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Eddie South

Edward Otha “Eddie” South was born in the confusingly named town of Louisiana, Missouri in 1904.  Encyclopedic entries on Eddie South are short and consistent, being content to merely state that if it were not for the universal racism of…

Howard Swanson

In October 1978, Leontyne Price performed for an enthusiastic audience at the Carter White House.  “Dazzling a White House audience” read the Washington Post review the next day. Her program included arias by Haendel, Puccini, and Strauss’ Four Last Songs…

Joseph Bologne/Chevalier de Saint-Georges

Joseph Bologne, aka the Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745 – 1799) was a champion fencer, classical composer, virtuoso violinist, and conductor of the leading symphony orchestra in Paris. Born in the French colony of Guadeloupe, he was the son of George…

William Grant Still

So much has been written about the life of William Grant Still (1895-1974) that I can't do it justice. “I am waiting patiently,” he said in his autobiography, “for that man who wrote the book about how most Negro Spirituals…

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Maurice Arnold Strothotte

Maurice Arnold Strothotte (1865-1937) was born in St Louis, Missouri. He later shortened his name to Maurice Arnold. His father was a physician and his mother a prominent pianist and his first teacher. At 13 he went to Cincinnati to…

Ignatius Sancho

Ignatius Sancho (c.1729–1780) was born on a slave ship crossing the Atlantic from Africa to the West Indies. He was baptized Ignatius by a bishop in Carthagena. His mother died of an unknown disease, and his father committed suicide rather…

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…

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…

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…