March 04, 2023
African American Music History pt . 7 Internet Vol – 7 The International Conductor
Normally when ever music is talked about people often refer to bands or songs that they may have an interest in. People hardly if ever mention a Symphony or Orchestra. Although there have been many people of color to play instruments for this fashion of music.
Not many people can say that they know or have heard of a person of color being a conductor. In this articel/ blog I would like to travel through our African American Music History by sharing a few high lights of a rare individual by the name of Dean Dixon. History records that Dean Dixon could speak Swedish, French and German and had a skill to interpret the international language of classical music.
Dean Dixon was born of west Indian parents in Harlem New York. History records that about the same time Dixon learned the alphabet he was also lerning to read music. Sometime after that he started playing the violin. History notes that Dean Dixon played the violin in his high school band, and after graduation he organized an amateur interracial orchestra at the local YMCA in Harlem.
As in most cases after Dixon made up his mind to become a Symphony/ Orchestra Conductor he received very little encouragement if any. History notes that during that time African American/ Black instrumentalists could not find permanent empoyment. However Dean Dixon’s ability was so great that he led the New York Chamber Orchestra at the age of twenty-five. At that time Dixon was a student of conducting at the Julliard School of Music in New York.
History notes that after completing his studies under the leadership of Albert Stoessel in 1939 Dixon started his career as a guest conductor. Musical foot notes during that time indicate/ show that Dixon led groups like the new York Philharmonic the NBC Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Symphony!! History records that Dean Dixon left American in 1949 because he could not find a regular post as a symphony conductor despite his great talents.
History records that prior to taking over the Hessian Radio Symphony in 1962 international sources note that Dixon had been the conductor of the Goteborg Symphony in Sweden for close to a decade. Dean Dixon was well known in europe far beyonnd the borders of Sweden and Germany. History records that he conducted almost ever major symphony in Europe likewise those of Austria, Italy and Israel. History notes that Dixon went on to receive many awards for his work in encouraging an interest in music among the youth.
Dean Dixon is now well noted in our African American Music History. SoulTic Magazine salutes Dean Dixon for taking the leap of faith and breaking ground in life and areas of music that was not popular for people of color.