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WILLIAM GRANT STILL
1895 - 1978
Known as the Dean of African American Music, William Grant Still was an integral part of the Harlem Renaissance movement.
A man of many firsts.
The First Black American -
to have a symphony premiered by a major US orchestra Rochester Philharmonic premiered the Afro-American Symphony in 1931.
to conduct a major symphony orchestra in the US. He conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl in 1936.
to conduct a major symphony orchestra in the Deep South (he directed the New Orleans Philharmonic in 1955
Grief, one of his most popular art songs, was the topic of an interesting mystery. Read about his daughter’s sleuthing here
GEORGE FREDERICK HANDEL
1685 - 1759
A prolific genius of the Baroque Period (1600 – 1750), Handel composed Italian operas, orchestral music, chamber music, and oratorios, most famous of which are Messiah, completed in 1741 and Samson, completed in 1743.
His work as a philanthropist is often overlooked. In 1759 he mounted a performance of Messiah to benefit a children’s home in London, the Foundling Hospital. Read more about the Foundling Hospital and the modern Museum.
Although German born, Handel became a naturalized Englishman by an Act of Parliament in 1727. Of the four anthems written for the coronation of George II in 1727, the most famous has been used at every monarch’s coronation since. Recording of Zadok the Priest performed by the Choir of Westminster Abbey
He is buried in Westminster Abbey.