The Author/Compiler

RandyeJonesStaffPic2013Randye Jones received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from Bennett College, Greensboro, North Carolina, and her Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Florida State University, Tallahassee. Ms. Jones continued her studies in vocal literature at the University of Iowa, Iowa City.

She served as a music cataloger for the Florida State University Libraries, a library manager position at the George Washington University, Washington, D.C., and as Media Room supervisor for the Grinnell College Libraries. Ms. Jones’ book, So You Want to Sing Spirituals, was released in October of 2019. She also continues to perform, teach, and conduct research privately across the United States. For more information, please visit Ms. Jones’ biography site at

Ms. Jones’ comments about Afrocentric Voices:

I’ve found two main recurring themes in the biographies of African American musicians who have been profiled here. First, none of these “divas” and “divos” had an easy time developing a career in classical music. All had to deal, in various degrees, with the assumptions that Blacks had no place on the concert stage. While the level of overt racial discrimination continues to diminish, we classical musicians of African descent–especially men–are still challenged to find support for our efforts.

Secondly, there has been such a strong connection between the generations. These performers and composers not only focused on their own careers, they sponsored competitions, served as educators and lecturers, and encouraged and financially supported up-and-coming musicians. From H. T. Burleigh and Roland Hayes to R. Nathaniel Dett, Marian Anderson and Edward Boatner; Dett, Anderson, and Paul Robeson to Dorothy Maynor and Leontyne Price.. the links from the past to the present are almost too numerous to track. We contemporary vocalists and composers owe the pioneers a great debt that we can only begin to repay by helping the next generation in every way we can.

Other Contributors

DWeaverDavid Weaver, the contributor of the biographical article on Ruby Elzy, has devoted more than four years to researching the life and career of Ms. Elzy. The results of his work, a full-length biography entitled Black Diva of the Thirties – The Life of Ruby Elzy, was published in August, 2004, by University Press of Mississippi. Weaver’s career in the performing arts and public broadcasting spans more than 20 years. He lives in Columbus, Ohio.

Philip J. Rogers is an alumnus of Kentucky State University with the Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education and of the University of Illinois with the Master of Music in Choral Conducting and Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Vocal Performance. His dissertation, Robert Owens Sets Langston Hughes: A Pedagogical Study of Three Song Cycles for Baritone and Collaborative Piano (2000), is the basis for his autobiographical article on Robert Owens and the complete works performance series of the Owens catalog.

PRogers1 Dr. Rogers resides in Atlanta, Georgia and performs as a conductor, recitalist and soloist and is the President/Executive director of Adagio Productions, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit whose mission is to utilize the creative arts as a platform to observe American history through the interpretive eye of creative artists. His professional mission statement is, “I strive to educate, motivate, inspire, and support singers interested in achieving their optimum level of vocal performance health, proficiency, and longevity.” For more information, please visit Dr. Rogers’ site at

[SF/CBMR] Suzanne Flandreau Center for Black Music Research, Columbia College Chicago.

[RH] Reginald Harris

[BCM] Byron C. Mayes

[SV] Sara Velez, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts


To cite this page:
Afrocentric Voices in Classical Music. Created by Randye Jones. Created/Last modified: May 18, 2019. Accessed:.