Composer Julia Perry.

In Monday’s (11/20) New York Times, Garrett Schumann writes, “The New York Philharmonic’s program this week contains familiar names, Gustav Holst and György Ligeti. But in between is a first for the orchestra: ‘Stabat Mater,’ a 1951 work for contralto and strings by Julia Perry…. In February 1954, the Columbia University Composers Forum presented the ‘Stabat Mater’ alongside George Antheil’s ‘Ballet Mécanique.’… For Perry, a Black composer who died in 1979 at age 55, the 1950s and ’60s were replete with success, the summit of a career that fell into obscurity despite musicians’ admiration of her work…. The ‘Stabat Mater’ helped Perry earn two fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation … She also drew acclaim from European audiences as a touring conductor and composer … Although scholars have identified about 100 of her manuscripts and scores, dozens cannot be performed or recorded because there is no established copyright holder. Christopher Wilkins, the music director of the Akron Symphony … first found Perry’s compositions in 2020, and marveled at what he saw…. He then asked the soprano and scholar Louise Toppin, who leads the African Diaspora Music Project, to help him explore Perry’s output … This week’s Philharmonic program joins high-profile presentations of Perry’s works … that are bringing necessary attention to her legacy.”