Curtis, Natalie

Curtis, Natalie

(1875–1921) ethnomusicologist; born in New York City. Intending a career as a concert pianist, she went to Europe to study with Busoni and others, but on return (about 1900) she visited Arizona and became so entranced by Native Americans' culture that she decided to record their music. With the support of President Theodore Roosevelt, she gained access to Indian reservations from Maine to the Southwest—although most of her work would be with the Plains and Pueblo tribes—and won the cooperation of individual Indians. At first she recorded with a phonograph but she turned to transcribing the songs with pencil on paper; she also photographed many subjects. Her first book, The Indians' Book (1907), included folklore, poetry, and religious texts as well as songs, and her work contributed to gaining a new respect for Native American culture. Meanwhile she had also become interested in preserving African-Americans' music; she helped found the Music School Settlement for Colored People in Harlem (1911), arranged a Carnegie Hall concert by African-American musicians (1914), and set about transcribing African-American songs; she published Hampton Series Negro Folk-Songs (4 vols. 1918–19). She was killed by a taxicab in Paris where she had gone to address an international congress on art history. For all its limitations, her record of both Native American and African-American music remains a basic historical source.
References in periodicals archive ?
A smash hit when it premiered at the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival in July 2013, New Dawn Fades stars Michael Whittaker as Ian Curtis, Natalie Perry as Debbie Curtis and Lee Joseph as Tony Wilson.
Tony Curtis, Natalie Wood, Peter Falk and, best of all, Jack Lemmon.
The new production stars Michael Whittaker as Ian Curtis, Natalie Perry as his wife Debbie, and Lee Joseph as the late, Tony Wilson.