Cover art for podcast Rhapsody in Black

Rhapsody in Black

30 EpisodesProduced by YourClassicalWebsite

Where we turn up the voices of Black artists in the world of classical music, with host Vernon Neal.

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Clarinetist Anthony McGill promotes connection, equality and justice

September 21st, 2023


Clarinetist Anthony McGill is the principal clarinetist with the New York Philharmonic, the first Black musician to hold a principal chair in the …

Violinist Randall Goosby enjoys meteoric rise but remains grounded

September 14th, 2023


Randall Goosby has been playing violin since he was 7, including studying with legendary violinist Itzhak Perlman, and the trajectory of his career …

Afro-Brazilian guitarist Plinio Fernandes uses unique style to inspire and teach new generations

September 7th, 2023


Afro-Brazilian guitarist Plínio Fernandes’ style is a unique alchemy of the Brazilian folk and popular songs he grew up with, Latin classical …

Pianist André Watts, a performer we all learned from

August 31st, 2023


Pianist André Watts made his debut at 16 when he was featured in a Young People’s Concert, with Leonard Bernstein conducting. Bernstein was blown away by the performance! Find out more in the latest episode of the …

Violist Eliesha Nelson honors the music and memory of composer George Walker

August 24th, 2023


Flautist, composer and producer Allison Loggins-Hull is often described as someone whose work “defies classification.” Co-founder of the …

Flutist, composer and producer Allison Loggins-Hull 'defies classification'

August 17th, 2023


Flautist, composer and producer Allison Loggins-Hull is often described as someone whose work “defies classification.” Co-founder of the …

Tenor Lawrence Brownlee uplifts African American music and youth

August 10th, 2023


Known for singing roles in operas that demand his particular Bel Canto voice and leading projects that uplift music by African American composers, …

World-class pianist Awadagin Pratt is not afraid to talk about the Black experience

August 3rd, 2023


Pianist Awadagin Pratt is a world-class pianist who has earned awards, international competitions and an Avery Fisher Career Grant. He has never shied away from talking about his experiences as a Black man in the …

Terence Blanchard is a legend of jazz, film music, opera and more

July 27th, 2023


In 2021, Terence Blanchard became the first Black composer to have an opera staged at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Whether it’s performing or …

Damien Sneed is a musician of many skills and genres

July 20th, 2023


A musician of multiple hats and genres, Damien Sneed is recognized today as a pianist, vocalist, organist, composer, conductor, arranger, producer …

Soprano Grace Bumbry challenged racial bias in the opera world

July 13th, 2023


Despite facing racial bias within the opera world, soprano Grace Bumbry rose to international fame and created a sensation with her impactful …

Stevie Wonder, the influential artist who transformed R&B and funk music

July 6th, 2023


Explore the legendary career of Stevie Wonder, the influential artist who transformed R&B and funk music. From his soulful voice to his …

John Coltrane captures a spiritual journey in 'A Love Supreme'

June 29th, 2023


In 1965, saxophonist John Coltrane released his iconic album ‘A Love Supreme.’ Explore the spiritual journey captured in this jazz opus, its unique …

Tania León is a master at weaving diverse musical influences together

June 22nd, 2023


Tania León has been hailed as an astoundingly original composer and a music ambassador who continues to impact classical music significantly. Her story inspires, showcasing her perseverance and commitment to excellence …

Conductor Roderick Cox is a trailblazer on the podium

June 15th, 2023


Conductor Roderick Cox is notable for his dynamic, engaging performances, often highlighting works by underrepresented composers and exploring various musical styles. Find out more in the latest episode of the 'Rhapsody …

Mary Lou Williams is perfect for concert halls and jazz clubs

June 8th, 2023


Mary Lou Williams' artistic vision and her ability to blend diverse musical influences into a cohesive and unique composition are perfect for concert halls and jazz clubs. Find out more in the latest episode of the …

Gil Scott-Heron is a self-described 'bluesologist'

June 1st, 2023


Gil Scott-Heron, the self-proclaimed "bluesologist," emerged as a courageous musical figure during the 1970s and 80s, skillfully blending social …

Angélique Kidjo is a voice for social justice

May 25th, 2023


Angélique Kidjo is a powerhouse of African music and a voice for social justice. Find out more in the latest episode of the 'Rhapsody in Black' podcast.

Imani Winds have faith in music as their core value

May 18th, 2023


The Imani Winds has had faith in commissioning new works that uplift the profile of BIPOC composers and performers. They have been doing so for over a quarter century. Find out more in the latest episode of the …

Aaron Dworkin has cultivated a community through music

May 11th, 2023


American violinist and music educator Aaron Dworkin saw a need to diversify classical music and made it his life’s work. Find out more in the latest …

Edmond Dédé is the first published Creole composer of color

May 4th, 2023


Composer Edmond Dédé is a free Creole of Color conductor and violinist from New Orleans. His music took him to Mexico, Algiers and France. Find out …

Wynton Marsalis has jazz and classical chops

April 27th, 2023


Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis is internationally known for his outstanding career in jazz. Many don’t know that he has also found success in classical music. Find out more in the latest episode of the 'Rhapsody in Black' …

Composer Julia Perry is being brought back from the margins

April 20th, 2023


Composer Julia Perry for years existed only in the margins. Lost to time because of structural racism and sexism in America, her works are finally …

Errollyn Wallen mixes Central American heritage with Western classical traditions

April 13th, 2023


Composer Errollyn Wallen has had teachers tell her that classical music is ‘not her sort of music’ and has had to deal with being underestimated her …

Billie Holiday's 'Strange Fruit' speaks to us about racial violence

April 6th, 2023


Billie Holiday's 'Strange Fruit' is an unforgettable and mesmerizing classic that speaks to racial violence and anti-lynching legislation. Find out …

William Dawson never doubted the possibilities of our music

March 30th, 2023


Composer and educator William Dawson dedicated his life to the promotion and cultivation of Black American music traditions. Find out more in the …

Miles Davis reinvented the jazz scene

March 23rd, 2023


Jazz trumpeter Miles Davis redefined the genre in subtle and caustic ways. While he had great success he was always restless for innovation. Find out more in the latest episode of the 'Rhapsody in Black' podcast.

Everett McCorvey and the American Spiritual Ensemble keep our heritage alive

March 16th, 2023


Founded in 1995 by Everett McCorvey, the American Spiritual Ensemble teaches about the history and traditions of enslaved people in America through the power of music. Find out more in the latest episode of the …

Alice Coltrane uses music to heal and find peace

March 9th, 2023


Jazz pianist and harpist Alice Coltrane studied classical and gospel early on. Jazz, on the other hand, helped her develop her own creativity, …

Roberta Flack is the shepherd of a new R&B sound

March 2nd, 2023


Pop artist Roberta Flack grew up classically trained and continued to love the music even when revolutionizing the R&B scene. Find out more in …

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