Violin Woman, African Dreams

Diane Monroe



The Colored Girls Museum, a Victorian house, with large front yard located at 4613 Newhall St., Germantown section of Philadelphia. Photo by Vashti Dubois.


Diane Monroe, 2018 Pew Fellow. Photo by Jason Fifield.

Composer, violinist, and 2018 Pew Fellow Diane Monroe will create an evening-length suite that she describes as ”an exploration aimed at interpreting sonically the joys, fragilities, trials, and dreams of girls/women of color.” Written for violin, Western string quartet, West African kora (a long-necked, 21-string, plucked instrument), and percussion, along with bass and/or guitar, the composition will provide a framework for improvisations by each player, and will weave a musical narrative that incorporates vocalizing, storytelling, and movement. Monroe will engage a group of accomplished musicians: the adventurous, contemporary chamber music ensemble PUBLIQuartet, and Yacouba Sissoko, an internationally recognized master of West African kora and traditional storytelling. Drawing inspiration from museum and historic house collections in Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood, Monroe aims to offer audiences new ways to experience the narratives within the city’s African American history and present. The suite will be presented in performances at Cliveden of the National Trust, an 18th-century historic house.

Additional unrestricted funds are added to each grant for general operating support.