top of page



Gioachino Rossini: (1792 - 1868)

  • Was one of the most celebrated Italian composers of the early 19th century.

  • Began composing at the age of 14

  • Composed 39 operas

  • Hailed as one of the great “bel canto” composers

  • Well known for his comedic operas, The Barber of Seville, Semiramide, and La Cenerentola.

  • Was nicknamed "The Italian Mozart"

  • Music is characterized by florid lines, melodic brilliance, and masterful orchestration

  • Retired from composing operas at the age of 37 Composed sacred and chamber music until his death



Georges Bizet: (1838 - 1875)

  • One of the most influential and innovative French composers of the Romantic era.

  • Displayed musical talent from a young age, entering the Paris Conservatoire at the age of nine.

    • There he studied with Charles Gounod and Fromental Halévy.

  • 1857 won the Prix de Rome

  • His “verismo” style of composition, exhibited in his most notable opera, Carmen, initially caused great uproar, as it was seen as too risqué.

  • Wrote Carmen in 1875, considered one of the greatest operas of all time

  • Died shortly after the premiere of Carmen, at the age of 36.

  • His funeral was attended by more than 4000 people.


Margaret Bonds: (1913 - 1972)

  • Born in Chicago, Illinois

  • Was a pioneer and influential African American composer and virtuosic pianist.

  • Bonds was a child prodigy. Wrote her first composition at the age of 5.

  • At 8 years old she won a scholarship to study at the Coleridge-Taylor Music School (founded by Afro-British composer, Samuel Coleridge Taylor)

  • First African American soloist to appear with the Chicago Symphony

  • Had a successful career writing pieces for the Glenn Miller Orchestra

  • 1936 Founded the Allied Arts Academy in Chicago for talented African American children

  • She is renowned for her collaborations with prominent figures of the Harlem Renaissance, including Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston.

  • She composed a wide range of works including art songs, spiritual arrangements, and orchestral pieces, often incorporating elements of African American spirituals and folk music.

Source: Margaret Bonds Biography – Afrocentric Voices in "Classical" Music (

Rossini & Bizet were so popular that he was featured on a cigarette brand’s promotional trading card!


1050 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste. 500

Washington, DC 20035

1740 Broadway, 15th floor

NYC, NY 10019


© 2023 The Denyce Graves Foundation

  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Instagram

Our Federal tax ID is 86-2276658. 

The Denyce Graves Foundation is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. 

bottom of page