Skip to main content
Skizze Komposition

Harald Kisiedu, George Lewis: Composing While Black

Wolke Verlag, Hofheim (DE)

The publication of the book Composing While Black: Afrodiasporic New Music Today closes a gap in musicological research. Until now, there have been hardly any discourses on black composers – probably one of the most glaring omissions in music historiography, which also extends to the field of concert programmes and journalistic work. Composing While Black: Afrodiasporic New Music Today, edited by musicologist Harald Kisiedu and composer, musicologist, computer installation artist and trombonist George Lewis is funded by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation and is intended to serve as a door opener for concert stages, opera houses and educational institutions.

An untold Story will for the first time take a diasporic perspective on black composers of contemporary music. This collection challenges fundamental assumptions about constructions of Western classical music as a historically and institutionally white space and critically interrogates the world of contemporary music as a professional field that has systematically erased the presence and achievements of Afro-diasporic composers. Harald Kisiedu and George Lewis examine a black artistic tradition that is often assumed to be absent from contemporary expressive culture.

This volume sets a new tone by making visible the lives and works of contemporary music composers whose erasure is due, at least to some degree, to what theorist Fred Moten calls “a deeper, perhaps unconscious formulation of the avant-garde as necessarily non-black”. The book seeks to address the underrepresentation of contemporary Afro-diasporic composers in terms of historical narratives and concert programmes by engaging in a transfer of knowledge that makes blind spots visible.

Further information: