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Lee Koonce

Nonprofit executive and pianist Lee Koonce was born on January 5, 1960 in Xenia, Ohio to Ida Bent Koonce and Lee Koonce. As a child, Koonce took piano lessons and learned to play the violin, baritone horn, and flute in school. Koonce, who grew up in Chicago, graduated from Bishop Byrne High School in Memphis, Tennessee, where his father had taken a job, in 1978. He received a B.M. degree in piano performance from Oberlin Conservatory of Music and a B.A. degree in Spanish literature from Oberlin College in 1982. After working as a music and Spanish instructor at Elgin Academy in Elgin, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, Koonce went on to complete his coursework for his M.M. degree in piano performance from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester in 1988, earning the degree in 1993.

After graduating from the Eastman School of Music, Koonce became a senior manager at Andersen Consulting, now Accenture. In 1996, Koonce became director of community relations at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Then, in 2001, he was hired as the executive director at the Sherwood Conservatory of Music in Chicago. From 2004 to 2007, Koonce served as the executive director of Opus 118 Harlem School of Music in New York City. In 2007, he became the executive director at Third Street Music School Settlement, serving until 2014, when he was named the executive director of Ballet Hispanico. After two years, Koonce became the first president and artistic director of Gateways Music Festival in association with Eastman School of Music. Under his leadership, Gateway Music Festival was awarded a $300,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

In addition to his role as president and artistic director, Koonce has served on the board of directors of Gateways Music Festival since 1997. He also serves as a member of the board of trustees for the National Guild for Community Arts Education and served on the board of the League of American Orchestras. Koonce has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs as well as the Oberlin Conservatory of Music committee chair of the Oberlin College Alumni Council.

Lee Koonce was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 28, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.084

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/28/2018

Last Name

Koonce

Maker Category
Schools

Dulles School of Excellence

Bishop Byrne High School

Oberlin Conservatory of Music

Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester

First Name

Lee

Birth City, State, Country

Xenia

HM ID

KOO01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Amsterdam and San Andres Island, Columbia

Favorite Quote

N/A

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

1/5/1960

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Favorite Food

Peanut Butter

Short Description

Nonprofit executive and pianist Lee Koonce (1960 - ) served as president and artistic director of the Gateways Music Festival in association with the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.

Employment

Gateways Music Festival

Ballet Hispanico

Third Street Music School Settlement

Opus 118 - Harlem School of Music

Sherwood Conservatory of Music

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Accenture (Andersen Consulting)

Elgin Academy

Favorite Color

Blue

Nat Adderley, Jr.

Music arranger and pianist Nat Adderley, Jr. was born on May 23, 1955 to Nat Adderley, Sr. and Ann James in Quincy, Florida. Adderley attended the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in Manhattan, New York. In high school, he performed and wrote music for his father’s group, the Cannonball Adderley Quintet. Adderley also worked as a keyboardist for R&B singer Valerie Simpson. Adderley earned his B.A. degree in African American studies from Yale University in 1977.

In 1981, Adderley became the music director for Luther Vandross. Adderley arranged the music for Vandross’ 1981 album, Never Too Much on the songs “Never Too Much” and “Sugar and Spice (I Found Me a Girl).” He then co-wrote the song “Better Love” for Vandross’ 1982 album, Forever, for Always, for Love. In 1984, Adderley arranged “Superstar,” as well as “If Only for One Night” and “Creepin’” for Vandross’ album, The Night I Fell In Love. He co-wrote Vandross’ first top twenty hit, “Stop to Love” and arranged the songs “So Amazing” and “Give Me Reason” from the album, Give Me Reason. In 1988, Adderley arranged the songs “I Wonder” and “Love Won’t Let Me Wait” for Vandross’ album, Any Love. The album was nominated for a 1989 Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. Adderley also played keyboard for Vandross’ 1991 Grammy award winning album, Power of Love. He produced Vandross’ albums Your Secret Love, Luther Vandross, and the Grammy award winning album, Dance with My Father. Adderley arranged Vandross’ 2003 Grammy award-winning duet with Beyonce Knowles, “The Closer I Get to You,” which won for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. He then produced the live album, Luther’s Live 2003 at Radio City Music Hall.

In addition to his work with Vandross, Adderley has worked with several other musicians. He arranged the songs for Aretha Franklin’s 1983 album, Jump To It, the string section for Doc Powell’s Grammy nominated song “What’s Going On” and Natalie Cole’s song “When I Fall in Love.” Recordings of Adderley playing piano were used by playwright August Wilson for his play The Piano Lesson in 1990. Adderley later formed the Nat Adderley, Jr. Trio.

Nat Adderley, Jr. was interviewed by The Historymakers on January 19, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.005

Sex

Male

Interview Date

01/19/2017

Last Name

Adderley

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Occupation
Organizations
First Name

Nat

Birth City, State, Country

Quincy

HM ID

ADD02

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

Islands: Barbados

Favorite Quote

Me and you.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

5/23/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish: Redfish, orange roughy, catfish

Short Description

Music arranger and pianist Nat Adderley, Jr. (1955 - ) was the music director and musical arranger for Luther Vandross from 1981 to 2003.

Favorite Color

Black

Herbie Hancock

Pianist and composer Herbert Jeffrey "Herbie" Hancock was born on April 12, 1940 in Chicago, Illinois to Winnie Belle and Wayman Edward Hancock. Hancock began to study music at age seven, and performed a Mozart piano concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra by age eleven. He played jazz in high school and double-majored in music and electrical engineering at Grinnell College.

In 1960, Hancock was discovered by trumpeter Donald Byrd. After two years of session work with Byrd, as well as Phil Woods and Oliver Nelson, he signed with Blue Note Records as a solo artist. Hancock’s 1963 debut album, Takin’ Off, was an immediate success, and produced the hit “Watermelon Man.” Subsequent albums on Blue Note included Maiden Voyage, Empyrean Isles, and Speak Like a Child, among others. In 1963, trumpeter Miles Davis invited Hancock to join the Miles Davis Quintet alongside Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams, where he stayed for five years. Hancock also composed the score to Michelangelo Antonioni's 1966 film Blow Up, which led to a successful career in feature film and television music.

After leaving the Davis Quintet, Hancock established his own sextet and recorded several albums, including 1971’s Mwandishi. He then formed a new band called The Headhunters and, in 1973, recorded Head Hunters for Columbia Records, which became the first jazz album to go platinum. Hancock produced eleven albums that were included in the pop charts during the 1970s. He also recorded and performed with the group V.S.O.P. in the late 1970s, toured with trumpeter Wynton Marsalis in 1980, and then collaborated with producer Bill Laswell in the mid-1980s. Hancock later moved to the Verve record label and formed a band to record 1996's The New Standard. He then released 1 1 with Wayne Shorter in 1997. Hancock reunited with The Headhunters in 1998 and, that same year, collaborated with a number of artists on his multiple Grammy Award-winning album Gershwin's World. His albums in the 2000s included Future2Future, Directions In Music: Live at Massey Hall, Possibilities, The Imagine Project, and River: The Joni Letters, which won him the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 2008.

Hancock has been named by the Los Angeles Philharmonic as Creative Chair For Jazz. He also serves as Institute Chairman of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, and as the 2014 Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University. In addition, he is a founder of The International Committee of Artists for Peace, and was designated an honorary UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in 2011.

In all, Hancock has released over forty albums and received fourteen Grammy Awards. He also received an Oscar Award for composing the score to 1986’s Round Midnight. His other honors include a Soul Train Music Award, a U.S. Radio Award, and multiple BMI Film Music Awards and MTV Video Awards. He was also awarded the “Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres” by French Prime Minister Francois Fillon.

Herbie Hancock was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 13, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.260

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/13/2014

Last Name

Hancock

Maker Category
Middle Name

Jeffrey

Occupation
Schools

Hyde Park Academy High School

Grinnell College

Forrestville Elementary School

First Name

Herbert

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

HAN05

Favorite Season

None

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

4/12/1940

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Meatloaf

Short Description

Pianist and music composer Herbie Hancock (1940 - ) was a fourteen time Grammy Award-winning artist. He played with numerous jazz ensembles and released over forty albums.

Employment

Blue Note Records

Miles Davis Quintet

Herbie Hancock Sextet

The Headhunters

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
0,0:2105,45:6112,89:6444,94:7274,123:7689,129:8021,134:12132,204:12536,209:18224,267:18860,275:19390,281:22146,316:22888,326:27244,351:27764,357:28700,367:30950,385:31856,393:35302,428:36420,451:37194,461:41380,496:49078,579:53407,620:55738,650:57736,679:65973,746:81760,901:82615,911:83185,918:108873,1175:109157,1180:110293,1203:110790,1212:119782,1287:120074,1292:124220,1336:129100,1410:134944,1490:137335,1512:137725,1560:163056,1755:169960,1794:174932,1847:181724,1938:188905,2025:191084,2048:199490,2108:199970,2116:204844,2155:205996,2184:206428,2192:213371,2319:214449,2334:215604,2505:226260,2623:238730,2707$0,0:26621,336:26953,353:27700,360:28281,368:41828,486:42465,494:44831,532:45559,541:51644,595:52292,626:63349,803:64186,819:65674,854:68929,898:69301,903:76204,919:77610,935:77890,940:80336,953:85605,1003:90810,1059:91158,1064:92550,1090:94808,1122:95156,1129:97641,1155:100170,1194:106664,1260:108008,1275:110180,1287:112622,1320:125526,1400:125838,1405:130980,1501:132240,1530:134236,1547:136657,1560:137133,1565:159790,1829:160438,1845:168410,1980:176160,2067:176730,2073:178560,2091:179288,2101:179925,2109:184974,2132:203660,2276:210820,2360
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Herbie Hancock's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Herbie Hancock lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Herbie Hancock describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Herbie Hancock talks about how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Herbie Hancock lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Herbie Hancock describes his sister's career

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Herbie Hancock talks about his father's education and profession

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Herbie Hancock remembers his mother's mental illness

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Herbie Hancock describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Herbie Hancock remembers his neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Herbie Hancock describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Herbie Hancock recalls the music of his youth

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Herbie Hancock describes the Regal Theater and Metropolitan Theatre in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Herbie Hancock remembers his first piano

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Herbie Hancock describes his early piano teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Herbie Hancock recalls his experiences with sports

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Herbie Hancock recalls winning the Young People's Concerts contest

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Herbie Hancock remembers performing with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at eleven years old

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Herbie Hancock shares a story from his travels in Africa

