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Rachel Barton Pine Exploring Music By Black Composers /

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Do you know of a piece by a Black composer that my child could learn? Or that I could play for my recital? Or that my beginning student could learn? These are the types of questions that violinist Rachel Barton Pine started receiving after recording Violin Concertos by Black Composers of the 18th & 19th Centuries back in 1997. She could see that her album was helping unlock a new level of interest in violin music written by Black composers, but at the time, she did not have a lot of answers. "I just didn't know yet what existed," Pine said, "this was the extent of my repertoire, these four pieces on the CD."

Now, after a major 15-year effort involving the talents, input and research of many experts on the subject, Pine has compiled and confirmed a list of 350 Black composers, as well as more than 900 works by those composers. She also has an answer for students who wish to learn music by Black composers: Music By Black Composers, Violin Volume I, a book of sheet music that was just released this fall. The book, meant for students at a Suzuki Book 1-2 playing level, is the first in a violin series expected to include eight volumes, going from from beginner to advanced concerto playing level. Volume 1 includes 22 works for violin by 16 Black composers, each with accompaniment, with both a second violin duet part and piano accompaniment. Audio and video recordings are available on the Music by Black Composers website (click here) for every work in the book. The works span the years 1767 through 2014, with Black composers from the United States, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Ghana, Nigeria, Switzerland, France, and England.