Wednesday, December 23, 2009

'Mississippi Symphony Orchestra Makes History in Natchez' With Music of William Grant Still

[William Grant Still; Photo is the sole property of William Grant Still Music, and is used with permission.]
Native Mississippian William Grant Still (1895-1978) was the first African American to conduct a major American symphony and the first African American composer to be performed by a major American symphony. He leaves an incredible legacy with his music, which is performed not only by orchestras, but also by chamber groups, choirs and soloists.

Music and the Arts: Still Our Only Future, a conference in tribute to William Grant Still, took place November 19-22, 2009 in Natchez with leaders and artists from all over the country. MSO was honored to present a concert on the opening night of this conference. The program included a diverse sample of Still's orchestral music, including the Mississippi premier of his Afro-American Symphony and the professional world premier of his A Deserted Plantation, written in 1933. The MSO String Quartet also premiered Still's String Quartets - The Folk Suites - in a workshop led by Music Educator Rufus Jones. The conference afforded MSO the opportunity to perform in Natchez for the first time in many years. [William Grant Still (1895-1978) is profiled at, where a complete Works List by Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma is found.]

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