Musical prodigy Dean Dixon made history by becoming the first African-American to conduct the New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra. Although Dixon’s race barred him from success domestically, he went on to achieve global recognition for his talents. Dixon was born January 10, 1915 in Harlem to Caribbean parents. Dixon learned the violin at age three and became extremely adept at playing by age nine. Dixon’s talent made him into a local celebrity, and he made frequent radio appearances.
At age 13, he opened his own school of music to help his mother with bills. At 17, he enrolled at the prestigious Julliard School of Music, studying conducting under the tutelage of composer Albert Stoessel. After leaving Columbia University, Dixon found opportunities for conducting to be scarce so he began his own classical orchestra.
In 1938, when he was 23, Dixon made his professional debut drawing support from then-First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Mrs. Roosevelt famously supported the work of Black classical musicians such as Marian Anderson, and she gave Dixon a glowing endorsement in her syndicated music column after a concert at the Heckscher Theater.
While that endorsement should have been a career changing moment for Dixon, his race remained a strong barrier. However, his presence in the classical world could no longer be denied and eventually, he caught the attention of the New York Philharmonic. On August 10, 1941, three years after his debut, he conducted the symphony. Despite that achievement, none of the professional orchestras in the U.S. wanted to relinquish conducting duties to a Black man. so Dixon left the country in 1949.
He was the first American to conduct two orchestras in Europe: the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra in Sweden (1953-1960) and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra in Germany (1960-1974). Between 1964 and 1967, Dixon was also the conductor of Sydney Symphony Orchestra in Australia. So sought after was Dixon that he was booked for guest conducting engagements three years in advance.
Being seen as an elite American conductor became his preferred distinction, although he was certainly proud of his achievements as a Black man despite the early struggles he faced. In 1970, Dixon returned to the United States to conduct the New York Philharmonic once more, but this time with the notoriety and accolades he earned while working abroad. Dixon died in Switzerland in 1976. He was 61 years old.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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