William Robin talks to black composers about the issues they face in the classical music world.
“We’ve been invisible,” the composer T. J. Anderson declared, almost immediately after answering the phone for an interview. “Like Ralph Ellison said, you know: We’re invisible, and any chance we get for exposure is very important.” Ellison, who in his youth aspired to be a composer before turning to literature, might have sympathized with Dr. Anderson’s plight.
At 85, Dr. Anderson is an elder statesman among black composers, and his forceful emphasis on visibility emanates from a career-long experience of exclusion. “It’s inevitable, once you are identified — and you always are identified because of race — there’s a certain different expectation,” he said. “You know that you’re not going to be commissioned by the major artistic institutions like the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera... Keep reading on The New York Times