Colorado’s classical musicians celebrate Black History Month

courtesy of artists
Step Afrika!, Edward W. Hardy, the Jamaican Choral Music Symposium

Black History Month on CPR Classical recognizes the legacy of African American composers and the contributions of today’s Black artists and creatives. Check out these events taking place in February around the Denver metro and across our state. 

Tune in to CPR Classical daily for artist spotlights and more music discovery during Black History Month. Listen at 8 a.m., 1 p.m., and 4 p.m. for the brilliance of composers like William Grant Still, Florence Price and contemporary artists who are shaping the classical scene.   

CU Presents: Step Afrika! (Feb. 2) | >> More info

Step Afrika! blends percussive dance styles practiced by historically African American fraternities and sororities, traditional Western and Southern African dances, and an array of contemporary dance and art forms into one compelling artistic experience. Performances are much more than dance shows — they integrate songs, storytelling, humor and audience participation.

Black Violin: 2024 Live Tour: Experience (Feb. 2-4) | >> More info

Black Violin upends cultural and musical stereotypes with a blend of classically trained musicianship, hip-hop beats and inventiveness. A previous Newman Center Presents favorite, Black Violin has just received a Grammy nomination for “Best Americana Performance” for the track "The Message" in collaboration with The Blind Boys of Alabama.

Fort Collins Symphony: Dvorak Discovery (Feb. 3) | >> More info 

In a special Black History Month tribute, the Fort Collins Symphony honors the legacy of pioneering Black American composer Florence Price. The tribute includes the Colorado premiere of Price’s work "Ethiopia’s Shadow in America" and the unveiling of a new painting inspired by Price’s music by artist Louise Cutler. Following the performance, Cutler’s painting will be up for auction to benefit the Symphony. 

American composer, pianist, organist, and music teacher Florence Price.

Littleton Symphony Orchestra: A Painter’s Palette (Feb. 9) | >> More info

A program titled "A Painter’s Palette" includes music by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. Associate Conductor Héctor Jardón and the LSO perform "The Bamboula," which musically portrays both an African drum and a dance brought to America by Haitian slaves.

Dazzle Denver: Wil Alston: Spirituals According to Jazz (Feb. 9) | >> More info

This show delivers jazz-based interpretations of sacred and African American spirituals. The show “desires to expose new listeners to these powerful songs of hope, struggle, and faith in God; and ensure they remain relevant in today’s musical landscape.” The ensemble includes vocalist Wil Alston, Daniel Moran (keyboard), Derek Woodbury (double bass), Skip Lynch (drums), Chris Hansen (trumpet) and Steve Shurack (guitar).

UNC Presents: Day Break of Freedom: A Journey Through Black History (Feb. 22) | >> More info

The UNC School of Music presents "Seven Last Words of the Unarmed" written by Atlanta composer Joel Thompson. Each of the featured piece’s seven movements quotes the last words of an unarmed Black man before he was killed. With the UNC Chamber Choir and UNC Bands.

Photo from artist website
Composer Joel Thompson.

DAMTA: Musicale Celebrating Black History Month with Leah Claiborne (Feb. 25) | >> More info

The Denver Area Music Teachers Association (DAMTA) partners with the Lamont School of Music piano department to bring Dr. Leah Claiborne to Colorado for a masterclass and presentation. The presentation centers around Dr. Claiborne's new piano method series and features a compilation of music from black composers for beginning and intermediate piano students.

CU Presents: Jamaican Choral Music Symposium: Mona In Concert (Feb. 25) | >> More info

The University Singers, with guest artist Mona from Kingston, Jamaica, present a full-length Jamaican choral music concert chronicling the country’s journey in finding its musical voice.

Edward W. Hardy, violin: Southard Music Competition Winners Concert (Feb. 26) | >> More info

The Southard Music Competition is the University of Northern Colorado’s premiere music showcase. This free concert features the top three prize winners starting with the Bear Lake Wind Quintet followed by a performance of “Born Free,” a song cycle composed and performed by violinist Edward W. Hardy, featuring soprano Courtney Caston and pianist Jordan Ortman.

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