Shirt arrived and I agree that it’s a quality item. Bravo and thank you.
The [Kathleen] dress is perfect. Saved further trailing through retail stores with no success. Your website catered for my specific needs. Thank you. Vanessa
I have been spreading the news about how wonderful your store/site is. Thank you! Thank you! Wendy
I cannot rate your website highly enough for both quality and customer service. I am absolutely delighted with the purchase of my bespoke ‘Clara’ skirt which fits to perfection. I would have no qualms in recommending you to family, friends and colleagues. A truly first rate service. You should all be very proud of the service which you offer. Mary Hayton
The [Edward] shirt is excellent, really ideal. It is very comfortable and smart. Gwyn Parry-Jones
The [Vivien Maxi] skirt fits perfectly and is BEAUTIFUL. Thank you again. I have passed along your information to the orchestra….as I know it is often difficult to find the proper, professional attire for performances. Charla
The [Vivien Maxi] skirt has arrived and it is beautiful! Thank you Elisabete
Thank you so much for your help earlier today – and for the [Rebecca] dress. It is absolutely beautiful and my daughter loves it. Apparently it is too nice to just use for concerts, so it is going to become a “party dress” as well! I’m delighted to find something that fits so well and looks appropriate for concerts. Thank you once again. Sarah
Thank you so much for delivering the wonderful black skirt and sashes for Phoebe. She is absolutely thrilled and they are a perfect fit. I’m sure all her friends will want to know where we found such a wonderful skirt and we will point them towards your company! We look forward to making future orders! Penelope
I’ve received the Vivien Maxi Child skirt . To be honest with you I was really surprised at the wonderful quality of the material. It’s such a lovely skirt that I’ve recommended you to my daughter’s cello teacher who, in turn, will recommend to other parents . I can’t thank you enough. Tia
The dresses were a great success and the girls and parents were really happy with them. They made the performance look much more professional and cohesive. Lucy Elphinstone, Headmistress Francis Holland School, Sloane Square
It worked really well at its first outing at our recent concert and had many nice compliments. Rebecca Cavill, St Mary’s School, Calne
Your clothes are worth every penny, and are quite frankly the only clothes I’ve ever found that I’ve felt remotely comfortable in to perform. Pianist, Wales
I had a reception gig yesterday and wore the [Clara] skirt and it was just beautiful. Hannah Flowers, Professional Harpist, Forest Lake, Minnesota
The dress arrived earlier today and it’s lovely! So elegant and very comfortable! Flautist, Shropshire
I am wearing the (Imogen) top! It is lovely! Everything worked so well, the website, ordering and the prompt delivery. Sharon, Newbury

Change How You See Us

Christian Hillis

As an African American woman, my musical journey started off with having to change how I viewed the artform as a whole. Since I started playing the flute at the age of 14, I approached classical music with the mindset that it wasn’t meant for people who looked like me. Instead of questioning that mindset, I assumed it was just how things were supposed to be. My journey was a consistent learning process. First, I had to realize that it was ok as an African American to enjoy playing and listening to classical music. It wasn’t something to be ashamed of. The next step was learning that there were actually more Black musicians in the world than I had originally knew of. Besides, no one taught me who Samuel-Coleridge Taylor was or Florence Price. Whenever I watched the Berlin Philharmonic or watched the rounds of the Carl Nielsen International Flute competition, I never saw Black faces. After a time of growth and maturing, I was able to see the world for what it was. Instead of assuming “Oh, black people just don’t listen to classical music” it turned into “Well, what is actually keeping us from being included in this narrative?”. Or better yet “Why does racism have to be what’s keeping the world from truly seeing us?”. Classical music wasn’t a career option that ever crossed my mind beforehand, and for a lot of the Black community, I’d say they often felt the same way. In order to breakdown why this mindset has been implemented into how a lot of us think, it’s important to learn classical music’s history and how racism often kept Black people not only excluded, but from believing we belonged. When the world thought of classical musicians, Black people didn’t fit that narrative.

To start, have you ever wondered why in a music history class we learn everything about Mozart and Bach to Rachmaninoff and Liszt, but we’re never taught about black composers and their significant contributions to classical music? For some it might have only been reduced to a one-month celebration in the month of February, which most institutions don’t observe. I never learned about the violinist and composer George Bridgetower, or William Grant Still who was the first African American composer to conduct a major symphony orchestra or have an opera produced by a major opera company. I never learned of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and his 24 Negro Spiritual Melodies or his African Romances. It was only recently that I learned of Florence Price, the first Black female composer to have a symphony performed by a major American orchestra. This happened to be her Symphony No. 1 in E Minor.

Much like how the education system is as a whole, black history if it is learned, is something that people have to go out of their way to gain knowledge of instead of being a part of our core curriculum. Black people being an afterthought is already something that’s put into practice from the time that we’re children even to when we’re adults. A perfect example of this is would be something that I learned while I was pursuing my bachelor’s degree. One of my college music history teachers, the late Dr. Sheryl Murphy-Manley taught me as well as my classmates the history of why the saxophone was rarely written into orchestral music. Often people associated the saxophone with Jazz music which in turn was associated with Black culture. A lot of composers felt that an instrument like the saxophone didn’t belong in formal settings like concert halls. Instead of letting Jazz musicians perform their music onstage, composers often took elements from jazz and implemented it into their own pieces instead. This is why we have works from composers like George Gershwin. Black people themselves were not wanted, but our ideas were.

Going forward Institutions need to make an active effort in including black conductors, composers, and musicians in their curriculum. Instead of seeing us as an afterthought like many have done before, make Black representation a requirement. Have students perform pieces by Black composers and teach about their contributions to music history. Accept more Black musicians into your conservatories and put them in your orchestras and programs. These ideas will be birthed from people who see us for our value and our contributions. Only when were seen can the narrative finally be changed.

To read more from Christian Hillis, go to her blog at: