Henry Lewis – Born in 1932, Henry Lewis was the first black symphony orchestra conductor. After serving as a guest conductor of major symphony orchestras in the USA and abroad, he became conductor and music director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, a small community ensemble. He transformed the ensemble into a nationally recognized orchestra that annually performed more than a hundred concerts.
Lewis attended The University of Southern California and at age 16, joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic, becoming the first black instrumentalist in a major symphony orchestra. After six years as a double-bassist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, he played double-bass with and conducted the Seventh Army Symphony in Germany and the Netherlands while serving in the United States Armed Forces (1955–1956)