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Classical Musicians of African Descent

Valerie Capers, blind composer/jazz pianist

Valerie Capers

Bronx-born pianist, vocalist, educator, composer, and arranger who became the first visually-impaired person to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Juilliard School of Music.

In 2015, Capers was appointed to New York City’s prestigious Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission by Mayor Bill DeBlasio. As an accomplished composer, her most noted works include Sing About Love, the critically acclaimed Christmas cantata produced by George Wein at Carnegie Hall; Sojourner, an operatorio based on the life of Sojourner Truth, performed and staged by the Opera Ebony Company of New York and commissioned by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA); and Song of the Seasons, a song cycle for voice, piano, and cello which was commissioned by the Smithsonian Institute and premiered in Washington.