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William Dawson

Composer

William Dawson

African American composer, performer, and music educator William Levi Dawson (1899-1990) used the rich vitality of his musical heritage as a basis for all types of music, including arrangements of folk songs and original compositions.

William Levi Dawson was born on September 26, 1899, in Anniston, Ala. At the age of 13 he entered Tuskegee Institute and graduated in 1921 with first honors. He received the bachelor of music degree from the Horner Institute of Fine Arts in Kansas City, Mo., in 1925. He studied composition under Felix Borowski at the Chicago Musical College and under Adolph Weidig at the American Conservatory of Music. In 1927 he received the master of music degree from the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago.

Dawson's membership in the band and orchestra at Tuskegee had been excellent professional preparation for serving as first trombonist with the Chicago Civic Orchestra from 1926 to 1930. In 1929 he won the Chicago Daily News contest for band directors, and in 1930 Wanamaker Contest prizes for the song "Jump Back, Honey, Jump Back" and the orchestral composition "Scherzo."

In 1931 Dawson became director of the School of Music at Tuskegee. From 1932 to 1933 Dawson conducted the institute's 100-voice a cappella choir in a month's engagement at the opening of the International Music Hall of Radio City, and in concerts at Carnegie Hall, New York City, the White House, and another at Constitution Hall, both Washington, D.C., and in a series of national and international broadcasts. In 1934, under the sponsorship of the President of the United States and the State Department, the Tuskegee Choir made a concert tour of international and interracial good will to the British Isles, Europe, and the former U.S.S.R. Leading critics in America and abroad praised the choir highly.

Dawson had wide experience as a director and consultant to festival groups. In 1956 Tuskegee Institute conferred upon him the honorary degree of doctor of music and he was sent by the U.S. State Department to conduct various choral groups in Spain.

Although Dawson's choral arrangements were popular, he was best known for his Negro Folk Symphony, which had its world premiere by the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski (1934). In this work the composer used melodic and rhythmic language borrowed from Negro spirituals, along with original material in the same idiom. The symphony was imaginative, dramatic, and colorfully orchestrated.

In 1952 Dawson visited seven countries in West Africa to study indigenous African music. He later revised the Negro Folk Symphony, infusing it with a rhythmic foundation inspired by African influences.

Dawson was guest conductor with the Kansas City Philharmonic Orchestra (1966), the Nashville Symphony Orchestra (1966), the Wayne State University (Michigan) Glee Club (1970), and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (1975). He was named to the Alabama Arts Hall of Fame in 1975, and received the Alumni Merit Award from Tuskegee Institute in 1983. He died on May 4, 1990.

Discography (See list of Compositions.)

Displaying 1-10 of 10 items.


Tuskegee Institute Choir - William Dawson : Spirituals

Review: The Tuskegee (Alabama) Institute Choir, whose first singers were organized by school founder Booker T. Washington, is steeped in more than a century of pride and the richest of choral traditions. Booker insisted on the singing of African American spirituals by everyone at the weekly chapel worship services, a tradition that continues today. The Choir's most renowned director, composer and education William L. Dawson led the Choir into a new era in 1932, with their appearance at the opening of Radio City Music Hall in NYC, which would lead to performances before Presidents, radio and television audiences and worldwide prestige. There are 15 spirituals here, with innovative arrangements, powerful harmonies and solos; all sung with deep feeling and spirit. Simply the best versions we've heard of classic standards "Ezekiel Saw De Wheel," "Deep River," "There is a Balm in Gilead," "Ev'ry Time I Hear the Spirit," "Were You There," "Ain'a That Good News," "Mary Had A Baby" "King Jesus is A-Listening" and "Rockin' Jerusalem." One of the best, most authentic Gospel CDs of the year, by one of America's oldest and most respected Gospel choirs!

Songlist:

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7753c | 00 1 CD | $15.98 | A CappellaSpirituals CDs


William L. Dawson : A Cappella Tuskegee Choral Series for Men

Review: William Levi Dawson, born in 1899, was educated at Tuskegee Institute, the Horner Institute of Fine Arts, and the American Conservatory, and wrote his own "Dawson's Negro Folk Symphony" in 1934. He began publishing and recording his arrangements of traditional African-American spirituals in 1955 and they are now considered to be some of the finest examples of the genre. Here are a selection of his finest works for unaccomapnied male voices. Recommended!

