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William Grant Still and His World

Northern Arizona University
June 7-11, 1997

Performances, papers, and presentations of all kinds are sought for a meeting on William Grant Still and his world. In addition to papers on Still and performances of his music, presentations that link Still to his varied cultural surroundings are also solicited. These might, to name only a few examples, deal with Still and the Harlem Renaissance, the Hollywood film community, or poets and librettists such as Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Katherine Garrison Chapin. They may address his connections with musicians (both commercial and "classical") and non-musicians. Presenters from fields of study other than music are especially encouraged.

WILLIAM GRANT STILL (1895-1978) was an important contributor to the development of commercial music on Broadway and radio in the period 1919-1934, when he worked in New York City. From 1934 he worked in Los Angeles, where he concentrated on operas and symphonic music, but also worked in films and continued as an arranger. Associates in the commercial field included Eubie Blake, Hall Johnson, Will Vodery, Florence Mills, Paul Whiteman, Donald Voorhees, Willard Robison, and Sophie Tucker. As a classical composer he studied with Chadwick and Varese; his music was conducted by Hanson, Stokowski, Sevitsky and others. Contemporary composers include most of the well-known modernists as well as Florence Price, William Dawson, Ulysses Kay, etc.

The meeting is a follow-up to numerous celebrations of Still's centennial in 1995, especially the conference held at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, where the William Grant Still and Verna Arvey Archive is located.

Flagstaff, Arizona, in addition to being a vacation mecca and a gateway to Grand Canyon National Park, is the home of William Grant Still Music, operated by Still's daughter Judith Ann Still. Northern Arizone University includes in its collection copies of all the Still scores controlled by Still Music. At least one major concert using performing forces at NAU and Northern Arizona will be scheduled.

To participate in the conference, please send a one-page abstract (four copies), a tape if appropriate and a one-page vita to the address below before DECEMBER 1, 1996.

Catherine Parsons Smith
Program Chair
Department of Music 226
University of Nevada
Reno, NV 89557-0049
FAX 702 784-6986
smithcp@scs.unr.edu