William Grant Still (1895-1978) is profiled at AfriClassical.com, which features a comprehensive Works List by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma, http://www.CasaMusicaledeLerma.com
Douglas McRay Daniels
Fall River Symphony Orchestra
(The Herald News)
"This concert spans a long period starting with a big, robust romantic piece from Brahms," said Douglas McRay Daniels, conductor and music director of the FRSO.Daniels said he first became familiar with Still's Afro-American Symphony at the University of Nebraska when the orchestra performed it while he was in graduate school there. "It's a monumental piece, it's the first symphony by an African-American composer to be performed nationally. He wrote it in 1930," said Daniels. "William Grant Still was a fantastic composer."
Stills' symphony also features unexpected instruments including the banjo and contrabassoon. "The orchestra's killing it — most of the people in the Fall River Symphony Orchestra have never heard it before," said Daniels.
The timing of performing Stills' symphony, during Black American History Month, was unintentional, though as an African-American conductor, Daniels said he feels an obligation to represent composers "who look like me."