December 3: John Michael Cooper (Southwestern University)

“‘With Love, Devotion to the Negro Race and Humanity…’: Margaret Bonds and the Social Work of the Montgomery Variations” 

Margaret Bonds’s lifelong work as advocate for racial justice and gender justice is well known, but the course of increasingly ambitious projects that she mounted in the service of those goals is not. This presentation situates her recently published orchestral masterpiece, The Montgomery Variations (1964), in the context of that series portraying the Variations as a series of snapshots of the Civil Rights movement including the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955), the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing (1963), and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  

John Michael Cooper is the Margarett Root Brown Chair in Fine Arts at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. He has published seventy world-premiere editions (in sixty volumes) of music by Florence B. Price with G. Schirmer and ten world-premiere editions of music by Margaret Bonds with Hildegard Publishing Company. His book,  Margaret Bonds: “The Montgomery Variations” and Du Bois “Credo,” is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press. He is also the author of several books about Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and has published editions of Mendelssohn’s music with Bärenreiter, A-R Editions, Carus, and Ludwig Reichert.