William Grant Still & the Harlem Renaissance

Program & Artists

William Grant Still Symphony No. 2, Song of a New Race
Artwork from the exhibition The Harlem Renaissance and Transatlantic Modernism

Leon Botstein conductor

Tickets

3-Concert series Up to 20% off the full price

Part of TŌN’s Sight & Sound series

In the popular series Sight & Sound, conductor and music historian Leon Botstein explores the parallels between orchestral music and the visual arts. A discussion is accompanied by on-screen artworks and musical excerpts performed by The Orchestra Now, followed by a full performance and audience Q&A.

With the rise of new, urban Black communities both in New York City and abroad, the Harlem Renaissance became the first African American-led movement of international modern art. With that art came developments in visual art, poetry, jazz, and concert music. William Grant Still, who composed almost 200 classical works and was championed by conductors like Leopold Stokowski, was the foremost classical composer of the Harlem Renaissance. His symphonic trilogy tracing African American history from Africa to 20th-century America is capped by his Symphony No. 2, Song of a New Race, a joyful and lyrical work that fuses the European classical symphony with African American idioms.

The exhibition The Harlem Renaissance and Transatlantic Modernism will be on view at The Met Fifth Avenue February 25–July 28, 2024 in The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Gallery for Special Exhibitions.


Concert Details

Estimated duration: 2 hours and 30 minutes

Discussion, on-screen artworks, and musical excerpts
Leon Botstein and The Orchestra Now

Intermission
20 min

William Grant Still Symphony No. 2, Song of a New Race
35 min
Listen

Q&A with the audience

All timings are approximate. Program and artists subject to change.

Sample the Music

William Grant Still Symphony No. 2, Song of a New Race

Image: Jacob Lawrence (American, Atlantic City, New Jersey 1917–2000 Seattle, Washington). The Shoemaker (detail), 1945. Watercolor and gouache on paper, 22 3/4 × 31 in. (57.8 × 78.7 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, George A. Hearn Fund, 1946 (46.73.2). © 2022 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

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