If you take a really deep dive into the western classical repertoire, you’ll find that there are tons of compositions that highlight the intersections of music and other disciplines, like cuisine, geography, and even architecture. Well among the composers who have created music at these junctures is a Black woman who you may have never heard of. Hello – I’m Loki Karuna, and on this edition of NoteWorthy I’d like to introduce you to composer Julia Perry.

Born in Lexington, KY, back in 1924, Juila Perry showed interest and talent for music from a very early age. She’d eventually earn both a Bachelors and Masters degree in music here in the US, before heading for France to continue her studies. Over the years, Julia not only wrote music celebrating her Afro-American heritage, but also works that showcased her close proximity to her father’s work in the medical field. She wrote this work, titled Homunculus C.F., while living above her father’s medical office – a work that Julia Perry herself referred to as a “musical test tube baby”.

Julia Perry died in relative obscurity in 1979, but recent performances and recordings of her music have brought her life and work back into the spotlight once again. She may still be unknown by many, but is without a doubt among history’s most NoteWorthy composers.

Noteworthy is a production of WDAV classical public radio.