Dett, Robert Nathaniel (1882 - 1943)
Robert Nathaniel Dett (October 11, 1882 – October 2, 1943), often known as R. Nathaniel Dett and Nathaniel Dett, was a composer, organist, pianist and music professor. While born in Canada, he spent most of his professional career in the United States. During his lifetime he was a leading Black composer, known for his use of African-American folk songs and spirituals as the basis for choral and piano compositions in the 19th century Romantic style of Classical music.
He was among the first Black composers during the early years of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). His works often appeared among the programs of Will Marion Cook's New York Syncopated Orchestra. Dett performed at Carnegie Hall and at the Boston Symphony Hall as a pianist and choir director.