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Herbie Hancock recalls learning a new piece for his performance with Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Herbie Hancock remembers organizing a jazz concert at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Herbie Hancock describes the racial demographics of Hyde Park High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Herbie Hancock describes his introduction to jazz

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Herbie Hancock recalls listening to George Shearing

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Herbie Hancock talks about his early exposure to jazz music

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Herbie Hancock recalls his decision to attend Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Herbie Hancock remembers his classmates at Grinnell College

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Herbie Hancock talks about attending Jack and Jill of America, Inc. events

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Herbie Hancock recalls his academic achievements

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Herbie Hancock describes his experiences at Grinnell College

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Herbie Hancock recalls majoring in engineering at Grinnell College

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Herbie Hancock describes the music department at Grinnell College

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Herbie Hancock remembers his summer job at the post office

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Herbie Hancock recalls balancing his music career with his work at the post office

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Herbie Hancock remembers the jazz musicians at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Herbie Hancock recalls his first performance with Donald Byrd and Pepper Adams

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Herbie Hancock remembers joining Donald Byrd's band

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Herbie Hancock recalls living as a struggling jazz musician in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Herbie Hancock remembers moving in with Donald Byrd

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Herbie Hancock talks about the mentorship of Donald Byrd

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Herbie Hancock recalls finding the courage to write his own compositions

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Herbie Hancock talks about the start of his music writing career

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Herbie Hancock recalls being approached by Miles Davis

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Herbie Hancock remembers buying his first sports car, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Herbie Hancock remembers buying his first sports car, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Herbie Hancock describes his early performances in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Herbie Hancock describes the process of composing 'Watermelon Man'

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Herbie Hancock remembers performing with Mongo Santamaria

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Herbie Hancock describes his early understanding of the music industry

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Herbie Hancock talks about developing his craft with other pianists from Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Herbie Hancock recalls meeting Tony Williams

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Herbie Hancock remembers auditioning for Miles Davis

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Herbie Hancock talks about the formation of Miles Davis' Second Great Quintet

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Herbie Hancock recalls developing the post-bop style of jazz with Miles Davis

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Herbie Hancock remembers recording 'Live at the Plugged Nickel 1965'

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Herbie Hancock describes the Second Great Quintet's improvisational style

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Herbie Hancock talks about the lack of a bandleader in the Second Great Quintet

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Herbie Hancock recalls lessons from his time with Miles Davis

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Herbie Hancock reflects upon his career with Miles Davis

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

7$10

DATitle
Herbie Hancock recalls finding the courage to write his own compositions
Herbie Hancock remembers auditioning for Miles Davis
Transcript
Now, Horace Silver, his records were his own compositions and his records sold. Why did they sell? 'Cause they were like funky jazz compositions. People seem to like that. So, I started to think, I'm from Chicago [Illinois], that's a blues town. And, if I can't write a funky jazz tune, something's wrong. So, anyway, I decided that I wanted to write something that was honestly from my experience as an African American, from my neighborhood. Something that was, you know, truly ethnic. Because, I mean, that's where the whole funky thing came from. So, since I hadn't experienced being in a chain gang or, or being beaten, or being in the South and abused, I was from Chicago. And, so, I started thinking, okay, who's the most ethnic character I would think of? And, it was the watermelon man. But, I started to think, I don't know if I wanna write a tune called 'Watermelon Man' 'cause there was stigma attached to watermelons. And, that stigma was this image of the (air quotes) pickaninny, you know, with big eyes, you see the white of his eyes and, you know, lip smacking, you know, the watermelon. It was very like a stereotypical negative--that was the idea that it was a negative image of black people. And, so, I didn't wanna call attention to that. I mean, at that time, and it sounds ridiculous today. But, black people would buy watermelons in a black neighborhood. Black people would not buy watermelons in a grocery store in a white neighborhood because of that stigma. It just wasn't done. So, but, I started to think about that, you know. And, I, I thought, okay. Maybe I could call it the vegetable man. But, that didn't fly. So, I said, okay. How can I work this? I started thinking, okay. Is there anything wrong with watermelons? Nope. Tasty, delicious, it's not unhealthy at all. It's a lot of water in it, you know. Okay, that's--the fruit is fine. Is there anything actually wrong with the watermelon man? Nope. Couldn't find anything wrong with that. So, I had no compelling argument to dissuade me from calling it 'Watermelon Man,' except my own lack of courage. So, I couldn't let myself do that. So, I said, I'm gonna have to stand up for what I believe in. It's nothing wrong with the watermelon man. I'm calling it 'Watermelon Man.' And, there was some musicians that when I told 'em I had written a song called 'Watermelon Man,' this was before I actually--yeah, maybe I had recorded it but it wasn't released yet. And, I told them that I'd written a song called 'Watermelon Man.' They said, "You're not really gonna call it that, are you?" And, I said, "Yes. I am," (laughter). And, they'd walk away shaking their head, you know.$So, anyway, he and I became really, you know, close friends, really bonded together and so this is why when Miles called me, the next thing is Tony [Tony Williams] calls me and says, "Hey, did Miles call you?" I said, "Yeah." And, he--we were both really excited about it. So, the next day we show up at Miles' house and Ron Carter, bass player, was player already there. George Coleman who had been playing with Miles along with Ron was, was already there. And, Miles--we started playing something, you know, some, maybe some standard tunes. I don't remember now what, what we started to play. And, Miles played a few notes and then took his horn and threw it on the couch and, and kind of went upstairs like it was, didn't wanna, he didn't wanna be bothered or he was disgusted or I don't know what. But, not with us but he just threw the horn down and left. And, so, Ron Carter kind of took over to proceed with us playing more music. And, this went on for three days. And, the second day Miles came down for a minute to meet two friends of his that came, came by, Philly Joe Jones, a great drummer that had played with Miles in the, in the First Great Quintet. What we call the First Great Quintet. And, Gil Evans who was the arranger of, of, some orchestra pieces with Miles, 'Miles Ahead,' 'Porgy and Bess,' and 'Sketches of Spain.' Two heroes of mine, by the way. Anyway, Miles came down to speak to them, and they listened to us for a while. And, then the third day Miles came down, he played a little bit more and then he said, "Okay, next Monday we're gonna meet at--" he said (imitates Miles Davis), "Monday we're gonna meet at Columbia, Columbia recording studio [CBS 30th Street Studio, New York, New York] at 3:30." And I, I said, "Miles, does that mean I'm in the band?" And, Miles looked at me, first thing was some expletive (laughter), and he said (imitates Miles Davis), "You're making the record." But, he had a little glint in his eye, you know. And, that was fine with me. I just, I'm thinking, I'm gonna make a record with Miles Davis. You know, beyond my wildest dreams. But, it was a combination of rehearsal and audition. And, because after we made the record, we went and played our, our first gig up in, in Maine at a, at a college and that was the beginning of a five and a half year stint with Miles Davis.

Shelley Fisher

Singer and pianist Shelley Fisher was born on April 6, 1942 in Clarksdale, Mississippi. In 1953, he moved to Chicago and grew up on the city’s West Side. Fisher studied music theory, composition and vocal technique in the Chicago Junior College System, and at Roosevelt University’s Chicago Conservatory of Music. He received his A.A. degree in music education and social science from Crane Junior College in 1963.

Upon graduation, Fisher became the featured vocalist with the Morris Ellis Orchestra in Chicago. In 1966 he had a principal role in Oscar Brown, Jr.'s musical production “Summer in the City.” Fisher went on to open for Stevie Wonder at the original Regal Theater in Chicago. He then moved to Los Angeles in 1970, where he played the piano and sang for the “jet set.” In 1972, Fisher co-starred in the comedy motion picture Calliope. He also played the role of the piano player in The Three Wishes of Billy Grier, starring Ralph Macchio, and in Letter to Three Wives, with Loni Anderson. Fisher wrote and performed the original music for the motion picture Drifting Clouds.

In 1977, Fisher returned to Chicago, where he taught in two Chicago public schools. In 1985, Fisher launched Vantown Productions, Inc., a publishing and production company. He has composed and published many musical titles, including Yesterday’s Dreams (Lou Rawls on Capital Records), Plainsville, USA (Jimmy Randolph on Motown Records), King Size Bed (The Valentine Brothers on Sony Records), and Girl, I Love You, which launched the career of Chicago R&B legend, Garland Green.

From 1978 through 1999, Fisher worked abroad, namely in Osaka, Japan, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and Oslo, Norway. In 1997, he wrote, arranged and produced CELEBRATION, A Tribute to Nat “King” Cole, a Las Vegas style program produced at NRK TV (Norwegian TV). Fisher toured in Europe and broke two attendance records with performances in Den Hague, Holland and at Puntaldia, the jazz music festival on the island of Sardinia, Italy.

In 2000, Fisher moved to Las Vegas, where he performed at New York, New York, the MGM Grand, the Venetian, and the MGM/Mirage hotels. He has shared billing or recorded with other well-known artists like Earth, Wind & Fire, The Dells, Eartha Kitt and B.B. King. Fisher has also recorded two full-length CDs: 2003’s Driving Home, and 2004’s Stories.

Shelley Fisher was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 23, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.317

Sex

Male

Interview Date

11/23/2013

Last Name

Fisher

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

Dell

Occupation
Schools

Farragut Career Academy Hs

Theodore Herzl Elementary School

Calvin Coolidge Senior High School

Chicago Conservatory of Music

First Name

Shelley

Birth City, State, Country

Clarksdale

HM ID

FIS05

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Sardinia

Favorite Quote

If You Really Want To See The Daughter, First Look At The Mother.$

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Nevada

Birth Date

4/6/1942

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Las Vegas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Oatmeal

Short Description

Singer, pianist, and Shelley Fisher (1942 - ) toured nationally and internationally for over thirty years. He also acted in various stage productions and films, and authored a autobiography titled 'A Motherless Child.'

Employment

Turner Manufacturing Company

United States Postal Service

Chicago Daily Defender

Johnson Publishing Company

Delete

Invictus/Hotwax Records (Capitol)

Vantown Productions, Inc.

