Featured Composer ARCHIVE

Harry Thacker Burleigh (1866-1949) is perhaps best known as both a baritone and a composer of art songs and concert spirituals. Burleigh was stylistically influenced through both his own cultural background and his studies with Antonin Dvořák at the National Conservatory of Music, often drawing upon spirituals and other American melodies in his music.

His major solo piano work, From the Southland (published in 1914) was written for a fellow American composer, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. These beautiful pieces set six poems written by his wife Louise Alston Burleigh, and feature writing suitable for intermediate and advanced students.

Learn more about Burleigh at the Harry T. Burleigh Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to performing and advancing the work of Burleigh.

Featured Oct. 8th 2020

Sophie-Carmen Eckhardt-Grammaté (1898-1974) is a Russian-born Canadian composer, pianist, and violinist. A largely self-taught composer, she is best known for her works for violin and solo piano - her Caprices and Piano Sonatas are amazing works for the advanced pianist, combining changing compositional trends such as neo-classicism, bitonality, jazz idioms, and serialism with her fascination and mastery of counterpoint.

She received her music education at the Conservatoire de Paris, including studies with Vincent d'Indy and Camille Chevillard. After living in both Berlin and Vienna, she eventually settled in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada where she established an important musical legacy that is continued to this day. She was the first Canadian composer to receive the Diplôme d'honneur from the Canadian Conference of the Arts, and received an honorary doctorate degree from Brandon University.

Her music is championed through both the Eckhardt-Grammaté Foundation and the Eckhardt-Grammaté National Music Competition, an annual competition in Brandon, MB dedicated to advancing new music.

Featured Nov. 4th 2020

Philippa Schuyler (1931-1967) was a pianist, composer, journalist, and author. Hailed as a child prodigy (and genius!), she made her first public performance by the age of 4, and by the age of 16, she had already performed with many of the United State's leading orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic. She was a prolific composer, completing 200 works by 13 years old, and won several competitions performing her own works.

Despite her successful early touring career, Schuyler grew disillusioned with performing, encountering both racist and sexist attitudes throughout her tours of the United States. She began performing exclusively in Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia as a result of these problems, even going so far as reinventing herself as 'white' under the pseudonym Felipa Monterro to bypass these attitudes and increase her concert engagements.

Schuyler eventually switched careers in 1960 to become a political journalist, working all over the world and publishing several books.

Her music is eclectic and exceedingly effective, especially her piano music. Schuyler's oeuvre deserves better recognition, and hopefully more and more people will discover her music.

Featured Nov. 20th 2020

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Undine Smith Moore (1904-1989), is perhaps best known as an educator and as a co-founder the of Black Music Center at Virginia State College, where she spent much of her career, retiring in 1972. Her passion and promotion for a greater recognition for music by black composers through many lecture series and performances led to many awards, including a Candance Award and an honorary doctorate from Indiana University.

 

Her compositions focused largely on vocal music, and she described her influences as only "black folk music and Bach." While her art songs are by and large tonal, her piano music is characterized by more avant-garde compositional techniques. Her most famous piano work, Before I'd Be a Slave, features tone clusters, bitonality, and quartal harmonies, combined with a highly contrapuntal writing.

Moore believed that art was a vehicle for social change, and both her  music and philosophy deserve our attention today.

Featured Dec. 6th 2020

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