was born in 1788 to Rosa Rudesinda Retuerto, a free mulatto woman. On his certificate of baptism, he is documented as a son without a father; however, on his marriage certificate, his father is identified as the surgeon and pharmacist José Isidoro Alcedo. He began his studies in the Augustine music academy in Lima, which was run by the friar Cipriano Aguilar; he later moved to the Santo Domingo convent, where he received his true musical education under the direction of Friar Pascual Nieves. In 1807 he took simple vows as a third-order Dominican for three years, having worn the friar’s habit the year before. At that time he began to teach music at the convent. In 1821 he was among the signatories of Peru s Declaration of Independence and he presented two compositions to the competition led by General José de San Martín to select a national march ...
Juan Carlos Estenssoro
Ronald P. Dufour
pianist and composer, was born in Detroit, Michigan, the daughter of Mount Vernell Allen Jr., a principal in the Detroit public school system, and Barbara Jean Allen, a defense contract administrator for the federal government. She began studying classical piano at age seven but was also exposed to jazz at an early age. She met the trumpeter Marcus Belgrave when he was an artist-in-residence at her high school, Cass Technical; she studied jazz piano with him, and he became an important mentor, appearing on several of her later recordings. Allen also studied at the Jazz Development Workshop, a community-based organization.
After graduating from high school, Allen attended Howard University, where she was captivated by the music of
Alias of Thomas Wiggins (1849–1908), famous slave pianist, described by Mark Twain as a musical prodigy. He was born in May 1849 in Columbus, Georgia, being blind, and in today's terms an ‘autistic savant’. The renowned lawyer James N. Bethune bought Wiggins's parents as slaves. Recognizing that Wiggins was a musical genius capable of imitating noises, improvising, and composing at 6, Bethune's daughter Mary taught him to play the piano.
In 1857 Bethune paraded Wiggins's talent across Georgia, meeting rapturous responses. Consequently, Bethune had tours organized by Perry Oliver (concert promoter) earning them $100,000 a year. Wiggins would play European classical music, improvisations, popular ballads, and his own compositions, examples of the last being ‘The Rainstorm’ (1865) and ‘Cyclone Gallop’ (1887).
The Bethune family forced him to tour the South performing to raise funds during the Civil War for the confederacy and its army ...
pianist and composer, was born John William Boone in a Union army camp in Miami, Missouri, to Rachel Boone, an army cook and former slave to descendants of Daniel Boone, and to a white bugler for the Seventh Missouri State Militia, Company I, suggested by the historian Mike Shaw to have been Private William S. Belcher (Shaw, 2005). Although Boone's early biographer, Melissa Fuell, referred to Boone as having had five brothers—Ricely, Edward, Sam, Tom, and Harry (Fuell, 137)—according to Shaw it is likely that, except for a half brother, Edward (alternately referred to in census records as both Wyatt and Edward), all were step siblings via Rachel Boone's 17 May 1871 marriage to James Harrison Hendrick (a.k.a. Harrison Hendrix).
Little Willie as the newborn John William was called and his mother soon moved to Warrensburg Missouri where at the ...
also known as Chevalier de Saint-Georges, one of the most accomplished musicians, composers, and fencing masters of eighteenth-century Europe, was born on 25 December 1745 on the plantation Saint-Robert in the town of Baillif, near the region of Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe. (Some sources give his birth year as 1739 Born a slave he was the son of Georges de Bologne de Saint Georges a wealthy white planter who had purchased a title of minor nobility and his black concubine Nanon a Senegalese house slave The ancestry of Joseph Bologne de Saint Georges places him from his earliest childhood at a precocious juncture of influences in the theater of revolutionary change in the Antilles encompassing multiple debates over slavery Although slavery had been abolished in France in the late eighteenth century it remained institutionalized in the colonies Created to normalize the life of slaves in the Antilles Le Code Noir initiated ...
Domingos Caldas Barbosa was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to a white father, Antonio de Caldas Barbosa, and a black mother, whose identity remains unknown. From an early age Caldas received a Jesuit education. He showed a predilection for poetry and musical composition.
While still a young man Caldas was drafted into the military and sent to serve in the Portuguese colony of Sacramento on the Rio de la Plata. Subsequently, Caldas obtained his discharge, returned home to Brazil, and then boarded a ship bound for Portugal. He arrived in Lisbon in 1763 and shortly thereafter enrolled at the University of Coimbra. It is unclear at what point Caldas's university studies were discontinued, but author Jane M. Malinoff asserts that the young poet took leave shortly after learning of his father s death Unable to independently support the cost of his education Caldas recalled ...
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 ...
Violinist and composer, celebrated and admired as a remarkable musician in Cornish society after his humble beginnings as a slave. Emidy, was born in Guinea, West Africa, sold into slavery in 1787 by Portuguese traders, and then taken to Brazil. He came to Lisbon with his new owner, who recognized his interest in music and provided him with a violin and a tutor. He progressed musically, and by 1795 was a second violinist in the orchestra of the Opera House in Lisbon.
