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Mary Krane Derr

multi‐instrumental musician, teacher, and orchestra conductor, was born in Lynchburg, Virginia. Some sources give her birth year as 1885; however, according to U.S. census data, it was most likely 1882. Her mother, Betty Anderson, was born March 1849 in Virginia. Little is known about Hallie Anderson's father except that he was also a Virginia native. When Hallie was three, the family migrated to New York City. As a child, Hallie took public school and private music lessons. She received classical training at the New York German Conservatory of Music. Although it did not record her occupation, the 1900 census noted that Hallie's mother was a widow who could neither read nor write, and who had seven living children. Betty Anderson was then living with three of her children, all of whom could read and write: Charles (born Sept. 1872), a waiter; John ...

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Doris Evans McGinty

(b Philadelphia, c1808; d New York State, after 1871). American composer, horn player and conductor One of the earliest black American composers he worked in New York as teacher and performer and Philadelphia where he played with the Walnut Street Theater Orchestra ...

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was born in Woodbrook Trinidad Bishop s deeply engrained love for music undoubtedly started with hearing her father Sonny Bishop who had been a choirboy sing Anglican and Methodist hymns in a high tenor as he did his chores When Bishop was a child Sonny encouraged her interest in music by taking her to hear classically trained African American singers such as Dorothy Maynor Paul Robeson and Robert McFerrin perform in Trinidad and sending her to piano lessons Her mother designed and made dresses that combined bright colors and bold textures and also hosted exhibitions in their family home in De Vertreuil Street Woodbrook This combination from an early age led Bishop to express an immense passion for music painting and poetry She received a national scholarship after her secondary school education at Bishop Anstey High School Port of Spain which allowed her to attend King s College University of ...

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Maria Alice Volpe

also known as “Chico dos hinos,” Brazilian composer, orchestra conductor, bandmaster, and music teacher, was born on 15 April 1868 in Rio de Janeiro. Braga’s parents were Antônio Braga and Evarista Rita da Silva, a woman originally from Caxias town, Maranhão State, in northeastern Brazil. A mulato born in the Largo da Glória into a humble family, Francisco lost his father before he reached 6 years of age. Soon after, the family moved to the Vila São Francisco Xavier de Itaguaí at the Palacete dos Cardosos (House of the Cardoso family), where his mother worked as maid.

In 1874 Braga enrolled in the Colégio de Anacleto Henrique Ramos at Rua Riachuelo in Rio de Janeiro. There he was classmates with Henrique Maximiano Coelho Neto (1864–1934 coincidentally from the same town as Braga s mother and who would go on to become an important writer political leader and Braga ...

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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

In the late 1890s Samuel Coleridge-Taylor gained worldwide recognition as a composer and conductor who successfully brought West African and black American influences into the realm of classical music. He was also a leading exponent of Pan-Africanism, which emphasized the importance of a shared African heritage as the touchstone of black cultural identity. According to music scholar Jewel Taylor Thompson, Coleridge-Taylor endeavored to produce “compositions which would do for Negro music what Brahms, Dvorák, and Grieg had done respectively with folk music of Hungary, Bohemia, and Norway.”

Coleridge-Taylor grew up in Holborn, England, the son of an Englishwoman and an African physician from Sierra Leone. He began violin study at the age of seven with a local orchestral conductor who tutored him for seven years. In 1890 he entered London s Royal College of Music where he soon revealed his talent for composition and ...

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Elliott S. Hurwitt

arranger, composer, and bandleader, was born Charles Leonidas Cooke in Louisville, Kentucky. Little is known of Cooke's early years. He attended Louisville and Detroit public schools and was active as a composer and arranger in Detroit before 1910. Cooke scored an early hit in 1918, when his song “I've Got the Blue Ridge Blues” (words by Charles Mason; cocomposed by Richard Mason) was included in Sinbad, a successful show featuring a young Al Jolson.

By 1920 Cooke was based in Chicago, where he quickly became a leading theatrical and cabaret bandleader and worked as musical director at Riverside Park. He was in residence at Paddy Harmon's Dreamland Ballroom from 1922 to 1927 before moving to Chicago's Municipal Pier in the summers and the Casino at White City during the colder months. His orchestra was broadcasting live from White City over station WBCN by May 1927 ...

