White, Clarence Cameron

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Composer, violinist, educator, and author. Major participant in the Harlem Renaissance.

From the description of Clarence Cameron White collection, 1872-1965 (bulk, 1930-1960). (Moorland-Spingarn Resource Center). WorldCat record id: 739116553

Composer, violinist, educator. White and John Frederick Matheus collaborated on "Ouanga" (1932) and "Tambour" (1929).

From the description of Clarence Cameron White papers (Additions), 1906-1963. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122455215

From the guide to the Clarence Cameron White papers (Additions), 1906-1963, (The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.)

Clarence Cameron White was a composer, violinist, educator and author. He studied music at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and in London, England. He also studied with Will Marion Cook and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, who is credited with inspiring him to become a composer. White frequently used folk music as a source for his compositions. He collaborated with John F. Matheus, a professor of Romance languages (librettist), on two works, "Tambour" and the opera "Ouanga," which was based on the life of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, one of the slave leaders of the Haitian Revolution. White's other major works include the ballet score for "A Night in San Souci," the orchestral work "Elegy," "Symphony in D Minor," a cantata "Heritage," and "Bandanna Sketches," composed for the violin. He also wrote "Dance Rhapsody," "Pantomime," and "Poeme: For Orchestra."

White's teaching career spanned the Boston public school system (1912-1923), his directorship of music at West Virginia State College (1924-1931), and Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia, where as director of music he conducted the Hampton Institute Choir from 1933 to 1935.

From the description of Clarence Cameron White papers, 1901-1940. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122570779

Clarence Cameron White was a composer, violinist, educator and author. He studied music at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and in London, England. He also studied with Will Marion Cook and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, who is credited with inspiring him to become a composer. White frequently used folk music as a source for his compositions. He collaborated with John F. Matheus, a professor of Romance languages (librettist), on two works, "Tambour" and the opera "Ouanga," which was based on the life of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, one of the slave leaders of the Haitian Revolution. White's other major works include the ballet score for "A Night in San Souci," the orchestral work "Elegy," "Symphony in D Minor," a cantata "Heritage," and "Bandanna Sketches," composed for the violin. He also wrote "Dance Rhapsody," "Pantomime," and "Poeme: For Orchestra.".

White's teaching career spanned the Boston public school system (1912-1923), his directorship of music at West Virginia State College (1924-1931), and Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia, where as director of music he conducted the Hampton Institute Choir from 1933 to 1935.

From the guide to the Clarence Cameron White papers, 1901-1940, (The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.)

  • 1880 August 10: Born in Clarksville, Tennessee, to Jennie Scott and James W. White
  • ca.1881: White's father James W. White died. White and his mother relocated to Oberlin, Ohio to live with maternal grandparents.
  • ca.1890: While teaching in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Jennie Scott married William H. Conner and the family relocated to Washington D.C., where Conner accepted the position of medical examiner in the Government Pension Office.
  • 1890 - 1894 : Attended public schools of Washington, D.C.
  • 1893 - 1895 : Studied at Howard University, Washington, D.C.
  • 1896 - 1901 : Attended Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Oberlin, Ohio
  • 1892: Private instruction with Will Marion Cook, Washington, D.C.
  • ca. 1892: Private instruction with Joseph Douglass, Washington, D.C.
  • 1903 - 1907 : Served as violin teacher, vice-president and registrar at Washington Conservatory of Music, Washington, D.C.
  • 1905: Married Beatrice Warrick, accomplished pianist
  • 1906: 1908 - 1911 : Received private instruction from African-British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, London England
  • 1907 - 1911 : Received private instruction from Russian violinist Michael Zacharewitsh, London, England
  • 1910: Established private studio, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 1911 - 1923 : Taught in Boston Public Schools
  • 1913 - 1924 : Conducted Victoria Concert Orchestra of Boston
  • 1916: Conceptualized National Association of Negro Music Teachers, which later evolved into National Association of Negro Musicians
  • 1919: Composed Bandanna Sketches which was popularized when noted violinist Fritz Kreisler recorded a piece from the work entitled Nobody Knows the Trouble I See.
  • 1924 - 1930 : Served as director of music at West Virginian State College Institute, West Virginia
  • 1928: Received Honorary Master of Arts degree from Atlanta University
  • 1928: Received Harmon Foundation Award
  • 1929 - 1932 : Received private instruction from French opera composer Raoul Laparra
  • 1930: Received Rosenwald Foundation Grant
  • 1932: Composed Ouanga (libretto by John Matheus) which theme based on the life of Dessalines, Haiti's first emperor
  • 1932: Received David Bispham Award
  • 1932 - 1935 : Served as chair of the music department at Hampton Institute in Virginia, Hampton, Virginia
  • 1933: Received Honorary Doctorate of Music from Wilberforce University
  • 1937: Named music specialist for the National Recreation Association under the Work Progress Administration
  • 1942: Beatrice Warrick White died in Elizabeth, New Jersey
  • 1943: Married Pura Belpre, New York Public Library librarian, with special interest in Puerto Rican culture and literature
  • 1949: First stage production of Ouanga performed in South Bend, Indiana under the auspices of the Burleigh Musical Association
  • 1954: Composed Elegy for which White won the "Tranquil Music" Benjamin Award
  • 1960 June 30: Died in New York City, New York of cancer at Sydenham Hospital

