Performs Nathaniel Dett
Sunday, March 26, 2 pm
Nationally-known pianist Clipper Erickson performs the piano works of prolific African-American composer, organist, pianist and choir director R. Nathaniel Dett.
Robert Nathaniel Dett (October 11, 1882 – October 2, 1943), often known as R. Nathaniel Dett and Nathaniel Dett, was a composer, organist, pianist and music professor. While born in Canada, he spent most of his professional career in the United States. During his lifetime he was a leading Black composer, known for his use of African-American folk songs and spirituals as the basis for choral and piano compositions in the 19th century Romantic style of Classical music.
He was among the first Black composers during the early years of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). His works often appeared among the programs of Will Marion Cook’s New York Syncopated Orchestra. Dett performed at Carnegie Hall and at the Boston Symphony Hall as a pianist and choir director.
Clipper Erickson made his debut as a soloist with the Young Musicians Foundation Orchestra at age nineteen in Los Angeles. After studies at The Julliard School, Yale University, and Indiana University with the renowned British pianist John Ogdon, his interpretations began earning prizes at international competitions including the Busoni, William Kapell, and the American Pianists Association. He has performed as a soloist with orchestras and in recitals in some of the most famous concert venues in the world, including the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall.
In January 2016, Gramophone UK recognized My Cup Runneth Over, Clipper’s disc of the complete piano music of African descent composer Nathaniel Dett, released in 2015 on the Navona label, as an editor’s choice, writing: “this historically and musically important release not only fills a crucial catalogue gap but sets reference standards. No serious aficionado of the history of American piano music can afford to miss it.” Dett’s piano suites embrace almost all of his creative life, from Magnolia, written soon after his graduation from Oberlin, to the Eight Bible Vignettes, written during the last two years of his life. They show a great development, variety and richness of style; truly reflecting his struggles, triumphs, and deepening philosophical interests.
“My Cup Runneth Over offers a wonderful overview of R. Nathaniel Dett’s captivating solo piano compositions, magnificently performed Clipper Erickson. A hearty bravo is in order—may these works find their way onto more recital programs!”
Erickson currently teaches at Westminster Conservatory in Princeton, and Temple University in Philadelphia.
The Trenton Museum Society feels very fortunate to have Mr. Erickson perform selections from his recording of Dett’s piano oeuvre in the warm and inviting galleries of the Trenton City Museum.
Tickets are available at the door, if available, for $30.
For a preview of Nathaniel Dett’s music, click here.