In January of 2009 a core group of San Francisco Bay Area musicians presented a program that included works by William Grant Still. Intrigued by his beautiful and masterful compositions, they continued to explore his music, along with the works of a host of other African American composers previously unknown to them. Dedicated to music-making and education, they invited colleagues to join in on this journey of enlightenment and discovery. In 2010 they began presenting annual concerts of music by African American composers, concerts located in the Performing Arts Center of Eastside College Preparatory School, East Palo Alto. All concert proceeds benefit the school.
Drawing audiences from throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, the concerts have become an annual focal point for the sharing and celebration of outstanding music by African American composers, from works of the last century to premieres of vocal and chamber works composed expressly for these concerts.
This journey that began with a program of music by William Grant Still has grown to include works by over 25 African American composers whose lives have been dedicated to composition, to education, and to the enhancement of life through music.
In the media:
- NYT Article on the Bronx Conservatory of Music at which John Robinson teaches (Feb 15, 2019)
- The Almanac, ‘Freedom Rings’ – along with the music – at benefit concert (Jan 19, 2019)
- The Almanac, Weekend concerts celebrate music By African American composers (Jan 23, 2018)
- KQED “Do List,” African American Composers Initiative A Local Musical Gem (Jan. 3, 2018)
- San Jose Mercury News, La Doris Cordell: A Secret Musical Life (Jan. 27, 2016)
- KGO, San Jose’s Independent Police Auditor to retire, focus on music (May 27, 2015)
- The Almanac, Concerts pay tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. (Jan. 20, 2015)
- San Jose Mercury News, Concert Triumph (Jan. 27, 2014)
- Palo Alto Weekly, Reclaiming history through music (Jan. 17, 2014)
- Palo Alto Weekly, Empire State of Mind (Jan. 25, 2013)
- Palo Alto Weekly, A Mission of Music (Jan. 21, 2011)