William Dawson

1899 - 1990

American

Biography

William Dawson was born in Anniston, Alabama. A graduate of the Horner Institute of Fine Arts with a Bachelor of Music, Dawson later studied at the Chicago Musical College with professor Felix Borowski, and then at the American Conservatory of Music where he received his master's degree. Early in his career he served as a trombonist both with the Redpath Chautauqua and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. His teaching career began in the Kansas City public school system, followed by the Tuskegee Institute, where he developed its choir into an internationally renowned ensemble; they were invited to sing at New York City's Radio City Music Hall in 1932 for a week of six daily performances.

As a composer, he was recognized for his contributions to both orchestral and choral literature. His best-known works are arrangements of and variations on spirituals. His Negro Folk Symphony of 1934 garnered a great deal of attention at its world premiere by Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra. The symphony was revised in 1952 with added African rhythms inspired by the composer's trip to West Africa.

He died, aged 90, in Montgomery, Alabama.

News

Performances

2nd October 2020

PERFORMERS
Alabama Symphony Orchestra
CONDUCTOR
Carlos Izcaray
LOCATION
Alys Stevens Center, Birmingham, AL, United States

3rd October 2020

PERFORMERS
Alabama Symphony Orchestra
CONDUCTOR
Carlos Izcaray
LOCATION
Alys Stevens Center, Birmingham, AL, United States

22nd November 2020

PERFORMERS
Georgetown University Orchestra
CONDUCTOR
Angel Gil-Ordóñez
LOCATION
Gaston Hall, Washington, DC, United States

Discography