Manage episode 328162797 series 2885711
BlackFacts.com presents the black fact of the day for May 11.
William Grant Still was born.
He was the first African American to conduct a professional symphony orchestra in the United States. Though a prolific composer of operas, ballets, symphonies, and other works, he was best known for his Afro-American Symphony (1931).
He first studied composition at Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Oberlin, Ohio, then under the conservative George Whitefield Chadwick at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.
Still’s concern with the position of African Americans in U.S. society is reflected in many of his works, notably the Afro-American Symphony; the ballets Sahdji (1930), and Lenox Avenue (1937); and the operas The Troubled Island and Highway No. 1, U.S.A.
Often referred to as the "Dean of Afro-American Composers," Still was the first African-American to conduct a major American symphony orchestra, the first to have a symphony performed by a leading orchestra......the first to have an opera performed by a major opera company, and the first to have an opera performed on national television.
The recipient of two Guggenheim fellowships and two Harmon Awards, he was also bestowed honorary doctorates from Wilberforce, Oberlin, the University of Arkansas, Bates College, Howard University, and the University of Southern California.
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