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by Welcome to Harlem

5/11/1895:  Composer, William Gran Still, the first African American to conduct a major American symphony orchestra was born on this day. In his lifetime composed more than 150 pieces of music, including 5 symphonies and 8 operas. Often referred to as “the Dean” of African-American composers, Still was the first American born composer of any race to have an opera produced by a major opera company. He was the first African American to conduct a major American symphony orchestra, the first to have a symphony (his first symphony) performed by a leading orchestra, the first to have an opera performed by a major opera company, and the first to have an opera performed on national television. His first symphony was also at one time the most widely performed symphony by an American composer. 

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