The BIPOC Composers Project, in partnership with University Libraries, encourages recommendations for scores by Black, Indigenous and other people of color (BIPOC) composers. We caught up recently with Stephanie Bonjack, who heads up the college’s Howard B. Waltz Music Library, to learn more about this effort to expand the university’s collection of circulating scores by BIPOC composers.
What’s the genesis of the BIPOC Composers Project?
Bonjack: This project came to be after George Floyd was murdered by Eric Chauvin and the Black Lives Matter movement was sweeping across America in spring 2020. The College of Music faculty wanted to do something and decided to allocate funds to purchase materials by BIPOC composers.
A three-year Memorandum of Understanding was drawn up in 2021 between the College of Music and University Libraries. The college set aside $3,500 for purchases, matched by the American Music Research Center in conjunction with the libraries’ archives. Decision making for purchases are made by myself, including suggestions from the CU Boulder campus community and others.
What’s the current status of the project and are you still accepting recommendations?
Bonjack: Yes! Additional recommendations are welcome. [Submit this form to suggest purchases for the music library.]
To date, I’ve received more than a dozen suggestions and I have purchased well over 100 titles. I aim to purchase scores covering a wide range of instruments and I try to fill obvious gaps in the collection.
There are many brilliant composers that have been neglected in the Western tradition of classical music. The BIPOC Composers Project celebrates composers of all backgrounds in music history.
Search for “BIPOC Composers Project” in the library catalog and find all titles that have been cataloged, so far.