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Shelley Fisher's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Shelley Fisher lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Shelley Fisher describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Shelley Fisher describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Shelley Fisher talks about his family's affiliation with the Baptist church

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Shelley Fisher talks about his mother's death

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Shelley Fisher describes his early years in Crenshaw, Mississippi, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Shelley Fisher describes his early years in Crenshaw, Mississippi, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Shelley Fisher talks about his early understanding of gender identity

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Shelley Fisher remembers moving to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Shelley Fisher describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Shelley Fisher talks about his difficult upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Shelley Fisher remembers joining his father in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Shelley Fisher talks about his behavior as an adolescent in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Shelley Fisher recalls his involvement in Chicago gangs

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Shelley Fisher talks about early gang activity in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Shelley Fisher recalls the gang violence that he experienced

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Shelley Fisher remembers his involvement in criminal activity as a teenager

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Shelley Fisher recalls the inspiration behind his enlistment in the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Shelley Fisher talks about his honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Shelley Fisher remembers selling magazine subscriptions

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Shelley Fisher recalls taking the civil service exam to become a mail carrier

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Shelley Fisher remembers enrolling at Crane Junior College in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Shelley Fisher talks about his various jobs in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Shelley Fisher remembers acquaintances from his youth in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Shelley Fisher describes the music scene in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Shelley Fisher talks about record companies and radio stations in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Shelley Fisher describes the music scene in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Shelley Fisher remembers the music venues and people in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Shelley Fisher describes Oscar Brown, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Shelley Fisher talks about his role in Oscar Brown, Jr.'s musical production 'Summer in the City'

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Shelley Fisher remembers singer Lou Rawls

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Shelley Fisher talks writing the song 'Girl I Love You'

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Shelley Fisher recalls founding Aries Records and moving to Los Angeles, California

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Shelley Fisher talks about learning to play piano

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Shelley Fisher remembers singing with the Morris Ellis Orchestra in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Shelley Fisher talks about his early career in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Shelley Fisher recalls working with Motown Records in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Shelley Fisher talks about his struggle with substance abuse

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Shelley Fisher remembers his relationship with Jacqueline Dalya

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Shelley Fisher talks about moving back to Chicago, Illinois in the late 1970s

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Shelley Fisher remembers his job teaching blues music in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Shelley Fisher recalls living in Japan, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Shelley Fisher recalls living in Japan, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Shelley Fisher remembers his experiences in Canada

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Shelley Fisher describes his film and music career in Canada

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Shelley Fisher recalls performing in Europe, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Shelley Fisher recalls performing in Europe, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Shelley Fisher remembers visiting the Auschwitz concentration camps in Oswiecim, Poland

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Shelley Fisher talks about the production of 'Drifting Clouds'

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Shelley Fisher describes how he started performing in Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Shelley Fisher talks about the car accident that ended his piano career

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Shelley Fisher reflects upon his accident

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Shelley Fisher talks about how he revived his singing career after his accident

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Shelley Fisher talks about his portrayal of Conrad Murray

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Shelley Fisher describes the musical legacy of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Shelley Fisher reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Shelley Fisher describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Shelley Fisher describes his decision to leave Las Vegas, Nevada

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Shelley Fisher reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Shelley Fisher narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

7$5

DATitle
Shelley Fisher talks about learning to play piano
Shelley Fisher remembers his job teaching blues music in Chicago, Illinois
Transcript
I got there it was raining. Got--never go to L.A. [Los Angeles, California] hungry in December. It's the rainy season. And I went, I got there, and I figured if you're gonna jump in the water, get in the deep water, 'cause that's where the, you know, don't be--you know. So I checked in at the Continental hotel [Continental Hyatt House; Andaz West Hollywood, Los Angeles, California] there on Sunset [Boulevard]. Now I, remember I got $350 in my pocket. I think that lasted about three days, and I was out on the street. And I had some jewelry that I pawned, and I checked into the YMCA [Young Men's Christian Association]. I went from the five star to the Y (laughter). And I, one day I was so, I didn't even have money to make the phone call to call the agent. I had to walk from Wilcox [Avenue] and Sunset, which is--I don't know if you know L.A.--to 8100 Sunset, which is almost Beverly Hills [California], walked just to see if I, if anybody had a job for me. And about two weeks went by and nobody, they said, "Sorry, we're working on it." And then one day I got a call. I mean I got a yes. And I said, "Well, where, where is it?" 'Cause I'd, I'd, when I went to California, I took music. I'd had charts, all the charts I used in Morris Ellis' band, and you know, I had music up the ying yang, no--I said, "How much music should I take?" He said, "Well, what do you mean?" (Laughter) I said, "Well, how many people in the band?" He said, "Well, you got on the, on your resume that you play piano." I said, "Oh, no problem," (laughter). I knew about ten tunes well enough to be played in public. And I was booked up at San Luis Obispo [California] at this--his brother [Jimmy Ellis] was used to be on 'Laugh-In' ['Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In']. He was--yeah, they was a fantastic restaurant. And so after I would play my ten song repertoire, I would get up and start getting the peop- doing 'Signifying Monkey,' [HistoryMaker] Oscar Brown, Jr.'s (singing), "Said the signifying monkey to the lion one day, there's a great big elephant down the way." And I would go around table to table, and I'd make the people clap. They were my band. They were (laughter)--and in the daytime, I had my music books. I would get down--I was, I would build my repertoire.$$And that's how you learned how to play the piano?$$That's how I learned to earn a living playing the piano.$$Playing the piano (laughter). But when, when had you learned the piano before that, that you've never (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Well, and now we studied in, in, in, in Crane [Crane Junior College; Malcolm X College, Chicago, Illinois] with sort of theory and harmony, theory, harmony, and compositions. I can look at the music and tell you what it sounds like. But elocution on the, on, on the--you know, when you play to be a piano viturso [sic. virtuoso], you got to go through years of da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da. I didn't have the patience for that. So, I learned to play, to, to play the--I could do a solo with my right hand, but I'm playing block chords, as I hear an orchestra playing. That way I had a more full sound, and it wasn't like no one else's, because it's very different. [HistoryMaker] B. B. King does not sing and play at the same time. Did you know that?$$He plays and then he sings.$$Then he sings.$$I think I--'cause, yeah--$$Somebody pull your coat to that? But anyway, singing and--$$No, they didn't put--we worked with them. And I was just thinking, he does play and then he sings.$$He play (makes sounds); then he sings. But playing and hearing all of those notes and executing those notes and singing, not very many people do that well. Nat Cole [Nat King Cole] was the one. Mr. Cole could do it. But so you--and, and in my case, I was, I'm playing, I'm playing the piano. Can't nobody say they can't, can't play piano. They say, "He's not Oscar Peterson." 'Cause I didn't have that ring. But I didn't back down from no gigs. I was good enough to go up and play with Ike [Ike Turner] and Tina Turner. So, to me I, and I still, I still, even though no matter how good you can play, I still allocate learning theory so you can communicate the language. You're, you're dealing with a language. And if you can go to Japan and say I want it in B flat, they can understand you. You go Switzerland: I want it in C sharp played from whatever. They can understand. So, but today's music, but the--all you gotta do is turn your boot up. And you know, nobody understands the language that they supposed to be speaking.$So when you came back to Cabrini-Green [Cabrini-Green Homes, Chicago, Illinois] and you were--how did you get that job?$$With the, with--I had assisted Jimmy [Jimmy Tillman] the year before, in '76 [1976]. And he recommended me to--I forget her name, who was head of--I got a letter. I brought a copy of the letter from that, yeah, from the, from the (unclear). But he recommended me to do the blues program. So we wrote, we wrote the grant, we wrote the--for the Illinois Arts Council [Chicago, Illinois], and they were the liaison to NEA [National Endowment for the Arts]. That was a fan- that was a great experience.$$So talk about that. How long did you do that for?$$It was a three month program. And we used--we had kids from age ten to sixteen, over at the Schiller [Schiller Elementary School, Chicago, Illinois], from the Schiller and the Newberry Schools [Newberry School; Walter L. Newberry Math and Science Academy, Chicago, Illinois] there in Cabrini-Green. And it was diverse racially. And what we did, these kids would--we, we, we projected that we could raise their reading scores and have self-esteem if they were able to communicate their feelings through the blues. So, we taught them how to write their blues with an AAB format. (Singing), "They call it stormy Monday. Tuesday is just as bad. They call it stormy Monday. Tuesday is just as bad. Wednesday is worse. Thursday is--," AAB. And the kids started writing their blues songs. And we found out, Jimmy and I, that the problem with many in education is not the students; it's the teachers half the time. One young lady wrote about her boyfriend--her mother's boyfriend, who was a pimp. He was pimping her mother. And he walked with a limp. And I, I--forgive me for not remembering it 'cause it was such--using those, those rhymes, this girl--I got a picture of her--she wrote, and sang it; she wrote the song, so we would work with the teachers on grading on, on evaluation and so forth. And Will, Willie Dixon, Koko Taylor, some of the other artists would come in and would do performances, so, to inspire the kids. And this one English teacher gave this girl a failing grade. And the girl came, "Mr. Fisher [HistoryMaker Shelley Fisher], Ms. So and So blah, blah, blah," and it was 'cause the women did not, the teacher did not understand limp, knew very little about pimp and the other lyrics that the young lady was using that were rhyming and making sense in, in terms of the jargon of the hood. I had to explain that. Then they began to respect the program a bit. So we taught the kids guitar, because, let's face it, blues, after three chords it starts to become jazz. So they learned three, three chords and played tambourine and harmonica, and they learned to play their blues. And as a result, the finale was the, they wrote their own--I can't say--what's a--not a graduation but their, their ceremony, their success ceremony, and it was wonderful. It was wonderful what those kids did, how they--you know, it's--and we're talking about all kinds of kids, not just, not just black kids. Some of the white kids had better worse--had problems of abuse than, than, than Dora [ph.] did.$$Right.$$So everybody can be helped from music, when we understand it. But in order to understand it you gotta be able to communicate it. And if I'm just feeding you something, I'm not communicating to you. I'm, I'm marketing you. You're part of my demograph. And why nobody'll write something that anybody else can sing, our Mistys ['Misty'], our Stormy Weathers ['Stormy Weather'], our (singing), "Go down Moses," ['Go Down Moses']. Ain't nobody writing nothing that nobody else can sing. Jay-Z, bless his heart, and him and Beyonce [Beyonce Knowles], ain't nobody can sing that stuff but them (laughter).$$Now, that, that's in '77 [1977], right? Seventy se-(simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Seventy-seven [1977], the blues program.

Toni-Marie Montgomery

Pianist and music professor Toni-Marie Montgomery (1956- ) was born to Hattie Drayton in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She started piano lessons at the age of six, and began performing on the piano at age nine. In 1971, Montgomery’s mother used her hard-earned savings to buy her a Steinway grand piano. Montgomery attended the Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts, graduating with her B.Mus. degree in 1980. Only a year later, in 1981, she received her M.Mus. degree from the University of Michigan. Montgomery went on to earn her D.M.A. degree in piano chamber music within three years, becoming only the second person to receive that degree from the University of Michigan.

