PCO has corresponded with Still’s daughter, Judith Ann Still, and his granddaughter, Lisa Headlee, who are both very excited about the upcoming concert. Mr. Still was an African-American classical composer who pushed many boundaries during the 1960’s civil rights movement. He was born in 1895 in Woodville, Mississippi and is responsible for writing more than 150 compositions. He was the first African-American to conduct a major symphony orchestra, have major productions of a symphony & opera as well as the first to have an opera performed on national television. He moved to Los Angeles in 1939 and had a long and successful career as a composer, arranger and conductor. He is often referred to as the “Dean of African-American Composers.” At the age of 83, he died in Los Angeles on December 3, 1978.
Join us this Friday, January 30th, 2015, 8:00 p.m. at the First Church of the Nazarene to hear his Symphony No. 1 – also known as the “Afro-American Symphony.”
“We are so glad that the music of William Grant Still is receiving your loving attention. There is so much to be done to really end the Civil War and to understand the need for brotherhood and mutual respect, that every presentation of the WGS works makes a step forward. Many thanks.”
– Judith Anne Still, Correspondence with PCO, 1.16.2015
“I seek in the ‘Afro-American Symphony’ to portray not the higher type of colored American, but the sons of the soil, who still retain so many of the traits peculiar to their African forebears; who have not responded completely to the transforming effect of progress.”
– William Grant Still