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Students in 21M.410 study and perform works by African American composers, exploring art songs, operatic arias, ensembles, choral masterpieces, and arrangements employing sacred and secular texts. Students will make selections from recommended repertoire. Prior to performing in class, each student should briefly present relevant historical and biographical information on the composer, poet, lyricist, and/or librettist of the work.

Written Assignment

After viewing either Gershwin's Porgy and Bess or Joplin's Treemonisha, write a biographical paper about one the performers in the opera.

Examples of Student Papers, Listed by Subject

Papers are courtesy of student authors. Used with permission.

Gregg Baker (PDF)#

Carmen Balthrop (PDF 1) (PDF 2)#

Sir Willard W. White (PDF 1) (PDF 2)#

Mid-Term Project

Each student will research and perform works representative of his/her own heritage.

Class Recital

Each student will select three or four works to perform for the class recital at the end of the semester. These selections should represent a cross-section of the works studied throughout the semester. In determining the performance order of the pieces, students may consider language, key signature, and level of vocal difficulty. Students will write program notes for the recital, including biographical information on the composers, poets, lyricists, and librettists, as well as any necessary translations. The class will also perform an ensemble work for the recital.

Program Notes (PDF) (Courtesy of student authors. Used with permission.)