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 […]