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date: 02 April 2020

Ballanta(-Taylor), Nicholas George Juliuslocked

  • Josephine Wright


(b Kissy (nr Freetown), Sierra Leone, March 14, 1893; d ?Sierra Leone, 1961). African ethnomusicologist and composer. Missionaries changed Ballanta, the grandfather’s African surname, to Taylor. Nicholas George’s father, Gustavus, hyphenated the name, under which the son published. He sang and played the organ at St. Patrick’s Chapel, Kissy, as a youth. In 1917 he passed the intermediary examination for the BM degree at Fourah Bay College, Freetown, an affiliate of the University of Durham, UK, but he could not complete this degree because of travel requirements that the final examination be taken in England. Between 1918 and 1919, he participated in a Freetown choral society, for which he wrote the oratorio Belshazzar’s Feast. He spent the winter of 1921 in Boston, sponsored by an American patron, where he conducted his African Rhapsody at Symphony Hall and studied orchestration privately. In 1922 he matriculated at the New York Institute of Music Art (now Juilliard School of Music), where he obtained his diploma (...

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