“I knew I wanted to write a symphony. I knew that it had to be an American work; and I wanted to demonstrate how the blues, so often considered a lowly expression, could be elevated to the highest musical level.”
Maestro Still, as WikipAEdia helpfully points out, was "the first African-American to ever conduct a major American symphony orchestra, the first to have a symphony of his own performed by a major orchestra, the first to have an opera performed by a major opera company, and the first to have an opera performed on national television".
So give it up for the late, great maestro! Yay!
(and -- memo to American symphony managers: pleez try not to remember about Still's existence only like once a year for Black History Month ok? thx bi)