Cover image for William Grant Still : a study in contradictions
William Grant Still : a study in contradictions
Smith, Catherine Parsons, 1933-2009.
Publication Information:
Berkeley, Calif. : University of California Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xvi, 368 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.
A brief chronology / Carolyn L. Quin -- Contributed essays. The formative years of William Grant Still: Little Rock, Arkansas, 1895-1911 / Willard B. Gatewood ; "Dean of Afro-American composers" or "Harlem Renaissance man": the new Negro and the musical poetics of William Grant Still / Gayle Murchison -- Toward a biography. Finding his voice: William Grant Still in Los Angeles ; An unknown "new Negro" ; The Afro-American symphony and its scherzo ; "they, Verna and Billy" ; "Harlem Renaissance man" revisited: the politics of race and class in Still's late career -- Sources. Personal notes / William Grant Still ; William Grant Still and Irving Schwerké: documents from a long-distance friendship / edited by Wayne D. Shirley ; William Grant Still: a study in contraditcion / Harold Bruce Forsythe ; Plan for a biography of Still / Harold Bruce Forsythe ; William Grant Still / Verna Arvey -- Major sources on Still -- Note on recordings.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML410.S855 S65 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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During the 1930s and 1940s William Grant Still (1895-1978) was known as the "Dean of Afro-American Composers." He worked as an arranger for early radio, on Broadway, and in Hollywood; major symphony orchestras performed his concert works; and an opera, written in collaboration with Langston Hughes, was produced by the New York City Opera. Despite these successes the composer's name gradually faded into obscurity. This book brings William Grant Still out of the archives and examines his place in America's musical heritage. It also provides a revealing window into our recent cultural past.

Until now Still's profound musical creativity and cultural awareness have been obscured by the controversies that dogged much of his personal and professional life. New topics explored by Catherine Parsons Smith and her contributors include the genesis of the Afro American Symphony , Still's best-known work; his troubled years in film and opera; and his outspoken anticommunism.

Author Notes

Catherine Parsons Smith is Professor of Music at the University of Nevada, Reno, and coauthor, with C. S. Richardson, of Mary Carr Moore, American Composer (1987).