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Robert Nathaniel Dett Edit Profile

composer

Robert Nathaniel Dett, Canadian composer. award for creative achievement in music, 1927. Member National Education Association, National Association Teachers of Colored Schools, National Association of Negro Musicians (chairman advisory board, 1919; Mason, K. of Philisophy First American to utilize Negro folk tune for classic development.

Background

Dett, Robert Nathaniel was born on October 11, 1882 in Drummondsville, Ontario, Canada. Son of Robert Tue and Charlotte (Johnson) Dett.

Education

Student Oliver Willis Halsted Conservatory of Music, Lockport, New York, 1901-1903. Museum B., Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Oberlin, Ohio, 1908. Studied Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, American Conservatory of Music (Chicago), Harvard University.

Doctor of Music, Howard University, 1924. Doctor of Music, Oberlin, 1926. Master of Music, Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester, 1931.

Career

Church and social pianist, Niagara Falls, New York, 1898-1903. Director of music, Lane College (colored), Jackson, Tennessee, 1908-1911, Lincoln Institute (colored), Jefferson City, Missoury, 1911-1913, Hampton (Virginia) Institute, from 1913. Director of School of Music of same since 1926.

Director Hampton Choral Union. Conductor Hampton Institute, Choir (80 voices) on tours in the United States, Canada and 7 countries of Europe. Director American Choir, Station WHAM, 1930-1931.

Director Negro Community Chorus, 1933-1934. Became director music, Bennett College, Greensboro, North Carolina, since 1937.

Works

  • Other Work

    • Composer: Album of a Heart (verse), 1911. The Magnolia Suite (piano). In the Bottoms (suite for piano).

      Listen to the Lambs, The Chariot Jubilee (motets). America the Beautiful (chorus). Enchantment Suite (for piano).

      Cinnamon Grove Suite. Tropic Winter Suite

    • The Chariot Jubilee (for 8 part mixed chorus and orchestra). The Ordering of Moses (oratorio for 4 part mixed chorus and orchestra).

      Also anthems, songs, etc. Bowdoin prize, Harvard, 1920, for essay, “The Emancipation of Negro Music”. Francis Boott prize, Harvard, 1920, for Molet on a Negro Motive, “Don’t Be Weary, Traveler”.

      Harmon first award for creative achievement in music, 1927. Author and editor of Religious Folk Songs of the Negro as Sung at Hampton Institute. Public The Dett Collection of Negro Spirituals (4 books), 1937.

      Organized Musical Art Society of Hampton Institute (800 members), 1919.

Membership

Member National Education Association, National Association Teachers of Colored Schools, National Association of Negro Musicians (chairman advisory board, 1919. Mason, K. of Philisophy First American to utilize Negro folk tune for classic development.

Connections

Married Helen Elise Smith, pianist, December 27, 1916.

father:
Robert Tue Dett

mother:
Charlotte (Johnson) Dett

spouse:
Helen Elise Smith