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Article

Dominique-René de Lerma

[NANM]

Organization founded in 1919 in Chicago to promote interest in African American music. Earlier efforts to found such an organization had been made by Clarence Cameron White in 1916 and R. Nathaniel Dett in 1918, both of whom participated in the first convention of the association and served as president during the 1920s. Governed by a board of directors and elected officers, the organization has met annually in various cities during the summer for workshops, concerts, recitals, panel discussions, business meetings, and youth concerts. Its numerous regional branches have sponsored other activities throughout the year. Among the recipients of national awards and special tributes early in their careers have been Hazel Harrison, Marian Anderson, Julia Perry, Arthur LaBrew, Grace Bumbry, Leon Bates, and Awadagin Pratt.

SouthernB L.H. White: “The NANM,” American Musician, vol.2/2 (1921), 18 J.A. Mills: “The National Association of Negro Musicians,” HiFi/MusAm, vol.29/8 (1979), 14–15 D.E. McGinty: A Documentary History of the National Association of Negro Musicians...

Article

Eldonna L. May

[SBC]

African American composers collective, established in 1968 and dissolved in 1973. Believing that black music was a catalyst for social change and community coalition building, an eclectic, politically active, visionary group of young composers came together in New York in 1968 to found the Society of Black Composers. Their agenda was tripartite: to develop their composition skills, to promote the work of black modern and classical composers, and to enrich the cultural life of black communities. In addition to supporting the work of African American composers, the collective sought to increase musical, political, and cultural awareness. It presented concerts, colloquia, and lectures to perform and discuss the music of its members. The society also broadened the scope of contemporary musical composition by incorporating elements of other cultural traditions.

The society’s members hailed from diverse musical backgrounds, ranging from jazz to classical to avant-garde, and included Talib Rasul Hakim (Stephen Chambers), William Fischer, Carman Moore, Dorothy Rudd Moore, John Price, Alvin Singleton, Roger Dickerson, Primous Fountain, James Furman, Adolphus Hailstork, Wendell Logan, and Olly Wilson. Support from the Ford, Fulbright, Guggenheim, and Whitney foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities enabled members to study and perform in Europe and Africa....

Article

Aja Burrell Wood

National nonprofit organization founded in 1996 by University of Michigan graduates Aaron P(aul) Dworkin and Carrie Chester. Dworkin and Chester sought to increase cultural diversity in the field of classical music and simultaneously overcome cultural stereotypes. The mission of the organization is, first, to increase the participation of blacks and Latinos as students in music schools, as professional musicians, and as classical music audiences; and second, to administer youth development initiatives in underserved communities through music education and by providing high-quality musical instruments.

The Sphinx Competition, a cornerstone program, began in 1998 as an annual string competition for black and Latino classical string players, from junior high through college, who compete for prizes and scholarships. The organization has since expanded to include an additional 13 professional, educational, community outreach, and performance initiatives under their Artist Development, Sphinx Prep, Sphinx Performance Academy, Sphinx Legacy Project, and Sphinx Presents programs. Sphinx also currently maintains three ensembles comprised of critically acclaimed professionals: The Sphinx Symphony, Sphinx Virtuosi, and Catalyst Quartet. The organization also regularly commissions, programs, and archives works by black and Latino composers....