Jean E. Snyder traces Burleigh’s life from his Pennsylvania childhood through his fifty-year tenure as soloist at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Manhattan. As a composer, Burleigh’s pioneering work preserved and transformed the African American spiritual; as a music editor, he facilitated the work of other black composers; as a role model, vocal coach, and mentor, he profoundly influenced American song; and in private life he was friends with Antonín Dvořák, Marian Anderson, and Will Marion Cook. Snyder provides rich historical, social, and political contexts that explore Burleigh’s professional and personal life within an era complicated by changes in race relations, class expectations, and musical tastes.
Drawing on exhaustive research into archives and family histories, Harry T. Burleigh reclaims the life and art of an essential American composer. [University of Illinois Press]
Read these reviews to learn more about this recent addition to our PNMHS Library Collection…
• Harry T. Burleigh Society Video: Dr. Jean Snyder on Harry T. Burleigh at St. George’s Church Harry T. Burleigh Society Tribute. [14 minutes]
• Library of Congress video: Jean E. Snyder lectures on Harry T. Burleigh’s leading role in American music and culture during the 20th century, through his work as a composer, arranger and performer. [lecture begins at 4 minutes in 67 minute video.] Transcript
Harry T. Burleigh Society Website: Advancing Burleigh Studies through scholarship and performance. Use the Menu Icon in the upper-left to explore the full extent of this resource including Dr. Jean Snyder, Burleigh Biographer, and much more.