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Music by Black Composers with New Albany Parks and Rec

About 100 children in New Albany, IN participated in music workshops with 90.5 WUOL this summer. They played instruments from each family, researched new composers, and learned how to read rhythms. The sessions ended with a field trip to Louisville Public Media where students performed on percussion instruments alongside Violinist and Producer, Kojin Tashiro, accompanied by Percussionist and Music Education Manager, Jecorey Arthur. Please enjoy these recordings by the Griffin, Beechwood, Parkview, Riverside Recreation Centers from the City of New Albany.


Ignatius Sancho

Ignatius Sancho was born in 1729 on a slave ship off the coast of Guinea in West Africa, and was taken to the Spanish colony of New Granada in South America. He was sent to England when he was two years old, where he was freed when he was a young man after his enslaver died. He became the first Black composer in history to have his music published!

Francisca “Chiquinha” Gonzaga

Francisca “Chiquinha (she-KEEN-ya)” Gonzaga was born in 1847 and lived in Rio de Janeiro, which is one of the biggest cities in the South American country of Brazil. She got married, but her husband did not want her to have a musical career. Even though it was very scandalous at the time, Gonzaga divorced him. She wrote more than 2,000 pieces throughout her lifetime, and became the first woman in Brazil to conduct an orchestra.

Sister Marie-Seraphine Gotay

Sister Marie-Seraphine Gotay (go-TAY) was born in 1865 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and moved to New Orleans, Louisiana when she was 17 years old. In New Orleans, she joined the Sisters of the Holy Family and became a Catholic nun. There were many Black composers in New Orleans in the 1800s, but Sister Gotay is the only known Black woman composer from that time.

Thomas J. Martin

Thomas J. Martin was an American composer who was active in New Orleans, Louisiana in the mid-1800s. He was a free man of color in the years before the Civil War, and he published many pieces between 1854 and 1860. He played the guitar and the piano, and he operated a large teaching studio in New Orleans for many years.

Recorded at Louisville Public Media by Eric Mathews Materials from Music by Black Composers (Violin Volume 1)

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