Revised Anne Gamble Kennedy article

Anne Gamble Kennedy

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Anne Gamble Kennedy
Anne Gamble Kennedy (25 September 1920 – 11 June 2001) was an American classical pianist, piano professor, and accompanist for the Fisk Jubilee Singers of Nashville, Tennessee.

Early life

Anne Lucille Gamble was born in Charleston, West Virginia to Dr. Henry Floyd Gamble and the former Nina Hortense Clinton[1]. She was the younger of two children born to that union. She also had two older step-siblings, Katherine Lee Gamble and Henry Floyd Gamble, Jr. One of the first African-American graduates of the Yale Medical School, Henry Gamble had to "pass" for white in order to complete his education. Anne was eleven years old when her father was killed in a car accident in 1932. Dr. Gamble’s mother had been a slave on the Howard’s Neck Plantation in Goochland County, Virginia. His father Henry Harmon Gamble was a foreman on the same plantation, and was of Scotch-Irish and Native-American descent. Anne’s mother was an accomplished teacher and was one of the Jubilee Singers at Wilberforce University. While on tour with the Wilberforce Jubilee Singers in London, she witnessed and photographed the coronation of King Edward VII in 1901.
Anne Gamble and famed contralto Marian Anderson were dear friends and colleagues. The two met when Anderson stayed in Dr. Gamble's home while in Charleston because, as an African-American, she was not allowed to stay in hotels. Their correspondence can be found in The Marian Anderson Papers.[2]
She received her early education in the segregated public schools of Charleston. Matriculating at Fisk University in 1937, she graduated cum laude in 1941 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Her further education included a Bachelor of Music degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, with additional study at the Juilliard School of MusicGeorge Peabody College, and further artist training with pianist Ray Lev in New York.


Duo Pianists Anne Gamble and Matthew Kennedy
Early in her career, Gamble had been engaged to appear as piano soloist with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto. A few months before the concert, the conductor died suddenly. Her contract was canceled by the conductor's replacement due to suspected racist sentiment.[3] She also auditioned for Duke Ellington while he was in Charleston, who invited her to perform in New York. As a performing artist and teacher, she launched a concert career after serving on the piano faculties of HBCUs Tuskegee Institute and Talladega College[4]. Her career was interrupted when she accepted an invitation extended by Professor John Wesley Work III in 1950 to teach piano at Fisk University for one semester.[5] The “one semester” resulted in Anne Gamble’s tenure of thirty-two years.[6][7] For seventeen of her years at Fisk, she served as accompanist and piano soloist with the Fisk Jubilee Singers[8][9] under directors John Wesley Work and Matthew Kennedy, traveling with them throughout the United States, the Bahamas, and Europe, and performing with them on television, radio, and stage throughout Eastern Europe.[10][11] In 1956 she married Matthew Kennedy. [12]Their daughter is pianist, filmmaker, and orchestral conductor Nina Kennedy.[13]
Anne Gamble Kennedy and her husband traveled and performed widely as duo pianists[14][15], and were especially known for their rendition of Mozart's Sonata for Two Pianos[16]. She received critical acclaim for her performances of Norman dello Joio's A Jubilant Song and Undine Smith Moore's Lord We Give Thanks to Thee[17] with the Fisk Jubilee Singers under Matthew Kennedy at New York's Carnegie Hall and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.[18] Her final faculty recital at Fisk in 1970 included the Liszt Sonata, Bach-Tausig's Toccata and Fugue in D minor, Chopin's BarcarolleRavel's Valses Nobles et Sentimentales, and John W. Work's Appalachia Suite.[19]She received critical acclaim for her performance of Beethoven's Choral Fantasy as piano soloist with the Nashville Symphony and the Fisk University Choir.[20][21][22]

Drawing of Anne Gamble by Aaron Douglas (c)1954
In 1954, celebrated artist Aaron Douglas selected Anne Gamble Kennedy for a series of portraits of distinguished Fisk faculty, commissioned by Fisk University.[23]
After her retirement from Fisk, Kennedy was widely praised for her performances of her own arrangement of Albert Malotte’s "The Lord’s Prayer." She participated in many community activities including The Women’s Advisory Committee of the Tennessee Performing Arts Foundation; music consultant for the Fine Arts Committee of the Nashville Chamber of Commerce; member of “The Outing” Committee, Nashville Symphony Benefit; Vice President of the John W. Work, III Memorial Foundation[24]; the Nashville Chapter of Links, Inc.[25]; and a Life Member of the NAACP. A music scholarship at Fisk University has been named in honor of Anne Gamble Kennedy and her husband: The Matthew and Anne Gamble Kennedy Scholarship Fund.[26]

Selected discography[edit source]

  • Eye of the Storm, Fisk University 43rd Annual Arts Festival, 1972[27]
  • The Fisk Jubilee Singers Live in Rome, Folkways Records, 1956
  • Malagueña, by Ernesto Lecuona, 1939

Notes[edit source]

  1. Jump up^ "HENRY FLOYD GAMBLE"
  2. Jump up^
  3. Jump up^ Kennedy, N. (1987). Anne Gamble and Matthew Kennedy: Taped interviews: Fisk University Library.
  4. Jump up^ "The Pittsburgh Courier from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on September 27, 1947 · Page 8".
  5. Jump up^ Moon, Fletcher (2016). "Highlights From 150 Years of Fisk University's Musical Tradition, Impact, and Influence"Tennessee State University.
  6. Jump up^
  7. Jump up^ Stone, Ruth M. (25 September 2017). "The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music: The World's Music: General Perspectives and Reference Tools". Routledge – via Google Books.
  8. Jump up^
  9. Jump up^ Still, Judith Anne; Dabrishus, Michael J.; Quin, Carolyn L. (3 April 1996). "William Grant Still: A Bio-bibliography". Greenwood Publishing Group – via Google Books.
  10. Jump up^
  11. Jump up^ HILLINGER, CHARLES (6 April 1986). "Group Hits the Right Notes at Fisk : Jubilee Singers Preserve Black Songs of Plantation Life" – via LA Times.
  12. Jump up^
  13. Jump up^ "The Morning Call from Allentown, Pennsylvania on May 15, 1986 · 98".
  14. Jump up^
  15. Jump up^ "The Tennessean from Nashville, Tennessee on February 1, 1981 · Page 88".
  16. Jump up^ NinaKennedyFilmMaker (20 October 2009). "Matthew Kennedy: ONE MAN'S JOURNEY -Part 6" – via YouTube.
  17. Jump up^ "The Tennessean from Nashville, Tennessee on October 7, 1971 · Page 33".
  18. Jump up^
  19. Jump up^ "The Tennessean from Nashville, Tennessee on January 11, 1970 · Page 40".
  20. Jump up^ "The Tennessean from Nashville, Tennessee on April 20, 1975 · Page 89".
  21. Jump up^
  22. Jump up^
  23. Jump up^
  24. Jump up^ "John W. Work III Memorial Foundation Scholarship Fund - The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee - Nashville, TN".
  25. Jump up^ "The Links, Incorporated"
  26. Jump up^ "Matthew & Anne Gamble Kennedy Designated Fund for Fisk University - The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee - Nashville, TN".
  27. Jump up^ "Anne Gamble Kennedy"Discogs.


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