Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Barbara Wright-Pryor: IN MEMORIAM – Dominique-René S. de Lerma

 Dominique-René S. de Lerma

Barbara Wright-Pryor writes:

Dear Bill,
I am deeply saddened to learn of the death of Dominique-René S. de Lerma on October 15, 2015, a true scholar and the single-most researcher of, and contributor to, the history of Black music and Black musicians.

Our last conversation was slightly more than a month ago regarding our final project of digitizing the 1930s ledger containing the minutes and activities of Chicago Music Association (CMA), Br. No. 1, NANM, Inc. (since 1919) that we donated to archival collection at The Center for Black Music Research of Columbia College Chicago (CBMR). It was that ledger and Dr. de Lerma's comprehensive research and technical help that assisted me in preparing the program notes for The Chicago Symphony Orchestra's 2013 performances of composer Florence Beatrice Price's " Mississippi River ." (Program notes may be viewed on

Even more recently, Dr. de Lerma contributed the program notes for the October 25, 2015 South Shore Opera Company of Chicago's performance (Leslie B. Dunner, Music Director) at South Shore Cultural Center. "Composers Unmasked" featured arias and duets from operas by Black composers Le Chevalier de St. Georges aka Joseph Bologne (The Anonymous Lover and Ernestine); Harry Lawrence Freeman (Voodoo); and Nkeiru Okoye (Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed That Line to Freedom) performed by Chicago's own TreDiva, sopranos Jonita Lattimore, Anisha McFarland and Elizabeth Norman. Tragically, "Dom" did not live to see the production's resounding success.

"Rest in peace, warrior for the cause, drum major for musical justice, dear friend and colleague."

A memorial event organized by his son Antonio Green and attended by local friends and colleagues was held in Appleton , Wisconsin where "Dom" resided and worked, most recently at Lawrence University.
(Dominique-René S. de Lerma's photo courtesy of Antonio Green)
Musically yours,
Barbara Wright-Pryor
            Classical Music Critic
 The Chicago Crusader
(EST. 1940)

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