Pianist Donal Fox was among the performers who joined us in April for a concert and conversation, presented by WQXR, about the struggles and triumphs of African-Americans in classical music. The event was part of our EMANCIPATION 150 series.
After performing his improvisations on Bach, with its fusion of jazz with classical, co-host Helga Davis asked Fox about the origins and inspiration for his style.
Fox said that growing up, three major composers’ works were played in his home: Bach’s cantatas, Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” and Miles Davis’ Birth of the Cool.
“So, I’ve been trying to reconcile that ever since,” he said. Fox said his style aims to “bring all these different cultures, all this different music together in a way that [is] part of who I am in the American fabric. I didn’t want to leave any of it out.”