Can you name three Black classical composers? Violinist Rachel Barton Pine can name 350 who have composed more than 900 works.
On October 19, her Rachel Barton Pine Foundation’s “Music by Black Composers” showed the world #BlackisClassical through the release of three landmark projects:
MBC Violin Volume I, the first in a series of pedagogical books of sheet music exclusively by Black classical composers featuring 22 works for violin from 1767 to 2014. The series enables everyone from beginners through Mendelssohn-Concerto level to include works by Black composers in their studies. Additional orchestral instruments will be covered in future volumes.
The Rachel Barton Pine Foundation Coloring Book of Black Composers, featuring 40 prominent Black composers throughout history, drawn by Sho-mei Pelletier.
An illustrated timeline poster of 300+ Black classical composers from around the world.
Released in conjunction is Pine’s Blues Dialogues, an album of classical works by 20th– and 21st-century Black composers on Cedille.
Black composers have created masterful classical music for centuries, yet they are underrepresented in concert programming and in classical music education, silencing a rich vein of works from global consciousness. As young musicians seldom have the opportunity to study and perform classical music by Black composers, aspiring Black music students struggle to participate in an art form in which they do not appear to belong, perpetuating a lack of diversity on stage and among audiences.
With that in mind, over the last 15 years, Pine and her RBP Foundation have collected more than 900 works by 350+ Black composers from the 18th-21st centuries, representing Africa, North and South America, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, and Oceania.
The goal is that through exposure to these composers and their music, current and future generations of performers, presenters, and audience members will expect and demand that music on our concert stages be a full representation of the human experience.
Rachel Barton Pine is an award-winning, Billboard-chart-topping violinist, who performs with the world’s leading orchestras and has recorded 37 acclaimed albums.
To purchase the books or poster visit
To purchase Blues Dialogues visit