Researchers given funding by BBC to uncover stories of historically marginalised composers

BBC Radio 3 has revealed the line-up of seven researchers who have been awarded funding to give recognition to classical composers from diverse ethnic backgrounds

Dr Samantha Ege Lord Crewe Junior Research Fellow in Music at Lincoln College, University of Oxford

Seven researchers have been awarded grants by BBC Radio 3 and the UK Research and Innovation’s Arts and Humanities Research Council to celebrate the work of ethnically diverse composers from history, who may have been overlooked by the classical canon.

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The research will be used to help inform performances and broadcasts on Radio 3, which will broadcast a special concert later this year showcasing some of the composers featured.

The composers featured in the research range from Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, who was composing in France during the 18th century, to Ali Osman, a Sudanese composer who died in 2017. They are also of varying ethnicities, with Scottish Jewish composer Isaac Hirshow, Japanese composer Kikuko Kanai and African American composer Julia Perry.

The researchers were selected with the support of an advisory panel chaired by Chi-chi Nwanoku, double bassist and founder of the Chineke! Foundation.

The full list of researchers who have been awarded grants:

  • Musicologist and pianist Dr Samantha Ege, Lord Crewe Junior Research Fellow in Music at Lincoln College, University of Oxford, on American composer and pianist Margaret Bonds
  • Professor of Music at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Christopher Dingle on French composer, violin virtuoso and conductor Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges
  • Musicologist and violinist Dr Maiko Kawabata, Lecturer in Music at the Royal College of Music, on Japanese composer Kikuko Kanai
  • Conductor and PhD candidate Dwight Pile-Gray on Canadian American composer, organist, pianist, choir director and music professor Robert Nathaniel Dett
  • PhD student at Bath Spa University and multi-instrumentalist and ethnomusicologist Ahmed Abdul Rahman on Sudanese composer Ali Osman
  • Royal Northern College of Music Principal Study Vocal Tutor Michael Harper on American composer Julia Perry 
  • Pianist, musicologist, and postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Edinburgh Dr Phil Alexander on Scottish Jewish composer Isaac Hirshow
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Top image: Dr Samantha Ege, Lord Crewe Junior Research Fellow in Music at Lincoln College, University of Oxford