Official Release Date: October 31, 2015
*Political analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson is best known as an African-American commentator on politics, race and social issues.
Yet, for decades he has long had an enduring love and passion for Western classical music and has written and commented about it on his radio shows and in his columns.
Now he has scored two major firsts. He is the first African-American political writer ever to write a survey history of Western classical music from the Baroque to the present in his new book, Beethoven and Me: A Beginner’s Guide to Classical Music.
He attains another first in systematically detailing the influence and struggles of African-American, Hispanic and women composers in the classical music world in the book. They, more often than not, have been shamefully neglected or marginalized in the classical music tradition.
“The true measure of classical music’s universal, emotive, and cross-cultural adaptability is its own history. The list of Hispanic, Africans, African-Americans and Afro-European conductors, instrumental performers, and singers is and always has been, rich, varied, and deep. Sadly, the recognition of this has almost always come in relation to the work of a major European composer.
But revealing that richness is only part of the motivation for Hutchinson’s Beethoven and Me: A Beginner’s Guide to Classical Music. The book is intended to be Hutchinson’s personal, and very selective, impressionistic walk through the history, tradition and experience of classical music. It’s a primer written for a very beginning listener. Hutchinson has boldly stepped out of his role of political and social commentator to show that music and the compelling social issues of the day need not be separate.
Hutchinson also wanted to bring an African-American perspective to writing about the one other issue that has been contentious and hotly debated about classical music. That is the issue of diversity. He’s long noted the paucity of African-Americans and Hispanics at most classical concerts. But he contends that this has absolutely nothing to do with the supposed pure-bred, racially exclusive Europeanism of the music that supposedly keeps concert halls looking like a white, elite country club.
“The true measure of classical music’s universal, emotive, and cross-cultural adaptability,” says Hutchinson,”is its own history. And that history has been enriched by composers and artists from many ethnicities. The missing ingredient has been sustained exposure of African-American and minority young and not so young persons to the music and the concert halls.”
Hutchinson sees that changing. And as an African-American writer who has stepped boldly into the classical music world, he’s determined to help speed that change along with Beethoven and Me: A Beginner’s Guide to Classical Music.
Sample Free on Amazon, HERE.