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A&M-Texarkana University Honors Program to Honor African-American Composers

Published: February 3, 2016

In recognition of Black History Month, the Texas A&M University-Texarkana Honors Program will present a lecture and performance honoring African-American composers at noon on Thursday, Feb. 4, in the third floor atrium of the University Center on the A&M-Texarkana campus, 7101 University Ave., Texarkana, Texas.

Dr. Doris Davis, professor of English, will present selections by legendary composers Florence Price, William Grant Still, Scott Joplin and Teddy Wilson.

An award-winning pianist and composer, Florence Price was the first African-American woman to have her work performed by a major symphony. Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, she attended the New England Conservatory of Music and lived in Chicago where her "Symphony in E Minor" was performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

William Grant Still was born in Mississippi and moved to Arkansas as an infant. Known as the dean of African-American composers, he was the first African-American to conduct a major American symphony orchestra, the first to have a symphony performed by a leading orchestra, the first to have an opera performed by a major opera company and the first to have an opera performed on national television.

Raised in Texarkana, Texas, Scott Joplin played piano as a child and became a traveling musician as a teenager. He became ragtime’s most well-known composer with tunes such as "The Entertainer," "Solace" and "The Maple Leaf Rag," which is the best-selling ragtime song in history. Joplin also composed the operas “A Guest of Honor” and “Treemonisha.”

Born in Austin, Texas, American jazz pianist Teddy Wilson was featured on the records of many of the jazz legends, including Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Goodman, Billie Holiday and Lena Horne. With Goodman, Wilson was one of the first African-American musicians to appear prominently with white musicians. Wilson also led his own groups and recording sessions from the late 1920s to the 1980s.

The Honors Colloquia are a series of scholarly talks and presentations offered throughout the academic year. They provide a venue for University Honors students and faculty to present their research. The University Honors Program also brings speakers to campus from outside the university community.

The public is invited. Light refreshments will be served.

A&M-Texarkana University Honors Program to Honor African-American Composers

  • 7101 University Ave
  • Texarkana, TX 75503
  • p: 903.223.3000
  • f: 903.223.3104
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