Coffee Chats 2024

Chenoa Murphy, “Introduction to Black Classical Composers & Musicians”

Sunday January 14th, 2024 | 8ET/7CT PM

Workshop description:

What do a champion fencer, an autistic savant, a nun, and a Navy sailor have in common? They are all classical music composers and musicians who also happen to be of African descent. Currently, there are over 300 classical composers and musicians of African descent both deceased and alive! 

This class will discuss the contributions of African American composers/musicians who have made significant contributions and achievements in classical music from the late 18th century to the 20th century.  We will explore the extramusical influences affecting these musicians such as racism, chattel slavery, and segregation, and examine whether these influences played a role in the music of these composers/musicians.

By the end of the class, the student will be inspired by the strength, courage, giftedness, and outstanding contributions and achievements of these amazing human beings.

All meetings on Zoom. Registered Participants will be sent a Zoom link prior to the Chat. Free for SAI Members. $10 for non-SAI members. See Below for Membership information.

Chenoa Murphy was born and raised in Memphis, TN. At the age of two, Chenoa attended her first classical music concert given by the Japanese violin students of Dr. Shinichi Suzuki. This sparked her interest in music, and she was enrolled in the Suzuki Violin Method a year later.

Demonstrating her love and enthusiasm for music, Chenoa continued to develop her natural ability and trained gift in violin and vocal studies throughout her childhood and teenage years. She attended the Overton High School of Performing Arts, summer music camps such as Aspen Music Festival, Interlochen Summer Arts Camp, Sewanee Music Center, the Governor’s School of Performing Arts and the Colour of Music Festival. She has achieved both Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees in Violin Performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music as well as Doctoral studies from the University of Iowa. Her principal teachers during these earlier and formal years of study were Yuko Honda, Pak-Chung Cheng, Katherine Wolfe, Kurt Sassmannshaus, Dorothy Delay, and Dr. Won-Bin Yim.

Besides being a former violin and viola private teacher, Chenoa is also a highly sought-after educator, guest lecturer and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion facilitator (“Diversity from The Inside Out”) for various music organizations and college campuses. Her online courses: Introduction to Black Classical Composers and Musicians and Black Classical Musicians: The Journey Onward highlight the contributions and achievements of classical music composers of African descent. Her article “Black Representation in Classical Music Matters” was featured in the Summer 2020 edition of the American Suzuki Journal. Her course participants have been from Singapore, Wales, Scotland, Uganda, Kenya, England, Germany, as well as the United States. Currently, Chenoa Murphy resides in Springfield, IL where she is a member of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra, and acting concertmaster of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra.  She is the mother of two teens, Victoria and Jonathan. Chenoa has been interviewed by various news media such as CNN, NPR Illinois, and Huffington Post. Her podcast, “Black, White & In Color,” can be heard on all platforms.

SAI annual membership is
$30 for Active Members and
$15 for Associate.