Ulysses Kay biography

Ulysses Kay


1917 – 1995


Who was Ulysses Kay?

Ulysses Kay was an African-American composer. His music is mostly neoclassical in style.

Kay, the nephew of the classic jazz musician King Oliver, studied piano, violin and saxophone. Kay attended the University of Arizona where he was encouraged by the African-American composer William Grant Still. He went for graduate work to the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, and there worked under Howard Hanson and Bernard Rogers.

Ulysses Kay met the eminent neoclassical composer Paul Hindemith in the summer of 1941 at the Berkshire Music Center and followed Hindemith to Yale for a formative year of study from 1941 to 1942.

After a stint as a musician in the United States Navy during the World War II, Ulysses Kay studied at Columbia University under Otto Luening with the assistance of a grant from the Julius Rosenwald Fund. In addition to this prize, Kay received a series of five other significant awards in the year following his discharge from the Navy including the Alice M. Ditson Fellowship, a grant from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, an award from the American Composers and American Broadcasting Company, a $500 award from the third annual George Gershwin Memorial Contest for "A Short Overture," and a $700 award from the American Composers Alliance for his "Suite for Orchestra."


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"Ulysses Kay." Biographies.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 3 Mar. 2021. <https://www.biographies.net/people/en/ulysses_kay>.

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Jan 7, 1917
Also known as
  • Ulysses Simpson Kay Jr.
  • African American
  • United States of America
  • Eastman School of Music
  • University of Arizona
  • Columbia University
Lived in
  • Tucson
May 20, 1995

on July 23, 2013

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