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Re-Sounding the African Diaspora: Uncovering Afro-British histories in classical music through curatorial-activism

Ngwe, C.U. (2022). Re-Sounding the African Diaspora: Uncovering Afro-British histories in classical music through curatorial-activism. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance)


An over-reliance on 19th and early 20th-century Western art music canons and performance traditions has resulted in continued reinforcement of the notion that only white (usually male) musicians have made substantial contributions to the field in Britain until recent decades. This research explores the Afro-British presence in Western art music, focusing on compositions and performances before the 1970s. Through curation, I examine how the erasure of Afro-British stories in British classical music settings has impacted on modern-day music programming. Established musicological and Practice-as-Research methodologies such as those presented by Christopher Small and Robin Nelson perpetuate these systematic exclusions through assumptions about knowledge gathering, construction, and availability.

With reference to several interdisciplinary theories, I explore how diversification of repertoire can be facilitated in different musical settings. Alongside this, I identify ways in which counter-storytelling can locate and fill gaps created by dominant discourses in Western classical music among students, performers, and audiences to reveal alternative performance and listening models away from established hegemonic norms.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Departments: Doctoral Theses
[thumbnail of Ngwe thesis 2022 PDF-A.pdf] Text - Accepted Version
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