Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Teacher Requests Concert Band Repertoire by Black Composers

[Quincy Hilliard]

Dean Valentino is a high school teacher in Ontario who has requested help with concert band repertoire by Black composers. The high school will be taking part in a Black History Month program in the next school year. Both instrumental and choral works are needed for the concerts at which the band students will perform.

AfriClassical has made these suggestions to Dean, which are followed by several helpful ideas from some of our associates. We hope other educators and concert band directors will find these resources useful as well, and we thank Dean Valentino for starting this thread:

If you scroll though the Works Lists on the composer pages at, you will find some works for band. William Grant Still Music has a number of sheet music titles for band at: Valerie Coleman of the Imani Winds Quintet has composed at least two pieces for concert band, listed at:

This reply is copied to my principal associates, including Suzanne Flandreau and the Reference staff at the Center for Black Music Research (CBMR), Columbia College Chicago, whose resources are extensive:

Suzanne Flandreau
Head Librarian and Archivist
Center for Black Music Research
Columbia College Chicago
600 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60605
Telephone: 312-369-7346
Fax: 312-369-8029

Dominique-René de Lerma,
There's also a dissertation on the subject, written I think, by a member of the University of Michigan, named Moss. Coming immediately to mind are works by Adolphus Hailstork, T. J. Anderson, Hale Smith, and Alton Augustus Adams.

Michael S. Wright
Roger Dickerson from New Orleans 'Essay for Band' - a splendid work. Check out the following superb CD's: Northern Arizona University Wind Symphony; Patricia J. Hoy, conductor. NAUW 0001 and Northern Arizona Wind Symphony; Patricia Hoy, conductor. NAUWS-003 available from William Grant Still Music.

Suzanne Flandreau
The dissertation on band music is by Myron D. (“Mike”) Moss, “Concert band music by African American Composers, 1928-1998.” It was his dissertation at Michigan in 2000. The publisher is Schneider Verlag in Tutzing, Bavaria, Germany. The citation should be Tutzing: Schneider Verlag, 2009. They specialize in music reference books... Unfortunately I didn’t find it on Amazon and it would have to be ordered from Germany. It’s listed on the publisher’s website for 70 Euros but they didn’t seem to have any means of direct purchase. It certainly deserves to be widely available, but it may be expensive. It may also be available from UMI Dissertation Services, or it may be possible to borrow it through interlibrary loan.
I know it practically has whiskers now, but Aaron Horne’s Brass Music of Black Composers (Greenwood Press, 1996) also covers band music (but doesn’t grade it) and it might be available at a library.

Mike Moss gives a broad historical coverage of band music, by decade through the 1990s, and analyzes and grades pieces. Aaron Horne’s index is the way to get to band music, but the composers have to be looked up individually. Horne also covers unpublished music, which can be frustrating.

So, I also suggest two composers who specialize in composing for school bands: Quincy Hilliard and William Owens. Both of them are published by TRN Music Publishers ( The publisher’s website gives more info and grades for their music. TRN also publishes band pieces by Cedric Adderley, another African American composer. According to the TRN website he has also written for school band. If elementary pieces are being sought, TRN might be the best place to start.

Comment by email:
I will be happy to update you on the progress and event itself. I already have a wonderful feeling
about the whole process. Thanks [Dean Valentino]


RDMarble said...

William Owens who works at and is published by FJH Music His music is very playable and he is an excellent clinician as well.

Dean said...

I am now on the look out for a 2 part arrangement of Lift Evry Voice and Sing. Suggestions please

Dean said...

Just to let everyone know, we performed 2 Owens pieces and An African American AIr at the United Nations Emancipation day Celebration concert to rave reviews in front of an audience of over 700 people. Thanks again to all who help guide me on my way.