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T.J. Anderson

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Information about T.J. Anderson

Profile image of T.J. Anderson

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Music Composer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Gray
Favorite Food:
Bread (Rolls)
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
San Diego, California
Favorite Quote:
It Is What It Is

Birthplace

Born:
8/17/1928
Birth Location:
Coatesville, Pennsylvania

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Music Composer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Gray
Favorite Food:
Bread (Rolls)
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
San Diego, California
Favorite Quote:
It Is What It Is

Birthplace

Born:
8/17/1928
Birth Location:
Coatesville
See how T.J. Anderson is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Composer and music professor Thomas Jefferson Anderson was born on August 17, 1928 in Coatesville, Pennsylvania. Anderson attended West Virginia State College and Pennsylvania State University, where he received his B.A. degree in music and his M.Ed. degree in music education in 1950 and 1951, respectively. Anderson studied composition at the Cincinnati College - Conservatory of Music in 1954, before obtaining his Ph.D. degree in music at the University of Iowa in 1958. Anderson also studied composition at the Aspen School of Music in 1964 with Darius Milhaud

Anderson was hired as a professor of music at Langston University in Langston, Oklahoma, where he became chair of the music department. He then served as a music professor at Tennessee State University before being named composer-in-residence with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in 1969. During his three year tenure at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Anderson orchestrated the Scott Joplin opera Treemonisha and in 1972, the first full staging of Joplin’s work took place. His first opera, Soldier Boy, based on a libretto by writer Leon Forrest, was commissioned by Indiana University. After a visiting professorship at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Anderson was hired as a professor of music and department chair at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts in 1972.

As a lecturer, consultant, and visiting composer, Anderson has taught at institutions in the United States, Brazil, Germany, France and Switzerland. He has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Virginia Center for the Arts, the Djerassi Foundation, the National Humanities Center and a scholar-in-residence at the Rockefeller Center for the Creative Arts in Bellagio, Italy. Anderson has accumulated numerous honors throughout his illustrious career, including an honorary membership in Phi Beta Kappa, a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and grants from the Rockefeller Foundation. He has received honorary doctorates from the College of Holy Cross, West Virginia State College, Bridgewater State College, St. Augustine’s College, Northwestern University, Bates College and Tufts University. In March, 1997, he was honored as a founder and first president of the National Black Music Caucus, now NASPAAM with a concert of his music. In 2005, Anderson was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Anderson and his wife, Lois, have three adult children, a son, Thomas J. Anderson and two daughters, Janet Anderson and Anita Anderson Downing.

T.J. Anderson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 19, 2012.

See how T.J. Anderson is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of T.J. Anderson's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - T.J. Anderson lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - T.J. Anderson describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - T.J. Anderson talks about his maternal grandfather's career as a minister
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - T.J. Anderson remembers his early interest in jazz music
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - T.J. Anderson describes his mother's upbringing
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - T.J. Anderson describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - T.J. Anderson describes his father's education
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - T.J. Anderson describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - T.J. Anderson lists his siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - T.J. Anderson describes sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - T.J. Anderson remembers his early exposure to classical music
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - T.J. Anderson describes his first experiences with classical music and jazz
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - T.J. Anderson remembers S. Horace Scott Senior High School in Coatesville, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - T.J. Anderson recalls his extracurricular activities at S. Horace Scott Senior High School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - T.J. Anderson remembers his influential high school teachers
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - T.J. Anderson recalls his decision to attend West Virginia State College in Institute, West Virginia
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - T.J. Anderson remembers his influences at West Virginia State College
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - T.J. Anderson describes his involvement in the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - T.J. Anderson remembers his father's friendship with Paul Robeson
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - T.J. Anderson remembers his family's political activities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - T.J. Anderson remembers Roland Hayes and Marian Anderson
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - T.J. Anderson reflects upon the relationship between language, rhythm and culture
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - T.J. Anderson describes his experiences of Eurocentrism in academic music curricula
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - T.J. Anderson describes the start of his Ph.D. degree program
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - T.J. Anderson remembers completing his Ph.D. at the University of Iowa
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - T.J. Anderson talks about his creative process
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - T.J. Anderson describes his family's reaction to his Ph.D. degree
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - T.J. Anderson remembers meeting his wife
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - T.J. Anderson recalls meeting Melvin B. Tolson at Langston University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - T.J. Anderson describes Melvin B. Tolson's poetry
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - T.J. Anderson remembers teaching at Langston University in Langston, Oklahoma
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - T.J. Anderson remembers his mentor, Edward C. Lewis
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - T.J. Anderson recalls his introduction to 'Treemonisha'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - T.J. Anderson describes the history of the opera 'Treemonisha'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - T.J. Anderson compares the works of Scott Joplin and George Gershwin
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - T.J. Anderson remembers the process of reconstructing 'Treemonisha'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - T.J. Anderson talks about the music of 'Treemonisha'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - T.J. Anderson remembers the first staging of 'Treemonisha'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - T.J. Anderson talks about the role of performers as interpreters
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - T.J. Anderson talks about his academic career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - T.J. Anderson describes his accomplishments at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - T.J. Anderson describes his accomplishments at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - T.J. Anderson remembers receiving his first honorary degree
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - T.J. Anderson talks about his awards and honors, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - T.J. Anderson describes his musical compositions
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - T.J. Anderson talks about his awards and honors, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - T.J. Anderson remembers meeting William Grant Still
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - T.J. Anderson remembers William Levi Dawson
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - T.J. Anderson remembers meeting Eubie Blake and Florence Price
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - T.J. Anderson describes the importance of black representation in majority universities
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - T.J. Anderson talks about racial discrimination in the classical music community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - T.J. Anderson describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - T.J. Anderson reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - T.J. Anderson reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - T.J. Anderson reflects upon his relationship with his wife
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - T.J. Anderson describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - T.J. Anderson narrates his photographs