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Edmond Dede
World Famous Black Creole musician / composer






Edmond Dede


Edmond Dede was a black creole born in New Orleans about 1829, a contemporary of McCarty and of Snaer. A violin prodigy, he first studied in New Orleans under the tutorship of skillful and conscientious teachers. After having mastered everything in his field available to a black man in the city, he went to Europe on the advice of understanding friends.

He visited Belgium first, but not finding in that little kingdom the object of his search, he traveled to Paris, where he received a ready welcome. In this enlightened capital, in which everyone acknowledges talent wherever it exists, Edmond Dede met with sympathy and assistance.


Listen to his Music..

In this hospitable country, he found the opportunity he was seeking, namely, that of perfecting his gift in music and of going as far as he possibly could in his profession as a violinist. Through the intervention of friends, he was soon admitted as an auditioner for the Paris Conservatory of Mus

His progress and his triumphs quickly attracted the attention of the musical world, and he was given all the consideration awarded to true merit. He was the conducter of the Theater of Bordeaux for twenty-five years. The violin always remained his instrument.

In 1893 Dede returned to New Orleans, where he presen

ted a number of concerts. The music critic of L'Abeille, among others, honored him by attending one of his performances. He was greatly impressed at seeing Dede play "Le Trouvere" without a score, and gave him ample praise in the columns of his newspaper.



The ship on which Dede had booked passagefrom France to New Orleans had such a rough crossing that the vessel was compelled to seek port on the Texas coast. During the experience Dede lost his favorite violin, a Cremona.

This misfortune, however, did not prevent his appearance in New Orleans-often in concert halls with poor acoustics-where he captivated his audiences even with a borrowed instrument greatly inferior to his lost Cremona. It is said he memorized the works of all the great masters. He has left us two ballads: "Patriotisme" and "Si J'etais Lui [If I Were He]." He should not be judged solely by these compositions.

He wrote thousands of such pieces, not counting the dances and the ballets distributed over all parts of Europe wehre he visited or lived. In Algeria he composed the "Serment de l'Arabe [The Pledge of the Arab]." His compositions were all of high quality. He even began the composition of a grand opera called Le Sultan d'Ispahan [The Sultan of Spain], which he never completed because of illness. Edmond Dede died in Paris in 1903.


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