Montgomery became artistic director and assistant director of the School of Music at Western Michigan University. She then moved to Connecticut to serve as assistant dean for academic programs at the University of Connecticut’s School of Fine Arts. While teaching there, Montgomery participated in the founding of the Black Music Repertory Ensemble at Columbia College in Chicago. The Ensemble was founded in 1987 as an outgrowth of the Columbia College Center for Black Music Research. Montgomery left Connecticut in 1990 to become a professor at Arizona State University. During her ten year tenure, she served as associate dean in the College of Fine Arts and Director of the School of Music. In 2000, the University of Kansas School of the Fine Arts hired Montgomery as its first African American academic dean. When she left in 2003, the university inducted her into its Women’s Hall of Fame. Montgomery was then hired at Northwestern University, becoming the first African American and first female dean of the Bienen School of Music.

Montgomery is an active musical performer. She has travelled around the world to perform in countries such as Austria, Brazil, Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia. In 1994, Montgomery and the Black Music Repertory Ensemble recorded an NPR series entitled “African American Music Tree.” She has also appeared with the group on the “Today Show” and CNN. In 2003, Montgomery collaborated with cellist Anthony Elliott to release a CD entitled Music for Cello and Piano by African American Composers.

Toni-Marie Montgomery was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 26, 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.103

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/26/2010

Last Name

Montgomery

Maker Category
Schools

University of Michigan

University of the Arts

Merion Mercy Academy

Most Precious Blood of Our Lord School

First Name

Toni-Marie

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

MON07

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

San Diego, California

Favorite Quote

That's Ridiculous

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

6/25/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Ice Cream (Chocolate)

Short Description

Music professor and pianist Toni-Marie Montgomery (1956 - ) was the first African American and first female dean of Northwestern University Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music.

Employment

Western Michigan University Bullock Performance Institute

University of Connecticut School of Fine Arts

Arizona State University Katherine K. Herberger College of the Arts

University of Kansas School of Fine Arts

Northwestern University Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music

Favorite Color

Pink

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Toni-Marie Montgomery's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Toni-Marie Montgomery lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Toni-Marie Montgomery describes her mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Toni-Marie Montgomery talks about her father

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Toni-Marie Montgomery describes her mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Toni-Marie Montgomery describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Toni-Marie Montgomery remembers her early neighborhoods

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Toni-Marie Montgomery describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Toni-Marie Montgomery remembers her piano lessons

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Toni-Marie Montgomery recalls her early exposure to music

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Toni-Marie Montgomery remembers Amherst Summer Music Center in Raymond, Maine

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Toni-Marie Montgomery talks about Philadelphia music

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Toni-Marie Montgomery describes Most Precious Blood of Our Lord School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Toni-Marie Montgomery describes the Main Line region of Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Toni-Marie Montgomery remembers Merion Mercy Academy in Merion Station, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Toni-Marie Montgomery describes her early aspirations to become a concert pianist

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Toni-Marie Montgomery talks about piano competitions

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Toni-Marie Montgomery describes the differences between classical and jazz piano

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Toni-Marie Montgomery talks about her favorite classical music

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Toni-Marie Montgomery remembers the Philadelphia College of Performing Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Toni-Marie Montgomery recalls studying music at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Toni-Marie Montgomery remembers a symposium on black composers at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Toni-Marie Montgomery talks about African Americans in classical music

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Toni-Marie Montgomery describes the state of professional musicianship

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Toni-Marie Montgomery talks about the black aesthetic in classical music

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Toni-Marie Montgomery describes the Black Music Repertory Ensemble

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Toni-Marie Montgomery recalls her early higher education positions

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Toni-Marie Montgomery talks about Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizone

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Toni-Marie Montgomery remembers performing with the Black Music Repertory Ensemble

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Toni-Marie Montgomery recalls moving to the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Toni-Marie Montgomery talks about Kansas City

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Toni-Marie Montgomery talks about the differences between visual artists and musicians

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Toni-Marie Montgomery describes her tenure at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Toni-Marie Montgomery describes her Steinway and Sons piano

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Toni-Marie Montgomery recalls her decision to work at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Toni-Marie Montgomery talks about marching bands

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Toni-Marie Montgomery recalls eliminating Northwestern University's organ program

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Toni-Marie Montgomery remembers finding a new jazz program director

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Toni-Marie Montgomery describes her initiatives at the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Toni-Marie Montgomery talks about minority enrollment in music schools

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Toni-Marie Montgomery talks about the emergence of hip hop education

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Toni-Marie Montgomery recalls her efforts in creating community interest in classical music

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Toni-Marie Montgomery describes her hopes for the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Toni-Marie Montgomery talks about her musical interests

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Toni-Marie Montgomery describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Toni-Marie Montgomery reflects upon her life

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Toni-Marie Montgomery reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Toni-Marie Montgomery talks about her family

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Toni-Marie Montgomery describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Toni-Marie Montgomery narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

7$7

DATitle
Toni-Marie Montgomery talks about Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizone
Toni-Marie Montgomery remembers finding a new jazz program director
Transcript
Moved to Arizona State University in Tempe [Arizona], T-E-M-P-E, right outside of Phoenix [Arizona]. And I was hired as an assistant dean in the college of fine arts [Katherine K. Herberger College of the Arts; Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts], was quickly promoted within weeks, because the associate dean was moved up. So, I was promoted to associate dean. And so, I stayed in the role for six years. I was also an untenured faculty member, and got tenure at the end of the sixth year, as is custom. And then, the last four years that I was there I was director, School of Music.$$Okay, now what--well any--well, what, what are the highlights, I guess, of what, you know, of this position at, at Arizona State, it's seems like a real--?$$Well, it's longest that I stayed anywhere 'cause to, up 'til that time I was moving every two years. It was because Arizona State was such a great, I mean, a big school. There were at that time, I think close to forty thousand students; there're more now. So, because of the size of university I was able to just get experience in general education, for instance, the math, science classes that every student takes. I learned a lot just about being an administrator. I had--I think of mentors in positive and negative ways, and the mentor that I had there was a negative one, the one who was dean and so I learned a lot of things about what not to do as dean and things that really should be encouraged. I made connections with other associate deans on campus, and in fact we formed an associate dean and assistant deans group. So, all of the assistant and associate deans on campus and we were then recognized by central administration, the provost and president [Lattie F. Coor], received funding and training. I kept in contact with many of those people, you know, and one is actually a college university president, now. So, I think just I garnered a lot of administrative experience from being at a large research university like that. The last four years as being director school of music, I gained budgetary experience, supervisory experience because we had sixty-three full time faculty members. I don't know the number of staff we had. There were seven hundred students enrolled. And the school, for a state assisted program, I mean, it's considered say one of the top twenty music programs in the United States. So, got a lot of experience that way, became known among--there's a fine arts deans group, but there's also National Association of Schools of Music. That's an accrediting body, there's over six hundred members of that. So, I've been known and recognized, you know, and in those two fields.$$Okay, any outstanding students that, that you, you can remember or, or other faculty members that--?$$As far as students, no. No one that again that I would say, "Oh they've made it big time," or even, you know, part time. People who then have gone on to jobs in higher ed [higher education] who are, you know, professors. As far as faculty members, many of them were still there at ASU, have moved on to other institutions.$Another difficult decision which, you know, I landed on top was with our jazz program. So, the director of our jazz program [Don Owens] decided--he told me in December that he was gonna retire at the end of the year. And I was just amazed, because in order to have a faculty search the person announces the year before that they're going to leave, and then, you put together a search committee in the fall. And so, it usually takes from, say if they start working in October then it will be the winter, March or so, when you have finally have candidates on campus. So, there was not enough time to have a, a search for his position. We had an interim person. I brought in consultants whom I know from good music programs, jazz programs, to look at our program saying what was necessary, and then we did search. I turned down recommendations from the search committee of people who, whom they would like to have as director. I didn't see that any of those people were gonna change the direction of our program. It was just okay; it wasn't great. We weren't known for jazz. And so, I wasn't willing to make an appointment of someone who then was just, we were gonna have an average program. Why would we invest, you know, hundreds, thousands, millions of dollars, into a program that was just gonna be average? So, there had been an outcry because we're so close to Chicago [Illinois], that people were saying that they didn't believe that--they thought I was ending the program. I wasn't ending the program; I just was waiting. And so they were saying that there are tons of jazz musician in Chicago and certainly she could find someone. That's true. There are tons of jazz musicians, but jazz musicians who have the credibility and experience of working in a music school where pri- predominantly you're gonna have classical musicians. So, you had to have your own respect, level of respect and recognition that then was gonna compare with some of these other faculty who are members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. You can't come in, 'cause jazz for the most part has been a second class citizen in our music schools. I remember being at KU, University of Kansas [Lawrence, Kansas], and graduates saying to me, "We weren't allowed to play jazz in our school." Well, that wasn't unique to the University of Kansas. Every music school if you were caught playing jazz you could be suspended. It just, you know, was considered low brow, and, you know, was certainly wasn't a elitist like classical music is. So, I wouldn't want anybody to come in with one arm tied behind them, because they didn't have the reputation or performance ability as some of these other faculty. So, we were able after several years of hiring Victor Goines who had been the first director of the jazz program at Juilliard [The Juilliard School, New York, New York], G-O-I-N-E-S. And he plays with Wynton Marsalis in the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. And people who had no interest in jazz are coming to jazz concerts. He's spoken to alumni groups, he's just really, he's just a wonderful ambassador. So, the program is strong. We got a major gift from a family foundation for his jazz program, so we're doing well.$$Okay, yeah, yeah, I've--I constantly read good things about the jazz program.$$Yeah.

Matthew Kennedy

Retired director of the historic Fisk Jubilee Singers, Matthew Washington Kennedy was born on March 10, 1921 in Americus, Georgia. His parents were educator, Mary Dowdell Kennedy and mail carrier, Royal C. Kennedy, who died when Kennedy was fifteen months old. Kennedy attended McCoy Hill Elementary School between 1926 and 1934. A prodigy of piano and choral music, Kennedy was inspired by a Rachmaninoff concert in Macon, Georgia when he was eleven years old. Moving with his mother to New York City in 1934, Kennedy enrolled in DeWitt Clinton High School. With help from his music teacher, Lois Adler, Kennedy entered the Juilliard Institute of Music. Graduating from high school in 1939, he also earned a diploma in piano from Juilliard in 1940. Kennedy went on to attend Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. While attending Fisk University, Kennedy became piano accompanist to the historic Fisk Jubilee Singers under the direction of Ms. J.A. Myers on their tour of Europe, North Africa and Israel. Drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943, he served in Southern Europe and North Africa before returning to graduate cum laude with his B.A. degree from Fisk University in 1947. Kennedy went on to earn his M.A. degree from Juilliard in 1950 and completed course work toward his Ph.D. from George Peabody College in Nashville.

