February 2020

  1. Obscure Music Monday: Joplin's Solace

    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 →
  2. Obscure Music Monday: Saint-Georges' Violin Concerto in D

    Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges (Dec. 25, 1745 – June 10, 1799) was a composer, violinist, and conductor, born to George Bologne de Saint-Georges, a wealthy married planter, and Anne dites Nanon, his wife's African slave. Though born in Guadeloupe, his father took him to France when he was a child, where he was educated, and he became a skilled fencer. Later on he joined the Légion St.-Georges during the French Revolution, the first all-black regiment in Europe. Continue reading →
  3. Obscure Music Monday: Bloch's Hiver-Printemps

    Ernest Bloch (July 24, 1880 – July 15, 1959) was born in Geneva, and considered one of the greatest Swiss composers. He started playing the violin and composing at 9, and studied in Brussels, Germany, and Paris. Later on, Bloch taught at the Mannes School of Music, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and the San Francisco of Music. Continue reading →
  4. Obscure Music Monday: Dett's O Holy Lord

    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 attending Oberlin Conservatory of Music.. At Oberlin, 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 →

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