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Donald James

cornetist, trumpeter, bandleader, composer, arranger, and college educator, was born Nathaniel Adderley in Tampa, Florida, the second of two sons of Julian Adderley Sr. and Jessie Adderley. Julian Sr. was an educator who played trumpet and cornet, thus becoming Nat's first music teacher. Jessie was also a teacher. Nat's only sibling, Julian Adderley Jr., nicknamed “Cannonball” because of his rotund build, was three years older than his brother. The Adderleys moved from Tampa to Tallahassee, Florida, when Nat was a toddler so that Julian Sr. and Jessie could take teaching jobs at Florida A&M College (FAMC), a historically black school. The college changed its name to Florida A&M University (FAMU) in 1953.

Cannonball was the first of the two brothers to play trumpet He later became more interested in the alto saxophone leaving his trumpet to sit idle Nat showed no ...

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Philip Herbert

Nigeriancomposer, organist, and ethnomusicologist born in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, Nigeria, in 1932. In his early education at King's College, Lagos, and as a chorister at Christchurch Cathedral, in that city, he was exposed to European classical music, Mendelssohn being his favourite composer. His musical outlook was eclectic, and he was involved in dance bands such as the Chocolate Dandies and the Akpabot Players (his own band), formed in 1949, as well as being organist at St Saviour's Anglican Church in Lagos.

Akpabot studied the trumpet and organ in London at the Royal College of Music in 1954, with teachers such as John Addison, Osborn Pisgow, and Herbert Howells. Study at the University of Chicago yielded a Master's degree in Musicology, and he also received a Ph.D. from Michigan State University. He was a broadcaster for the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (1959 ...

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Philip Herbert

Composer, contralto, successful vocal coach, accompanist, and teacher. She was the youngest daughter of the famous African‐American actor Ira Aldridge, and born in Upper Norwood, London. Early on she was educated at a convent school in Belgium. At the age of 17 she was awarded a scholarship to study singing at the Royal College of Music. Her teachers included Jenny Lind and George Henschel for singing, along with Frederick Bridge and Frances Edward Gladstone for harmony and counterpoint.

Aldridge's career was successful and varied, as a contralto until an attack of laryngitis damaged her voice, an accompanist, vocal coach, and later a composer. She accompanied her brother Ira Frederick Aldridge on musical tours until his death in 1886. She also accompanied her sister Luranah in concerts at many well‐known London venues at the turn of the 20th century.

Aldridge also played a seminal ...

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Leonard L. Brown

musician, composer, arranger, teacher, scholar, and humanitarian, was born Thomas Jefferson Anderson in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, the only son and eldest of three children born to Thomas Jefferson Anderson Sr., a college professor and school principal, and Anita Turpeau Anderson, a teacher. Anderson's early years were spent in Washington, D.C., and Cincinnati, Ohio. His mother was a pianist who accompanied singers in church. She was his first musical mentor, providing encouragement from a very early age through music lessons on violin and trumpet.

Anderson attended James Monroe Elementary School in Washington, D.C., where he conducted a rhythm band and impressed Esther Ballou a city supervisor of music who told his mother the musical world will hear from your son He later attended Benjamin Banneker Junior High in Washington D C It was during his time in Washington that he discovered the Howard Theatre and the big bands of ...

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Cynthia Tse Kimberlin

Ethiopian ethnomusicologist, composer, scholar, and teacher, was born in Addis Ababa. His paternal grandfather was Liqe Mekuwas Adinew Goshu, a renowned hero of the Battle of Adwa and a close confidant of Empress Taitu. His great grandfather, Dejazmach Goshu, served as a mentor and teacher to Emperor Tewodros. The most creative and artistic individual in his family was his mother, Fantaye Nekere, who composed verse and poetry. She taught Ashenafi about Ethiopian artistic forms, which he later drew upon for his work.

Ashenafi first showed an interest in music while attending Haile Selassie I Elementary School. After attending the Harar Teachers’ Training School, he taught music at Haile Sellassie I University and the Addis Ababa YMCA before obtaining his BA in Music (1962 from the University of Rochester s Eastman School of Music in the United States He returned to Addis Ababa to serve as the first official ...

