Arts Scene: Journalist And Author Celeste Headlee

Nov 8, 2019

Celeste Headlee

Celeste Headlee has many titles: classically trained soprano, veteran public media journalist, and acclaimed author, to name a few. 

But to who she calls her favorite person in the world, she was just a granddaughter. 

Headlee's grandfather was Little Rock-born composer William Grant Still, the first African-American to conduct a symphony orchestra in the U.S. Still composed for years, ranging from scoring films to writing symphonies illustrating his love for the country that so often discriminated against him. 

Still's music, along with works of fellow Little Rock native Florence Price, will be featured for the first time by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra at its Beethoven & Blue Jeans concerts on Nov. 9 and 10, featuring pianist Karen Walwyn and guest conductor Andrew Grams. 

Headlee spoke with Arts Scene ahead of the concerts, recounting her early memories of her grandfather and how she discovered Still's importance to the rest of the music world after his death.