Why a 1934 Concert Is Being Restaged at Juilliard

Good morning. It’s Tuesday. Today we’ll find out about a re-creation of a landmark concert that took place nearly 90 years ago. We’ll also get details on the Manhattan district attorney’s request for a gag order before Donald Trump’s criminal trial begins next month.

Harry T. Burleigh presided over a concert at Juilliard in 1934 featuring Black composers and Black students.Credit…Juilliard Archives

The concert was initiated by students. The printed program, handed out to people arriving and taking their seats in the audience, was typewritten.

When Fredara Mareva Hadley came across it in the archives of the Juilliard School in Manhattan, the program was yellowed. But for Hadley, an ethnomusicology professor in Juilliard’s music history department, seeing the program “was one of those moments where you stopped for a second,” she said. “It felt like a real treasure.”

The program was from a 1934 concert that will be re-created at Juilliard tonight at 7:30 p.m. The soprano Denyce Graves will be the host.

In capital letters, the program said that Harry T. Burleigh (above) was “presiding.” There was no indication that he sang. The concert featured Black Juilliard students. One, Anne Brown, would go on to make such an impression on George Gershwin that he changed the title of his opera from “Porgy” to “Porgy and Bess” — and cast her as Bess. Another of the Juilliard students would create the role of Serena.

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