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Philip Herbert

Nigeriancomposer and ethnomusicologist born in Lagos. His early musical education included being a chorister at Christchurch, Lagos, and in 1945 he enrolled in the Baptist Academy in that city. In 1954 he met Fela Sowande at the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation, who gave him organ tuition. He found Sowande's nationalistic compositional style inspirational.

From 1957 onwards Bankole composed and studied music in England under a government scholarship. From the Guildhall School of Music and Drama he gained a graduate teaching diploma for studies in piano, organ, and composition. His brilliance at the organ was rewarded with a scholarship to Clare College, Cambridge, and he gained a Bachelor's degree in music in 1964 a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists in the same year and later a Master s degree Through reading ethnomusicology at the University of California his interest in the use of traditional African instruments and improvised ...

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Susan Richardson-Sanabria

musician, composer, educator, priest, and artist, was born James Hawthorne in Yamassee, South Carolina, to Mary Hugee and Roland Hawthorne. When he was still a boy he and his family moved to New Jersey, then to New York City—first to Brooklyn and later to Harlem. In Brooklyn James and his parents lived with his grandparents, and his grandfather encouraged him to join the church choir.

His musical talents became more evident after his move to Harlem, when he began to study dance and percussion with Isame Andrews, a specialist in African music and dance and a student of Asadata Dafora. Attracting notice with his vocal skills, Hawthorne was admitted to both the Eva Jessye and the Francis Hall Johnson choirs In the mid to late 1930s he studied African drum making and performance especially the ashiko drum with Moses Miannes Mianns a Nigerian who had come to ...

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Barbara Garvey Jackson

composer, pianist, and teacher, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of Dr. Monroe Alpheus Majors, a pioneering black physician, medical researcher, and author, and Estelle C. Bonds, a music teacher and organist. Although legally born Majors, she used her mother's maiden name (Bonds) in her youth and throughout her professional life. She grew up in intellectually stimulating surroundings; her mother held Sunday afternoon salons at which young black Chicago musicians, writers, and artists gathered and where visiting musicians and artists were always welcomed.Bonds first displayed musical talent in her piano composition “Marquette Street Blues,” written at the age of five. She then began studying piano with local teachers, and by the time she was in high school she was taking lessons in piano and composition with Florence B. Price and William Levi Dawson two of the first black American symphonic composers both of whom were ...

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Ronald P. Dufour

composer and multi-instrumentalist specializing in alto saxophone and contrabass clarinet, was born in Chicago to Clarence Dunbar Braxton Sr., a railroad worker, and Julia Samuels Braxton. Braxton experienced a rich childhood centered in Chicago's Washington Park neighborhood. His parents and his stepfather, Lawrence Fouche, imbued Braxton and his siblings with values of tolerance and perseverance. Exposed to a wide range of popular media, Braxton developed an early interest in rock and roll, particularly Chuck Berry and Frankie Lymon, and he sang in his Baptist church's choir. He had begun to play clarinet at about the age of eleven, and in high school became interested in jazz and the alto sax. In 1959 he entered the Chicago Vocational High School, in part because of his interest in technology.

Through his teens Braxton studied both jazz and European classical music at the Chicago School of Music of Roosevelt University ...

Article

Suzanne Cloud

jazz trumpeter, composer, arranger, and educator, was born Cecil Vernon Bridgewater in Urbana, Illinois, into a family of musicians. His mother, Erma Pauline Scott Bridgewater, was the daughter of Ramon Mack Scott, who sang, played saxophone, piano, and drums, and led a band called Mack Scott and the Foot Warmers, in which Erma played piano for a time. Bridgewater's father, Cecil Bernard Bridgewater, played trumpet in the U.S. Navy band during World War II, and he was stationed at Great Lakes Naval Base with other African American musicians such as Clark Terry, Marshall Royal, Jerome Richardson, and others. Bridgewater's grandfather, Preston Bridgewater, played trumpet and cornet professionally with the circus.

