Daedalus Lecture with Gwynne Brown: "'Write Another Symphony’: On the Obscurity of William L. Dawson"

William L. Dawson’s choral music has been widely performed in the U.S. since the 1940s. If you’ve sung or heard African American spirituals in a choir concert, you’ve probably encountered his arrangements. He created nearly two dozen of these short masterworks, many premiered by his students in the choir at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Dawson’s remarkable Negro Folk Symphony premiered in 1934 to tumultuous acclaim by the Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of Leopold Stokowski. Why is Dawson’s name not better known, despite the significance of his contributions to American music? Why has his symphony not become a staple of American concert repertoire? And why didn’t he ever write another symphony, despite being commanded to do so by a Howard University undergrad in a memorably imperious 1934 fan letter?

Please join us for an undoubtedly enlightening evening as Gwynne Kuhner Brown, professor of music history and music theory, shares her recent work on the composer William L. Dawson. Four times each year, the Puget Sound Daedalus Society sponsors an evening of scholarship, debate, and dinner, at which colleagues can become familiar with each other’s areas of research and expertise. This year, like everything else, we are going remote! While we may not get to share dinner, we can all share some good company and lively discussion.

Open to anyone who would like to join and please feel free to share. Email academicdeans@pugetsound.edu with any questions or for full Zoom details.

Join us on Zoom: https://pugetsound-edu.zoom.us/j/93663707247

Meeting ID: 936 6370 7247


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