As classical music here in the United States continues to expand, historically overlooked and under-represented subject matter has been coming to the front in concert halls and opera houses more than ever. This expansion has also opened the door for historically overlooked compositions that explore parts of our history not typically included in concert spaces. Hi there – I’m Loki Karuna, and on this edition of Noteworthy I’d like to showcase a composer who’s been writing those sorts of works for decades now – a man named Anthony Davis.

In recent years, Anthony has garnered lots of attention for his music that tells the stories of Black America. These include his 2011 composition, “You Have The Right To Remain Silent”, and his Central Park 5-inspired opera that won him the Pulitzer back in 2020. Well about 30 years before winning that prize, he premiered this work, that many opera houses have showcased only recently, despite it’s premiere back in 1986: a work that he titled, “The Life and Times of Malcolm X”.

In addition to writing ground-breaking operas and pieces that include spoken word, Anthony Davis has both a violin and piano concerto to his credit, and a symphony dedicated to the story of an uprising on a slave ship known as the Amistad. He’s a creator whose output has always included marginalized histories, making him one of today’s most Noteworthy composers.

Noteworthy is a production of WDAV classical public radio.