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Bonds, Margaret (Allison)

piano training chicago orch

Bonds, Margaret (Allison), black American pianist, teacher, and composer; b. Chicago, March 3, 1913; d. Los Angeles, April 26, 1972. She first studied with her mother, then had training in piano and composition from Florence Price; also studied with William Dawson. Following studies at Northwestern Univ. (B.M., 1933; M.M., 1934), she went to N.Y. and pursued training with Djane Herz (piano) and Starer (composition) at the Juilliard Graduate School. She also had some training from Roy Harris. In 1933 she became the first black soloist to appear with the Chicago Sym. Orch. when she played Florence Price’s Piano Concerto at the World’s Fair. She subsequently made tours of North America. In Chicago she founded the Allied Arts Academy. After working in N.Y. as a theater music director and as a teacher, she settled in Los Angeles. As a composer, Bonds became best known for her spirituals for Solo Voice and/or Chorus, and also for her popular songs. Among her other works were the theater scores Shakespeare in Harlem, Romey and Julie, and U.S.A., ballets, Montgomery Variations for Orch. (1965; dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr.), Credo for Baritone, Chorus, and Orch. (1972), choruses, song cycles, and piano pieces.

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