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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. Bonds received her Bachelor's degree from Northwestern University and continued graduate studies at the Juilliard School of Music in New York City. During her career, Bonds taught at the American Theater Wing and performed with several 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.