Wednesday, October 5, 2011

George Walker: 'Missing from the list of outstanding black women pianists is Frances Walker Slocum.'

[Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: 24 Negro Melodies; Frances Walker, Pianist; Orion 83105 (2006); Marquis Classics Distribution]

George Walker (b. 1922) is featured at and has a website at He writes about Frances Walker Slocum (b. 1924):

“Missing from the list of outstanding black women pianists is Frances Walker Slocum. Her career deserves far more notice than it has received. She was the first black woman to become a tenured professor at Oberlin College where she taught and mentored many fine students and remains a consultant to the President of Oberlin College and the Dean of the Conservatory of Music on minority issues.

“Frances Walker Slocum was the first pianist and only pianist to present a concert of the piano music of black composers in New York. She has given more solo piano recitals there than any other black woman pianist. She appeared as soloist in the Prokofiev Piano Concerto No. 3 with Everett Lee and the New World Symphony in Carnegie Hall. She has toured Europe and given State Department concerts in the Philippines. Before the current interest in Samuel Coleridge-Taylor she recorded his arrangements for piano of Negro Spirituals which are still available. She has given lectures on my pianos sonatas. Her performances of them were impeccable in their accuracy and musicality. The New Yorker, the BBC and other sources need to be aware of the fact that their historical material is incomplete without her inclusion.
Best regards.
George Walker”

The Oberlin College Archives include a biography of Frances Walker-Slocum at:

1 comment:

ari said...

This is an excellent post and is very true. I was just wondering if there was a specific list of black female pianists this is referring to?