Violinist brings history to life through music

February 26, 2008 4:28:29 PM PST
A violinist is teaching young musicians about the rich history of African American classical music composers. Rachel Barton Pine and a group of young musicians are learning and playing compositions which date back several centuries. They were written by black composers here in Chicago and around the world.

"I think of a garden that has been used to be all beautiful and stuff...happy flowers...and now only weeds," said Ade Williams.

The music is the work Florence Beatrice Price who once lived in Chicago. She is credited with being the first African-American woman to compose a symphony. She wrote four.

"It's actually kind of different...I'm playing a piece from my own people...its cool," said Williams.

Reaching back in time, violinist Rachel Barton Pine has sought to create a library of music by black classical composers through her foundation.

"There are hundreds and hundreds of composers of African decent from all over the world from Africa, from Europe from America the Caribbean...Latin America going back to the 1700s to the present day."

"I like the soulful sweet melodies and on other pieces, his symphonic works, I like the playful and energetic melodies," said Clayton Penrose-Whitmore of William Grant Still's work.

" By getting this history back out there it helps to bring down those barriers so everybody can feel comfortable enjoying this amazing art form," said Barton Pine.