Strayhorn, Billy, 1915-1967

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William "Billy" Strayhorn was born in Dayton, Ohio on November 29, 1915. He spent part of his childhood in Hillsborough, North Carolina. His family eventually moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he studied classical music at the Pittsburgh Musical Institution.

At the age of 23, he submitted a musical composition titled "Something to Live For" to Duke Ellington, who subsequently recorded it with Strayhorn as the pianist. Strayhorn worked as the pianist in Mercer Ellington's orchestra for a short time, but left to join Ellington's band as associate arranger and second pianist. He stayed with Ellington for nearly thirty years and they collaborated on more than 200 items, including "Take the 'A' Train," "Satin Doll," and the theme from Anatomy of a Murder.

Strayhorn also contributed to other recordings by Cootie Williams, Bigard, Johnny Hodges, the Ellingtonians, the Coronets, Louie Bellson, Ben Webster, and Clark Terry. He composed the song "King Fought for the Battle of 'Bam" for Martin Luther King, Jr., and was also an influence of Lena Horne.

In 1946, Strayhorn received the Esquire Silver Award for outstanding arranger. Invited by the Duke Ellington Jazz Society, in 1965 he presented a concert, using only his own work, at New York's New School of Social Research.

Billy Strayhorn died in New York on May 31, 1967.

From the guide to the Strayhorn, Billy, Master Editions. Collection, 1933-1966, (Special Collections Research Center University of Chicago Library 1100 East 57th Street Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Milnes, Harriett. Duke Ellington oral history, 1939-1987 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn The Bell Telephone Hour collection of sound recordings [sound recording], 1940-1968 The New York Public Library. Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound.
creatorOf Saxton, Judith (Judith A.). Faculty/alumni jazz septet [sound recording] University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Semans Library
creatorOf The Road of the Phoebe Snow / choreographer: Talley Beatty ; music: Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn ; notator: Sandra Aberkalns. Ohio State University Libraries
creatorOf UNCSA Jazz Ensemble. Jazz Ensemble [sound recording] University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Semans Library
referencedIn Duke Ellington recordings collection Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library, Harvard College Library
referencedIn Charles Mingus Collection, 1939-1979 Music Division Library of Congress
creatorOf Nokes, Mark. Mark Nokes, guitar, senior recital [sound recording] : Monday, November 28, 2005, 7:00 pm, Recital Hall. University of Central Oklahoma, Chambers Library
creatorOf Strayhorn, Billy, Master Editions. Collection, 1933-1966 Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library,
creatorOf Strayhorn, Billy. Billy Strayhorn master editions collection, 1933-1966 (inclusive). University of Chicago Library
referencedIn Philip M. Weightman Photographs, Bulk, 1944-1959, 1944-1960s, (Bulk 1940s-1950s) Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
creatorOf NCSA Jazz Ensemble. NCSA Jazz Ensemble [sound recording]. University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Semans Library
creatorOf NCSA Jazz Ensemble. NCSA Jazz Ensemble [sound recording]. University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Semans Library
creatorOf NCSA Jazz Ensemble. Jazz Ensemble [sound recording]. University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Semans Library
creatorOf NCSA Jazz Ensemble. Jazz Ensemble [sound recording]. University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Semans Library
creatorOf Andrew Eitel. Performance hour [sound recording]. 2003 University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Semans Library
creatorOf Strayhorn, Billy. Blood count / Billy Strayhorn. SUNY at Buffalo, University at Buffalo
creatorOf Strayhorn, Billy. Blood count : lead sheet : published copyright deposit, 1967 / Billy Strayhorn. Library of Congress
referencedIn National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks Program Records, 2013-2017, Texas: Dr. Beadie E. and Willie R. Conner, House and Park United States. National Archives and Records Administration
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Dodge, Joseph Jeffers person
associatedWith Dodge, Joseph Jeffers person
associatedWith Mingus, Charles, 1922-1979 person
associatedWith NCSA Jazz Ensemble. corporateBody
associatedWith NCSA Jazz Ensemble. corporateBody
associatedWith NCSA Jazz Ensemble. corporateBody
associatedWith NCSA Jazz Ensemble. corporateBody
associatedWith NCSA Jazz Ensemble. corporateBody
associatedWith NCSA Jazz Ensemble. corporateBody
associatedWith NCSA Jazz Ensemble. corporateBody
associatedWith Nokes, Mark. person
associatedWith Turner, Lana, 1921-1995 person
associatedWith UNCSA Jazz Ensemble. corporateBody
associatedWith University of Chicago. Chicago Jazz Archive. corporateBody
associatedWith Weightman, Philip M., 1902- person
associatedWith Weightman, Phillip M., 1902- person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
Instrumental ensembles--Scores and parts
Piano music (jazz)
/Waltzes
Ballets--Excerpts, Arranged
Big band music--Scores and parts
Piano music
Suites (Jazz ensemble)--Scores and parts
Jazz vocals
Jazz--1961-1970--Lead sheets
Jazz
Occupation
Composers
Function

Person

Birth 1915-11-29

Death 1967-05-31

Americans

Information

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