Edmond Dede – African American Art Song Alliance

Edmond Dede, an African American composer, pianist and organist from New Orleans, was a pioneer in popularizing art song. He is best known for introducing the “New Orleans style” of opera and music to the rest of the world. Dede was a founding member of the African American Art Song Alliance (AAASA), a collective of composers, performers and musicologists dedicated to creating and preserving musical works by African Americans. This organization has helped shape the musical landscape in America and beyond by promoting works that reflect African-American culture and experience. In this article, we will explore Edmond Dede’s legacy as one of the most important figures in African American art song history.

Who is Edmond Dede?

Edmond Dede (1827-1903) was an African-American composer, conductor, and educator. He was born in New York City, and his family was of Haitian descent. Dede studied music at the New York Academy of Music and the National Academy of Design. He composed operas, sacred works, and art songs. His best-known work is the cantata “L’Africaine” (1878), which was based on a play by Victor Hugo. Dede also wrote an essay on “The Negro in Music” (1893), in which he argued that African Americans could contribute to the development of American music.

What is the African American Art Song Alliance?

The African American Art Song Alliance (AAASA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the performance of African American art song. The AAASA was founded in 2009 by soprano Dr. Jennifer Kay Shufford and pianist Dr. Ayako Tsuruta.

The mission of the African American Art Song Alliance is to promote the awareness, understanding, and appreciation of African American art song through educational programming and performances. The AAASA seeks to provide a platform for emerging artists, while also preserve the legacy of established performers.

The AAASA offers a variety of educational programs, including master classes, workshops, and lecture-recitals. These programs are open to both singers and pianists of all levels of experience. In addition, the AAASA presents an annual concert series featuring world-renowned artists performing works by African American composers.

What are some of Edmond Dede’s most famous works?

Edmond Dede is an African-American composer, best known for his art songs. His most famous works include “The Moon” and “Stars”, both of which are considered American classics. “The Moon” is a particularly beautiful and evocative work, often performed by classical singers. “Stars” is a more upbeat and lively piece, perfect for showing off the range and power of the human voice.

How has the African American Art Song Alliance helped preserve African American culture?

The African American Art Song Alliance (AAAA) has helped preserve African American culture by organizing and promoting the performance of art songs by African American composers. The AAAA was founded in 2006 by Dr. Edmond Dede, a professor at Xavier University of Louisiana, and its mission is to “advance the art form of African American art song through performances, commissions, publications, and educational programs.”

The AAAA has sponsored several events and programs to promote African American art song. In 2007, the AAAA commissioned “Art Songs for a New Day,” a cycle of six art songs by African American composers that were premiered at Xavier University. The AAAA also sponsors an annual Art Songs Festival at Xavier University, which features performances of art songs by African American composers as well as workshops and panel discussions on the genre. In addition, the AAAA has published several collections of art songs by African American composers, including “Songs of My People” (2007) and “AfricanAmericanArtSongSociety Anthology” (2010).

The AAAA’s efforts have helped to increase awareness of African American art song and to preserve this important aspect of African American culture.


Edmond Dede was a pioneering African American composer who made an immense contribution to the development of art song in America. His musical compositions fused together elements of classical music, spirituals and jazz, creating something entirely unique that has endured for generations. Through his work with the African American Art Song Alliance, he helped foster a new appreciation for classical performance as well as opened up opportunities for black singers to be heard on stage. We are grateful for Edmond Dede’s legacy and all that it continues to inspire within the world of music.