Nia Imani Franklin

Afro-dite (2021)

PRIMAVERA II the rabbits

from the composer

Greek and Roman mythology have always intrigued me, so when I started writing this solo cello piece with Botticelli’s Primavera painting in mind I wondered how I could put my own spin on the idea of goddesses. Because Aphrodite is the Greek version of Venus and I chose to spell it Afro-dite, I knew it would be a playful way of bringing a part of myself to this project. So often in the media Black women are discounted of our humanity, and we have seen this throughout history. This piece is a reminder that we are complex people with a range of experiences. Matt does an incredible job of bringing this to life and telling a story through the music.


Referred to as “a remarkable young woman who embodies the power of the arts to enrich and transform lives.” (Lindsay Bierman, former chancellor of The University of North Carolina School of the Arts), Nia Imani Franklin is a composer, actress, and singer who has had her music performed by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Friction Quartet, and many others. She has also performed with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and collaborated with award-winning producers.

Nia became the Composer in Residence at Festival Napa Valley in 2021, where she premiered several works and was awarded the Darioush and Shahpar Khaledi Prize for Excellence and Innovation in Classical Music. As a Kenan Fellow at Lincoln Center in New York, Nia gained additional knowledge and experience as an educator and performer. After concluding her fellowship, she earned the jobs of Miss New York 2018 and Miss America 2019. At a post-crowning press conference, five-time Grammy-nominated recording artist, Carnie Wilson, said “The minute Nia opened her mouth, I was like, ‘That’s Miss America 2019.’ I just had this feeling. I think she represents the organization beautifully: She’s poised, she’s intelligent, she’s relatable…I think she’s a fantastic human being.” (Yahoo!)

Nia holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Composition and Theory from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, as well as a master’s degree in Music Composition from The University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem. In 2019, she founded Compose Her – an initiative that seeks to empower women in music.