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Luis Pullido Ritter

was born on 16 August 1917, in the working-class neighborhood of Santa Ana in Panama City, Panama. The names of his parents are not recorded, but it is known that his father was a shoemaker. His interest in music started early, and as a young man of 16 he played the clarinet at the Panama Firemen’s Hall, a popular venue. When he was 22 years old, he composed his first major work, Capricho interiorano (1939). According to the Panamanian conductor Jorge Ledezma Bradley (2012), the piece is a “reinvention of the mejorana,” the popular folk music of Panama’s peasantry. In 1943 prior to leaving Panama to continue his studies at the University of Minnesota Cordero studied under the Panamanian musicians Herbert de Castro and Alfredo de Saint Malo both children of immigrants from the Caribbean island of Curaçao who had received their ...

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Gerard Béhague

(b Panama City, Aug 16, 1917). Panamanian composer, conductor and teacher. From a modest family background with no connections with the classical music world, he nevertheless began to write band music at an early age and to conduct, gaining a local reputation and winning several prizes. Cordero pursued his musical studies in his native city with among others Herbert de Castro and Myron Schaeffer, and acquired further training in the USA. In 1943 the New York International Education Institute granted him a scholarship to study music at the University of Minnesota. There Mitropoulos, then music director of the Minneapolis SO, after reading Cordero’s Capricho interiorano of 1939 and praising its orchestration decided to introduce him to Krenek at Hamline University who became his teacher of composition for the next four years Concurrently Mitropoulos taught him orchestral conducting and helped him with a private scholarship ...

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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 ...

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Lucius R. Wyatt

(b Lagos, Dec 24, 1929; d New York, April 29, 2002). American composer, violinist and conductor. His missionary parents, originally from Jamaica, left Nigeria when he was three years old and settled in the West Indies. When he was 11 the family moved to New York, where he began violin lessons with Barnabas Istok. He studied at Queens College, CUNY (BA 1952) and Columbia University (MA 1956), where his teachers included Luening and Beeson. A Fulbright Fellowship enabled him to pursue further study in Florence with Dallapiccola (composition) and in Siena at the Accademia Musicale Chigiana (conducting). He taught at the Hampton (Virginia) Institute, Queens and Hunter colleges, CUNY and Rutgers University. Also active as a performer, he played the violin in chamber and orchestral ensembles and conducted the Triad Chorale (from 1974).

Early influences on Da Costa s compositional ...

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Marcus B. Christian

The names of Edmond Dédé's parents are not known, but they arrived in New Orleans, Louisiana, from the French West Indies, probably in 1809. Although Dédé had at first learned to play the clarinet in his youth, he was known as a violinist for the thirty years that he lived in New Orleans. He began the study of this instrument under the guidance of free black musician and teacher Constantin Deberque, one of the conductors of the Philharmonic Society, an antebellum organization consisting of more than one hundred white and black musicians of New Orleans. After studying under Deberque, he continued his studies under Ludovico Gabici, who was at one time head of the St. Charles Theater Orchestra. With the rise of hostile white public sentiment against the free black people between 1830–1840 Dédé continued his studies in Mexico where a number of his compatriots also ...

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Pamela Lee Gray

composer, violinist, and conductor, was born in New Orleans to parents who were free Creoles of color. His father and mother were originally from the French West Indies but immigrated to the United States in approximately 1809 as part of the mass political exile during that period His father was a professional musician who worked as a bandmaster for a local military unit As a child Dédé studied the clarinet and then began playing the violin His teachers were Ludovico Gabici and Constantin Debergue Debergue was director of the Philharmonic Society established by the free Creoles of color in the area he was also a violinist which may account for Dédé s particular affection for that instrument Gabici an Italian was one of the earliest music publishers in New Orleans and the director of the Saint Charles Theater orchestra Dédé was schooled in music by many ...

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Harmony A. Teitsworth

symphonic conductor, composer, and poet, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to James Henry DePreist and Ethel Anderson. Ethel's sister, James's aunt, was the distinguished singer Marian Anderson, a contralto who became the first African American to appear with the New York Metropolitan Opera. In Philadelphia, DePreist attended Central High School, the second-oldest high school in the country. One of the best college preparatory schools in the country, it is also a public magnet school renowned for its strong music department. During high school DePreist played percussion and timpani in the all-Philadelphia high school band and orchestra. The orchestra's director, Louis Werson, became a significant musical influence on DePreist and used his musical background to help his student start the Jimmy DePreist Quintet, a jazz band.

In 1958 DePreist received a bachelor s degree as a pre law student at the Wharton School of ...

