Rose Library’s William Dawson items to be exhibited at ASO concerts

Dawson ca. 1934, at the time of the premiere of the “Negro Folk Symphony.”

Emory’s Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (Rose Library) is partnering with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) for the upcoming ASO concert series featuring Conrad Tao on February 23 and 24 at the Woodruff Arts Center.

The concert features Alabama composer William Levi Dawson’s “Negro Folk Symphony” (1934, revised ca. 1952). Rose Library holds Dawson’s personal papers, and Emory Libraries staff are curating a small exhibit featuring original music manuscripts, photographs, telegrams, and other documents relating to the “Negro Folk Symphony” premiere and first commercial recording by the Philadelphia Orchestra under the direction of Leopold Stokowski.

The exhibit will be in the Farideh and Al Azadi Galleria, the main lobby of the Woodruff Arts Center, throughout the week of the performance. In addition to concert-goers and the public being able to see the exhibit, high school students from the Atlanta area will be viewing the exhibit Thursday morning, February 23, as part of an educational program.

For tickets to the February ASO concert (starting at $23 + fees) and more information, please visit

Handwritten title page of ca. 1952 revision of Dawson’s “Negro Folk Symphony.”

—by Peter Shirts, Heilbrun Music & Media librarian, Emory Libraries


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