Employed by Fisk University as an instructor in 1947, Kennedy became a member of its music faculty in 1954 as an associate professor. In 1956, he married piano soloist, Anne Gamble. Kennedy was appointed director of the Fisk Jubilee Singers in 1957, and he mentored hundreds of young students for the next twenty-three years. In 1958, Kennedy made his own solo piano debut at Carnegie Recital Hall. Over the years, Kennedy toured the world as a soloist and as director of the Jubilee Singers. He was appointed acting chairman of the Fisk University Music Department from 1975 to 1978. Kennedy retired from Fisk University in 1986.

Kennedy has served on resource panels for the Tennessee Arts Commission and on boards of the Nashville Symphony Association and the John W. Work, III Memorial Foundation. He received the Achievement Award from the National Black Music Caucus of the Music Educators’ National Conference, distinguished service awards from the National Association of Negro Musicians, Fisk University Alumni Association, and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. Kennedy holds lifetime memberships with the NAACP and the Fisk University General Alumni Association. He is a member of the Nashville Fine Arts Club where he serves as President. He is also a member of the Nashville Symphony Guild, Gamma Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., First Baptist Church, Capitol Hill and a recent inductee into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in Macon, Georgia.

In 2003, Kennedy released his first album, Familiar Favorites. It is dedicated to the memory of his late wife, Anne, and to their daughter, Nina who is also a concert pianist. In 2006, Kennedy received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, from Fisk University. In 2007, Kennedy’s daughter made a film entitled, Matthew Kennedy: One Man’s Journey, which won the Rosetta Miller-Perry Award for Black Filmmakers.

Kennedy was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 13, 2007. Kennedy passed away on June 5, 2014.

Accession Number

A2007.086

Sex

Male

Interview Date

3/13/2007

Last Name

Kennedy

Maker Category
Schools

DeWitt Clinton High School

McKay Hill School

The Juilliard School

Fisk University

First Name

Matthew

Birth City, State, Country

Americus

HM ID

KEN03

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

Charles and Anne Roos

State

Georgia

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

I'm Blessed.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Tennessee

Birth Date

3/10/1921

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Nashville

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Death Date

6/5/2014

Short Description

Music professor, choral director, and pianist Matthew Kennedy (1921 - 2014 ) was the former director of the Fisk Jubilee Singers at Fisk University.

Employment

Fisk University

Interlochen Center for the Arts

U.S. Army

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Matthew Kennedy's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Matthew Kennedy lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Matthew Kennedy describes his mother's upbringing and career

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Matthew Kennedy describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Matthew Kennedy describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Matthew Kennedy describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Matthew Kennedy describes his parents' careers and personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Matthew Kennedy describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Matthew Kennedy remembers his neighborhood in Americus, Georgia

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Matthew Kennedy describes his early music lessons

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Matthew Kennedy talks about his early musical talent

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Matthew Kennedy remembers his academic ability

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Matthew Kennedy recalls his early exposure to music

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Matthew Kennedy remembers his first musical performances

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Matthew Kennedy remembers singing at the Bethesda Baptist Church in Americus, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Matthew Kennedy talks about the difference between hymns and spirituals

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Matthew Kennedy remembers the influence of Eva Jessye and Hall Johnson

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Matthew Kennedy talks about gospel music

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Matthew Kennedy recalls performing on WENC Radio in Americus, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Matthew Kennedy remembers playing the organ at the Rylander Theatre in Americus, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Matthew Kennedy remembers a concert by Sergei Rachmaninoff, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Matthew Kennedy remembers a concert by Sergei Rachmaninoff, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Matthew Kennedy remembers his isolation from other children

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Matthew Kennedy talks about his awareness of black classical musicians

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Matthew Kennedy remembers his mother's decision to move to New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Matthew Kennedy recalls his family's move to New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Matthew Kennedy remembers his enrollment at the Juilliard School of Music

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Matthew Kennedy recalls the students at the Juilliard School of Music in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Matthew Kennedy remembers receiving a piano from his teacher

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Matthew Kennedy describes completing Dewitt Clinton High School in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Matthew Kennedy describes his admission to Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Matthew Kennedy talks about being drafted into World War II

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Matthew Kennedy recalls playing piano for the Fisk Jubilee Singers

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Matthew Kennedy remembers meeting and marrying his wife

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Matthew Kennedy remembers John Wesley Work III

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Matthew Kennedy recalls his time in the U.S. Army

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Matthew Kennedy describes his assignments in the U.S. Army

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Matthew Kennedy recalls earning a master's degree at the Juilliard School of Music

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Matthew Kennedy remembers the formation of the Famous Jubilee Singers

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Matthew Kennedy talks about the Famous Jubilee Singers

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Matthew Kennedy remembers John Wesley Work III's directorship of the Fisk Jubilee Singers

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Matthew Kennedy recalls his appointment as director of the Fisk Jubilee Singers

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Matthew Kennedy describes the Fisk Jubilee Singers' concerts

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Matthew Kennedy talks about the history of the Fisk Jubilee Singers

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Matthew Kennedy talks about the role of spiritual music in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Matthew Kennedy remembers the Civil Rights Movement in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Matthew Kennedy reflects upon the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Matthew Kennedy remembers his debut at Carnegie Hall in New York City

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Matthew Kennedy describes his tenure as director of the Fisk Jubilee Singers

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Matthew Kennedy describes his work in the music department of Fisk University

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Matthew Kennedy talks about his first album

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Matthew Kennedy reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Matthew Kennedy talks about the John W. Work III Memorial Foundation

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Matthew Kennedy remembers his students

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Matthew Kennedy reflects upon his legacy and hopes for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Matthew Kennedy talks about his daughter's documentary project, 'Matthew Kennedy: One Man's Journey'

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Matthew Kennedy describes his doctoral studies

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Matthew Kennedy describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Matthew Kennedy narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

2$5

DATitle
Matthew Kennedy remembers receiving a piano from his teacher
Matthew Kennedy remembers his debut at Carnegie Hall in New York City
Transcript
When we went to New York [New York], Depression [Great Depression] days, there was a movement where schools were set up to actually help artists and performers, all part of the WPA, Works Projects Administration, or something like that [sic. Works Progress Administration; Work Projects Administration], but anyway, it was the WPA, and I entered the school that was established there on 7th Avenue, and the piano teacher that I worked with there had attended Juilliard [Juilliard School of Music; The Juilliard School, New York, New York], and she gave us some advice about actually applying for the audition and the scholarship; I had left that out before.$$Okay.$$Um-hm.$$Okay. So, how did you like Juilliard?$$Very much, very much, and there were problems there. I look back sometimes and say I probably could have made much better progress if I'd had a piano in the apartment where I was staying with the Wilsons [ph.], but when I first started, I had no piano. I would have to walk several blocks to another acquaintance who had come originally from Americus [Georgia] years ago; they had a piano and that's where I went to do my practicing, and of course I could do lots of practicing at school, at Juilliard, but it would have been so nice. And Miss Adler [Lois Adler] knew about that hardship; she brought that to the attention of one of her students, as she knew this student had, had some means--from Albany, Georgia. Her parents were into pecan plantations, and anyway, she told this student, this student arranged to have a piano, an upright piano, brought to the apartment where I was living, and that, that was a great help.$$That certainly sounds like it was, so, yes (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Yes, yes.$You, in 1958, experienced a sort of a personal triumph of your own by getting this--a solo--your solo piano debut at Carnegie Hall--$$Right.$$--in New York City [New York, New York].$$Um-hm.$$Now how did this come about?$$Well, Ms. Adler [Lois Adler] was still encouraging me, and she was so encouraged at the experience I was having in giving these solo selections on the Jubilee Singers [Fisk Jubilee Singers] concerts, and she just wanted to see how far I might go as a concert pianist I believe, so she encouraged me to get the services of an agent, and of course he told her that I needed to have a New York debut, and so one thing led to the other and I was so, so, so happy the way things turned out. I received favorable reviews from both The New York Times and the Tribune, and so--but, but even, even so, things didn't really open up suddenly or quickly enough for me because see, I was already at Fisk [Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee], on the Fisk faculty, when I made the debut there in '58 [1958], so if it had been an overwhelming success, I guess I would have had big headlines and all that. And that, that didn't happen, and I, I couldn't even think of giving up my teaching to pursue just the concert career, but it was nice to have, it was nice to give a few more concerts and use the comments from the critics that I had earned.$$Were your students proud of you?$$Very much so. And the faculty would give faculty recitals also, as a part of the year's activities; those were very well received. But I was finding it difficult as, as, as involved I was now as director of the Jubilee Singers, to keep up my repertoire as a pianist, so that, that had to suffer as a great--as a consequence.$$Now, did your mother [Mary Dowdell Kennedy] get a chance to hear you?$$Yes, she was present for that debut, yes, very, very happy. I think she felt that her dreams had been fulfilled.$$That must have been wonderful to have her there (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Right.$$Yeah.$$Um-hm.

Blanche Burton-Lyles

Accomplished concert pianist and music educator Blanche Henrietta Burton-Lyles was born on March 2, 1933 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her father sang bass in the choir at Union Baptist Church which was also attended by her mentor, Marian Anderson who encouraged her young protégé to pursue a career in classical music. Marian Anderson invited Burton-Lyles to entertain guests in her home many times. By age seven, Burton-Lyles was considered a child prodigy, and in 1944, at age 11, she received an unlimited scholarship to study piano at the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music. The first African American female pianist to play at Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in 1947, Burton-Lyles entered and won the Young Audiences Competition. In 1954, she graduated from the Curtis Institute of Music where she received her B.A. degree in music.

Continuing her studies and her professional career, Burton-Lyles performed at Yale University with the New Haven Symphony and performed for fifteen years with Leroy Bostic and the Mellow Aires. In 1963, she joined the Philadelphia Board of Education as a teacher. She continued her own studies and received her B.A. degree in music education in 1971 from Temple University. Burton-Lyles retired from teaching in 1993 and became the founder and President of the Marian Anderson Historical Society, Inc. She acquired both of Anderson’s historical residences in 1998 and Anderson’s birthplace in 2000. Burton-Lyles, who has made it her mission to preserve Anderson’s legacy, maintains both sites, which houses memorabilia, rare photos, books, and paintings relating to the contralto’s life. The Anderson Residence/Museum also offers musical programs, lectures, audio-visual presentations and even private lessons.