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Bernard Jacobson

(b New York, Jan 10, 1915; d Zug, Switzerland, Nov 4, 1976). American conductor. He studied at the Juilliard School and Columbia University in New York, made his conducting début at Town Hall, New York, in 1938, and founded the New York Chamber Orchestra the same year. In a sense Dixon's career as a black American conductor paralleled Marian Anderson's as a singer: he opened several important doors to black musicians, being the first to appear as guest conductor of Toscanini's NBC SO (1941), of the New York PO (1941) and of the Philadelphia Orchestra (1943). In 1944 he founded the American Youth Orchestra and appeared for the first time with the Boston SO, and in 1948 he received Columbia University's Alice M. Ditson Award for outstanding contributions to modern American music. In 1949 he moved ...

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Antoinette Handy

orchestra conductor, was born Charles Dean Dixon in New York City, the son of Henry Charles Dixon, a lawyer and hotel porter, and McClara Dean Ralston. Both of Dixon's parents were West Indian—his mother was born in Barbados and his father in Jamaica. Because more than two decades elapsed before his parents secured their U.S. passports, according to Dixon, “[T]here is a lot of legal questioning as to whether I am an American or whether I only have an American passport. Both [of] my parents were Commonwealth citizens when I was born” (Dunbar, 189–190).

Before he had reached the age of four Dixon was learning to play on a fifteen dollar pawnshop violin Though his mother had no musical training she was able to recognize talent Such was evidenced for her when she saw young Dean holding two sticks in violin position An avid concertgoer particularly ...

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Miranda Kaufmann

Classical musician and war correspondent born in British Guiana (now Guyana). Dunbar began his musical career with the British Guianan militia band. He moved to New York at the age of 20, where he studied music at Columbia University. In 1925 he moved to Paris, where he studied music, journalism, and philosophy. By 1931 he had settled in London and founded the Rudolph Dunbar School of Clarinet Playing. The same year Melody Maker invited him to contribute a series of articles on the clarinet. These were successful enough for him to publish in 1939A Treatise on the Clarinet (Boehm System). Dunbar was a successful conductor, especially in the 1940s, when he became the first black man to conduct an orchestra in many of the prestigious cities of Europe, including, in 1942 the London Philharmonic at the Albert Hall to an audience of 7 000 people the Berlin ...

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Reid Badger

(b Mobile, AL, Feb 22, 1880; d Boston, May 9, 1919). American bandleader and composer. A champion of black American music and musicians, he played a significant role in the transformation of orchestral ragtime into jazz. As a teenager in Washington, DC, Europe studied the violin, the piano and composition. After moving to New York in 1903, he continued his studies informally with organist Meville Charlton and singer/composer Henry T. Burleigh. By 1909 he had achieved considerable success as a composer of popular songs and as music director for several important theatrical productions, including Red Moon (1908–9) and Mr Lode of Koal (1909). The following year he organized and was elected president of the Clef Club, the first effective union for black musicians in the city’s history. He also conducted the club’s symphony orchestra. On 2 May 1912 ...

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Reid Badger

music administrator, conductor, and composer, was born in Mobile, Alabama, the son of Henry J. Europe, an Internal Revenue Service employee and Baptist minister, and Lorraine Saxon. Following the loss of his position with the Port of Mobile at the end of the Reconstruction, Europe's father moved his family to Washington, D.C., in 1890 to accept a position with the U.S. Postal Service. Both of Europe's parents were musical, as were some of his siblings. Europe attended the elite M Street High School for blacks and studied violin, piano, and composition with Enrico Hurlei of the U.S. Marine Corps band and with Joseph Douglass, the grandson of Frederick Douglass.

Following the death of his father in 1900 Europe moved to New York City There he became associated with many of the leading figures in black musical theater which was then emerging from the ...

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Bill Egan

musician. James Reese “Jim” Europe was born in Mobile, Alabama, the fifth of six children. His parents were Henry J. Europe, a former slave and a Baptist pastor employed in various public positions, and Lorraine Saxon Europe, a teacher. Europe learned music from his mother, playing violin and later mandolin.

In 1889 the family moved to Washington, D.C. John Philip Sousa was a close neighbor, and Europe received tuition on piano and violin from Enrico Hurlei, the assistant director of the U.S. Marine Corps Band. Around 1903 Europe moved to New York and studied with the noted African American composer and spirituals expert Harry T. Burleigh. Though aware of his traditional religious heritage, Europe embraced secular black music—ragtime and the show music of entertainers like Bert Williams and George Walker, Ernest Hogan, and Bob Cole and J. Rosamond Johnson He joined Hogan ...