Thursday, April 5, 2018 Cobb orchestra to perform lynching drama, African-American pieces [April 20 & 21, 2018]

William Grant Still (1895-1978)

Ben Brasch

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Georgia Symphony Orchestra is partnering with groups like the Morehouse and Spelman college glee clubs for a night of performing the works by African-American composers.

The April 20 and 21 concerts will continue the Marietta-based orchestra’s series of playing American music.

Among the pieces set to be performed is William Grant Still’s “ ... And They Lynched Him on a Tree.”

[William Grant Still] is known as the “Dean of African-American Composers” and was the first African-American composer with a piece performed by a professional orchestra, according to the Library of Congress, which was in 1930.

The piece tells the story of a man who was convicted of a crime and lynched by a mob.

“As the only lynching drama in classical music, and with its segregated chorus parts, it stands alone in addressing and confronting the human impact of violence and social injustice,” according to the GSO.

The composition has been the subject of dissertations and museum exhibitions.

In addition to Still’s piece, there will also be works from Jonathan Bailey Holland, Adolphus Hailstork, Daniel Bernard Roumain and GSO’s N. E. Wheeler.

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