Edmond Dédé was a Catholic African American composer and conductor of classical music. He spent majority of his adult life in Europe, Paris to be specific but originally from New Orleans, Louisiana. He was born to free Creole parents of color. Music was part of his genes; his father was a bandmaster for a local military group and first music teacher.
Table of Contents
Early life and Nationality
The music genius is an American and a violin prodigy. Dede’s dad was a music teacher, a marketman and a poultry dealer. As a child growing up, he had likeness towards the clarinet but later moved to violin, his true passion. Rodolphe Kruetzer was his favorite composer and he loved to play his compositions though he performed his own composition as well. He took musical lessons from the renowned Italian born theatre orchestra and composer, Ludovico Gabici. Constantin Debergue also instructed him in his young days. The father of Sidney and Charles Lucien Lambert, Charles Richard Lambert taught Dede the theory of music.
At the end of Mexican American war in 1848, he relocated to Mexico to make ends meet thereby terminating the instructions from Ludovico. In 1852, after spending 6 years in Mexico, he came back to gather money to travel to Europe. In this period he worked as a cigar maker.
After he arrived in Paris, the experience he had gathered in cigar making enabled him to help out his friend Joseph Tinchant set up a division of the Tinchant family cigar business when he relocated to Belguim.
Later on in 1857, he relocated back to Paris. The Paris conservatoire made him an auditeur, he also studied with Fromental Halvey and Jean Delphin Alard.
Date of Birth and age
He was born in November, 20 1827. He was 75 years old
For over 40 years, he worked as an assistant conductor at the Grand Theatre and thereafter as the conductor of the orchestra at the Theatre l’Alcazar and the Folies bordelaises in Bordeaux. At the eminent Grand Theatre, Dede performed songs he personally wrote.
In 1864 when he settled in Bodeaux, he came to New Orleans just once. His freight got sank en route to New Orleans in 1893, thereby occasioning a rescue. This unfortunate incident made him lose his precious Cremona violin. After his arrival in New Orleans and in his honor, three concerts were held in which he took part actively. The concert saw New Orleans’ musical elites like the State’s musical innovators, William J. Nickerson, the teacher of Jelly Roll Morton come together to honor Dede.
Maor compositions of the musical genius includes; Mon Pauvre Coeur, translated as “my poor heart”. He composed this music in 1852. After this release, he also wrote Quasimondo Symphony. Quasimondo is a Latin word which means “almost like”. It was written in 1865. Dede continued in his quest of music, he also wrote Le Palmer overture in 1865. During a stint in Algeria, Dede wrote Le Serment de L’Arabe which means the “Arab’s Oath”. His passion for composing grew stronger and stronger. In the 1860s he composed Mephisto Masque; this is to wit, “Masked Mephisto”. In 1887, he also wrote Morgiane, ou, Le sultan d’Ispahan, an opera in four acts.
An African American conductor and musician Samuel Snaer, Jr conducted the first ever performance of Dede’s Quasimondo Symphony in New Orleans. This was performed to a large distinguished free people of color and other northern whites on the 10th of May, 1865. It was performed in his absence.
In his career as a composer, he wrote ballets, overtures, operettas, and over 250 dances and songs. To add, a cantata and he composed six string quartets. Many works of Edmond Dede have been preserved at the bibliotheque Nationale de France in Paris.
Because of his demise long ago, much information about his worth is not known though eafeed.com estimates him to be around $500,000.
Edmond Dédé fell in love with a beautiful Frenchwoman, Sylvie Leflet. The love duo tied the knot in 1864. Their union was blessed with an only child, Eugene Arcade Dédé who was also a classical music composer. As I mentioned earlier on in this biography, music runs in their genes. It was not a surprise when his son decided tour the path of his fathers.
Is also unknown
Edmond Dede passed on to glory on 5th January, 1903.