WCLV honors Black History Month

[photo: Leontyne Price / Wikimedia Commons]
[photo: Leontyne Price / Wikimedia Commons]

WCLV honors and celebrates Black History Month with several special programs. 

On February 7 at 7:00 p.m., it's No Boundaries: Music in the Life of Coleridge Taylor Perkinson. He arranged songs for Harry Belafonte and Marvin Gaye; he scored films that starred Sydney Poitier, Cicely Tyson and Muhammad Ali; and Alvin Ailey and the Dance Theatre of Harlem commissioned his ballet scores. But Perkinson’s deepest desire was to become a composer and conductor of classical music. At age 23, his first string quartet was played in Carnegie Hall, and, a decade later, Perkinson co-founded the country’s first fully integrated orchestra—Symphony of the New World.

Then, on Sunday February 21 at 7:00 p.m., WCLV presents The Price of Admission: A Musical Biography of Florence Beatrice Price, which brings to light the music and legacy of one of America’s pioneering—but nearly forgotten—composers and takes a biographical look at Price’s symphonic music, songs and works for piano and organ. This documentary includes archival tape of composer Margaret Bonds talking about her friendship with Price, as well as Marian Anderson’s performances of Price’s music recorded during The Bell Telephone Hour, a popular musical showcase in the 1940–60s.

On The Black Arts, now in its 39th year on WCLV, host A. Grace Lee Mims presents a Black History Month line-up of some of her favorite artists, Wednesdays at 10 p.m

February 3: Martina Arroyo – This American soprano made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1959 and had a major international opera career in the 1960s–80s. Part of the first generation of black opera singers to achieve wide success, Arroyo is viewed as one of the performers who helped break down the barriers of racial prejudice in the opera world.

February 10: Leontyne Price – Widely regarded as the first African-American singer to earn international acclaim in opera, Price is known for her roles in Il Trovatore, Antony and Cleopatra and Aida.

February 17: “Blind Tom” Bethune – Born into slavery in 1849, Tom Bethune possessed extraordinary musical talents and became a celebrated composer and performer who appeared in concerts around the world.

February 24: Marian Anderson – Considered one of the finest contraltos of her time, Anderson became the first African American to perform with the New York Metropolitan Opera in 1955.
Her performance at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939 helped set the stage for the civil rights era.

And…all through February, you’ll hear Black History Month vignettes on composers like Hale Smith, William Grant Still and George Walker with WCLV’s Rob Grier.


On January 16, 2016, The Cleveland Orchestra presented the 36th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration concert. It was broadcast live by WCLV, and we were also there to gauge reaction from audience members.


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