Clarence Cameron White was an accomplished violinist and a major participant in the Black Renaissance (Harlem Renaissance). His career accomplishments and well as relationships he cultivated during his career are well documented in the correspondence series, which contains letters from such notables as Phillippa Schuyler, W.C. Handy, Henry O. Tanner and Alain Locke.

White spent significant periods of time in Europe where he was trained by renowned musicians, including celebrated African-British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, renowned Russian violinist Michael Zacherewitsch and Raoul Laparra, French opera composer. In the earlier years, White was as student of Will Marion Cook and Joseph Douglass when his family relocated to Washington, D.C. In his unpublished autobiography, located with in the writings series, White writes of these and other experiences, including his childhood friendships with Anita Patti Brown and Roland Hayes.

The music instruction White received at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and at Howard University (1894-1895) eventually led him to the teaching field. In 1924 he served as the director of music at West Virginia State, and later served as chair of the music department at Hampton Institute (1932-1935). His career in academe is documented in the teaching material, correspondence and program series.

From the guide to the Clarence Cameron White Collection, Bulk, 1930-1960, 1872-1965, (Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Belpré, Pura 1899-1982. Papers, 1896-1985 ; bulk: 1950-1970. Centro de Estudios Puertorriquenos
creatorOf White, Clarence Cameron, 1880-1960. Clarence Cameron White collection, 1872-1965 (bulk, 1930-1960). Moorland-Spingarn Resource Center
creatorOf Bledsoe, Jules, 1898-1943. Jules Bledsoe papers, 1931-1939. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
creatorOf White, Clarence Cameron, 1880-1960. Clarence Cameron White papers, 1901-1940. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
creatorOf Clarence Cameron White Collection, Bulk, 1930-1960, 1872-1965 Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University
creatorOf Smith, Paul, 1953-. Advancement of Black artists [sound recording]. University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Semans Library
creatorOf Clarence Cameron White papers, 1901-1940 The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.
creatorOf White, Clarence Cameron. The emperor of America [microform] : a musical comedy in two acts / the words by Charles Sumner Dixon ; the music by Clarence Cameron White. University of Missouri -- Columbia, MU Libraries; University of Missouri; MU; Ellis Library; University of Missouri Columbia
referencedIn Jules Bledsoe papers, 1931-1939 The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.
referencedIn National Negro Opera Company Collection, 1879-1997, (bulk 1930-1962) Music Division Library of Congress
referencedIn National Recreation Association. Correspondence with Marian Anderson, 1941. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn A.P. Schmidt Company. A.P. Schmidt Company archives, 1869-1958 (bulk 1895-1920). Library of Congress
referencedIn National Negro Opera Company (U.S.). National Negro Opera Company collection, 1931-1989 (bulk 1941-1962). Library of Congress
creatorOf White, Clarence Cameron, 1880-1960. Correspondence with Marian Anderson, 1927-1948. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Johnson, Charles Spurgeon, 1893-1956. Papers. 1866-1965. Tulane University, Amistad Research Center
creatorOf White, Clarence Cameron, 1880-1960. Clarence Cameron White papers (Additions), 1906-1963. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn African-American related sheet music and sheet music written by African-Americans, 1851-1974 Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Hill, Viola. Viola Hill papers, 1909-1948 and undated, (bulk 1916-1928). Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
referencedIn Fritz Kreisler Collection, 1845-1969, (bulk 1910-1955) Music Division Library of Congress
creatorOf White, Clarence Cameron, 1880-1960. Elegy / Clarence Cameron White. Indiana University
creatorOf Clarence Cameron White papers (Additions), 1906-1963 The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.
referencedIn Jascha Heifetz Collection, 1802-1987, (bulk 1911-1974) Music Division Library of Congress
creatorOf White, Clarence Cameron, 1880-1960. Poor little Jesus : traditional Negro spiritual / arranged by Clarence Cameron White. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf White, Clarence Cameron, 1880-1960. O Mary, where is your baby? : traditional Negro spiritual / arranged by Clarence Cameron White. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Arna Bontemps Papers, 1927-1968 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Aldridge, Amanda Ira, 1866-1956. person
