Center for Black Music Research [CBMR]
- Suzanne Flandreau
The Center for Black Music Research (CBMR) was founded in 1983 at Columbia College Chicago by Samuel A. Floyd, Jr. Its mission has remained the same since its inception: to document, preserve, and promote the music of the African Diaspora. This mission is accomplished through publications, conferences and symposia, performances, research fellowships, and the Library and Archives, housing books and research collections.
The Center’s flagship publication, Black Music Research Journal (1980–), antedates Floyd’s move to Columbia College. The Center has also published Lenox Avenue (1995–1999), the scholarly journal for a grant-funded project which explored music’s role in the arts of the African Diaspora. Various newsletters, including Black Music Research Newsletter/CBMR Bulletin (1977–1990), and CBMR Digest (1990–) informed members about the Center’s activities. Kalinda! (1994–1997), Stop-Time (1998–2000), and Cariso! (2003–2006) were published for specific grant-funded projects. The Center’s publications also include a bibliographic and reference series consisting of five CBMR monographs, A Documentary History of the National Association of Negro Musicians edited by Doris Evans McGinty (2004), and a book series, Music of the African Diaspora, for the University of California Press. The Center’s award-winning International Dictionary of Black Composers was published by Fitzroy Dearborn in 1999.
The Center produces conferences on black music research, sometimes jointly with other societies. The first took place in Washington, DC in 1985; others have followed in various locations. In 1987 Floyd founded the Black Music Repertory Ensemble (BMRE), a chamber group, to perform compositions by black composers. In 1999 it was replaced by the New Black Music Repertory Ensemble, with flexible membership capable of performing across all genres and periods. The Center sponsors various educational activities, which have included two NEH summer seminars for college teachers (in 1985 and 1990), a series of seminars for K–12 teachers (2004–2006), three cycles of postgraduate research fellowships funded by the Rockefeller Foundation (1995–2006), and many lecture and concert presentations in schools and public venues.
The CBMR Library and Archives was founded in 1990 and opened for research in 1992. The library has nearly 6000 volumes, including over 1000 theses and dissertations; score collections representing over 40 composers; and archival and research collections of major scholars and organizations, in addition to sheet music, recordings and ephemera. Users of the library include scholars and students from all over the world, performers and performing organizations, the media, and the general public.