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Thomas Kerr


Clare Longendyke.jpg

Thomas Henderson Kerr junior (born January 3, 1915 in Baltimore , † August 26, 1988 in Washington, DC ) was an American composer and music teacher.

The son of the composer Thomas H. Kerr senior was a student of William Llewellyn Wilson at Douglass High School , from which also the composer Mark Fax , the singer Anne Browne and the jazz musician Cab Calloway emerged . He took piano lessons and learned to play the organ autodidactically. At the age of fourteen he was a church organist and performed in clubs on Pennsylvania Avenue . At the Eastman School of Music he was a piano student of Cecile Genhardt . He obtained a bachelor's degree in piano and a master's degree in the subjectMusic theory .

Initially, Kerr was a lecturer at Knoxville College . In 1942 Warner Lawson appointed him as a teacher of music theory at Howard University . In addition to a time at Eastman School, he was a lifelong professor of composition and director of the piano department at Howard University. He composed works for solo instruments (especially piano and organ), chamber music, songs and choral works and a work for instrumental ensemble. An opera about the life of Frederick Douglass remained unfinished.

The designated lyricist in the English Department never came through with their expected contribution to this endeavor.

Thomas H. Kerr Jr. served as the organist at Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ for 39 years, both at its original location (17th and T streets, NW) and at its new location on North Capital Street, N.E. On occasion, he served as the interim Choir Director during transitions in that position.

He frequently gave concerts at the National Gallery of Art, and also was a soloist with the National Symphony. For many years, he performed as an accompanist at The Tivoli Restaurant, an Operatic dinner theater in Georgetown. For more than 20 years, he provided background music at the yearly Gridiron Club Press Dinners in Washington D.C.

from Wikipedia and his family

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