associatedWith American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. corporateBody
associatedWith Anderson, Marian, 1897-1993. person
correspondedWith A.P. Schmidt Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Beatty, Talley. person
associatedWith Belpré, Pura. person
associatedWith Belpré, Pura 1899-1982. person
associatedWith Benjamin, Edward B. person
associatedWith Bledsoe, Jules, 1898-1943. person
associatedWith Bontemps, Arna, 1902-1973 person
associatedWith Bouillet, Emile person
associatedWith Bouillet, Emile. person
associatedWith Brown, Anita Patti. person
associatedWith Byrns, Harold, 1903-1977. person
associatedWith Coleridge-Taylor, Avril, 1903-1998. person
associatedWith Coleridge-Taylor, Samuel, 1875-1912. person
associatedWith Collins, Janet. person
associatedWith Connor, Jennie White person
associatedWith Connor, Jennie White. person
associatedWith Cook, Will Marion. person
associatedWith Dessalines, Jean-Jacques, 1758-1806 person
associatedWith Dixon, Charles Sumner. person
associatedWith Dobbs, Mattiwilda. person
associatedWith Douglass, Joseph H. (Joseph Henry), 1871-1935. person
associatedWith Dra-Mu Opera Company person
associatedWith Dra-Mu Opera Company. person
associatedWith Elkan, Henri, 1897-1980. person
associatedWith Hairston, Jester, 1901-2000. person
associatedWith Hampton Institute. corporateBody
associatedWith Handy, W. C. (William Christopher), 1873-1958. person
associatedWith Harry T. Burleigh Music Association. person
associatedWith Hayes, Roland. person
associatedWith Heifetz, Jascha, 1901-1987 person
associatedWith Hill, Viola. person
associatedWith Howard University. corporateBody
associatedWith Johnson, Charles Spurgeon, 1893-1956. person
associatedWith Johnson, James Weldon, 1871-1938. person
correspondedWith Kreisler, Fritz, 1875-1962 person
associatedWith Laparra, Raoul, 1876-1943. person
associatedWith Locke, Alain LeRoy, 1886-1954. person
associatedWith Matheus, John Frederick, 1887-1983. person
associatedWith National Association of Negro Musicians. person
associatedWith National Association of Negro Musicians (U. S.) person
associatedWith National Negro Opera Company person
associatedWith National Negro Opera Company. person
associatedWith National Negro Opera Company (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith National Recreation Association. corporateBody
associatedWith National Recreation Association. person
associatedWith New York Public Library. corporateBody
associatedWith Oberlin College. Conservatory of Music. corporateBody
associatedWith Oukrainsky, Serge, 1886-1972. person
associatedWith Peabody, George Foster, 1852-1938. person
associatedWith Richards, Myra Reynolds person
associatedWith Richards, Myra Reynolds. person
associatedWith Ring, Montague. person
associatedWith Robeson, Paul, 1898-1976. person
associatedWith Ryder, A. H. (Arthur H.) person
associatedWith Schulyer, Philippa. person
associatedWith Scurlock, Addison N., 1883-1964. person
associatedWith Soderstrom, Emil, 1900-1972. person
associatedWith Still, William Grant, 1895-1978. person
associatedWith Strasser, William. person
associatedWith Talbot, Ona person
associatedWith Talbot, Ona. person
associatedWith Tanner, Henry Ossawa, 1859-1937. person
associatedWith Taylor, A. W. Reid person
associatedWith Taylor, A. W. Reid. person
associatedWith Van Vechten, Carl, 1880-1964. person
associatedWith Warrick, Thomas person
associatedWith Warrick, Thomas. person
associatedWith West Virginia State University. corporateBody
associatedWith White, Beatrice Louise Warrick. person
associatedWith White family. family
associatedWith White, Joseph. person
associatedWith Xavier University (New Orleans, La.) corporateBody
associatedWith Zacherewitsch, Michael. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
Africa
New York (State)--New York
Haiti
United States
United States
Subject
African Americans musicians
Opera
African American families
Puerto Rican women
African American composers
African American teachers
Music
Opera--United States
National Association of Negro Musicians (U.S.)
African Americans teachers
African American musicians
African Americans--Music
African Americans composers
Izler Solomon Collection
African Americans in the performing arts
Minority women librarians
Orchestral music--Scores
Harlem Renaissance
Drama--Collections
Music--Manuscripts--Facsimiles
Occupation
Arrangers
African American composers--United States
Function

Person

Birth 1880-08-10

Death 1960-06-30

Americans

French,

Spanish; Castilian,

English

Information

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