American composer

zenobia powell perry

Zenobia Powell Perry (1908-2004) was a composer whose life provides insight to a special time in the 1920s and '30s when black American composers were finally being recognized for their unique contributions to the country's music. Born in Boley, Oklahoma to a black father and a black Creek Indian mother, Zenobia was influenced by both black American and Native American folklore, music, language, and poetry.

In American Composer Zenobia Powell Perry: Race and Gender in the 20th Century, Jeannie Gayle Pool examines the life of this talented individual who faced tremendous challenges as a female, as an African American, and as a woman of mixed heritage. Based on interviews conducted by the author, as well as Perry's personal papers, correspondence, and scores.

Pool provides a rich portrait of this unique composer. Pool also provides an analysis of Perry's musical style, a chronology, a complete list of works, and several appendices. Raising many complex and unresolved issues related to American blacks with Native American heritage, Perry's life story bears witness to a century in which tremendous strides were made toward equality for all.

Originally published by Scarecrow Press in December 2008, Jaygayle Music Books is now offering a revised edition of the book.

REVIEWS​

“American Composer Zenobia Powell Perry: Race & Gender in the 20th Century profiles this woman who faced tremendous challenges as a female, an African American and as a woman of mixed heritage. Perry's life provides insight to a special moment in the 1920s and '30s when black American composers were finally being recognized for their unique contributions to the country's music. “The book's best feature is that, thanks to many years of acquaintance, Pool is able to let Zenobia Powell Perry speak in her own voice, giving readers the impression that they truly are getting to know her.” - The Triangle of Mu Phi Epsilon, Winter 2010

“Pool's biography of Zenobia Powell Perry is an important addition to the literature about women composers, as well as race and music, and is highly recommended for both public and academic libraries. Pool's informative and thought-provoking biography is based heavily on primary resources, including interviews conducted by Pool, Perry's personal papers, correspondence, and manuscript scores.” - MLA Notes, October 2009

"Jeannie Gayle Pool's new book is a fascinating biography of a little-known composer and pianist....Jeannie Gayle Pool's book is a welcome addition to the dearth of scholarship concerning Zenobia Powell Perry....Pool's absorbing re-telling of this uniquely American story should encourage many performers–and scholars to explore and further disseminate the wealth of Zenobia Powell Perry's compositions." ARSC Journal

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