How many black conductors at the BBC Proms?
The separate paths of BBC Proms and black conductors have been the hot topics here recently. Now they converge in this question - how many black conductors have appeared at the BBC Proms and Henry Wood Promenade Concerts during their 117 year history? It is not a rhetorical question as I do not have a definitive answer and therefore would welcome collaborative input from readers. One definitely has, Wayne Marshall conducted Porgy and Bess in the 1998 season. But have any other black conductors appeared at the Proms? Rudolph Dunbar, Dean Dixon, Everett Lee and James Frazier did not, while James DePriest, Paul Freeman, Isaiah Jackson, Kwamé Ryan, John McLaughlin Williams, Tania León and others to date have not; but I may have missed someone. Just as a benchmark, Charles Hazlewood has so far conducted two evening BBC Proms and four daytime concerts. My header photo shows Kwamé Ryan and you can read more about him here.
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The programme is here - http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/archive/search/event.shtml?id=6056&from=1890&to=2011&tab=search&sub_tab=artist
More on Bobby McFerrin here - http://bobbymcferrin.com/whos-bobby/
I could find no mention of him conducting there, and hardly any mention at all. His Wikipedia entry is a stub, with no notes or external references, and otherwise I noted in passing one recording, accompanying the Gershwin Concerto in F, and mentions as Horne's husband.
'Henry Lewis became the first black conductor of a metropolitan orchestra (one with an annual budget of $100,000 or more) when he was named to the New Jersey State Symphony Orchestra.'
In fact I did check his name against the Proms database for this post, without a result, but really should have included him in the text - apologies.
Henry Lewis obituary here - http://www.nytimes.com/1996/01/29/nyregion/henry-lewis-conductor-who-broke-racial-barriers-of-us-orchestrasis-dead-at-63.html
Previous comments on this website have referred to another notable black conductor, Dean Dixon. A fair amount of hitherto unsuspected (and commendable) recorded material is emerging from Australian broadcasting archives these days, so we might yet find that Dixon's 1964-67 tenure with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra will be commemorated on a deserving CD reissue or two.