William Grant Still

Quick Facts

  • Known as “Dean of Afro-American Composers”
  • Was a part of the Harlem Renaissance
  • First African American to:
    • conduct an American symphony orchestra
    • have a symphony performed by an orchestra (“Afro-American Symphony”)
    • have an opera performed by the New York City Opera
    • have an opera broadcast on television
  • Born in Mississippi, grew up in Arkansas (U.S.)
  • Learned the violin as a teenager, later taught himself viola, cello, double bass, clarinet, oboe, and saxophone


  • William Grant Still poster (PDF)

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