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Baylor professor looks to recompose a modern history

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Posted at 7:42 PM, Oct 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-20 20:42:34-04

WACO, TX — Dr. Horace Maxile has studied music theory for decades, and he's noticed some composers might not be getting the recognition they deserve.

Studying and reintroducing Black composers from the past into our modern ears is what Dr. Maxile has been passionate about.

"The main thing that I've learned is no composer can fit into a bottle," he said.

Your mind might go to jazz, gospel or even country music when thinking of Black musicians and composers, but there is a lost art to Black composers in the classical genre that Dr. Maxile is unfolding and using in his daily lectures.

"Interpretation in writing articles about them, and hopefully someone will look at the piece and say, "Oh wow, that sounds interesting, or that looks interesting. Maybe I'll take a look at it,"" Dr. Maxile said.

Dr. Maxile is more of a composer himself, and he asks others to play these lost pieces. Pianist Dr. Bradley Bolen is also a professor at Baylor and is happy to work with Dr. Maxile on his work.

"I've always been kind of drawn toward things that are off the beaten path," Dr. Bolen said.

Originally, a concert was planned to highlight Waco's own Jules Bledsoe, a Black composer and musician that Dr. Maxile wishes to highlight.

For those willing to listen, Dr. Maxile says listening to the lost art can help us understand what the composer was going through at the time of writing.

"Just to sit down and take the time to listen to someone's expressive voice is worth every minute of it," Dr. Maxile said.

Hoping to compose a more well-rounded history, Dr. Maxile will reintroduce Black composers one music sheet at a time.

"Until we're able to hear these composers' expressive voices, we really won't know the breath and reach of classical music in this country," he said.