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MMD > Archives > November 2002 > 2002.11.20 > 04Prev  Next

James P. Johnson Opera "De Organizer" Restored
By Robbie Rhodes

During an epoch of intense labor organizing in the late 1930s,
two giants of the Harlem Renaissance, jazz pianist and composer
James P. Johnson and poet/novelist Langston Hughes, collaborated
on the creation of a one-act opera, "De Organizer."

A blues opera about organizing sharecroppers, "De Organizer" was
performed once at Carnegie Hall in New York City in 1940 during
a convention of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union.
And then it disappeared.

James Dapogny, who transcribed the piano solos of Jelly Roll Morton,
chanced on a partial score of the opera in 1997 among papers given
to the Black Music Student Association at University of Michigan.
The partial score has been reconstituted and will be performed next
month in Detroit and Ann Arbor, Michigan.  More at

Robbie Rhodes

 [ The title, "De Organizer", sounds like it could be the name of
 [ a Dutch street organ!  -- Robbie

(Message sent Wed 20 Nov 2002, 21:44:31 GMT, from time zone GMT-0800.)

Key Words in Subject:  De, James, Johnson, Opera, Organizer, P, Restored

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