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Roger Donald Dickerson (Composer)

Born: August 24, 1934 - New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Roger Donald Dickerson is an American composer and jazz pianist. He began piano lessons at the age of 8 and also learnt to play brass instruments at a young age. A relative, Wallace Davenport, who played in the Lionel Hampton Band, furnished him with a basic knowledge of harmony, counterpoint and orchestration. He went on to study at Dillard University (BMus 1955) and Indiana University (MM 1957), where his teachers included Bernhard Heiden.

During military service Roger Dickerson continued to perform, compose and arrange music. A Fulbright Fellowship enabled him to pursue further study at the Vienna Academy of Music under Schiske and Uhl. In 1975 he co-founded the Creative Arts Alliance. He has taught at Southern University, New Orleans, and served as a consultant in the humanities for the Institute for Services to Education. Among his honours are a John Hay Whitney Fellowship and the Louis Armstrong Memorial Award. His works feature polyphonic textures, dissonant chordal structures and elements derived from jazz and the blues. He is the subject of the 1978 PBS documentary New Orleans Concerto.


Concert Overture (1957)
Essay, band (1958)
Fugue 'n' Blues, jazz orchestra (1959)
A Musical Service for Louis (1972)
Orpheus an' His Slide Trombone (J. Greenberg), 1974-1975)
New Orleans Concerto, for piano & orchestra (1976)

Fair Dillard (J.N. Barnum), SATB (1955)
Music I Heard (C. Aiken), for soprano & piano (1956)
The Negro Speaks of Rivers (L. Hughes), for soprano & piano (1961)
Ps xlix, SATB, timpani (1979)
African-American Celebration (Dickerson), SATB (1984)
Beyond Silence (Dickerson), for soprano, baritone, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani & organ (1986)

Chamber and solo instrumental:
Prekussion, perc ensemble (1954)
Music for Brass, 2 trumpets, trombone (1955)
Woodwind Trio (1955)
Das neugeborne Kindelein, chorale prelude, organ (1956)
Sonatina, piano (1956)
String Quartet (1956)
Music for String Trio (1957)
Scene, horn, string quartet (1959)
Movt, trumpet, piano (1960)
Sonata, clarinet, piano (1960)
Wind Quintet (1961)
Concert Pieces for Beginning String Players (1972)
Expressions, violin, piano (1983)
Incantation, violin, piano (1983)
Fanfare, 2 trumpets, timpani (1991)

Principal publishers:
Peer-Southern, E.C. Schirmer


Source: Grove Music Online © Oxford University Press 2006 acc. 5/30/06 (Authors: Lucius R. Wyatt)
Contributed by
Thomas Braatz (May 2006)

Use of Chorale Melodies in his works


Chorale Melody


Das neugeborne Kindelein, Chorale Prelude for Organ

Das neugeborne Kindelein


Links to other Sites



A. Tischler: Fifteen Black American Composers: a Bibliography of their Works (Detroit, 1981)
LR. Wyatt: ‘Roger Dickerson, Composer’, Black Music Research Newsletter, vi/2 (1984), 3-5

Biographies of Poets & Composers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
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