Biographies Clarence Cameron White, 1880-1960

Image: Cover of Bandanna Sketches
Bandanna sketches (Four negro spirituals) by Clarence Cameron White (New York, New York: Carl Fischer, 1918). Historical American Sheet Music: 1850-1920, American Memory, Library of Congress.

Clarence Cameron White was born on August 22, 1880, in Clarksville, Tennessee. He spent his childhood in Oberlin, Ohio; Chattanooga, Tennessee; and Washington, D.C. White began studying violin at age eight; within four years he was studying with the accomplished violinist Will Marion Cook. He attended Oberlin Conservatory from 1896-1901 (accounts differ as to whether he graduated or left just before graduation to accept a teaching position).

In the course of his subsequent performances and teaching activities, White met Paul Laurence Dunbar, Harry T. Burleigh, and Booker T. Washington. He also met the African-British composer, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, with whom he studied.

The nature of White's compositions changed over time. His early compositions were "neo-romantic" in style. As his social circles expanded, however, he turned to black folk music as a source of inspiration and musical material. Among his many compositions are: "Forty Negro Spirituals," "Kutamba Rhapsody," "Symphony in D Minor," the ballet score "A Night in Sans Souci," and a violin concerto. He also composed Ouanga, an opera based on the life of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, a slave who led a revolution and became the first emperor of Haiti. Many of his compositions won awards.

In 1916 White, along with R. Nathaniel Dett, attempted to organize the National Association of Negro Music Teachers. These plans were interrupted by World War I, after which Dett and White's idea was taken up by Nora Holt. Holt formed the National Association of Negro Musicians in 1919; White was a charter member.

White remained active in music throughout his life. Among his positions were conductor of the Victorian Chamber Orchestra in Boston from 1916-20 and the Hampton Institute Choir upon Dett's retirement in 1933. White was director of music at West Virginia State College from 1924-31. He died in 1960, shortly after the completion and performance of his cantata, "Heritage."

Selected Works at the Library of Congress

About this Item

Title
Clarence Cameron White, 1880-1960
Subject Headings
-  White, Clarence Cameron -- 1880-1960 -- -- composer
-  Popular Songs of the Day
-  Songs and Music
-  Parlor and Concert Stage
-  Social Change
-  Progressive Era to New Era (1900-1929)
-  Biographies
Genre
biography
Online Format
online text
Description
Biography. Biography. White remained active in music throughout his life. Among his positions were conductor of the Victorian Chamber Orchestra in Boston from 1916-20 and the Hampton Institute Choir upon Dett's retirement in 1933. White was director of music at West Virginia State College from 1924-31. He died in 1960, shortly after the completion and performance of his cantata, "Heritage."
Additional Metadata Formats
METSXML Record

Rights & Access

Rights assessment is your responsibility.

The Library of Congress is providing access to these materials for educational and research purposes and makes no warranty with regard to their use for other purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or other rights holders (such as holders of publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. There may be content that is protected as "works for hire" (copyright may be held by the party that commissioned the original work) and/or under the copyright or neighboring-rights laws of other nations.

Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permission ultimately rests with persons desiring to use the item. Users should consult the bibliographic information that accompanies each item for specific information. This catalog data provides the details known to the Library of Congress regarding the corresponding items and may assist users in making independent assessments of the legal status of these items as related to their desired uses.

Items included here with the permission of the rights holders are indicated as such in the bibliographic record for each item.

In some cases, the Library was unable to identify a possible rights holder and has elected to place some of those items online as an exercise of fair use for strictly non-commercial educational uses. The Library of Congress would like to learn more about these materials and would like to hear from individuals or institutions that have any additional information or know of their history. Please contact:  Performing Arts Reading Room.

Suggested credit line: Library of Congress.

The Library of Congress is providing access to these materials for educational and research purposes and makes no warranty with regard to their use for other purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or other rights holders (such as holders of publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. There may be content that is protected as "works for hire" (copyright may be held by the party that commissioned the original work) and/or under the copyright or neighboring-rights laws of other nations.

Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permission ultimately rests with persons desiring to use the item. Users should consult the bibliographic information that accompanies each item for specific information. This catalog data provides the details known to the Library of Congress regarding the corresponding items and may assist users in making independent assessments of the legal status of these items as related to their desired uses.

Items included here with the permission of the rights holders are indicated as such in the bibliographic record for each item.

In some cases, the Library was unable to identify a possible rights holder and has elected to place some of those items online as an exercise of fair use for strictly non-commercial educational uses. The Library of Congress would like to learn more about these materials and would like to hear from individuals or institutions that have any additional information or know of their history. Please contact:  Performing Arts Reading Room.

Suggested credit line: Library of Congress, Music Division.

More about Copyright and other Restrictions

For guidance about compiling full citations consult Citing Primary Sources.

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Clarence Cameron White, 1880 to 1960. Online Text. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/ihas.200038858/. (Accessed March 22, 2017.)

APA citation style:

Clarence Cameron White, 1880 to 1960. [Online Text] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/ihas.200038858/.

MLA citation style:

Clarence Cameron White, 1880 to 1960. Online Text. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <https://www.loc.gov/item/ihas.200038858/>.