South Side Impresarios

How Race Women Transformed Chicago's Classical Music Scene
Author: Samantha Ege
The women who put Chicago’s Black classical music on a cultural map of their own making
Cloth – $125
Paper – $24.95
eBook – $14.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 11/12/2024
Cloth: 11/12/2024
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About the Book

Between the world wars, Chicago Race women nurtured a local yet widely resonant Black classical music community entwined with Black civic life. Samantha Ege tells the stories of the Black women whose acumen and energy transformed Chicago’s South Side into a wellspring of music making.

Ege focuses on composers like Florence Price, Nora Holt, and Margaret Bonds not as anomalies but as artists within an expansive cultural flowering. Overcoming racism and sexism, Black women practitioners instilled others with the skill and passion to make classical music while Race women like Maude Roberts George, Estella Bonds, Neota McCurdy Dyett, and Beulah Mitchell Hill built and fostered institutions central to the community. Ege takes readers inside the backgrounds, social lives, and female-led networks of the participants while shining a light on the scene’s audiences, supporters, and training grounds. What emerges is a history of Black women and classical music in Chicago and the still-vital influence of the world they created.

A riveting counter to a history of silence, South Side Impresarios gives voice to an overlooked facet of the Black Chicago Renaissance.

* Publication of this book was supported by grants from the H. Earle Johnson Subvention Fund of the Society for American Music; the Henry and Edna Binkele Classical Music Fund; and AMS 75 PAYS Fund of the American Musicological Society, supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

About the Author

Samantha Ege is an award-winning researcher and musicologist, internationally recognized concert pianist, and popular public speaker.



“Ege places Black women classical composers in their rightful intellectual and cultural context--the Chicago Renaissance, Black transnational modernism, and the rich musical communities which nourished and embraced their extraordinary creative genius.”--Barbara D. Savage, author of Merze Tate: the Global Odyssey of a Black Woman Scholar

“This book is riveting and elegantly written. Ege meticulously depicts an intricate, close-knit network of women in South Side Chicago; a feeling of friendship and genuine affection for the women in this alliance; and a deep understanding of the sociocultural world that both hindered and supported these women’s work.”--Sandra Jean Graham, author of Spirituals and the Birth of a Black Entertainment Industry