Dear flute friends,
I have been quietly taking in all that has happened in the past week in this country, and admittedly I have been remiss in my lack of statement on social media. This is because: a) expressions of deep feeling on social media always turn gross b) I was afraid that whatever I said would appear performative coming from a white middle-aged lady and c) it seemed time for white people to shut up and let black people speak (like, without posting about it for our gold stars). But, I also realize that it's important for each and every ally to help add to the valuable voices out there trying to advocate for a sane world.
So, as a flute player, what comes to mind? SUPPORTING BLACK COMPOSERS. Here are just a few you may never have heard of and they've all written some beautiful works for flute and various chamber groups:
Joseph Bologne (Chevalier de Saint-Georges)
Undine Smith Moore
William Grant Still
On the more modern end of things, I have been devouring works by Shawn Okpebholo, Valerie Coleman, and Flutronix.
Perhaps there will come a time when a black composer, like a woman composer, can be casually sprinkled into everyone's recital programs and it'll be No Big Deal, because it happens all the time. But for now, we should all work harder to amplify composers who go ignored. I am declaring here my commitment to perform works by each of these composers in the coming years, and I encourage you to do so, as well. And readers, please add your favorite black composers in the comments under this post!
Here's a site you should bookmark and visit regularly: Music By Black Composers: https://www.musicbyblackcomposers.org/
And what better way to support black composers than by commissioning new music from them? Here's an old guide to help you get started (to be used in conjunction with Music By Black Composers, above): https://rinerflute.blogspot.com/2017/02/commissioning-new-music-guide-to-get.html
Take care of yourselves and each other!