This paper examines the black presence on British concert stage during the first half of the twentieth century through the compositional politics of black musicians’ work and performance repertoires. During the decades after 1900, a steady stream of African American, Afro-Caribbean, and African musicians passed through or settled in London, while the city’s small black community produced homegrown talent for the concert stage. African-American entertainers and intellectuals traveled in the same circles, and due to the disproportionately high number of musicians and stage performers among African Americans there at any given time, the former often facilitated the latter’s entry into social and political life in the city. African-American visitors and expatriates regularly mixed with African, Afro-Caribbean, and black Britons as well—in private homes, churches, and London’s popular nightspots, at political meetings and rallies, dances, and concerts organized by black organizations. Such encounters altered both the politics and art of many black composers and performers.
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