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WRTI Honors Black Classical Music and Jazz Artistry for Black History Month 2022

Mary Swingle

Throughout the month of February, WRTI is proud to bring you a very special classical and jazz celebration of Black History Month.

On the classical side, we’re celebrating composers and musicians of African descent with a special feature, Black History Month In Focus. In addition to music by Black composers and artists being broadcast each day, tune in Mondays through Saturdays at 9 AM, 12 PM, and 4 PM when we’re specifically highlighting a different Black composer or artist.

We’re featuring a huge range of artists and sounds, from well-established figures, like Leontyne Price and Scott Joplin, to others who are far less familiar than they should be, including Jose Mauricio Nunes Garcia, Francis Johnson, Nora Douglas Holt, Ann Hobson Pilot, and Henry Lewis, to name just a handful.

On February 26th, in honor of Black History Month, the Metropolitan Opera’s Saturday broadcast at 1 PM on WRTI will showcase highlights from some of the Met’s most revered African American stars. And on February 27th at 3 PM, From the Top celebrates Black History Month with a highlights program that features outstanding performances by young Black musicians selected from the show's archive.

On the jazz side, we’re taking a cue from the great Kenny Garrett and celebrating the Sounds from the Ancestors for Black History Month on WRTI. We asked musicians who represent Philadelphia’s music community to acknowledge the important contributions of great Philadelphia artists we have lost.

Be sure to listen weekdays at 7:15 PM and 10:15 PM, and at 12:15 PM on Sundays, to hear the chosen ancestors, and some of their music, and also the music of the artists who did the choosing.

For example, you’ll hear from Dave Burrel who chose John Coltrane, Mike Merritt who chose his dad, Jymie Merritt, and Alexander Claffy who chose Dwayne Burno.