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William Grant Still

William Grant Still (May 11, 1895 – December 3, 1978) was an American composer of nearly 200 works, including five symphonies and nine operas.

Often referred to as the "Dean of Afro-American Composers", Still was the first American composer to have an opera produced by the New York City Opera. Still is known primarily for his first symphony, Afro-American Symphony, which was until 1950 the most widely performed symphony composed by an American.

Born in Mississippi, he grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, attended Wilberforce University and Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and was a student of George Whitefield Chadwick and later Edgard Varèse.

Of note, Still was the first African American to conduct a major American symphony orchestra, the first to have a symphony (his 1st Symphony) performed by a leading orchestra, the first to have an opera performed by a major opera company, and the first to have an opera performed on national television.

Due to his close association and collaboration with prominent African-American literary and cultural figures, Still is considered to be part of the Harlem Renaissance movement.

Birth and Death Data: Born May 11, 1895 (Mississippi), Died December 3, 1978 (Los Angeles)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1927 - 1940

Roles Represented in DAHR: arranger, composer

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor PBS-055098 10-in. 10/7/1940 Marinela Artie Shaw Orchestra Jazz/dance band arranger  
Victor PBS-055191 10-in. 12/4/1940 Blues Artie Shaw Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Victor PBS-055192 10-in. 12/4/1940 Blues Artie Shaw Orchestra Jazz/dance band composer  
Columbia W143730 10-in. 3/31/1927 Fantasy on St. Louis blues Don Voorhees and his Earl Carroll's Vanities Orchestra Jazz/dance band arranger  
Columbia W143731 10-in. 3/31/1927 Fantasy on St. Louis blues Don Voorhees and his Earl Carroll's Vanities Orchestra Jazz/dance band arranger  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Still, William Grant," accessed June 26, 2022, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/104107.

Still, William Grant. (2022). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved June 26, 2022, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/104107.

"Still, William Grant." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2022. Web. 26 June 2022.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/104107

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