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The Chicago Music Association (CMA) was founded March 3, 1919, in order to provide a performance venue for classically trained Black musicians who were traditionally denied access to major concert halls and opera houses throughout the country.  In July, 1919, musicians from Washington, D.C. met with the newly organized CMA in Chicago at Bronzeville’s historic Wabash Avenue Y.M.C.A. and organized the National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc. (NANM).  CMA became the first branch.  CMA and NANM have awarded more than 175 financial scholarships and awards to talented young musicians, including Marian Anderson, the first recipient, in 1919, Florence B. Price, Margaret Bonds, Grace Bumbry, Leon Bates, Stan Ford, Ashley Horne, Joseph Joubert, Awadagin Pratt, Arthur D Griffin, Jr. Anisha McFarland, Conley Johnson, Jeremy Jordon, Meghan Stokes, Carl Alexander, Thaddeus Tukes and others.  In 2000, CMA established a partnership with the Advisory Council of South Shore Cultural Center where its concerts are held.


Our objectives are: 


  • To develop world-wide love and audience appreciation for the works of Black composers and the European masters through the presentation of free concerts to the greater community;

  • To foster larger public appreciation for all genres of traditional or contemporary music created or performed by Black through music education;

  • To resist the desecration of Negro spirituals and encourage their use as a basis for compositions;

  • To develop higher professional standards through lectures, conferences, and conventions among fellow musicians and lovers of music;

  • To create wider exposure for Black performers, composers and scholars in music through the presentation of symposia, workshops, concerts and recitals;

  • To discover, encourage and assist the cultivation of musical gifts among talented, deserving Black youth;

  • To establish and maintain a fund for scholarships.


In CMA, educators, professional musicians, amateurs and patrons of the arts come together to participate in the total experience that is music.

The Chicago Music Association meets the first Sunday of the month in October through June at the South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Drive, Chicago, IL.  

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