With the Blackout Tuesday action yesterday, the streaming music services were focusing on music by black artists. I was dismayed, however, when I went to Apple Music, and all they were doing was playing Beats 1 all day. When I turned it on a couple of time, it was just rap and hip-hop; people told me that, later, there were other black performers, such as those of soul and R&B from the 1970s.
I think Apple missed a chance to introduce people to black artists in other genres. Sure, we all know about the many black artists in jazz – Miles, Monk, and Mingus, for example – but there are also a number of black composers of classical music, and many black artists who perform classical music. Apple could have had different selections of music in different genres to highlight these composers and artist.
So here’s a basic playlist with some of the better-known names among black classical composers. Feel free to listen, and to add it to your Apple Music library. If anyone has any other suggestions, especially of contemporary composers, let me know and I’ll add them to the playlist. I didn’t intend this to be exhaustive, but just to show that there are some very good classical works by black composers.
Update: Here’s a list of some black composers and classical music organizations compiled by the Eureka Ensemble.