About Presenting...

Mission:

To increase knowledge and appreciation of legacy and living composers of the African Diaspora…

…through live performances of their compositions, interpreted by culturally diverse musicians…

…paired with other disciplines for context, ending with community conversations and meaningful accommodations to increase access for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities (neurodiverse)
and their families.

Presenting… brings together culturally diverse musicians and conductors who reflect Los Angeles County’s demographics and best talent to offer a series of curated orchestral, solo, and ensemble works at venues around Los Angeles County.

Performances highlight classical music by female and male composers of the African Diaspora, including those from Canada, Guadeloupe, Brazil, France, Guinea, the U.S., Nigeria and England.

Background

In 2018...

Michael Ligon and his friends initiated a project named Presenting AfroClassical Composers. The project started as a series of monthly “Sunday Salons” to pay tribute to Dr. George Walker, the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer who had passed away that year. These gatherings aimed to expand the community appreciation for, and live performances of, works by composers of the African Diaspora.

The Need

< 25 %

of the top 10 compositions performed in subscription programming include works by “Black” composers.

Source: League of American Orchestras 2014
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average number of Russian composers music students can name, vs. 1 to 2 (if any) from African Diaspora.
Source: Anecdotal indications, 2018
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< 20 %
of musicians employed by major orchestras are “Black or African American”
Source: League of American Orchestras 2023 study
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Our Unique Approach

Presenting AfroClassical Composers is unique because its events feature performances of excerpts and sections of curated compositions instead of performing them in their entirety.

This approach offers listeners a wider range of repertoire and composers while providing greater cultural context than conventional performances of entire compositions.

The printed programs provide listeners with information for further discovery and learning inspired by the live presentation.

All performances are paired with discussions and expert panelists from select disciplines, followed by interactive audience discussions (talkbacks).

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Our Impact

Our work adds diversity to the classical music industry, expanding job/career opportunities and livelihoods for musicians of African descent.
Our work allows current and future musicians to see themselves reflected in orchestras and hear works by diverse composers.
Our work highlights the value and impact of classical composers from the African Diaspora, improving appreciation for musicians of color and African descent contributing to the field today.

You're Invited to Join!

Join us as we work to bring AfroClassical composers and their brilliant works to life for current and future generations of music lovers to appreciate, understand and enjoy.

Support Our Work
Your donation fuels our mission to increase knowledge and appreciation of AfroClassical composers. Make a gift today and help us inspire the next generation of music lovers.
See For Yourself
Experience the power of our work firsthand! 
Sign up for our email list to receive updates on upcoming events and see these talented composers brought to life.

Our Team

Michael Ligon
Michael Ligon
Executive Director

Michael Ligon, the Executive Director of Presenting AfroClassical Composers is a seasoned musician, music theory coach, songwriter and music publisher. He has studied piano privately with Pulitzer-prize winning classical composer and world class pianist, Dr. George Walker. He holds a B.S. in Music Education and Performance from Ball State University and a M.A. from Marymount University, Arlington, Virginia.

As a seasoned musician, Mr. Ligon has performed in orchestras backing Ray Charles, Beverly Sills, Ron Carter, Peter Nero, Víctor Borge, and others, and he has performed under the baton of Arthur Fiedler. He has also interpreted a diverse array of songs combining classical, jazz, soul, and adult counterparty styles.

Annual Report

25 +

Readers served with Happenings issues

Dozens

of compositions curated for listening

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Happenings mailings covering news (articles/books) & developments affecting AfroClassical composers, performances, career opportunities.

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