The great American soprano, Amanda Aldridge, was one of the most prolific singers of the twentieth century. She was known for her singing voice, her virtuosity, and her ability to perform songs in a variety of styles. Her career spanned several decades and she is best known for her performances in Broadway shows. Although she died in 1956, her legacy has endured.
Career as a singer
The Black British composer Amanda Aldridge was a classically trained singer. She became well known in her lifetime. Although her singing career was cut short by a bout of laryngitis, she continued to teach and compose. In fact, she released over thirty songs. Her career as a pianist was also prolific. She performed with the Crystal Palace Orchestra.
Upon her death, Aldridge was buried in the Streatham Park cemetery. A Google Doodle pays tribute to her memory.
Amanda Aldridge was born in London on March 10, 1866. Her father was a well-known African American stage actor. She studied voice with Jenny Lind. Later, she became a concert singer. During her career, she studied vocal performance at the Royal Conservatory of Music in London. After her studies, she worked as a teacher and pianist.
As a composer, Amanda Aldridge wrote music that combined several genres. Her works included love songs, light orchestral pieces, and suites. She also specialized in romantic Parlour music. Many of her songs featured poetry by African-American writers. These songs explored both sides of her heritage.
Throughout her life, she was known to audiences both in Britain and America. She was the first African American to perform in the Metropolitan Opera. Also, her sister Luranah was a star operatic contralto.
Aldridge’s repertoire included German lieder, Italian arias, and English country songs. She was also a pioneer in the world of African American classic songs. Some of her most famous students include Paul Robeson and Roland Hayes.
Toward the end of her career, she made her first television appearance. At the age of 88, she presented herself to a new generation of music fans on the British TV show Music For You.
Despite her short career, Aldridge left a lasting legacy in the British music scene. She is remembered for her eloquent music, her groundbreaking fusion of genres, and her dedication to her students.
One of Aldridge’s most important songs was Three African Dances. This composition was inspired by the drumming of West African musicians. In addition, Aldridge set two poems by Paul Laurence Dunbar.
Contributions to parlour music
In her sixty years of performing and composing, Amanda Aldridge made significant contributions to parlour music. As an African American, her work often explored her mixed heritage. Her songs drew on poetry by Black American authors and incorporated genres such as sambas and light classical pieces. During her lifetime, she composed over thirty songs and released instrumental music in various styles. She is also known for her role as voice coach.
Amanda Aldridge was born in London on March 10, 1866. Her father, Ira Frederick Aldridge, was a well-known stage actor. After graduating from the Royal College of Music, she became a singer and pianist. Afterward, she worked as a vocal teacher.
After her career as a singer was cut short due to a throat injury, she turned her focus to teaching. She taught a number of notable students including Paul Robeson, Marian Anderson, and Lawrence Benjamin Brown. Despite her short career, she was a well-known figure in her time.
When she was 88, Amanda Aldridge appeared on the British television show Music for You. This show introduced her classic compositions to a new generation. One of her most famous songs, Three African Dances, was inspired by West African drumming. The song was a tribute to Aldridge’s family ancestral heritage.
Amanda Aldridge was buried in Streatham Park cemetery. She left a strong legacy in the British music scene. Several charity events were organized by Aldridge. Her charity efforts raised a substantial amount of money.
Having an early talent for singing, she cultivated a sideline in songwriting. She created approximately 30 love themes between 1907 and 1925. Later, she took on a position as voice coach at the Royal Conservatory of Music. She was invited by W. E. B. Du Bois to attend the Second Pan-African Congress in 1930.
Throughout her life, Amanda Aldridge worked as a composer and teacher. She was recognized for her many successful and chartbuster songs.
Amanda Aldridge never married and had no children. At age 86, she was still giving piano lessons. While her career was short, she was an accomplished composer of parlour music.
Death in 1956
Despite her short career, Amanda Aldridge left an indelible mark on the British music scene. A talented vocalist and pianist, she composed and performed a range of songs. She worked in a variety of genres, from operas to sambas and love songs.
Amanda Christina Elizabeth Aldridge was born on March 10, 1866 in Upper Norwood, London. Her father was an African-American actor and her mother was a Swedish opera singer. After being educated by the Royal College of Music, she studied harmony and rhythm with Frederick Bridge, and piano with Sir George Henschel.
At the age of 15, she began a singing career. During her teenage years, she gave her first public performance at Crystal Palace. She was also invited to perform with the royal family in a concert. But she turned down the offer, due to her sister’s illness. However, she did eventually give a recital at the Queens’ Small Hall.
In 1883, she won a scholarship to study at the Royal College of Music. During this time, she was introduced to the music of Samuel Coleridge Taylor. It is likely that Aldridge met the poet and his wife.
Aldridge was a vocal coach, piano accompanist and composer. Throughout her career, she taught many musicians, including tenor Roland Hayes and bass-baritone Paul Robeson.
When she was 88, she appeared on television for the first time on the show “Music for You”. Later, she would compose thirty love songs under the pseudonym Montague Ring. Ultimately, she wrote songs that combined genres and rhythmic influences to explore mixed ethnic heritage.
Upon her death in 1956, Aldridge was buried in the Streatham Park cemetery. The Google Doodle celebrates her life and work.
As a composer, she wrote romantic Parlour music, which was popular at the time. This type of music was played on piano and was intended for amateurs. These performances were popular in middle-class homes.
Her most famous works are Three Arabian Dances and Lazy Dance. She also composed a number of works for orchestra. Some of her most memorable songs include the “Lazy Dance” and the “Three Arabian Dances”, which were influenced by West African drumming.
When Ira Frederick Aldridge died, he left behind a legacy for his daughter Amanda. The granddaughter of an African American Shakespearian actor, Amanda studied in England and became an opera singer. Her compositions incorporated rhythmic and counterpoint influences. She also taught others to sing and perform.
At the age of fifteen, Aldridge joined the short-lived African Company. His songs and suites sold well, and his parlour music made him a rich man. As a result, he bought a house near Crystal Palace.
As a performer, Aldridge became friends with Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Ida Shepley. He also sang with famous black performers such as Paul Robeson, Marian Anderson, and Roland Hayes.
As an artist, Aldridge had a passion for human rights, and he worked to promote equality of rights and intellect. In 1930, he attended a performance of Othello by Paul Robeson in London’s West End. After the play, he gave the actor a pair of earrings.
Aldridge died on March 9, 1956 in London. It was just before her 90th birthday. A plaque was unveiled in her honor at the Upper Precinct in Coventry city centre. Among those who helped unveil the plaque were Earl Cameron and a representative from the Coventry City Council.
Though she is no longer with us, Amanda Aldridge’s contributions to music and her contributions to black heritage will always be remembered. Through her generosity of spirit, she gave people space to explore their potential.
Amanda Aldridge’s life was marked by a number of difficulties. She had to care for her sister Luranah who suffered from chronic rheumatoid arthritis. Her other sister Rachael became wheelchair-bound. Eventually, her brother committed suicide.
As a composer, Aldridge wrote thirty songs, mostly light symphonic works. These songs explored half African-American heritage. Some of these songs were set to poems by black American poets.
Aldridge was an inspiration for many African-American actors. They saw him as a role model and sought to preserve his memory. Many of his students also took his example as inspiration.
A new play, based on Aldridge’s life, will be presented in London this year. This award-winning play, written by Lolita Chakrabarti, will be produced in the UK in 2012.