January 24, 2011 8:03:00 AM
An exhibit on the Mississippi native who was known nationally as the dean of African-American composers is on display at the Bryan Public Library, 338 Commerce St., in West Point through the end of January. The exhibit, "William Grant Still: Inspired to Inspiring," part of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History''s traveling program, highlights the life and work of Still, the first African-American to conduct a major American symphony orchestra, the first to have a symphony of his own performed by a leading orchestra, the first to have an opera performed by a major opera company, and the first to have an opera performed on national television.
Still was born in Woodville in 1895 and died in 1978. He composed 150 operas, symphonies and other works that incorporated elements of African-American and popular musical styles such as spirituals, hymns and blues.
Leopold Stokowski said of Still, his "musical nature has given him the power to fuse into one unified expression our American music of today with ancestral memories lying deep within him of American music."
"William Grant Still: Inspired and Inspiring" was sponsored through a collaboration partnership between the Mississippi Arts Commission, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, the Mississippi Humanities Council and the Mississippi Library Commission. For more information about this exhibit or the traveling exhibits program, contact the Department of Archives and History at 601-576-6800.