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by Catherine Zachary, B.Mus. ’10

Text Reads: Do the Work WednesdaysOn our Anti-Racism Music Resources page, ‘Music Catalogs’ is featured as one of the six categories of resources and it is this week’s DWW feature. This list is by no means exhaustive. We hope that it will provide students, faculty, and community members a place to start when exploring the music of BIPOC.

When one explores the music found outside of the traditional Western canon standards, one finds windows into new perspectives, brings underrepresented voices to the forefront, and, with each new piece introduced to wider audiences, begins to expand the canon to be more inclusive. Alongside the work of inclusion, the traditional Western canon must be critically examined for the ideologies that led to its creation and perpetuation in order to successfully expand and decenter it. BIPOC have long been members of the music community, but they have not been given the space that they deserve in concert halls, classrooms, and the music industry at large.

The catalogs below are a step towards expanding the “traditional” repertoire in hopes of leading to a more inclusive, decentered, canon of music literature, concert hall, and classroom. They also provide links to advocacy groups to continue the work beyond the practice room and the theoretical.

Do you know of another great music catalog featuring the music of BIPOC? Please share it with us at

The music catalogs

Institute for Composer Diversity.

“This website, database, resource “dedicated to the celebration, education, and advocacy of music created by composers from historically underrepresented groups” including women, composers of color, LGBTQIA2S+ composers and disable composers is curated by a team centered at the School of Music at the State University of New York at Fredonia. Not only does the site contain tools for searching the works of some 4000 composers by various search criteria and for submitting new work, its pages include an extensive bibliography and links to other advocacy organizations.” -Professor Allen Anderson

Beyond Elijah Rock: The Non-Idiomatic Choral Music of Black Composers.

“Beyond Elijah Rock is a catalog of choral music by Black composers that goes beyond the idiomatic canon of spirituals, gospel, jazz, hip hop, and rap. Search by voicing, composer/arranger, title, or more. As the author says, this list is not exhaustive, but it is a starting point – check back often for new entries.” -Assistant Professor LaToya Lain

Latin American Art Song Alliance.

-Recommended by Teaching Professor Jeanne Fischer

Music by Black Composers.

“From the website: Music by Black Composers’ repertoire directories are designed for performers, conductors, programmers, researchers, teachers, and students. Whenever possible, they include links for acquiring the sheet music, links to recordings, and other helpful information to aid in programming.” -Assistant Professor LaToya Lain

Programming Resources Catalogs by Alex Shapiro.

“Composer Alex Shapiro maintains a webpage of databases of works by underrepresented composers (scroll down to view the databases).” -Professor Evan Feldman

Removing Racist Songs from Performance.

“Beth Cox, Band and Orchestra Director at Northwest Guilford Middle School, notes how many children’s songs, American folk songs, and educational melodies have roots in racist and otherwise troubling histories. In response, she has compiled a helpful spreadsheet. For each melody there is a reference link describing its history and a suggestion of an alternate tune that offers the same pedagogical advantages.” -Professor Evan Feldman

The Spirituals Database.

“The Spirituals Database provides access to a large database of concert recordings of spirituals by solo Classical vocalists. It also goes beyond the recordings to give history on the Negro Spiritual, celebrates the spiritual through poetry and art, and lifts up the great arrangers and performers of the genre.” -Assistant Professor LaToya Lain

String Repertoire by BIMOC.

“Violinist Gabriela Diaz is updating this database on a weekly basis with contributions from musicians all over the world. This list builds upon the previous work of Rachel Barton Pine and Dr. Megan E. Hill and also includes works catalogued in the Living Black Composers Directory. Comprising historic and contemporary musicians, this living document can serve as a jumping off point in discovering, exploring, programming, and championing solo string and mixed chamber music by underperformed composers and unheard voices.” -Associate Professor Nicholas DiEugenio

View the full Anti-Racism Music Resources page here.

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