Matthew Kennedy 100th Birthday Celebration March 10th

Join us as we pay homage to American classical pianist, professor, choral director, composer, and arranger of Negro Spirituals Matthew Kennedy, who was born March 10, 1921 in Americus, Georgia. We will be posting links to his recordings, articles, and film clips as part of his 100th birthday celebration.

As a young boy, Matthew Kennedy sat in the segregated audience for a live concert given by famed Russian pianist and composer Sergei Rachmaninoff. He decided to become a pianist himself after that concert. Soon afterwards, he and his mother traveled to New York City at apply for study at the Juilliard School, for which he won a scholarship as a result of imitating Rachmaninoff's playing style. After graduating from the Juilliard Preparatory Division, he entered Fisk University as a freshman and served as piano accompanist for the Fisk Jubilee Singers under then-director Mrs. James A. Myers. He traveled the world with the group performing several solo pieces on their programs, thus gaining glowing international reviews.

Matthew Kennedy served his country in World War II in North Africa and Southern France. He eventually joined the piano faculty at Fisk University, and was appointed director of the Fisk Jubilee Singers in 1957 by then-director John W. Work III.

Enjoy this opening clip of the award-winning documentary film Matthew Kennedy: One Man's Journey:

Here is the link to the New York Times review of his New York recital debut: PIANIST IN DEBUT HERE (headline): Matthew Kennedy, Teacher at Fisk, Offers a Recital

And, of course, here is his Wikipedia page: Matthew Washington Kennedy


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