Viewing: composers 1900s - View all posts

Coleridge Taylor Perkinson 

Some would say that it’s a bit of a burden to be named after a famous figure.  However, listening to and reading about the work of Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson (1932-2004) one can only think that here was a life as interesting…

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Fela Sowande

Samuel-Coleridge Taylor served as inspiration for another composer who went on to “Westernize” the music of West Africa.  (Chief Olufela Obafunmilayo) Fela Sowande (1905-1987), was the son of an Anglican priest who was a main force in the development of…

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Nina Simone

Since Mississippi made the news recently for finally deciding to get rid of the Confederate flag, only 126 years too late, today’s #Blackcomposer late edition will be about Nina Simone (1933-2003) 

Nina Simone (Born Eunice Kathleen Waymon) started out on…

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William Levi Dawson

William Dawson (1899-1992) was born to a former slave. In 1912, Dawson ran away from home to study music full-time as a pre-college student at the Tuskegee Institute (now University) under the tutelage of school president Booker T. Washington. Dawson…

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Irene Britton Smith

It is difficult to find much recorded music of composer Irene Britton Smith (1907-1999).  She was born to parents of African-American and African-American and Crow-Cherokee descent. In her early years she played first piano, then violin; she wished to study…

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George Theophilus Walker

George Walker (1922-2018) is often identified as an "African-American" composer instead of simply an American composer. In a 1987 interview, Walker said there are two sides to that label. 

"I've benefited from being a black composer in the sense that…

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Julia Amanda Perry

Another one of Nadia Boulanger’s Paris students,  Julia Perry (1924-1979)  was born in Kentucky.  Her father was a doctor and amateur pianist, who once accompanied the tenor Roland Hayes on tour (unclear in what role).  Julia started off on the…

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