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Classical Sprouts: Composers of African descent with William Chapman Nyaho

William Chapman Nyaho

Ghanaian-American pianist and teacher William Chapman Nyaho has made it his focus to play and teach the music of composers from Africa and the African diaspora.

William was born in Washington D.C., but his parents are from Ghana, and he's studied piano in Ghana, the United Kingdom and the United States!

William says he loves composers like Bach and Beethoven, but that playing music by composers of African descent has helped him find his musical identity as someone influenced by multiple cultures.

This week on Classical Sprouts, Nyaho told us about several composers of African descent, including ...

Oswald Russell, who grew up in Jamaica and studied music at the Royal Academy of Music in London and at The Juilliard School in New York City.

Robert Nathaniel Dett, a Canadian-American composer known for his choral and spiritual-inspired music.

Fred Onovwerosuoke, a composer of Nigerian descent who grew up in Ghana and now lives in St. Louis. Fred is known for his collection of piano works called "Twenty-Four Studies in African Rhythms."

Thomas H. Kerr, Jr., a Maryland native and longtime Howard University professor, pianist and composer. Listen to the episode to hear a piece of his that was never published!

Florence Price, who was a prolific composer from Arkansas. She wrote more than 300 pieces before she died at 66.

Don't miss William's performances of pieces by each of these composers on the episode!

NPR Slingshot: William Chapman Nyaho

Classical Sprouts is produced by Emily Duncan Wilson.

Kate Botello is a host and producer at Classical IPR.
Emily Duncan Wilson is IPR's digital content manager and is the producer of "Classical Sprouts" and "Kids Commute".