Songlist:

\'More
9216b | Sheet Music | $10.95 | TTBB | A CappellaSpirituals Arrangements


William L. Dawson : A Cappella Tuskegee Choral Series for Mixed Choirs

Review: William Levi Dawson, born in 1899, was educated at Tuskegee Institute, the Horner Institute of Fine Arts, and the American Conservatory, and wrote his own "Dawson's Negro Folk Symphony" in 1934. He began publishing and recording his arrangements of traditional African-American spirituals in 1955 and they are now considered to be some of the finest examples of the genre. Here are a selection of his finest works for unaccompanied mixed voices. Recommended!

Songlist:

\'More
9217b | Sheet Music | $14.95 | SATB | A CappellaSpirituals Arrangements


William L. Dawson : A Cappella Tuskegee Choral Series for Women

Review: William Levi Dawson, born in 1899, was educated at Tuskegee Institute, the Horner Institute of Fine Arts, and the American Conservatory, and wrote his own "Dawson's Negro Folk Symphony" in 1934. He began publishing and recording his arrangements of traditional African-American spirituals in 1955 and they are now considered to be some of the finest examples of the genre. Here are a selection of his finest works for unaccompanied female voices. Recommended!

Songlist:

\'More
9219b | Sheet Music | $6.95 | SSAA | A CappellaSpirituals Arrangements


William L. Dawson : Accompanied Tuskegee Choral Series for Men

Review: Here are a selection of his works with piano accompaniment. When they are as good as this we have to forgo our a cappella only policy!

Songlist:

\'More
9215b | Sheet Music | $8.95 | TTBB | AccompaniedSpirituals Arrangements


William L. Dawson : Accompanied Tuskegee Choral Series for Mixed Choirs

Review: Here are a selection of his works with piano accompaniment. When they are as good as this we have to forgo our a cappella only policy!

Songlist:

\'More
9218b | Sheet Music | $9.95 | SATB | AccompaniedSpirituals Arrangements


William L. Dawson : Accompanied Tuskegee Choral Series for Women

Review: Here are a selection of his works with piano accompaniment. When they are as good as this we have to forgo our a cappella only policy!

Songlist:

\'More
9220b | Sheet Music | $7.95 | SSAA | AccompaniedSpirituals Arrangements


William L. Dawson : Dawson Spirituals Vol 1

Review: The beloved spiritual arrangements and original compositions of William L. Dawson have been celebrated by choirs and audiences since they were first published, and have become among the most widely performed choral works for concert, contest, and festival settings. These new compilations, Dawson Spirituals, Volumes 1 & 2, each feature six favorites for Mixed Chorus (SATB) that have been carefully re-engraved to feature clean and clear notation. Not only do they provide tremendous readability and clarity, but they remain historically relevant. Every choir will want copies of these collections - William L. Dawson's legacy is everlasting, and his works will be in demand for generations to come!

Songlist:

\'More
6889b | 01 Songbook | $6.95 | SATBSpirituals Arrangements


William L. Dawson : Dawson Spirituals Vol 2

Review: The beloved spiritual arrangements and original compositions of William L. Dawson have been celebrated by choirs and audiences since they were first published, and have become among the most widely performed choral works for concert, contest, and festival settings. These new compilations, Dawson Spirituals, Volumes 1 & 2, each feature six favorites for Mixed Chorus (SATB) that have been carefully re-engraved to feature clean and clear notation. Not only do they provide tremendous readability and clarity, but they remain historically relevant. Every choir will want copies of these collections - William L. Dawson's legacy is everlasting, and his works will be in demand for generations to come!

Songlist:

\'More
6890b | 01 Songbook | $6.95 | SATBSpirituals Arrangements


William L. Dawson : Spirituals for Mixed Choirs

Review: Revel in the splendor of these four, select spirituals by William Dawson.

Songlist:

\'More
9221b | Sheet Music | $5.95 | SATB | A CappellaSpirituals Arrangements

Compositions ( See Discography.)

Displaying 1-46 of 46 items.

