Hazel Scott: Piano Prodigy and Civil Rights Activist

Hazel Scott was a child prodigy classically trained on the piano. She was known as the “Darling of Café Society,” which was an integrated nightclub in Greenwich Village, New York. Hazel was born on June 11, 1920 in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Her father, R. Thomas Scott, was a West African Scholar and her mother, Alma Long …

Introduction to Margaret Bonds

Margaret Bonds was born on March 3, 1913 in Chicago, Illinois. Her father was a physician, and her mother was a piano teacher and church choral director. Margaret’s mother started teaching her piano at a very young age. When Margaret was 8 years old, she started studying at the Coleridge-Taylor Music School. (Remember Samuel …

George Bridgetower: Violin Virtuoso

  George Bridgetower was a violin virtuoso who lived from 1778 – 1860. He is most well-known for his friendship with Beethoven, but George himself was a highly accomplish prodigy who even earned the recognition of King George IV.   George was half Eastern European and half West Indian. His father served the Hungarian Prince Esterhazy, …

Leontyne Price: An International Opera Star

  Leontyne Price is a remarkable, highly decorated singer who broke many color barriers in the world of opera. She was born Mary Violent Leontyne Price on February 10, 1928 in Laurel, Mississippi. Her mother played a huge role in fostering her musical talents as she herself was a soprano, though she …

Robert McFerrin and His Role in Diversifying Classical Music

  Robert McFerrin Sr. was the first Black man to sing at the Metropolitan Opera. He won the Met National Auditions in 1953, and his debut was in “Aida” in 1955, in the role of Amonasro. This was 3 weeks after Marian Anderson’s historic debut as the first Black person to sing …

Marian Anderson: The Iconic Contralto

Marian Anderson was a contralto singer who overcame Jim Crow America to become one of the most legendary singers in history. Born in Philadelphia in 1897, Marian started her singing career in the Union Baptist Church youth choir. The conductor, impressed by Marian’s talented voice and ability to sing any part of a hymn, whether it …