Burton-Lyles is the recipient of numerous performance awards and humanitarian honors. These include the Shirley Chisholm Philadelphia Political Congress of Black Women Award for Achievement in Music in 1994 and the National Black Music Caucus Award for Outstanding Women in Music in 1995. For preserving Marian Anderson’s legacy, Burton-Lyles has received the Mary McLeod Bethune Award from the National Council of Negro Women, 2000; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.’s highest honor – the Sadie T. Alexander Award, 2005; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.’s Edythe Ingram Award, 2006; the Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major Cultural Award, 2007; and the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Unsung Hero Award at Carnegie Hall, 2007. She was also honored with the Philadelphia 76ers’ Community Service All-Star Award in 2004. For well over forty years, Burton-Lyles has enjoyed a multi-faceted career in classical music and continues to groom young classical vocal artists.

Burton-Lyles lives in Philadelphia with her family and is a member of Union Baptist Church where her mentor Marian Anderson sang as a child.

Burton-Lyles passed away on November 12, 2018.

Burton-Lyles was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 18, 2006.

Accession Number

A2006.179

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/18/2006

Last Name

Burton-Lyles

Maker Category
Schools

Temple University

Curtis Institute of Music

Ornstein's School of Music

Temple University High School

Horace Howard Furness Junior High School

First Name

Blanche

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

BUR16

Favorite Season

Christmas, Easter

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Islands

Favorite Quote

You Must Be Kidding.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Pennsylvania

Birth Date

3/2/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Philadelphia

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Salmon

Death Date

11/12/2018

Short Description

Cultural heritage chief executive and pianist Blanche Burton-Lyles (1933 - 2018 ) was the founder of the Marian Anderson Historical Society. She was also the first black female pianist to play at New York City's Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.

Employment

School District of Philadelphia

The O.V. Catto School

Marian Anderson Historical Society, Inc.

Marian Anderson Historical Residence Museum

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Blanche Burton-Lyles' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Blanche Burton-Lyles lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes her mother's musical background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes her parents' professions

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Blanche Burton-Lyles recalls her neighborhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Blanche Burton-Lyles recalls her early musical influences

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Blanche Burton-Lyles recalls her musical education

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Blanche Burton-Lyles remembers her mother's music students

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Blanche Burton-Lyles remembers her father's musical talent

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Blanche Burton-Lyles reflects upon the role of music in her life

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Blanche Burton-Lyles recalls her mother's music recitals

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Blanche Burton-Lyles recalls her studies at the Ornstein School of Music in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Blanche Burton-Lyles recalls her early experiences of racial discrimination

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes Marian Anderson's residences

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Blanche Burton-Lyles recalls her studies at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Blanche Burton-Lyles talks about her experiences at the Curtis Institute of Music

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Blanche Burton-Lyles remembers lessons from her mother

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Blanche Burton-Lyles talks about the discrimination faced by Marian Anderson

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Blanche Burton-Lyles recalls the Temple University High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Blanche Burton-Lyles remembers playing with the Philadelphia Concert Orchestra

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes her relationship with Marian Anderson

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes the Marian Anderson Historical Residence Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Blanche Burton-Lyles recalls her experiences of discrimination at the Philadelphia Orchestra

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Blanche Burton-Lyles recalls her performance at Carnegie Hall in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Blanche Burton-Lyles remembers touring the country clubs in Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Blanche Burton-Lyles talks about Marian Anderson's career abroad

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Blanche Burton-Lyles talks about notable African American classical musicians

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Blanche Burton-Lyles remembers her first piano recital

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Blanche Burton-Lyles recalls notable African American female pianists

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Blanche Burton-Lyles recalls the support of the black musical community

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes her experiences of racial discrimination as a teacher

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Blanche Burton-Lyles recalls performing with the New York Philharmonic

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes Marian Anderson's performance at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes a fundraiser for the Marian Anderson Historical Society, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Blanche Burton-Lyles recalls her teaching positions

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes the importance of musical education

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Blanche Burton-Lyles talks about her sense of fashion

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes her family's relationship with Marian Anderson

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes the misconceptions about Marian Anderson

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Blanche Burton-Lyles recalls her tour of the historically black colleges and universities

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes her sponsorship of young singers

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Blanche Burton-Lyles talks about her work to preserve Marian Anderson's legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes the sponsorship program at the Marian Anderson Historical Society, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Blanche Burton-Lyles talks about the Marian Anderson Historical Society, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes the former participants in the Marian Anderson Historical Society, Inc.'s sponsorship program

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Blanche Burton-Lyles talks about the relationship between musicians and audiences

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes her plans for the Marian Anderson Heritage Village in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes the importance of travel for musical education

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Blanche Burton-Lyles talks about the music industry

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Blanche Burton-Lyles talks about her recent performances

Tape: 4 Story: 14 - Blanche Burton-Lyles describes the importance of musical education in the black community

Tape: 4 Story: 15 - Blanche Burton-Lyles reflects upon her life

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Blanche Burton-Lyles recalls advocating for the Marian Anderson commemorative stamp

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Blanche Burton-Lyles talks about Marian Anderson's role in the March on Washington

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Blanche Burton-Lyles reflects upon her career

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Blanche Burton-Lyles narrates her photographs

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Blanche Burton-Lyles plays the piano, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Blanche Burton-Lyles shares her Sadie T.M. Alexander May Week Award

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Blanche Burton-Lyles plays the piano, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

12$4

DATitle
Blanche Burton-Lyles recalls her performance at Carnegie Hall in New York City
Blanche Burton-Lyles talks about her work to preserve Marian Anderson's legacy
Transcript
Who entered you into that concert?$$Well my teacher at Curtis [Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania], 'cause I was still at, at yes I was still at Curtis, I was right in the midst of my learning there. And she says, "I think you have a good chance," and so I went and made the finals it was on WQXR [WQXR Radio, Newark, New Jersey] broadcast station in New York [New York]. And Miss Anderson [Marian Anderson], there's a write-up upstairs, Miss Anderson invited my mother [Blanche Taylor Burton] and me to come here to hear the finals that had been taped. It was a record player in the corner you know a floor model right in that corner, in fact there's a picture of this house of her sitting there in '51 [1951] Phyllis [Phyllis Sims] has it somewhere. And she said, "Well I want to stay here together," and we thought, but that's when we heard it--oh I was, and so mother, mother she winked at me, you know, not to get too excited (laughter). She said, "She's a child," of course I was probably sixteen something like that, and then I heard that and the winner is Blanche Henrietta Burton [HistoryMaker Blanche Burton-Lyles] of Philadelphia [Pennsylvania]. Well there was this Jewish lady, she said, "But you heard my daughter, she was out--." They said, "Yes, she was. But Blanche is number one," (laughter) 'cause that was the pride, you know, that was oh, it was in The Bulletin, which was the paper at the time, New York Times [The New York Times]. I was in the Musical of America [sic. Musical America] which was like the bible of musical magazines. And it said, "Young colored girl from Philadelphia winner, the first ever," (laughter), yeah. And Madame [Isabelle Vengerova] was right there in the audience, "Yes, she's my student," (laughter) she was very proud, very, she was just so sweet. But she, after about three years she told my mother, "You don't need to come to the lessons anymore because your pressure's going up." 'Cause she was very, very stern and mother, she said, "No, Blanche understands and she can write it down," she said but mother--, "You need to stay home," (laughter).$$Who was very stern?$$My mother.$$Your mother was very stern, so she (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Oh no, no, no, my, my teacher.$$Your teacher was very stern.$$My mother used to go to my lesson and she would write down, she would say, "She's going to have to remember on her own, stop writing." So she allowed me to have a notebook when I would go on my own, you know.$$So your mother was encouraging you (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Oh, always--$$--all along the way.$$Whenever I, she just, "Do your best, just do your best, um-hm. 'Cause you know what you're doing that's why you're up there on the stage and they're in the audience," oh yeah.$When did you become interested in preserving her legacy?$$Well shortly after I retired, I retired from teaching [from the School District of Philadelphia] in '92 [1992] technically, and I did some traveling. And I was saying there's so many singers, I would hear them say, "We can only do so much," and they didn't know which direction to go, many of them. And so I knew how wonderful Miss Anderson [Marian Anderson] had been to me and I said, I must do something to continue this. And to support and encourage these young people, so I got a few friends together. And now we have a large, I would say a revenue of people who want to know, what are you doing, how can we help, and that's the best thing to hear (laughter). And this event in September really reconfirmed my belief in doing this, and continuing it you know. So we're having some people who are in touch with the schools to bring more school children here. And they come over, they have their papers, they've been on the Internet (laughter) and they, "Oh yes we knew about the, this and we read it in here." 'Cause there are nine hundred boxes in the University of Penn [University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania] Marian Anderson collection, nine hundred she gave it. She gave them all her papers like sales slips, like for the kitchen she put six hundred dollars down in 1940. That kitchen only cost fifteen hundred when I say that, stainless steel kitchen in 1940; she saved receipts and different things. I'm glad she did; and how this, the floors were put down in 1926, I think and so she had such insight and foresight (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) So after you retired--$$Um-hm.$$--you were trying to think of something to do--$$Yes.$$--to preserve her legacy.$$Yeah.$$How did you come, how did you come back to the house and--?$$But see I only lived four blocks from here, and I go to church [Union Baptist Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania] almost regularly across the street, and I'd see different people sitting outside. And I, and I said, "Do you whose house you're living--?" It was rental property for nine years before I got it. And they said, "No, no one mentioned about Marian." I said, "Well this was her home." They took such good care of it, we haven't had to patch anything. This place was like this when we said, we had wall to wall carpet, and when I looked at it, I didn't mention to the realtor, I said, "Aren't there floors under here?" When I look around this step you can imagine I said, "Oh, it's still in good condition," and of course you saw the basement. And there was (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) And it, it was always your idea to restore it and have it become a historical--$$Yes, too that it become a museum like the Betsy Ross House [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania] and that's, and after we all take wings, we're forming an endowment those are the next plans for the next few months. To raise funds that the principal will remain, the interest just for preservation you know like pointing the back of the house, which it needs it bad. I hope the snow won't come in (laughter) and just paint up, we had just had a new pavement put out last week, we paid to put it in. It has those little pebbles which was from that period, early oh 1940s and so on; we wanna things within the integrity of the period. That's why that awning is the way you see it.$$So what is it about her legacy that you want to live on?$$Well about the lady herself, what a great lady she was, and the young people need to know she was not one who said, "Well she just came out of rehab." And you know you hear about some of the young artists, we know they have many more temptations. But she had them too, but she remained focused and that they learned that this great lady's art can be repeated and saved through these young performers. 'Cause there some spectacular voices out there, but mainly just need structure and guidance that you shouldn't be coming in at three o'clock in the morning (laughter) unless it's New Year's Eve.

