By Denis Stevens
By Christie Finn
This essay was created as inspiration for teachers and young singers involved in the Mondavi Young Artists Competition 2018. For more information, please visit: https://www.mondaviarts.org/events/young-artists-competition
When you think of American song, which composers come to mind? Charles Ives, Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber, John Duke, Ned Rorem, William Bolcom? Amy Beach, Lori Laitman, Libby Larsen? Dominick Argento, Jake Heggie, John Musto? All of these well-known American composers have wonderful songs…and offer a great starting point for exploring a wide range of brilliant American composers!
For a general introduction to American song, our 13-program Song of America radio series is a good place to start; you can listen to it for free on our website.
The suggestions below focus on American composers whose body of work includes songs appropriate for young singers. These suggestions offer ideas on how to branch out from the general American art song anthologies. In general, the composers listed here have readily available sheet music for their songs.
- Artists, Movements & Ideas
In the 1920's and 30's, the upper-Manhattan district of New York City called Harlem was the flourishing capital of African-American culture. Writers, musicians, artists, photographers, philosophers, and intellectuals created works that probed the black American heritage with a psychological intensity and a fierce pride.
Photo: Langston Hughes, photographed by Jack Delano, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Digital ID cph 3a43849
Explore American song through audio and video in our Media Room!