5 Black Musicians Who have Influenced the Evolution of Classical Music


While many may overlook the contributions of Black musicians to classical music, it is important to recognize their immense impact on the genre.

From Duke Ellington to Leontyne Price, these innovators paved the way for a more diverse and rich musical landscape. While their influence is felt in many genres, including jazz and opera, they have also played a role in the evolution of classical music.

For those looking to enjoy a night of gaming with a little bit of musical flair, it’s important to know when to double down in blackjack. But before you sit down at the table, take the time to appreciate these influential musicians and their stories.

They deserve recognition for their passion and skill, and for their contributions to the world of classical music.

Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745–1799)

Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges was a remarkable individual, noted throughout history for his talent as a composer, violinist, and conductor. Born in Guadeloupe in 1745, he showed an early aptitude for music and moved to France to further develop his skills.

There he quickly gained fame as a virtuoso violinist and was soon entrusted with leading the prestigious Le Concert des Amateurs. Despite facing racism and prejudice as a person of mixed-race, Saint-Georges continued to thrive as a musician, leaving behind a rich legacy of beautiful compositions that continue to inspire listeners to this day.

His determination and talent have rightfully earned him a place in the pantheon of great classical musicians.

Scott Joplin (1868–1917)

Scott Joplin was a talented composer and pianist who was a pioneer of Ragtime music. Born in 1868, Joplin first embarked on his musical journey as a traveling musician. However, his talent soon caught the attention of music publishers in St. Louis, and he began to make a name for himself in the industry.

Joplin’s compositions were a unique blend of classical music and African American rhythms, which quickly gained popularity and became the hallmark of Ragtime music. The iconic pieces that he composed, such as “Maple Leaf Rag” and “The Entertainer”, are still beloved classics and played all over the world.

Scott Joplin’s legacy truly lies in his ability to create a new genre of music that was both entertaining and influential, and his impact on American music can still be felt to this day.

William Grant Still (1895–1978)

William Grant Still was not just a composer, conductor, and arranger, but a true trailblazer in his time. He was known for his unique style, which blended classical music with African American heritage to create a sound that was truly his own.

His most famous piece, the “Afro-American Symphony,” symbolized his dedication to bringing diversity and inclusion to the world of classical music. Still’s contributions to American music are immeasurable, and his legacy lives on to this day through the countless artists he inspired and empowered.

Marian Anderson (1897–1993)

Marian Anderson was a trailblazing contralto opera singer who broke barriers and opened doors for generations of black performers to come.

Despite facing racial discrimination and segregation, she rose to fame through her incredible talent and determination. In 1939, Anderson’s historic performance on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to thousands of people became a symbol of hope and a landmark moment in the civil rights movement.

Her voice not only mesmerized audiences with its rich and powerful tones, but it also brought attention to the inequalities and injustice faced by African Americans during that time. Anderson will always be remembered as a trailblazer in the opera world and as a courageous advocate for racial equality.

Robert McFerrin, Sr. (1921–2006)

Robert McFerrin, Sr. made history when he stepped onto the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in 1955 as the first African American to perform there. It was a groundbreaking moment that opened the doors for future Black opera singers to follow in his footsteps.

McFerrin’s rich baritone voice and passionate performances captivated audiences and critics alike. He paved the way for other African Americans to be recognized for their talents and contributions to the world of opera, breaking down barriers and stereotypes. McFerrin’s legacy will always be remembered as a trailblazer and an inspiration to many.


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