Mary Howe

Mary Howe was an American pianist and composer. In 1922, at the age of forty, married with three children, she completed an artist diploma in composition at Peabody Conservatory with Gustav Strube. Having studied piano in Germany at a young age, she returned to Europe to study composition with Nadia Boulanger in 1933. Although she […]

H. Leslie Adams

The composer and pianist H. Leslie Adams has had a long and illustrious career. Now in his nineties, he was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1932. Adams studied voice, piano, and composition at Oberlin College and went on to earn a master’s degree in music from the California State University at Long Beach in 1967 […]

Adolphus Hailstork

Adolphus Hailstork is a prolific composer who has written over 250 works in just about every genre imaginable: symphonies, operas, cantatas, concertos, chamber music, choral pieces, songs, and more. A native of upstate New York, he currently resides in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and is professor emeritus of composition at Old Dominion University.  Hailstork has described […]

Connie Converse

Connie Converse was one of the first singer-songwriters, but she toiled in obscurity, and her music didn’t become widely known until the first decade of this century. She recorded a small number of songs in the 1950s (in her small Greenwich village studio and in the home of an animator and audio enthusiast named Gene […]

Mary Turner Salter

Born in Peoria, Illinois, Mary Turner Salter went to high school just across the Mississippi River in Burlington, Iowa, before moving east to study music at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. She was a gifted mezzo-soprano and pianist, and she sang professionally in Boston and New York City and taught voice at […]

Undine Smith Moore

Undine Smith Moore was a composer and educator who left a lasting impact on twentieth-century music. For over forty years she taught music theory, piano, and organ at Virginia State College (later Virginia State University), mentoring many students who went on to become celebrated musicians and composers, including jazz pianist Billy Taylor, conductor Leon Thompson, […]

Margaret Bonds

Margaret Bonds

Composer and pianist Margaret Bonds grew up in a musically rich environment in Chicago—her mother was a gifted organist, and in high school Bonds studied piano and composition with Florence Price. Like Price, Bonds was a pathbreaker. In 1934, she became the first Black soloist to play with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, when she performed […]

Florence Price

Florence Price was a composer, pianist, organist, and music teacher who was born in Little Rock, Ark., and spent much of much of her career in Chicago. She is famous for being the first Black woman to have a symphony premiered by a major U.S. orchestra—her Symphony No. 1 in E Minor, which was performed […]