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Bringing black composers into the foreground

18 October 2021

Violinist Randall Goosby posing in front of a piano with students.
Randall Goosby with students - left to right: Jerry Zhuo, Takisha Sargent, Oona Cardew and Lewys Siencyn.

Randall Goosby, champion of black musical composers, performs at St David’s Hall and meets Cardiff University students.

Violinist hailed as an up and coming star of classical music Randall Goosby began his concert tour of the UK at Cardiff’s St David’s Hall. The American, who recently signed to Decca Classics, caught up with Cardiff University students after his concert which was filmed by the BBC.

Randall, 25, of mixed African-American and Korean descent who studies at the Julliard School of Music, New York, specialises in bringing the work of unappreciated and under-represented black composers into the spotlight. Nowhere is this more prevalent than on his suitably titled debut album ‘Roots’ or in his choice to perform ‘Adoration’ by black composer Florence Price which he recently played at the 9/11 memorial concert in New York.

Music student Lewys Siencyn spoke of his experience meeting Goosby and the significance of such a figure in classical music.

‘’It was great to meet such a young musician so passionate about diversity and outreach in classical music. We were all in agreement that exemplar classical works shouldn’t be limited to the works of the so-called ‘European giants’ and that it’s crucial to shine a light on those not talked about enough, whose music may be just as impactful or thought-provoking to the listener.’’

Dr Cameron Gardner, Lecturer and Co-director of International Engagement at the School of Music, acknowledged the significance of Randall’s visit to Cardiff while reflecting on how his work echoes the values of the School.

‘’I know that the students will have taken away something very special, they can apply beyond what they do at the School of Music. Randall’s ethos and ambition towards diversity and accessibility within music struck a chord as it’s something we aim to do in our educational programmes.

“The Contemporary Music Group ensemble has expanded its scope towards greater diversity in recent years, with students being exposed to many black South African composers. Going back to the renaissance period, the School has also refocused its ambitions to uncover Afro-Brazilian composers such as Jose Garcia.

“Efforts to embrace something new in curricular and uncover underrepresented performers and composers in the School was beautifully reflected in the conversation between Randall and our students and the works he performed in the concert he gave.’’

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