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Seminar and Workshops

Black Musical Heritage

What do you hear in your mind when a person says "Black Music?"

  • Spiritual, or holler
  • Ragtime
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Rhythm ‘n’ Blues
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll
  • Rap?

Yes, those are definitely the musical styles of Black people. What if you hear the words

  • Anthem
  • Motet
  • Art Song
  • Opera or Operetta
  • Oratorio or Cantata
  • Symphony
  • Promenade
  • A Musical
  • Chamber music

Would the general reaction be "Sure, those are the forms that Europeans wrote, but not Africans." We are here to let you know that there is music by composers and performing artists of African heritage from around the world far back into antiquity written in most of those forms.

A Unique Presentation

Classics of Ebony Music Enterprises presents a unique presentation, custom tailored to your specific audience, on the work of people of African heritage worldwide in the field of music, especially that commonly referred to as "classical" music. Lectures, demonstrations, concerts, or mini/recitals include:

  • Lectures with overhead projections of the likeness of each composer or performer.
  • Musical excerpts of live performance videos, many with Ottley conducting.
  • Collection of portraits, paintings, photos, sketches of famous or unknown musicians from the 1500’s to the present day, spanning 4 centuries.
  • Historical recordings of performing artists of "classical" music on visual and audio display.
  • Artifacts—costumes, equipment, books and music of Black peoples.

About Nevilla E. Ottley, Speaker/Conductor

Ms Ottley is a multifaceted educator, historian and musician.


    since 1994, writing on the accomplishments of Black composers and performers, as well as Biblical novel of strong women such as Miriam and Zipporah, Queen Vashti, Abigail, Ruth, and others.


    since 1975 on the history of Black peoples before, during and after slavery in the United States of America and around the world.


    of chorus and orchestra since 1971. Besides church choirs and singing groups since the age of 17, she has conducted the Nevilla Ottley Singers in the US and abroad since 1981, the Chorus and Orchestra of the World Bank and I.M.F. from 1983-1988, founded and conducted the Takoma Park Symphony Orchestra from 1988-1995, guest conducted the Paul Hill Chorale, the Arlington Metropolitan Chorus, the Schiller Institute Chorus, and the Kennedy Center’s 1994 Messiah Sing Along. Her repertoire consists of cantatas, oratorios, operas, symphonic works, and spirituals.


    with over 35 years of music teaching experience from elementary to college levels. She founded the Ottley Music Studio in 1973, which grew to the Ottley Music School in 1999 in Maryland, USA, with instruction in most of the musical instruments including the Steel Pan, with all qualified, degreed teachers. Visit the Ottley Music School site. The School is the Adelphi, MD Center for the American College of Musicians, National Guild of Piano Teachers. Her education includes:

  • M.Mus (conducting), 1980, The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.
  • M.A. (music history & organ performance) 1972, Andrews University, Michigan.
  • B.Mus. (music education, piano) 1971, Andrews University, Berrien Spring, MI
  • A.A. (liberal arts, Spanish) 1966, Caribbean Union College, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad
  • Certificates in Piano, Associated Board of the Royal School of Music
  • Certificates in Conducting, American Symphony Orchestra League, Chorus America, Herbert Blomstedt Symphonic Conducting and Orchestral Performance Institute.

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