Dolores White

Composer and pianist Dolores White is a native of Chicago, Illinois. White received her bachelors of music degree in piano from Oberlin College Conservatory, and her masters of music degree in piano and composition from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where her teachers included Ruth Edwards, Donald Erb, and Eugene O’Brien. White completed additional studies with James Friskin of the Juilliard School of Music; at Howard University with Cecil Cohen; at Columbia Teachers’ College with Robert Pace; and at Ohio State University with Thomas Wells.

White held positions at several colleges, universities, and arts organizations, including Wooster College; Hartt School of Music; Cleveland Music School; Karamu House; and the Metropolitan Campus of Cuyahoga Community College, where she served as assistant professor of music. Since her retirement from teaching in 2000, White has continued to compose vocal and instrumental works.

White is the recipient of commissions and grants from the American Society of Composers; the Bascom Little Foundation; Wooster College for the Arts; Cleveland Chamber Symphony; University of Akron Percussion Ensemble; Cleveland Women’s Symphony Orchestra; Cleveland Composers Guild; and the National Women’s Conference of the University of Akron. White was honored by the American Women’s Heritage Society and was selected by the YWCA as a Professional Woman of Achievement in Ohio. Ludwig Music Publishing Company and Boston Music Company publish White's works. In addition to composing, White has conducted numerous workshops and lectures on such topics as women in music, Afro-Cuban music and dance, and African American arts.

Dolores White and her husband, cellist Donald White, raised two children: Diana and Darrow.

Accession Number

A2005.012

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/13/2005

Last Name

White

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Willard Elementary School

Lindblom Math & Science Academy High School

Oberlin College

Cleveland Institute of Music

First Name

Dolores

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

WHI05

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cuba, Africa, Europe

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Cleveland

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Soul Food, Japanese

Short Description

Music composer and pianist Dolores White ( - ) was a professor of music at a variety of universities and colleges, including Wooster College; Hartt School of Music; Cleveland Music School; Karamu House; and the Metropolitan Campus of Cuyahoga Community College.

Employment

Cuyahoga Community College

Karamu House

Kent State University

College of Wooster

Favorite Color

Rust Orange

Timing Pairs
0,0:1587,61:2208,72:2760,83:3864,99:5865,120:6141,125:10764,251:11316,261:15732,370:17871,440:30750,643:36744,780:46170,868:47874,905:48229,911:51637,967:51992,973:61956,1099:62244,1105:62676,1112:66204,1266:66492,1271:74268,1406:78500,1415:83615,1489:86970,1499:87627,1509:90109,1563:92591,1649:95000,1714:95584,1722:97847,1774:109944,1895:110288,1900:112266,1928:114674,1974:115190,1981:120158,2032:121574,2047:123719,2075:128148,2144:128560,2149:135564,2265:135976,2270:148140,2427:148620,2434:155860,2506:156556,2514:157513,2528:167627,2648:171110,2695$216,0:720,9:1584,35:2232,45:5760,134:6120,140:6552,149:8208,175:8568,181:25828,418:26156,423:36980,626:39112,655:41244,687:49013,748:49428,754:53661,843:54574,860:54906,865:58143,909:58641,916:60882,956:61795,968:71209,1107:71724,1118:72136,1123:88329,1482:89166,1492:93066,1513:102184,1657:102560,1662:106931,1673:107547,1682:110319,1754:115401,1935:125202,2043:125713,2051:129509,2122:144580,2286:154032,2401:156408,2444:157024,2453:158696,2474:159400,2482:167769,2569:172308,2634:182638,2723:188982,2803:198800,2888:199148,2893:202367,2944:203237,2956:203585,2961:206960,2971:209660,2983:210055,2989:210608,2997:211240,3007:211556,3012:213770,3033:214239,3041:215043,3055:215311,3060:216070,3069
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dolores White's Interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dolores White lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dolores White describes her parents' background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dolores White describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dolores White describes her early childhood memories of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dolores White describes the theatre, music and dance scenes of her childhood in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dolores White describes her childhood church and elementary and high schools in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dolores White remembers her participation in the orchestra at Robert Lindblom Technical High School in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dolores White talks about the reluctance among middle-class African Americans to embrace blues and jazz in their heyday

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dolores White remembers the professional and educational achievements of her maternal grandfather and her mother

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dolores White remembers her early aspiration to be a musician

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dolores White describes attending Howard University in Washington, D.C. and Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dolores White describes holiday festivities in Chicago, Illinois with her family

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dolores White describes her stepfather, Cornelius W. Johnson

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dolores White recalls her paternal aunt running off with Quincy Jones' father to Seattle, Washington

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dolores White recalls the subtle segregation at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dolores White reflects upon the strong musical department and successful musician graduates of Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dolores White describes the junior and senior recitals at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dolores White recounts meeting and marrying her husband, HistoryMaker Donald White

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dolores White remembers teaching at Hartt College in Hartford, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dolores White recalls her early years of motherhood and teaching career in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dolores White talks about her husband's, HistoryMaker Donald White, accomplishments in the Cleveland Orchestra in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dolores White talks about performing at the Cleveland Music School Settlement and teaching at Karamu House in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dolores White describes theater performances she enjoyed at Karamu House in Cleveland, Ohio and her love of art

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dolores White talks about pursuing her master's degree in composition at Cleveland Institute of Music in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dolores White reflects upon her broad exposure to music while studying at the Cleveland Institute of Music in Cleveland, Ohio in the 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Dolores White talks about her children, Darrow White and Diana White Gould

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dolores White describes how she advanced in her career studying at Cleveland Institute of Music and teaching at Cuyahoga Community College

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dolores White reflects upon her experiences teaching music part-time at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dolores White recalls teaching African American music classes at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dolores White recalls teaching HistoryMaker Bernice Johnson Reagon's gospel series at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dolores White explains how she developed the curriculum for her African American music classes

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dolores White talks about the development of ethno-musicology as an academic field

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dolores White reflects upon the struggles to make music courses more inclusive and for African Americans to advance in academia

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dolores White reflects upon the evolution of music education and music history in the United States

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dolores White describes teaching at College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio and Kent State University at Geauga in Burton, Ohio

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dolores White talks about her inspirations for composing music

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dolores White talks about how music can represent the sounds of an era

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dolores White talks about technological innovations in music composition

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dolores White describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dolores White reflects upon her legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

5$3

DATitle
Dolores White talks about her husband's, HistoryMaker Donald White, accomplishments in the Cleveland Orchestra in Cleveland, Ohio
Dolores White recalls teaching African American music classes at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio
Transcript
[HistoryMaker] Professor [Dolores] White, can we talk just a little bit about that transition from Connecticut to Ohio, very different (laughter)--$$Um-hm, yeah.$$--parts of the world--regions of the country. But you said [HistoryMaker] Mr. [Donald] White was playing with a symphony orchestra there in Connecticut?$$Yeah, um-hm.$$Okay. And, and what was it about the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra [sic. Cleveland Orchestra] that made you think maybe this would be a good move?$$Well it was one of the, the best, you know. Like Hartford Symphony [Orchestra] was a good orchestra and he was, he'll tell you he was an assistant concert master which was, you know, very active for him as far as playing and he played in the faculty quartet so you didn't get a chance to see him an awful lot so I was always trying to stay busy. And wanting to come to Cleveland [Ohio] because it was one of the five, it's still considered one of the, the five great orchestras of the world actually, so that was, you know, you always wanna go up in your field, you always wanted to reach the top if you can. And so that, coming back to the Cleveland Orchestra and then since, you know, Oberlin [College; Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Oberlin, Ohio] and Cleveland Orchestra used to come down and give concerts and it was just really fantastic. And they make trips to Europe and they make trips to Asia and everything, so this was outstanding for us. And this, he was the first, so he got VIP, you know, just huge wonderful treatment, you know, he was treated like a tremendous celebrity when he came here (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Now when you say the, the first, the first--$$He was the first in the Cleveland Orchestra, African American to, to be in the Cleveland Orchestra. And actually, well, I believe, he was the first one, certainly in the, the Midwest orchestras 'cause there's five, there are five great orchestras they say. Like and it, and it is New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony [Orchestra], Philadelphia [Pennsylvania], Cleveland, and Chicago [Illinois]. And at that particular time they didn't have any African Americans. So, so that same year our friend, Ortiz [Walton], who was from Illinois actually, went to Boston [Massachusetts] so and, and we came here so it was a tremendous achievement, it was tremendously gratifying. It was the, I think the same year of Little Rock [Arkansas] and there was a lot of things happening. And so but we, we came here and since they had never had an African American, you know, it was like, like, you know, it was just like a completely horrendous thing, you know, so, he was interviewed and treated royally (laughter). It was incredible.$When you were teaching at Cuyahoga Community College [Cleveland, Ohio] at the, all those years you said you had a good time. I, I am aware that you were teaching a course on black music.$$Yeah, I was.$$Yeah and--$$Afro-American music.$$And it, it included all different styles. Can you tell me how you go about putting something like that together?$$Well no, I, I taught, you know, with the, well we've come through many different cycles and many different periods as far as music is concerned and as far as American culture is concerned or as I said when I started off then especially for the training of, you know, for my training basically you never thought of as European training music. But then, you know, in the '70s [1970s] and with the black experience being very, very strong Civil Rights Movement and everything in this, in this country and then also having visited Africa and everything then I really expanded, you know, wanted to expand my interest in knowing more because I really didn't learn a lot about black history at Oberlin [College; Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Oberlin, Ohio] or even in my high school [Robert Lindblom Technical High School; Lindblom Math & Science Academy, Chicago, Illinois] . You know, some, some if I had gone to DuSable [High School, Chicago, Illinois] I would have learned more and my aunt [Brunetta Barnett Bernstein] keeps telling me that 'cause she said (laughter) but anyway the, the, I didn't so. And, and as a professor at community college you have the options, as I said, of selecting some of the courses that you would teach and if you wanna introduce new courses and everything. Well with the jazz idea I was teaching jazz for a little while, (laughter) I did teach jazz for a little while because as a full-time teacher you had to expand, I mean especially at, at Metro [Cuyahoga Community College, Metropolitan Campus, Cleveland, Ohio] there was, there was the Western campus and the Eastern campus and I was strictly at Metro. And certainly was the, you know, predominant so African Americans students at Metro and you wanted to teach, you know, courses that had a little bit more meaning and significance to them. And so, I taught Afro-American music up to a particular period, you know, I didn't wanna get into the jazz era, so passed the '35 [1935] or so I didn't go into that--$$Okay.$$--you know, pretty much. But, but at one time I was, you know, teaching jazz too so that was before the course of African American music came forth. I taught Afro-American music. I also taught world music a little bit. But these are all introductory courses so and I was learning also (laughter) as I was teaching so this is the amazing thing. And I found it just so enriching, just really so enriching. And, you know, it's all a part of culture and my trips to Africa, my trips to the Caribbean, and also to Cuba was just very enlightening, you know, very enlightening to me to find out so much about the about well, about African music and then about the, the whole African experience in this country--

