Still, William Grant


Still, William Grant
born May 11, 1895, Woodville, Miss., U.S.
died Dec. 3, 1978, Los Angeles, Calif.

U.S. composer.

He initially intended to be a doctor but instead studied music at Oberlin College, learning clarinet, oboe, and violin. He studied composition with George Chadwick (1854–1931) and Edgard Varèse. In the 1920s he worked as an arranger for the dance-band leader Paul Whiteman and for the blues composer W.C. Handy. Still's early style was avant-garde (From the Black Belt, 1926), but from с 1930 he sought to develop a distinctive African American art music in five symphonies (including his Afro-American Symphony, 1931), ballets, operas, and choral and solo vocal works.

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▪ American composer and conductor
born May 11, 1895, Woodville, Miss., U.S.
died Dec. 3, 1978, Los Angeles
 American composer and conductor, and the first black to conduct a professional symphony orchestra in the United States. Though a prolific composer of operas, ballets, symphonies, and other works, he was best known for his Afro-American Symphony (1931).

      Still was brought up by his mother and grandmother in Little Rock, Ark., and studied medicine at Wilberforce University, Ohio, before turning to music. He first studied composition at Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Oberlin, Ohio, then under the conservative George W. Chadwick at the New England Conservatory of Music, Boston, and later under Edgard Varèse during the latter's most radical avant-garde period. The diversity of Still's musical education was extended when, in the 1920s, he worked as an arranger for the dance-band leader Paul Whiteman and for the blues composer W.C. Handy (Handy, W.C.). In 1939 he married and settled in Los Angeles. Early orchestral works include Darker America (1924) and From the Black Belt (1926) for chamber orchestra.

      Still's concern with the position of the blacks in U.S. society is reflected in many of his works, notably the Afro-American Symphony; the ballets Sahdji (1930), set in Africa and composed after extensive study of African music, and Lenox Avenue (1937); and the operas The Troubled Island (1938; produced 1949), with a libretto by Langston Hughes (Hughes, Langston), and Highway No. 1, U.S.A. (produced 1963 and 1977).

      Still's compositions from the mid-1930s show the jazz band as a major influence on his eclectic musical style. He made considerable use of material in the African American style—though rarely borrowing actual melodies—and preferred simple, commercial harmonies and orchestration, the use of which, however, was characterized by the highest professionalism and seriousness of purpose.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Still, William Grant — (11 may. 1895, Woodville, Miss., EE.UU.–3 dic. 1978, Los Ángeles, Cal.). Compositor estadounidense. En un comienzo tuvo la intención de dedicarse a la medicina, pero a cambio estudió música en el Oberlin College, donde aprendió clarinete, oboe y… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • William Grant Still — (* 11. Mai 1895 in Woodville, Mississippi; † 3. Dezember 1978 in Los Angeles, Kalifornien) war ein US amerikanischer Komponist. Inhaltsverzeic …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • William Grant Still — (May 11,1895 December 3,1978) was an African American classical composer who wrote more than 150 compositions. He was the first African American to conduct a major American symphony orchestra, the first to have a symphony of his own (his first… …   Wikipedia

  • William Grant Still — par Carl van Vechten (1949) William Grant Still est un compositeur et chef d orchestre américain, né à Woodville (Mississippi) le 11 mai 1895, décédé à Los Angeles …   Wikipédia en Français

  • William Grant (general) — Infobox Military Person name= William Grant lived= 30 September 1870 – Death date and age|1939|5|25|1870|9|30|df=yes placeofbirth= Stawell, Victoria placeofdeath= Dirranbandi, Queensland caption= Portrait of Brigadier General William Grant… …   Wikipedia

  • William Still — William Grant Still William Grant Still (* 11. Mai 1895 in Woodville, Mississippi; † 3. Dezember 1978 in Los Angeles, Kalifornien) war ein US amerikanischer Komponist. Inh …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Grant — /grant, grahnt/, n. 1. Cary (Archibald Leach), 1904 86, U.S. actor, born in England. 2. Heber Jedediah /hee beuhr jed i duy euh/, 1856 1945, U.S. president of the Mormon Church 1918 45. 3. Ulysses S(impson) 1822 85, 18th president of the U.S.… …   Universalium

  • Grant — (ant.) adj. Grande. * * * grant. adj. desus. grande. * * * Grant, Cary Grant, Ulysses Simpson * * * (as used in expressions) Banting, Sir Frederick Grant …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Still — /stil/, n. 1. Andrew Taylor, 1828 1917, U.S. founder of osteopathy. 2. William Grant, 1895 1978, U.S. composer. * * * (as used in expressions) Still Clyfford Still William Grant still life painting * * * …   Universalium

  • grant — grantable, adj. grantedly, adv. granter, n. /grant, grahnt/, v.t. 1. to bestow or confer, esp. by a formal act: to grant a charter. 2. to give or accord: to grant permission. 3. to agree or accede to: to grant a request. 4. to admit or concede;… …   Universalium


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