Canton Symphony, working to spotlight Black composers past and present

Posted on: February 22, 2022

“Historically, Black composers have all too often been left out of the classical music narrative. But orchestras across the country are recognizing that must change,” write Ron Ponder, Kelly Krabill, and Ben Weaver in Friday’s (2/18) WKSU radio (Kent, OH). “The Canton Symphony Orchestra is among those who’ve worked to make classical music a more welcoming place for previously ignored communities. Ron Ponder, a long-time journalist and former president of the Stark County chapter of the NAACP, reached out to the conductor of Canton Symphony Orchestra, Gerhardt Zimmermann, to talk about four composers who deserve the spotlight: Rick Robinson, Florence Price, William Grant Still and George Walker…. Zimmermann calls Rick Robinson a close friend. After years playing bass for various symphonies, he formed his own music company, CutTime Productions. CutTime combines classical music with jazz…. William Grant Still’s music … ‘was the most popular of any American composer between the end of World War II and around 1950,’ says Zimmermann…. George Walker … ‘wrote a trombone concerto that I still hope to program sometime in the future at the Canton Symphony,’ says Zimmermann…. The Canton Symphony Orchestra will host a conversation with Rick Robinson later this year.”