However, in 1795, when Sir Edward Pellow brought his ship the Indefatigable into the river Tagus in Lisbon for repairs, he and other officers attended the Lisbon opera. After seeing Emidy perform in the orchestra, they kidnapped him, forcing him to come aboard their ship as their fiddler to perform dances (which he loathed) to entertain the sailors and raise their morale as they sailed.
Known as “the father of Brazilian music,” José Maurício Nunes Garcia gained recognition in the early nineteenth century as a composer of church music. He wrote hymns, masses, chants, antiphones, and Te Deums, and his Requiem Mass (1816) is considered by music scholars to be one of the most significant masses ever written in Latin America. Although he wrote mostly sacred music, he was influenced by secular styles, most notably by Italian opera and by the Viennese masters, Haydn and Mozart. One of Haydn's former students, the Austrian musician Sigismund Ritter von Neukomm, considered Garcia “the greatest improviser in the world on the clavichord.”
Born in Rio de Jainero, Garcia was the son of a Portuguese lieutenant, Apolinário Nunes Garcia, and a black woman, Vitória Maria da Cruz He studied harpsichord viola and solfège at the academy of Salvador José de Almeida e ...
Maria Alice Volpe and Lenita Waldige Mendes Nogueira
was born in Vila da Parnaíba (today’s Santana de Parnaíba) in the southeastern captaincy of São Paulo. Gomes was the son of an unknown father and the unmarried parda Antonia Maria, an agregada (resident laborer) of the plantation owner Antonio José de Miranda. Manuel lived some years without a surname. In a 1799–1801 census, he was registered as “menino forro aprendiz, pardo, menor” (freed slave boy, mixed, apprentice, and underage). Following his appointment as chapel master in Parnaíba, he went on to use the same name as his godfather, Manuel José Gomes. Manuel completed his early musical training with José Pedroso de Morais Lara, priest and chapel master in Vila da Parnaíba.
In 1813 he moved to the city of São Paulo and most likely undertook some further musical studies with André da Silva Gomes, a Portuguese-born composer who had settled in Brazil in 1773 as the first chapel ...
pianist and composer, was born in New Orleans to Edward Gottschalk, a Londoner of German-Jewish extraction who emigrated to Louisiana to trade in real estate, commodities, currency, and slaves, and Aimee-Marie Bruslé, whose murkier ancestry has contributed to much confusion over her musician son's ethnic heritage. Virtually all period sources identify Gottschalk's mother as “Creole,” a term “synonymous with native” in early-nineteenth-century New Orleans and embracing “all objects indigenous to Louisiana, from cabbage to cotton, and all people, regardless of hue” (Gary B. Mills, “Creole,” in Encyclopedia of Southern Culture 426 By the late 1800s however the word was reserved both for those of pure white ancestry who were wealthy and aristocratic and rooted in the Delta country of lower Louisiana as well as for those uniformly poor in worldly goods quaint in customs and mixed of blood Mills 427 That Edward Gottschalk in addition to ...
vaudeville comedian and songwriter, was born Reuben Crowder (or Crowders) in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He left home as a child to join a traveling production of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Assigned the standard role for a young African American performer, Crowder appeared as an unnamed “pickaninny,” singing and dancing in company numbers. He spent his teens and early twenties touring with minstrel shows. By 1891, inspired by the success of Irish comedians, he had taken on his stage name and co-founded Hogan and Eden's Minstrels, a Chicago-based company that toured the Midwest.
In the mid 1890s Hogan left the relative obscurity of the minstrel stage moved to New York City and secured his first vaudeville bookings billing himself as The Unbleached American A compact handsome man Hogan was a tremendously animated stage presence noted for his strong voice mobile facial expressions and a flawless sense of comic timing ...
guitarist, teacher, composer, arranger, and civil rights advocate, was born in Norfolk County, Virginia, to Exum Holland a farmer. His mother's name is not recorded.
Justin Holland recognized at an early age that rural Virginia offered few opportunities for an ambitious young African American. Born on a farm in Norfolk County to free parents in 1819, Holland was only fourteen when he set out for Boston. Massachusetts was the first state to abolish slavery (in 1783 and Boston had a small but comparatively thriving black population Holland found work that provided in his words a good living in nearby Chelsea and became immersed in the energetic cultural life of the city He had shown a knack for music from a young age but farm life provided little opportunity to develop musical talent Now inspired by the performances of Mariano Perez one of the ...
Penny Anne Welbourne
Early biographical sources indicated that Francis “Frank” Johnson was originally from Martinique; however, later scholarship established that he was born free in Philadelphia. Little is known about his parentage or early life. In 1818 the major music publisher George Willig produced Johnson's Collection of New Cotillions, and by 1819 Johnson and his dance orchestra were performing throughout the city of Philadelphia. Johnson achieved national recognition when he was commissioned to write music for the occasion of the Marquis de Lafayette's visit to Philadelphia in 1824.