When Cecil Bridgewater was a student at Marquette Grade School in Champaign Illinois the school s band director noticed his potential and encouraged his parents to find a private trumpet teacher for ...

Article

Sunny Nash

Grammy Award–winning guitarist, composer, and jazz educator, was born Kenneth Earl Burrell in Detroit, Michigan, during the Depression to parents about whom little information is available. It is known that he was the youngest of three sons, and that his family enjoyed music as part of their daily lives. His mother played piano and sang in the choir at Second Baptist Church, Detroit's oldest black congregation. Burrell's father played banjo and ukulele, which may account for Burrell's and his brother's mastery of stringed instruments.

Because there was a piano in the home, it became the first instrument Burrell played as a child. He performed once before an audience in a school auditorium. Listening to saxophonists like Lester Young and Coleman Hawkins saxophone was his first love but his family could not afford to buy him one Burrell began playing guitar and at age 12 settled for the inexpensive instrument ...

Article

Fred Rohner

was born Carlos Soto de la Colina on 23 October 1934 in San Luis de Cañete, Peru, son of a farmer named Soto and Benedicta de la Colina. Like many other Afro-Peruvians, he worked as a child during the harvest season in the cotton fields of the haciendas (estates) Montalván, Arona, and Viñas de Casablanca. It was at these estates in the valleys south of Lima where Caitro had his first contacts with traditional Afro-Peruvian music.

His father passed away when he was 7 years old and for that reason he and his mother moved to Lima where the young Caitro worked in different trades as a laborer As he recalls it was at the home of the legendary Valentina Barrionuevo an Afro Peruvian resident of the La Victoria district who hosted gatherings with musicians it was during these sessions that Caitro discovered his passion for Afro Peruvian music At ...

Article

Philip Herbert

Celebrated black British composer of international standing. Coleridge‐Taylor was born in London in August 1875. His father, Dr Daniel Taylor, came from Sierra Leone to England to study, returning home after qualifying as a doctor without seeing his son. His mother, Alice Hare Martin, raised her illegitimate son in Croydon, Surrey. Later she married George Evans, and by the 1890s they had three children.

Coleridge‐Taylor was encouraged to take violin lessons for six years from a local teacher named Joseph Beckwith. He sang in a choir, and participated in concerts organized by Beckwith. It was Colonel Herbert Walters who spotted the boy's gift for music and supported his development. By 1890 he was studying violin with Henry Holmes at the Royal College of Music, as well as having five anthems accepted for publication by Novello at the age of 16.

In 1892 he became ...

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Roanne Edwards

During the 1960s Roque Cordero gained international recognition as an innovative composer of contemporary classical music. He has received numerous awards for his compositions, including the Koussevitzky International Recording Award in 1974 for his Violin Concerto (1962). Although he employs modern compositional techniques, he strongly identifies with his Panamanian heritage and has sought to create music with both Afro-indigenous character and universal appeal.

Cordero was born and raised in Panama City, Panama. As a teenager, he revealed a talent for musical composition and won several local prizes. In 1939 he wrote his first notable work for orchestra, the Capricho Interiorano. Impressed by the bold experimentalism of the Viennese composer Arnold Schoenberg, he aspired to a Western musical education and in 1943 enrolled on a scholarship at the University of Minnesota in the United States. After extensive musical study with composer Ernst Krenek and conductor Dimitri ...

Article

Ronald P. Dufour

pianist and composer, was born in Paterson, New Jersey, son of Charles Davis and Jeanne C. Davis. The family lived in New York City until Anthony was five and then moved to Pennsylvania, where his father, an English professor, founded the African American studies program at Penn State University. Anthony grew up around college communities and began to study music with Penn State faculty members when he was in junior high school. He focused at first on classical piano but became interested in jazz after listening to Thelonious Monk, and he began to explore improvisation when he was around fifteen. Davis studied English, philosophy, and music at Yale, where he received a BA in Music in 1975 Yale provided little support for his interest in jazz however so his training there was largely in European classical music To pursue his growing interest in non Western music ...

