplin and Teddy Wilson.
Davis chose these, she said, "in recognition of Black History Month, but also to acknowledge the immense compositions that African-Americans have made to American music and music around the world.
From spirituals, ragtime, blues, rock, R&B to hip-hop, all these traditionally black styles have influenced other genres, she said.
"Their music is very worthy of being heard, very beautiful and compelling and needs to be better known," Davis said.
She also chose them because all four were either born in or grew up in Texas or Arkansas.
Joplin was born in Texarkana, Wilson was born in Austin and Price and Still grew up in Little Rock, attending the same elementary school and studying under the same music teacher.
"Think about this, one teacher," Davis said. "They studied with the same grade school teacher. This is really phenomenal. Both became internationally known."
She added that both composers had many firsts, with Still becoming the first African-American composer to have a symphony performed by a major symphony orchestra, and Price being the first black woman to accomplish the same.
Davis performed Price's "Sonata in E Minor", second movement; Still's "Phantom Chapel" from "The Bells"; Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag" and Wilson's arrangement of Count Basie's "One O'clock Jump".

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