Events & exhibitions
event • Performances

Lift Ev’ry Voice: Celebrating the Music of Black Americans

The Aeolians Of Oakwood University Courtesy
Photo courtesy of the Aeolians of Oakwood University

In honor of Eileen Southern, a pioneering scholar of music, the award-winning choral ensemble Aeolians of Oakwood University will join the Harvard Choruses and the Kuumba Singers of Harvard College in concert to premiere new works and celebrate the rich legacy of Black music in the US.

The Aeolians was founded in 1946 by Eva Beatrice Dykes, who was the first Black woman to earn a doctoral degree from Radcliffe College (1921) and became a professor of English at Oakwood University.

The program features a pre-concert conversation and is part of the broader Eileen Southern Initiative, housed in the Harvard University Department of Music. The initiative shares the story of Eileen Southern (1920–2002), the first African American woman tenured in Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. It includes a digital exhibition as well as an on-site exhibition in Harvard’s Loeb Music Library, a film, and webinars.


7–7:40 PM
Pre-concert Conversation

  • Felicia Barber, associate professor of music and director of choral activities, Westfield State University
  • Marques L. A. Garrett, composer and assistant professor of music in choral activities, Glenn Korff School of Music, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Devon Gates ’23
  • Rosephanye Powell, composer and professor of voice, Auburn University
  • Moderator: Emmett G. Price III, dean of Africana studies, Berklee College of Music, and visiting associate professor of music, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences

8–10 PM

Featuring premieres of works by Marques L. A. Garrett and Rosephanye Powell in honor of Eileen Southern. 

This program is presented in collaboration with the Presidential Initiative on Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery, a University-wide effort anchored at Harvard Radcliffe Institute.

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