William Grant Still

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William Grant Still
The Music of Freedom

About William Grant Still

William Grant Still has been called the Dean of Afro-American composers. Judith Anne Still, the composer's daughter, talks with Naomi Lewin about her father's life, and the difficulty he faced in the first half of 20th century America as a black man writing classical music.

The Music of Freedom
The songs that helped the slaves escape to the north, as well as others that celebrate freedom.

Judith Anne Still

The daughter of William Grant Still, Judith Anne Still now dedicates herself to getting her father's music recorded and played by orchestras. She visited WGUC in May 2000. Here are excerpts from her conversation with Naomi Lewin.

A victrola brings opera music into the home, inspiring William Grant Still from a young age

Still's start in music

Still prayed that music would help him bring races together

Race relations through music were his proudest moments

His creative process'

Still was constantly revising his music

Still couldn't get his music recorded while he was alive

Classics for Kids Quiz

1. William Grant Still's grandmother sang what sort of music to him?

spirituals

operas

musicals

nursery rhymes


2.William Grant Still was the first African-American to

win an Oscar

conduct a major American orchestra

play the piano in a public concert

compose an oper


3. What new invention did Still's stepfather bring into the house?

electric guitar

phonograph

player piano

CD player


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