February 2017

  1. Obscure Music Monday: Dett's Listen to the Lambs

    Robert Nathaniel Dett (Oct. 11, 1882 - Oct. 2, 1943) was a composer, pianist, organist, and professor of music. Born in Ontario, Canada, he showed interest in music at a young age, and began piano lessons at five years old. The family moved to New York around the time Dett was ten years old, and a few years later he was playing piano for his church. He would later on study at the Oliver Willis Halstead Conservatory of Music, and continued studying piano at the Lockport Conservatory, before eventually attend the Curtis Institute of Music. At Curtis, Dett was introduced to the idea of using spirituals in classical music, like in the music of Antonin Dvorak. The music Dett heard reminded him of spirituals he'd learned from his grandmother, and he'd later on integrate folksongs and spirituals in to his music.   Continue reading →
  2. Obscure Music Monday: Joplin's The Easy Winners

    Scott Joplin (c. 1867/68 - April 1, 1917) was an African-American composer and pianist, who came to be known as the "King of Ragtime Writers". Joplin was born in to a family of railroad laborers in Texas, but got as much musical knowledge as he could from local teachers, and ended up  forming a vocal quartet, and teaching mandolin and guitar. He later left for the south to work as a itinerant musician, and eventually found his way up  to Chicago for the World's Fair of 1893, which contributed towards the ragtime craze. Continue reading →
  3. Obscure Music Monday: Price's The Goblin and the Mosquito

    Florence Beatrice Price (April 9, 1887 - June 3, 1953) was an African-American pianist and composer, and the first African-American woman to have a piece played by a major symphony orchestra. Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, Price's first piano teacher was her mother, a music educator, and Price's first recital was at the age of 4. After high school (which she graduated top of her class), she studied piano and organ at the New England Conservatory, and pretended to be Mexican, due to the stigma that African-Americans faced during that era. She also studied composition and counterpoint with George Chadwick and Frederick Converse, and graduated in 1906 with Continue reading →
  4. Obscure Music Monday: Coleridge-Taylor's Romance in G for Violin

    Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (Aug. 15, 1875 - Sept. 1, 1912) was born in London, England, to Alice Hare Martin, an English woman, and Dr. Daniel Peter Hughes Taylor, from Sierre Leone. They were not married, and Daniel Taylor returned to Africa before 1875, not even knowing he had a son. Martin named her son after the poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and was raised in Croydon, Surrey by his mother, and her father. Coleridge-Taylor studied violin at the Royal College of Music, and was later on appointed a professor at the Crystal Palace School of Music, and conducted the orchestra at the Croyden Conservatory. Continue reading →

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