Atwell at the BL

It hasn't been very long since my last post about Winifred Atwell, but I couldn't resist this opportunity to plug something else I've written her. This time, I've been writing about archival recordings by and about Winifred Atwell at The British Library, as part of my Edison Fellowship there.

The blog post focuses specifically on recordings that you can find in the British Library's catalogue. As well as Atwell's performances, you can also hear interviews with some of the people who had met her. I've included clips of all of these in the Sound and vision blog post.

Have a read, listen and let me know what you think!

It's much easier than it used to be to do your own research at the British Library. Or you just visit one of the free or ticketed exhibitions that they regularly have. More information is on the British Library website https://www.bl.uk and I highly recommend a visit.

For more information on other musicians in this project, take a look at the plainsightSOUND Timeline.

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International composition competition alert!

Although my research usually focuses on historical composers, I've just heard about a new award that might be useful to some international readers of this blog - the Commonwealth International Competition Award.

The award aims to "promote composition around the world" and "give young composers the skills they need to further their careers" and it's interesting to see in the FAQs that it's open to all styles of music, not just European classical music!
 
There are two categories:
 
FLYERS - under 18s from around the world but excluding UK residents or those getting any specialist music education in the UK ie specialist music schools and Junior conservatoires.
STARTERS - anyone interested in composition who is from one of the 4 target regions (2019 is Antigua and Barbuda, India, New Zealand, and Rwanda)
There doesn't appear to be a cash prize but winners will get a composition teacher as well as a recording and performance of their piece by the Dionysus Ensemble. If you think you or someone you know might be eligible, have a look at the website and send something in. The closing date is 31st July 2019, so you've still got time! https://cicompositionaward.com/

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So happy!

Those of you who have been following the progress of this site over the last few months will be pleased to see that the timeline is now working properly!

There are still a few little bugs to work out with how it displays but you can now scroll through to see details of most of the musicians who have been researched so far in this project.

It would be great to be able to include images for all of the musicians (not everything on Wikipedia is public domain) so if you happen to own an original photograph of anyone featured in the project and would be happy for it to be used, please get in touch. In the meantime, take a look at the timeline of Black musicians in British classical music (up to the mid-20th century) in all its glory.

Happy scrolling!

photo of Winifred Atwell

I’m back for the New Year with someone that I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of before – Trinidadian-born pianist Winifred Atwell. Although she influenced a number of musicians through her ragtime performances and compositions, Winifred was also sought after for her classical performances.

I first came across her at the Black Sound exhibition at the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton in 2018 and couldn’t understand why I wasn’t already aware of someone who, as well as being a famous black pianist who worked across genres, was the first black person to have a no. 1 UK single and still seems to be the only female instrumentalist to have achieved that!

Judging by the comments below her YouTube performances, she has a pretty loyal fanbase and recorded TV performances are still being uploaded wherever they’re found.

I’m hoping I’ll have a chance to put together a Spotify playlist soon but until then, here’s another video to keep you going.