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Christopher Brooks

(b Drummondsville, ON, Oct 11, 1882; d Battle Creek, MI, Oct 2, 1943). American educator, composer and conductor. He studied the piano from an early age. When Dett was 11 the family moved to Niagara Falls, New York. In 1908 he became the first black American to receive the BM degree from the Oberlin College Conservatory (in composition and piano). He immediately began a teaching career by holding several appointments at traditionally black-American colleges, including Lane College, Tennessee (1908–11), the Lincoln Institute, Missouri (1911–13), the Hampton Institute, Virginia (1913–32), and Bennett College, North Carolina (1937–42 He continued his studies at the American Conservatory of Music at Columbia University Northwestern University Oberlin College the University of Pennysylvania Harvard and with Boulanger at the Fontainebleau school in Paris his graduate work was rewarded with the MM degree ...

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Alan Levy

Robert Nathaniel Dett was born in Drummondsville (now Niagara Falls), Ontario, Canada, the son of Robert Tue Dett, a musician and music teacher, and Charlotte Johnson, a musician. The Detts were a highly literate and musically active family, especially interested in European concert traditions. For young Dett, the classical traditions formed his musical roots, and he would never lose touch with them.

Dett pursued formal musical study initially at Oberlin College, where he graduated in 1908. Thereafter Dett intermittently studied on the graduate level at Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania, the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, and at Harvard, where he won both literary and music prizes. He also studied advanced composition in Paris in 1929 with the renowned teacher Nadia Boulanger. For much of his professional life from 1913 to 1931 Dett served as director of music at the Hampton ...

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Scott Yanow

jazz trumpeter and educator, was born in Nantucket, Massachusetts. His parents’ names are not recorded. He moved with his family to New York in 1934, where he was so inspired by attending a Louis Armstrong performance that he knew that he eventually wanted to play trumpet. Dixon briefly tried clarinet in high school, studied painting at Boston University, and served in the army, but in 1946, when he was 21, finally began studying the trumpet.

Dixon studied at the Hartnette Conservatory of Music from 1956 to 1961. He freelanced as a musician in New York during this period but also had a full-time day job working at the United Nations from 1956 to 1962. In 1962 Dixon dedicated himself to music. A free-jazz and avant-garde trumpeter and composer, Dixon (who met Cecil Taylor as early as 1951 was a newcomer at the age of ...

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Scott Yanow

jazz tenor-saxophonist and arranger, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. His mother was an amateur pianist. Foster originally studied piano at the Cosmopolitan School of Music but switched to tenor saxophone when he was a teenager.

Foster picked up early experience working with a variety of swing bands in Cincinnati starting in 1942. They included the Andrew Johnson Orchestra, Jack Jackson's Jumping Jacks, and an ensemble led by Count Basie altoist Earle Warren. During 1945–1946, the teenaged Foster led his own big band. He attended Wilberforce University during 1946–1949, playing with the Wilberforce Collegians.

Foster moved in 1949 to Detroit, where for two years he was part of the local jazz scene, working with trumpeter Snooky Young, Phil Hill's band, and many of the young talents in town. He was drafted and served in Korea with the U.S. Army during 1951–1953.

Shortly after his discharge ...

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Joy Elizondo

Chiquinha Gonzaga was born in Rio de Janeiro to an unwed mother of mixed race. After being officially recognized by her father, she received all the trappings of an education befitting the daughter of a military man so that she might serve in the court of Pedro II. After a strict upbringing she married a wealthy commander in Brazil's merchant marines when she was still a teenager; yet, much to her family's chagrin, she swapped an oppressive home life for the bohemian music halls of Rio at the age of eighteen.

Though Gonzaga had performed her first song, “Canção de Pastores,” at a family gathering on Christmas Eve in 1858, her first successful composition, a polka titled “Atraente,” was not published until 1877 In the meantime cut off by her family she managed to build a reputation as a piano teacher and made a living playing in ...