Song NameArrangerComposerArtistRecording TitleFormat
Ain'a That Good News William L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonA Cappella Tuskegee Choral Series for MenSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
Ain'a That Good News William L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonA Cappella Tuskegee Choral Series for Mixed ChoirsSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
Ain'a That Good NewsWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonA Cappella Tuskegee Choral Series for WomenSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
Ain'a That Good NewsWilliam L. DawsonOasis ChoraleTreasures in Heaven 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Behold The StarWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonA Cappella Tuskegee Choral Series for Mixed ChoirsSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
DorabellaWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonAccompanied Tuskegee Choral Series for MenSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
Ev'ry Time I Feel The SpiritWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonA Cappella Tuskegee Choral Series for MenSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
Ev'ry Time I Feel The SpiritWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonA Cappella Tuskegee Choral Series for WomenSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
Ev'ry Time I Feel The SpiritWilliam L. DawsonNebraska Children's ChoirThe Circle of Time 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Ezekiel Saw De WheelWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonA Cappella Tuskegee Choral Series for Mixed ChoirsSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
Feed-A My SheepWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonAccompanied Tuskegee Choral Series for MenSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
Feed-A My SheepWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonAccompanied Tuskegee Choral Series for Mixed ChoirsSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
Feed-A My SheepWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonAccompanied Tuskegee Choral Series for WomenSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
Hail MaryWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonA Cappella Tuskegee Choral Series for MenSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
Hail MaryWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonA Cappella Tuskegee Choral Series for Mixed ChoirsSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
Hail MaryWilliam L. DawsonCantusComfort and Joy Vol 2 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Hail MaryWilliam L. DawsonBrazeal Dennard ChoraleIn Silent Night 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Hail Mary William L. DawsonSan Francisco Choral ArtistsSo Gracious Is The Time - An American Christmas 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Hail MaryWilliam L. DawsonCantusTidings 1 CDMORE DETAILS
I Wan To Be ReadyWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonAccompanied Tuskegee Choral Series for MenSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
I Wan To Be ReadyWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonAccompanied Tuskegee Choral Series for Mixed ChoirsSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
I Wan To Be ReadyWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonAccompanied Tuskegee Choral Series for WomenSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
In His Care-OWilliam L. DawsonCantusVagabond 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Mary Had a Baby William L. DawsonHarvard University ChoirCarols From The Yards 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Mary Had A BabyWilliam L. DawsonConcordia ChoirO Come All Ye Faithful 1 CDMORE DETAILS
Oh, What A Beautiful CityWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonA Cappella Tuskegee Choral Series for Mixed ChoirsSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
Out In The FieldsWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonAccompanied Tuskegee Choral Series for Mixed ChoirsSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
Out In The FieldsWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonAccompanied Tuskegee Choral Series for WomenSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
Rugged Yank, TheWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonAccompanied Tuskegee Choral Series for MenSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
Slumber SongWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonAccompanied Tuskegee Choral Series for MenSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
Slumber SongWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonAccompanied Tuskegee Choral Series for Mixed ChoirsSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
Slumber SongWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonAccompanied Tuskegee Choral Series for WomenSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
Soon Ah Will Be DoneWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonA Cappella Tuskegee Choral Series for MenSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
Soon Ah Will Be DoneWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonA Cappella Tuskegee Choral Series for Mixed ChoirsSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
Steal AwayWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonA Cappella Tuskegee Choral Series for MenSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
Steal AwayWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonA Cappella Tuskegee Choral Series for Mixed ChoirsSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
Swing Low, Sweet ChariotWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonA Cappella Tuskegee Choral Series for MenSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
Swing Low, Sweet ChariotWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonA Cappella Tuskegee Choral Series for Mixed ChoirsSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
Swing Low, Sweet ChariotWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonA Cappella Tuskegee Choral Series for WomenSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
Talk About A Child That Do Love JesusWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonSpirituals for Mixed ChoirsSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
There Is A Balm In GileadWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonA Cappella Tuskegee Choral Series for MenSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
There Is A Balm In GileadWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonA Cappella Tuskegee Choral Series for Mixed ChoirsSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
There Is A Balm In GileadWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonA Cappella Tuskegee Choral Series for WomenSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
You Got To Reap Just What You SowWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonAccompanied Tuskegee Choral Series for MenSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
You Got To Reap Just What You SowWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonAccompanied Tuskegee Choral Series for Mixed ChoirsSheet MusicMORE DETAILS
You Got To Reap Just What You SowWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonWilliam L. DawsonAccompanied Tuskegee Choral Series for WomenSheet MusicMORE DETAILS

Composers