Raymond Jackson

Musical prodigy, concert pianist, and educator Raymond Thompson Jackson, Jr. was born on December 11, 1933 in Providence, Rhode Island. His mother and father were beauticians and ran a successful beauty business out of their Providence home. Many of the shampoos and oils used on clients were hand-made by his mother. Jackson’s musical talent surfaced at an early age, and by the time he was six years old he could play the piano and read music. When he graduated from Hope High School in 1951, in addition to the piano, he played the bass, violin and organ. While at Hope he also was active in the orchestra, the band and the Young Artists Club. He was awarded the Hope Key for his many musical activities and achievements during high school.

From 1951 until 1955, Jackson attended the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. He and fellow classmate, Coretta Scott King, were among a handful of African Americans who attended the Conservatory. Jackson earned a Bachelor’s of Music degree in Piano Performance in 1955. In addition to graduating first in his class he was the recipient of the Conservatory’s highest award, the “George Whitfield Chadwick Medal.” In 1957, Jackson earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Piano from the renowned Julliard School of Music in New York. He went on to receive his Masters of Science and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from Julliard in 1959 and 1973 respectively.

Jackson studied in France at the American Conservatory of Music from 1960 until 1961. After studying in France, he worked as an organist and choir director for several churches in New Jersey until 1973. In 1963, Jackson received a fellowship that allowed him to perform a series of debut piano recitals in Vienna, London, Stockholm, Geneva and Munich. He immediately captured the hearts and applause of European audiences.

In 1970, Jackson began teaching music at the collegiate level as an adjunct professor at The Mannes College of Music in New York City and Concordia College in Bronxville, NY. In 1977, Jackson was offered a faculty position at Howard University, Washington, D.C., where he is a Full Professor and continues to teach piano and serve as Coordinator for student and faculty performances.

Jackson has been the recipient of numerous awards and has won top honors in national and international piano competitions. He was the first African American and musician to be inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame.

Accession Number

A2004.152

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/30/2004

Last Name

Jackson

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Hope High School

Nathan Bishop Middle School

The Juilliard School

New England Conservatory of Music

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Depends on Schedule

First Name

Raymond

Birth City, State, Country

Providence

HM ID

JAC11

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Would like to include music in his presentation specifically piano demonstrations and African American composers. Will tailor musical selections to age and interests of crowd.

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $1,000 - $5,000

Favorite Season

Spring

Speaker Bureau Notes

Honorarium Specifics: $500-1500. Variable according to location, expenses, type of presentation.
Availability Specifics: Also depends on Location
Preferred Audience: Would like to include music in his presentation specifically piano demonstrations and African American composers. Will tailor musical selections to age and interests of crowd.

State

Rhode Island

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

12/11/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pie (Apple)

Short Description

Music professor and pianist Raymond Jackson (1933 - ) is a graduate of the Julliard School of Music in New York and received a fellowship that allowed him to perform a series of debut piano recitals in Vienna, London, Stockholm, Geneva and Munich. Jackson serves as a professor of music at Howard University.

Employment

Mannes College of Music

Concordia College

Howard University

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:213050,2977$0,0:10790,151:20070,373:48358,712:51550,779:64508,895:86680,1123:91185,1180:105666,1417:106021,1423:119978,1550:121441,1573:131066,1735:131451,1741:134980,1746
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Raymond Jackson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Raymond Jackson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Raymond Jackson describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Raymond Jackson recounts his how his mother learned about homemaking and her gift as a beauty culturist

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Raymond Jackson describes his mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Raymond Jackson describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Raymond Jackson describes his father's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Raymond Jackson describes his childhood and his love and his beginning with the piano

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Raymond Jackson describes how he comes from a musical family

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Raymond Jackson describes his paternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Raymond Jackson describes his earliest childhood memories and the sights, sounds, and smells of growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Raymond Jackson reminisces about his childhood neighborhood in Providence, Rhode Island

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Raymond Jackson describes race relations in Providence, Rhode Island during his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Raymond Jackson talks about Doyle Avenue Elementary School in Providence, Rhode Island

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Raymond Jackson describes his relationship with his disabled sister Addie

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Raymond Jackson recalls his early dreams and love for music

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Raymond Jackson describes his years at Nathan Bishop Middle School and Hope High School in Providence, Rhode Island

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Raymond Jackson describes his extracurricular activities at Hope High School in Providence, Rhode Island

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Raymond Jackson describes his piano teacher and mentor at the New England Conservatory of Music, Jeannette Giguere

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Raymond Jackson describes the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts and compares it to New York City's Julliard School

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Raymond Jackson describes the community of minority students and his achievements at the New England Conservatory of Music

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Raymond Jackson recalls the talent at New York City's Julliard School and its effect on him

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Raymond Jackson describes gaining recognition on the New York City music scene and graduating from the Juilliard School

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Raymond Jackson describes studying music in France and performing throughout Europe as an African American

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Raymond Jackson recalls the positive reception of black artists by European audiences and the differences between today's pianos and those of eighteenth-century Europe

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Raymond Jacksons remembers his performance at the 1965 Marguerite Long Piano Competition

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Raymond Jackson recalls teaching at the Mannes College of Music in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Raymond Jackson explains his decision to teach at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Raymond Jackson reflects upon student attitudes at Howard University about music careers

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Raymond Jackson describes his mission to educate African Americans about classical music

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Raymond Jackson describes what it takes to prepare for a successful recital

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Raymond Jackson reflects on the importance of training, practice and theory to music

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Raymond Jackson describes the role of music and arts in schools

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Raymond Jackson describes the women who have impacted his life and career, including his mother, his teachers, and Josephine Heathman

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Raymond Jackson reflects upon his life, his plans, and what he would do differently

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Raymond Jackson talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Raymond Jackson reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Raymond Jackson gives advice for aspiring musicians and describes what he likes about the piano and the organ

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Raymond Jackson narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

7$4

DATitle
Raymond Jackson recalls the talent at New York City's Julliard School and its effect on him
Raymond Jackson explains his decision to teach at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
Transcript
And so, how did Julliard [The Julliard School, New York City, New York] come about?$$Julliard it was sort of like you had to go to the next level. The teacher that I mentioned Jeannette Giguere said, "Now you've--you've got to go to Julliard. You've got to study with Beveridge Webster." Now Beveridge Webster used to be on the faculty at the conservatory [New England Conservatory of Music, Boston, Massachusetts]. And so he was a specialist in French music. And so with her recommendation I went to Julliard. And I'll never forget the first meeting of incoming students and you go into that great big room, all of these students from all over the world coming from Europe, from all over America aspiring to be performers or great musicians or composers or whatever. And very impersonal. I mean you just knew no one, no one. And the president at that time of Julliard was William Schuman who was a very distinguished composer. And I'll never forget the first thing that he said, because I felt oh, I'm from the New England Conservatory. I graduated first in my class and I got this medal you know I'm--I'm gonna be hot stuff here at Julliard. The first thing he said, "I don't care"--he said that to the group--"I don't care where you are from, how many honors you have, what your background is, here at Julliard you are nothing until you prove who you are." I said, "Woah" (laughter). That--he must have picked up something from me because I grew to understand exactly what he meant.$$And could it have been also that many of your classmates were also coming from environments where they had achieved so much as well.$$They--they--they have--they had. Because the level--(simultaneous)$$The best of the best.$$The best of the best. The level of the Julliard student was incredible. You know, I--I thought I played the piano well until I got to Julliard, then I began to see oh, my God. This is unbelievable, the level. And it was--it was not like one or two that were outstanding. There were just hosts and hosts of wonderful pianists, wonderful violinists. And the level of--of training was so much more intensive. And the expectation was so much higher. And so you really worked. So I went from being an A student at the conservatory, to a C student at Julliard. And I really had to work very, very hard to be an A student at Julliard. But I'm grateful for that because it took the blinders off. It took off the--the protective veneer that--when in growing up in Providence [Rhode Island] in which you were everybody's darling. You were everybody's special talented little professor who was going to go on to be a big success in the world. You suddenly realized that you had to really earn those medals. And so I became a much stronger pianist. A much better artist. A much better student. And much more perceptive student because my ears were enlarged. My thoughts were enlarged. My eyes were--my vision was enlarged. All of that made me a much better--really prepared me.$And tell us a little bit about how the opportunity at Howard University [Washington, District of Columbia] came about in 1977?$$Well, two years before that in '75 [1975] I had performed at the National Gallery in--(simultaneous)$$In Washington, D.C.?$$--in--here in Washington. And one of the faculty members of the music faculty at Howard, Dr. George Winfield, was in the audience and he remembered my performance and when there was opening at Howard in the music department, I think they were looking for not only a faculty member but a chairperson of the--of the Department of Music, he called me and asked if I would be interested. And at that time I--I was not. So it was two years later that he called and said that there was another opening, would I be interested. And at that time in 1977 I thought maybe it's the time to make a move because I felt that my career needed to be expanded. That Howard would provide a base for being introduced to a--a larger arena. Not the New York one, not the largest arena. But New York was--it was more difficult to--to establish certain expansive characteristics of your career. That would easier in um in--in Washington area where the competition was--was not quite as fierce. The opportunities--you could create more of your own opportunities, at least I felt that way in Washington. I could use a university as a base to branch out to touch other schools, to perform at other schools, to give lectures and recitals and--and master classes, things like that which ultimately did happen. So I--I would be invited to a number of schools throughout Virginia and North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania. So I--I played in a lot of those places. And so Howard was a good base for doing that.