Kira Thurman on Race and Art Music

In this widely-praised essay for The Point, Kira Thurman reflects on the tensions between race, culture, and art music that black musicians confront.

Our performances and our musical experiences challenge the bounds of blackness and whiteness and the histories of racial oppression that have tried to culturally and musically determine both. […] Held up as symbols of racial advancement, used to denigrate others who cannot or will not make the same aesthetic choices, or denounced as Uncle Toms, black classical musicians inhabit a liminal space. But it is a space that encourages us to consider the full range of experiences that should be available to people of color, including the pleasure of abstract, even western art music.

—”Singing Against the Grain: Playing Beethoven in the #BlackLivesMatter era

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