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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world.

'The Sound of 13' on KPAC: Race, history, and Black achievement in classical music

'The Sound of 13' host, Garrett McQueen
Devon Fails
'The Sound of 13' host, Garrett McQueen

"The ratification of the 13th Amendment promised freedom for Afro-Americans - at least, on paper. While many people believe that those promises of freedom have yet to fully manifest, Black people have still managed to tell the stories of struggle, joy, and the continued journey toward freedom. Hope you can join me to celebrate some of those musical stories on The Sound of 13."

-Garrett McQueen
Host, The Sound of 13

If you’re looking for a classical music program that addresses the racial injustice in our society through the lens of classical music, look no further. In “The Sound of 13,” host Garrett McQueen opens an historical and contemporary conversation of race with classical music and the 13th Amendment as the guide. This second season of the series will air Sundays at noon on KPAC 88.3 FM, beginning on Juneteenth (June 19), and will continue through September 11.

"I am super excited to share this program with the KPAC audience," says TPR's Nathan Cone. "I loved the first series, which was full of fascinating historical and musical discovery, and also led me to consider pieces I've known and loved in a new way."

Episode Listing:

  • June 19: Negro Melodies - A revisit to post-reconstruction era America and the hopes cultivated during this time through music by Dvorak, Burleigh, and more.
  • June 26: Take Me to Church - An acknowledgement of the unique role of the Black church over the course of the 20th century and beyond.
  • July 3: A Musical Founding Father - The life and times of Duke Ellington, featuring his orchestral suite, "Three Black Kings" and other works that blend "classical" and jazz.
  • July 10: Engaging the Canon - Traditional works from western Europe as performed by Stewart Goodyear, the Isata Kanneh-Mason, and more.
  • July 17: Women of the Movement - A celebration of Black women in western classical music, featuring the newly-recorded "Montgomery Variations" by Margaret Bonds and the Grammy-winning recording of Florence Price's "Symphony No. 3."
  • July 24: The Movies - A look at Black achievement in film and film music featuring works by Quincy Jones, Terrence Blanchard, and more.
  • July 31: Building America - Music and stories that center the impact of Black diversity in early America, including Gottschalk's Symphony No. 1 and the violin concerto of José White Lafitte.
  • August 7: Black Futurism and Imagination - A collection of 21st century works by Ozie Cargile, Jessie Montgomery, and more.
  • August 14: The Motherland - A celebration of music that highlights the sights and sounds of Africa, featuring the Buskaid Soweto String Ensemble and William Grant Still's "Ennanga."
  • August 21: Classical Activism - Stories and music that shine a light on the work of Nina Simone, Paul Robeson, and Robert Shaw.
  • August 28: A Big Seed in the Big Apple - An exploration of the Harlem Renaissance's impact on western classical music.
  • September 4: Looking Westward - Musical works that offer a perspective on Black achievement west of the Mississippi.
  • September 11: Building Community and Coming Together - A celebration of music and performances that highlight cross-community collaboration and intersectional perspectives, featuring a performance by Sphinx Virtuosi alongside works by Samuel Coleridge Taylor, Ludovic Lamothe, and more.

ABOUT THE HOST: Garrett McQueenis a professional bassoonist who has performed with symphonies and in venues across the country. He is also an accomplished instructor and has performed in multiple Broadway musicals and television series. Garrett is a strong advocate for the diversification of classical music and the advancement of Black musicians in the field. He's also the co-creator of the podcast, Trilloquy.