Broadcasters Lenny Henry and Suzy Klein celebrate the lives and works of Black classical composers and musicians across the centuries

Artists whose stories have been forgotten and music neglected in the classical repertoire. The film explores these figures’ pivotal role in their own times and their contribution to shaping and shifting the course of musical history, achieving greatness while overcoming the many hurdles placed in their way because of their race.
The film includes special performances by Chineke! Orchestra – Europe’s first majority Black, Asian, and minority ethnic orchestra, performing pieces by composers the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, and Florence Price.

Also part of the film are interviews with double bassist and founder of Chineke! Chi-chi Nwanoku, Southbank Centre’s Director of Music Gillian Moore, composer and pianist Julian Joseph, actor and author Paterson Joseph, and professor and composer Shirley Thompson.

Black Classical Music: The Forgotten History is available to watch via BBC iPlayer now.