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On this date in 1913, Margaret Bonds was born. From Chicago, Illinois, she was a Black pianist and composer.
Bonds’ mother Estella was a church organist and pianist whose home would frequent guests including Florence B. Price and Will Marion Cook. Bond received her Bachelors degree from Northwestern University and continued graduate studies at Juilliard School of Music in New York City. During her illustrious career, Bonds taught at the American Theater Wing and performed with a number of orchestras, including the Women’s Symphony, the New York Symphony and the Scranton (Pennsylvania) Philharmonic. Bonds was also the first Black guest soloist with the Chicago Symphony and the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933.
From 1968 to 1972, she worked with the inner city Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Musically, Bonds’ works for piano and orchestra are programmatic, and each depicts her sense of ethnic identity through her use of jazz harmonies, spiritual materials, and social themes. Margaret Bonds died in Los Angeles on April 26, 1972.
Black Women in America An Historical Encyclopedia
Volumes 1 and 2, edited by Darlene Clark Hine
Copyright 1993, Carlson Publishing Inc., Brooklyn, New York