Monday, August 17, 2009

Thomas Jefferson Anderson, Jr., African American Composer Born Aug. 17, 1928

[Videmus: Works by T.J. Anderson, David Baker, Donal Fox, Olly Wilson; New World Records (1992)]
The African American composer Thomas Jefferson Anderson, Jr. is much better known as T.J. Anderson. AfriClassical has previously posted a biography researched and compiled by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma: "T.J. Anderson, African American Composer (b. 1928).” The composer is a member of the American Composers Alliance, whose website devotes a page to his compositions. His own website is The Works page contains a chronological list of his compositions.

T.J. Anderson earned his Ph.D. at the University of Iowa in 1958. He completed his first composition, Introduction and Allegro in 1959, Dr. De Lerma tells us, and held several university appointments. Scott Joplin completed his opera Treemonisha in 1911. As the centennial of the opera approaches, more and more companies are staging productions, in a number of countries. The opera was first staged in January 1972 in a concert performance in Atlanta, Georgia by the Afro-American Music Workshop of Morehouse College and the Atlanta Symphony under Robert Shaw, conductor.

T.J. Anderson was a Visiting Professor at Morehouse College that year, and he orchestrated the opera's score. Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma recalls: “The Atlanta production ran for two consecutive nights to full (and mixed) houses in late January 1972. This was the original version via T.J. Anderson.” On January 30, 1972 The New York Times published a review by Harold C. Schonberg, who wrote: “Thomas J. Anderson, a visiting professor at the college, orchestrated the opera in a style that follows the one example of Joplin's orchestration that has come down to us.”

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