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R. Nathaniel Dett

Male | Composers


b. 1882-1943

R. Nathaniel Dett received his musical education at the Oliver Willis Halstead Conservatory in Lockport, NY, Oberlin College (BM, 1908, composition and piano), and the Eastman School of Music (MM, 1938). During the years 1920 - 1921, he studied with Arthur Foote at harvard, winning prizes for his choral compositions and for his essay, "The Emancipation of Negro Music." Dett did further study with nadia Boulanger in France during the summer of 1929. His teaching tenures includeded Lane College in Tennessee, Lincoln Institute in Missouri, Bennett College in North Carolina, and Hampton Institute in Virginia. he was an instructor of Dorothy Manor at Hampton and delveloped the choral ensembles which received international acclaim and recognition. Dett was a protege of E. Azalia Hackley, who helped to encourage his interest in Black folk music. His compositional works reflect the melodic and rhythmic sounds of Black music. Among his larger works were The Ordering of Moses, Magnolia Suite  and  for piano. The song "Ionathe" appears in the now out-of-print collection of songs by Edgar Rogie Clark, Negro Art Songs. It is available through various sources, including the The E. Azalia Hackley Collection of the Detroit Public Library.

Source: Perkins Holly, Ellistine. Biographies of Black Composers and Songwriters; A Supplementary Textbook. Iowa:Wm. C. Brown Publishers, 1990.



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