Harry T. Burleigh Week

Born in Erie on Dec. 2, 1866, Burleigh learned spirituals as a child from his grandfather, Hamilton Waters, a former slave who worked as a lamplighter in Erie.

Burleigh later earned international acclaim as a renowned African-American classical composer, singer, arranger and music editor.

An accomplished baritone, Burleigh, who died in 1949 at age 82, played a significant role in developing American art songs. He composed more than 200 works in that genre and was the first African-American composer acclaimed for his adaptations of African-American spirituals. More

Solo Trumpet Repertoire by African American Composers

Wilson, Orrin. “The Contributions of Twentieth Century African American Composers to the Solo Trumpet Repertoire: A Discussion and Analysis of Selected Works by Ulysses S. Kay, Adolphus C. Hailstork, Regina Harris Baiocchi, and Charles Lloyd, Jr.” DMA diss., University of Nebraska–Lincoln, 2011.

While there has been a constant growth in the academic study of African American composers who have written concert and recital music, their contributions to the solo trumpet repertoire has received far less attention. Many African American composers’ works stretch far beyond the realm of spirituals, folk songs, choral works, jazz, and popular music. The composers covered here are noteworthy because they represent just a few of the various African American musicians who have composed works for the solo trumpet. Each composer’s work represents cultural and historical trends intended to counter negative perceptions of African American culture. These composers also represent the stylistic components that are associated with recognizable elements of African American music within the African American nationalistic vernacular, including call and response, the use of spirituals, and jazz influences. Focuses on the following works: Ulysses Simpson Kay, Tromba for Trumpet and Piano; Adolphus Cunningham Hailstork, Sonata for Trumpet and Piano; Regina Harris Baiocchi, Miles Per Hour for Unaccompanied Trumpet; and Charles Lloyds Jr., The Crucifixion for Trumpet and Piano. (Author’s abstract, abridged and revised)

Darin Atwater Puts a New Spin on Preserving Spirituals

Peoples, Betsy. “Spreading the Gospel: Darin Atwater Puts a New Spin on Preserving Generations of Negro Spirituals.” Emerge 11, no. 4 (2000): 76–78, 80, 82.

Profiles composer and pianist Darin Atwater and tells of his campaign to preserve African American spirituals by reintroducing them to a “new generation of people.” Suggests that Atwater has taken a “contemporary approach to preserving [the] songs,” which includes improvisation, rhythmic complexity, and call and response. Atwater has arranged and composed for such musicians as Stevie Wonder, Yolanda Adams, and Kathleen Battle. Includes several photographs of the musician. (Publisher’s abstract, revised)