Johnson s involvement with music was all encompassing he was a composer writing more than three hundred pieces throughout his lifetime and bandmaster and also played an instrument called a tortoise shell keyed bugle also known as a Kent bugle He performed for militia units while continuing to lead his dance orchestra In addition to composing and performing he taught music ...
Nickname of Francis Johnson (1792–1844), African‐American bandleader, bugler, and composer. Johnson, a free Black from Philadelphia, first achieved local eminence as a fiddler while still in his youth. Around 1815 he was noted for introducing the keyed bugle to the United States. During the 1820s Johnson published compositions, and worked with Philadelphia militia units including the First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry and the Washington Grays. In 1824 he received two major commissions, one to compose the music for the return to Philadelphia of the revolutionary hero the Marquis de Lafayette, and another to score the musical The Cataract of the Ganges.
Johnson and his band toured Britain from 1837 to 1838, with a repertoire ranging from Mozart and Rossini to American popular songs They are considered to be the first black American musicians to visit Europe and the first to play for Queen Victoria who ...
(b ?Martinique, 1792; d Philadelphia, April 6, 1844). American composer and bandmaster. He is reputed to have settled in Philadelphia in 1809, where he won local recognition as a bandmaster, composer and performer on the keyed bugle. Later his band, which was employed by élite military companies of the city, and his dance orchestra gained a national reputation; in 1837 the band became the first such American group to give concerts in England, reputedly including a command performance for Queen Victoria. When he returned to the USA in 1838 Johnson introduced Philippe Musard’s concept of the ‘promenade concert’ to the American public. His band toured widely, playing promenade concerts chiefly consisting of Johnson’s own compositions; it also shared the concert stage in Philadelphia with eminent white artists, which was unprecedented for a black group at that time.
Johnson wrote in the conventional ...
singer, composer, minstrel performer, street musician, and one of the world's first recording stars and the first African American to make any recording, was born in Wheatland, Loudon County, Virginia, though possibly in Fluvanna County, Virginia. It is unclear as to whether he was born free or as a slave. His father, Samuel Johnson, was listed as free soon after George's birth. His mother was known as Druanna, or “Ann Pretty.” While still a small child Johnson was hired as the “bodyservant” for a young white boy his same age, Samuel Moore. Johnson grew up in the prosperous Moore household and was taught to read and write. He is thought to have spent the Civil War working as a laborer for one or both armies.
Johnson moved to New York sometime around 1873 and began performing on ferry boats. In 1890 ...
pastor, holiness preacher, composer, and denominational leader, was born in Texas Valley, Georgia. He was born the son of Clifford Milner and a Baptist mother, Mary Jones Milner. The Milners gave birth to three children. Jones's father died and his mother remarried Berry Latimer with whom she had a daughter, Lucy. After his mother died in 1882, Jones moved to Cat Island, Arkansas, where he was saved in 1884. In May 1885 he was baptized and joined Locust Grove Baptist Church and that same year started preaching. He was licensed in 1887 by George W. Dickey, then pastor of Locust Grove. Three years later Jones left Cat Island, going to Helena, Arkansas, where he joined Centennial Baptist Church, pastored by Elias Camp Morris then president of the Arkansas Baptist Convention Jones later moved to Little Rock in order to enroll ...
music teacher and conductor, bass singer, Civil War veteran, and active member of the Grand Army of the Republic, author of the first African Methodist Episcopal Church hymnal (working with Bishop James C. Embry), was born in Eulesstown, New Jersey. The 1860 census lists several free families of African descent named Layton, but none have been definitively identified as his. Charles and Harriet Layton, of Warrenville, may have been his parents, but the ages of their children (often the subject of error by census takers) are not a definitive match.
Layton enlisted in the U.S. Navy on 25 August 1864 at Jersey City, giving his occupation as laborer/farmer. Assigned the rating of Landsman, he served on the vessels Larkspur and O.M. Pettit Both were tugboats assigned to the South Atlantic Blocking Squadron towing and repairing ships of the squadron while gathering intelligence on shore and ...
Elliott S. Hurwitt
songwriter, was born Richard C. McPherson in Norfolk, Virginia. Nothing is known of his parents or his early life. He studied at the Norfolk Mission College and at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and set his sights on the study of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. At first music was merely an avocation, but he gradually found his musical interests crowding out his medical ones; he began serious music studies in New York with the eminent Melville Charlton, the organist at some of New York's leading churches and synagogues for several decades. His activities during the years around 1900 were manifold evincing a considerable degree of energy In addition to his musical activities he was an enthusiastic member of the New York Guard rising to the rank of lieutenant He was also later active in the African American entertainment brotherhood known as the Frogs together with the ...