Will Marion Cook (1869-1944)
Biography. Biography. Biography. One of the most important figures in pre-jazz African-American music, Will Marion Cook is also one of its better known personalities. As a composer, conductor, performer, teacher, and producer, he had his hand in nearly every aspect of the black music of his time and worked with nearly every other important musician in his fields. Uncompromising and difficult to work with,...
R. Nathaniel Dett (1882-1943)
Biography. Robert Nathaniel Dett was born in Drummondsville, Ontario, Canada, on October 11, 1882. His ancestors were among the slaves who escaped to the North and settled in that slave-founded town. In 1901, Dett began studying piano with Oliver Willis Halstead in nearby Lockport. Three years later he was admitted to the Oberlin Conservatory, where he majored in piano and composition. In 1908, Dett...
" Spelling Bee" by Septimus Winner
Article. Though he wrote and published many choral arrangements, Winner was not primarily a choral composer. Like Stephen Collins Foster (1826-1864), his choral writing was limited to close harmony settings of song choruses, usually no longer than a few pages.
" Pretty to Me" by Septimus Winner
Article. Winner published Pretty to Me under the pseudonym Alice Hawthorne, his mother's maiden name. It has been argued that American society's refusal to accept women in certain roles was the primary reason that there were not more known female composers in America. Though there was likely some truth to such assertions, Winner's songs published under a female pseudonym, suggest that the statement was...
"The Friends We Love" by Septimus Winner
Article. The Friends We Love was published in 1868 under Winner's pseudonym Alice Hawthorne. Winner's music store, established with one of his brothers shortly after they completed high school in Philadelphia, published this simple strophic choral ballad. The music store provided Winner, who was proficient on the violin and guitar, a place to teach music lessons and to market his own songs and methods...