Opera Still was self-taught in saxophone, clarinet, and cello along with an assortment of other instruments while also taking violin lessons. Still is most famous for his Symphony No. He was the first African-American man to write a symphony and then have it performed by the leading Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. Still made a name for himself during a time when African Americans were oppressed.
William Grant Still composed pieces that touched people of all races, not just African Americans. He was a man of many firsts including the first African-American in the United States to have a symphony performed by a major symphony orchestra, and the first African-American to conduct a major symphony orchestra in the United States.
He was also the first African American to have an opera produced by a major opera company. William Grant Still was a prolific composer from humble beginnings.
When William was an infant, his father passed away. William and his mother would then relocate to Little Rock, Arkansas.
His mother Carrie became an English teacher M. When William was about nine years old, his mother married a man named Charles Shepperson.
Later in his life, William attended the high school where his mother was a teacher. William started his formal music education at the school by taking violin lessons from a private instructor.
Shepperson and purchased him the Red Seal operatic recordings, which peaked his interest in opera.
After high school, he attended Wilberforce University. He entered the university as a Pre-Med student, but yearned to study music.
He spent most of his time at Wilberforce immersing himself in the band. He learned to play several instruments and conducted the band.
He would leave Wilberforce because of accusations of an improper relationship with a young lady who would later become his first wife in William later attended Oberlin College after a brief stint in the Navy. William left Oberlin in to accept a position offered to him by W.
There Still authored arrangements for dance bands and jazz groups. Still relocated to Boston and played oboe in the "Shuffle Along" orchestra.
The symphony made its debut in at the Eastman school of music. It was the first symphony of its kind, it incorporated genres such as jazz and blues and included the use of a banjo.
His fame continued to grow when his ballet "La Guiablesse" was performed by a completely Caucasian cast. Notably Still also did an arrangement for a young Bing Crosby. In later years, he would later to go on to write the entire score of a movie "Pennies From Heaven," which starred Bing Crosby.
Still received seven honorary degrees from various prestigious universities, including six honorary doctorates throughout his career.
Still also received many awards during his lifetime, and perhapsWilliam Grant Still was a gifted conductor and composer, and the first African American to have major productions of both a symphony () and opera ().
Learn more about his life and career Born: May 11, William Grant Still was born May 11, in Woodville, Mississippi to Carrie Lena Still and William Grant Still. Still's father died when he was only a few months old, so /5(6).
Read William Grant Still - African American Composer and Pioneer free essay and over 88, other research documents. William Grant Still - African American Composer and Pioneer. William Grant Still, African American Composer and Pioneer William Grant Still has been dubbed the “Dean of African American Composers.” /5(1).
Still was self-taught in saxophone, clarinet, and cello along with an assortment of other instruments while also taking violin lessons. A man with humble beginnings, William Grant Still became the first person of African descent to conduct a major American Symphony (“William Still”).
William Grant Still: A Voice High-Sounding is a collection of sixteen insightful and controversial essays by Judith Anne Still, the daughter of composer-conductor, William Grant Still, revealing hitherto unknown facts about his private life and philosophy.
Essays also confront issues of race, politics in music, mysticism, and the consequences. WILLIAM GRANT STILL () Biographical Notes. Long known as the "Dean of African-American Classical Composers," as well as one of America's foremost composers, William Grant Still has had the distinction of becoming a legend in his own lifetime.