African-American Composers for the Concert Saxophone: A Look at Three Prolific Composers

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African-American composers within the field of classical music have made very profound contributions to the literature. In the field of chamber music, Scott Joplin, William Grant Still, Adolphus Hailstork and other composers illustrious composers have created an established and well-documented body of repertoire for many orchestral wind instruments. The saxophone repertoire, however, has not been developed as fully due to its limited tradition as an orchestral instrument and its prominence in the tradition of jazz and popular music. African-American composers in particular appear to be significantly under-represented within the standard concert saxophone literature. My personal experiences with saxophone repertoire in academic settings, solo recitals, conferences and in surveys of standard repertoire from nationally-recognized saxophone teachers support this assertion.

There are many African-American composers who have made substantial contributions to the body of repertoire for the concert saxophone. This dissertation examines the works of three prolific African-American composers for the concert saxophone; Dr. Yusef A. Lateef, Andrew N. White III, and Dr. David N. Baker. All have composed more than five separate works featuring the concert saxophone.

This project comprises three recitals, each dedicated to one of the three composers selected for this dissertation. Each recital presented will present their compositions featuring the saxophone as a soloist with various types of accompaniment. The project also includes newly-created piano reductions of Dr. David Baker's works for saxophone and orchestra made collaboratively with Baker and arranger John Leszczynski.