Black Reflections: Contributions of Black Artists

Black Reflections is a three-part panel discussion on Black artistry in concert music hosted by Oberlin Conservatory and the New World Symphony. 

Watch the webinar from September 10, 2020


Chi-chi Nwanoku

Chi-chi Nwanaku.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Chi-chi Nwanoku

Double bassist Chi-chi Nwanoku studied at the Royal Academy of Music with Franco Petracchi in Rome, where she is a professor and fellow. She is the founder, artistic director, and executive director of the Chineke! Foundation, which encourages diversity in classical music through its orchestras, the Chineke! Orchestra and Chineke! Junior Orchestra, and its community engagement work.

Nwanoku has been instrumental in creating opportunities for talented Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) musicians through concerts, commissioning works, championing historical BME composers, establishing scholarships at U.K. conservatories, and by creating the ABO/RPS Salomon prize.

An honorary fellow of Trinity Laban Conservatoire and honorary doctor at Chichester University and the Open University, Nwanoku has won many awards, including an OBE in 2017 for Services to Music and Black British Business Awards' ‘‘Person of the Year,’’ and she appeared on the 2019 and 2020 Powerlist of Britain’s 100 Most Influential Black People.

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Aaron Diehl

Aaron Diehl.
Photo credit: Maria Jarzyna

A 33-year-old classically trained pianist and composer, Aaron Diehl has made an indelible mark on the jazz world over the last 15 years. While showing a rare affinity for early jazz and mid-20th-century ‘‘third-stream’’ music, his latest evolution comes as he begins to tackle modern classical works, having performed George Gershwin’s piano and orchestra works with the New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, L.A. Philharmonic, and the Minnesota Orchestra.

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Aaron Dworkin

Aaron Dworkin in black suit and white shirt.
Photo credit: courtesy Aaron Dworkin

President Barack Obama's first appointment to the National Council on the Arts and a member of the Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs, Aaron Dworkin served as dean of the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD), which is ranked among the top performing arts schools in the nation.

A 2005 MacArthur Fellow, Dworkin is currently a tenured full professor of arts leadership and entrepreneurship at SMTD and professor of entrepreneurial studies at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. He founded the Sphinx Organization, an arts organization dedicated to transforming lives through the power of diversity in the arts.

Explore more about Aaron Dworkin and Arts Engines

Fredara Hadley

Fredara Hadley.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Fredara Hadley

Fredara Mareva Hadley is an ethnomusicology professor at the Juilliard School. Her core research considers how people of African descent use music genres to construct and maintain community. A native of West Palm Beach, Florida, she teaches courses on ethnomusicology and African American music. Hadley earned an undergraduate degree from Florida A&M University, a Master of Arts in African American Studies from Clark-Atlanta University, and a PhD in ethnomusicology from Indiana University.

Hadley has been published in the Journal of Popular Music Studies, ICTM Yearbook, Billboard Magazine, and other outlets. She has presented at meetings for the Society for Ethnomusicology, Society for American Music, International Council for Traditional Music Study Groups on African Music, and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Her two current projects focus on the musical impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and on Shirley Graham Du Bois, one of the earliest Black female musicologists and opera composers. She previously served on the faculty at Oberlin College and Conservatory.

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Tammy Kernodle

Tammy Kernodle.
Photo credit: courtesy Tammy Kernodle

Tammy L. Kernodle is an internationally recognized scholar and musician who teaches and researches in the areas of African American music and gender and music. She has worked closely with a number of educational programs including the American Jazz Museum, National Museum of African American History and Culture, NPR, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the BBC.

Her work has appeared in numerous journals, anthologies, and online platforms including NPR’s Turning the Table series and a recent digital exhibition of jazz materials at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Kernodle is the author of the biography Soul on Soul: The Life and Music of Mary Lou Williams, she served as associate editor of the three-volume Encyclopedia of African American Music, and was a member of the editorial team for the revision of the Grove Dictionary of American Music.

She has appeared in a number of award-winning documentaries including Girls in the Band, The Lady Who Swings the Band, and Miles Davis: The Birth of Cool. Kernodle currently serves as president of the Society for American Music and is a professor of musicology at Miami University.

Explore more about Tammy Kernodle