Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dr. Casey Robards: "doctoral dissertation about John Daniels Carter, composer of the 'Cantata' for voice and piano or voice and orchestra"

[John Daniels Carter - The photo is from Hildred Roach's book, "Black American Music: Past and Present" (Malabar, FL) 1992.]

AfriClassical thanks Dr. Casey Robards for this announcement on her dissertation about John Daniels Carter (1932-1981) and the above photograph:

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I'm writing to share with you my doctoral dissertation about John Daniels Carter, composer of the "Cantata" for voice and piano or voice and orchestra.  The paper contains information on his other works, including my own solo piano transcription of his orchestral work, "Requiem Seditiosam: In Memoriam Medgar Evers" and a score of his vocal work, "Saetas Profanas" which William Warfield premiered and sang frequently.  I also have written biographical information about Carter as a pianist and as composer-in-residence with the National Symphony (Wash D.C.) in 1969-1970.

I've posted the dissertation on my website here:

It's a large file, so slow to download, but will also be available through the usual library channels within the next few months, and perhaps through third party sellers such as amazon, etc.  

I pass this along in case you have any curiosity about John Carter, or if you know someone who sings the "Cantata" and might be interested in this information.  Feel free to share with others.

The Abstract I have copied below:

African-American pianist and composer John Daniels Carter (1932-1981) is widely recognized for his Cantata for voice and piano (also arranged for voice and orchestra), Carter’s only published work. However, relatively little information has been published about Carter’s life, his compositional output, or career as a pianist. His date of birth and death are often listed incorrectly; the last decade of his life remains undocumented. There is also confusion in the database of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) regarding the attributions of his unpublished compositions, compounded by the existence of another composer who has arranged several spirituals, and a jazz clarinetist, both named John Carter.

In-depth field research, over a three-year period, was conducted to discover more information about Carter. Through newspaper articles, archival material from the Kennedy Center/Rockefeller Archives, and conversations or correspondence with those who knew Carter personally, this dissertation presents biographical information about Carter’s musical education, performance activity as a pianist, and career as a composer-in-residence with the Washington National Symphony. Information is provided about Carter’s other works. Included are historical reviews of Carter’s piano performances, his orchestral work, Requiem Seditiosam: In Memoriam Medgar Evers, and his vocal works including Saetas Profanas and the Cantata, performed by singers such as Leontyne Price, William Warfield, Adele Addison, and George Shirley. The author’s original piano solo transcription of Requiem Seditiosam: In Memoriam Medgar Evers and brief musical notes about the Cantata and Saetas Profanas (for voice and piano) are provided. Appendices include a listing of live performances of Carter’s music, a recorded discography, a chronology of his life, and a score of Saetas Profanas. 

Happy holidays and best regards,



Dr. Casey Robards
Faculty Collaborative Pianist (Vocal), Oberlin Conservatory
Faculty Artist/Coach, Bay View Music Festival

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