Chicago’s D-Composed string quartet, focusing on music by Black composers

Posted on: March 12, 2020

D-Composed at its inaugural D-Composition event, held last month at Chicago’s Michigan Avenue Apple Store: violinists Kyle Dickson and Caitlin Edwards, violist Danielle Taylor, and cellist Tahirah Whittington. Photo by Ally Almore

“Imagine an intimate room full of young children playing decorated DIY shakers and other instruments they’d just learned to make from beans, beads, macaroni, water bottles, and rice; or an audience at a senior citizens’ center cheering on an all-Black string quartet,” writes Janaya Greene in Tuesday’s (3/10) Chicago Reader. “This is the kind of classical music experience that D-Composed is creating for Black people in Chicago…. The quartet plays a wide range of material … and it prefers small rooms—cafes, galleries, private ballrooms, Chicago Park District facilities.… Every D-Composed concert … follows one rule: the music must be written by Black people…. Everyone in the group plays in other ensembles…. The quartet recently launched D-Composition, an event combining spoken word and music…. It debuted in February 2020 at the Michigan Avenue Apple Store…. ‘A lot of what D-Composed is trying to combat is how segregated Chicago is, and knowing how Chicago has treated the Black community and the arts,’ says D-Composed founder and executive director Kori Coleman. ‘Our focus is making sure we’re in these communities and we have a presence and we show that we see you.’ ”