Tombstone for Black Composer-Pianist Helen Hagan
Organized by: Elizabeth Foxwell
We did it! The Helen Hagan grave-marker unveiling.
October 02, 2016
Helen Eugenia Hagan (1891–1964) was the only black performing artist sent to WWI France, where she played for more than 100,000 black troops of the AEF under the aegis of the YMCA. She was the first black pianist to perform a solo recital in a New York concert venue (1921) and was the first black woman appointed to the chamber of commerce in Morristown, NJ (1931). She performed Saint-Saens's Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in C Minor, Op. 44, in May 1910 with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, and her Piano Concerto in C MInor (her only surviving composition) at Yale in May 1912. A music instructor and administrator at what is now Tennessee State University, she established music studios in Morristown and New York City. Despite these achievements, she lies in an unmarked grave in Evergreen Cemetery in New Haven, CT. Join the effort to commemorate her life and career with a proper grave marker.