Although there have been Black classical music composers since before Mozart — Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges was called “The Black Mozart” — they have remained hidden on the classical music scene. Rushen wrote and performed “Forget Me Not” in the early 1980s and scored many TV shows and films. But she has also composed classical music — for which she was formally trained — that hasn’t received the same level of exposure. There are preconceptions about who writes classical music and how it should sound.

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