Burleigh, Henry Thacker

Burleigh, Henry Thacker

(bûr`lē), 1866–1949, American baritone and composer, b. Erie, Pa.; pupil of Dvořák at the National Conservatory, New York, where he later taught. He was soloist at St. George's Church, New York City, from 1892 to 1946 and also at Temple Emanu-El for 25 years. His concert arrangements of black American spirituals such as Deep River, employing chromatic harmonies in the style of art songs, are widely used.
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Burleigh, Henry Thacker

(1866–1949) baritone, composer, arranger; born in Erie, Pa. He learned African-American songs from his maternal grandfather, born a slave, and his voice gained him entry to the National Conservatory of Music in New York (1892–96). Its director was then Anton Dvor?ák, who both encouraged Burleigh and learned about the folk music he would use in his own works. He was soloist at St. George's Church in New York City (1894–1946) and sang occasionally at the city's Temple Emanu-El; he also concertized in America and Europe. From 1911 to 1949, he was a music editor at G. Ricordi & Company. He composed many songs and ballads but made his greatest mark through his arrangements of black spirituals such as "Deep River" (1916).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.