Yesterday and today I did some research on orchestras in parts of the world outside of Europe and the Americas. I thought after the concert, Why am I not paying attention more to orchestras in Africa? After all, a lot of Western composers derived their melodies from Africa’s musical traditions, so it would seem fair to say that if we want to change the way people see classical music, we can’t just focus on Europe and the United States. So I looked up the history of classical music in countries such as Ghana, Uganda, and South Africa, and I learned that classical music in Africa is more prevalent than people would normally think. If you watch some of these orchestras, they’ve got so many members, and they also have music schools such as the Kampala Music School to promote early classical education. Of course, even though the tradition of classical music in Africa has roots in European colonialism, musicians in African countries have used music as a means of addressing social issues and getting through their daily lives. I wanted to know more because I haven’t read much about classical musicians going to Africa to perform. I first became interested when I found violinist Rachel Barton Pine’s coloring book of Black classical composers yesterday before the orchestra concert. I wanted to do more research and so this question popped in my mind: if we are trying to do outreach programs for Black and Latino students in the U.S., how have musicians in the rest of the African diaspora fared?
This isn’t the only clip I watched, but it gives a glimpse of the potential research I hope to continue as time goes on.