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Avril Coleridge-Taylor

It’s been 2 weeks since I received my copies of the (out-of-print) International Dictionary of Black Composers, and I have been reading a few entries every day.  The book was edited by the late Helen Walker-Hill, musicologist and wife of…

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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…

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Samuel Coleridge Taylor

In the foreword to the 1969 edition of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Musician, His Life and Letters, Blydon Jackson writes: 

“American Negroes who were born in the earlier years of this century grew up in black communities where the name of Samuel…

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Ornette Coleman

So much has been written about jazz legend Ornette Coleman (1930-2015) that it is much better to read this snippet of an Atlantic article written in 1972, to hear him speaking for himself. 

"I started writing before I started playing,"…

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Will Marion Cook

Another one of Dvorak’s students during his short time in America was Will Marion Cook (1869-1944). Cook's early career was focused on classical music. He was born to free African-American parents (his father became the first Dean of the Howard…

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