The Black Lives Matter movement triggers the BIPOC Composers project | college of music

The BIPOC Composers Project, in partnership with university libraries, encourages recommendations for Scores by Black, Indigenous, and Other People of Color Composers (BIPOC). We recently caught up with Stephanie Bonjack, who directs the college’s Howard B. Waltz Music Library, to learn more about this effort to expand the university’s collection of circulating sheet music by BIPOC composers.

What is the genesis of the BIPOC Composers Project?

Good Jack: This project came about after George Floyd was murdered by Eric Chauvin and the Black Lives Matter movement swept across America in the spring of 2020. The music faculty at the College of Music wanted to do something and decided to allocate funds to purchase material by BIPOC composers.

A three-year Memorandum of Understanding was established in 2021 between the Faculty of Music and the University Libraries. The college set aside $3,500 for purchases, matched by the American Music Research Center in conjunction with the Library Archives. Decision making for purchases is made by myself, including input from the CU Boulder campus community and others.

Stephanie BonjackWhat is the current status of the project and are you still accepting recommendations?

Good Jack: Yes! Additional recommendations are welcome. [Submit this form to suggest purchases for the music library.]

To date, I have received over a dozen suggestions and purchased over 100 titles. My goal is to purchase sheet music covering a wide range of instruments and I try to fill in any obvious gaps in the collection.

There are many brilliant composers who have been overlooked in the Western classical music tradition. The BIPOC Composers Project celebrates composers from all walks of music history.

Search for “BIPOC Composers Project” in the library catalog and find all titles that have been cataloged so far.

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