© 2024 WLRN
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

This Miami musician is inspiring young people to see themselves in classical music

Portia Dunkley wanted to know where all the Black musicians were in classical music. She set out to find them — in history and out in the world performing today.

Portia Dunkley had devoted her life to classical music before she asked herself one day, "Why aren’t there more Black composers?"

She grew up in Overtown. A neighborhood with a rich musical history. But most of it had Jazz or Motown roots. Portia herself plays the upright bass.

She wanted to know where all the Black musicians were in classical music.

Portia set out to find them — in history and out in the world performing today.

She founded the New Canon Chamber Collective to bring together Black classical musicians to perform at historic Black venues.

She knows chamber music can celebrate pop culture.

They have a show coming up called Remember the Times — a musical tribute to the great Black TV sitcoms.

They’re re-interpreting songs from shows like The Jeffersons, Good Times, Martin and What’s Happening?

On the May 10 episode of Sundial, Dunkley joined us to discuss her mission to spotlight Black composers and bring their music to the South Florida community. She also talked about Teeny Violini, a mobile music education program she created for preschools and after-school programs.

On Sundial's previous episode, writer, actor and former radio personality, Lucy Lopez, joined us to discuss her impact on South Florida during her time as an iconic radio personality on Power 96 and her debut role in the play #GRACED now showing at the Arsht Center.

Listen to Sundial Monday through Thursday on WLRN, 91.3 FM, live at 1 p.m., rebroadcast at 8 p.m. Missed a show? Find every episode of Sundial on your favorite podcast app, such as Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Spotify.

Stay in touch with us by emailing us at sundial@wlrnnews.org.

Carlos Frías is a bilingual writer, a journalist of more than 25 years and the author of an award-winning memoir published by Simon & Schuster.
Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the former lead producer behind Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also worked on visual and digital storytelling.
Elisa Baena is a former associate producer for Sundial.
Helen Acevedo, a freelance producer, is a grad student at Florida International University studying Spanish-language journalism, a bilingual program focused on telling the stories of diverse communities.