How Music Responds on WRTI

In these extraordinary times, music and music makers have something to say about Black Music and the Black Experience. Check out these meaningful, inspiring conversations with a wide variety of guests about the power of music to transcend our differences and bring us closer together. Also included are stories that deepen our knowledge of Black Music from recent days and the past.

Courtesy of Jeri Lynne Johnson

In 2008, African-American conductor Jeri Lynne Johnson founded Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra, an ensemble of classically trained musicians from diverse cultures and ethnicities as a model for the 21st century. She shared with WRTI's Susan Lewis her thoughts about the possibilities for change in classical music culture.


Black Music is the story of the Black Experience. It spans across all genres of music and is an important part of American history and culture. This week, we’re paying homage to Black composers and musicians and their journey of expression and creativity—and we’re asking you to join us.

Valerie Coleman has written works for The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Library of Congress, and a host of other organizations and ensembles, including the Grammy-nominated Imani Winds, of which she is the founder and former flutist. She talked with WRTI's Susan Lewis about writing music in today's difficult times. 

June 15, 2020. In 1998, bassist and bandleader Christian McBride composed The Movement Revisited: A Musical Portrait of Four Icons as part of a musical commission. At the time, he considered it a musical portrait of the Civil Rights Movement; it became much more than that.

Wikipedia Commons

Check out these digital stories from the WRTI Arts Desk that highlight Black artists and composers—from classical and jazz worlds—who have had an incredible impact on American and global culture. Join us on Juneteenth as we showcase Black artists and composers throughout the day!

Getty Images/blindspot

On Tuesday, June 2nd at 6 PM, WRTI presented a special live program addressing Black Music as a form of social engagement.

The Power of Music to Transcend Our Differences

Jun 5, 2020

Every moment of every day that you listen to WRTI is a shared cultural experience with many people who do not look like you, don’t live in your neighborhood, didn’t go to the same school, may not have voted for the same person, don’t share the same socioeconomic status, and certainly don’t have the same life story.

April 6, 2020. It's spring, and time to celebrate new life in classical music. Sheku Kanneh-Mason, now famous for his performance in the May, 2018 Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Megan Markle, is among the stars of a new generation honoring the past, and beckoning us to a bright future.

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