Nietzsche Music Project

"Black Broadway: The Early Years"
Artistic Discipline: Music
Category: Brooklyn Arts Fund
Grant Year: 2024
Location: Fort Greene

“Black Broadway: The Early Years” continues NMP & CPNY’s celebration of NY-focused composers. It explores how the influences and instructors from the National Conservatory of Music of America (a racially and gender-integrated organization founded by socialite Jeanette Thurber in 1885) under the direction of the Czech immigrant composer Antonin Dvorak shaped early Broadway, especially contributions by Black composers, who influenced composers in Broadway’s Golden Years and today. Dvorak’s controversial belief that contributions from Black or Indigenous Americans and immigrants were essential to new American music shifted interest in musical innovations toward NYC. Several National Conservatory students produced all-Black musicals on Broadway and became mentors for Duke Ellington and other notables. One professor taught Aaron Copland and George Gershwin. “Black Broadway: The Early Years" is a multimedia, multidiscipline lecture demonstration concert that includes music by Antonin Dvorak, Will Marion Cook, James Reece Europe, Eubie Blake, and George Gershwin and explores the interconnectedness of various groups that worked together to contribute to the sounds of New York City, then and now. “Black Broadway: The Early Years” is led by Conductor/Music Director Tali Makell, Producer Cindy Sibilsky, and Bassist/Music Consultant Anthony Morris. It features NYC-based special guest speakers, musicians, performers and technicians.