Edmond Dédé was a black French creole American composer who was born to a French couple from the West Indies in New Orleans in 1827. His father was a militia unit’s bandmaster. Dédé was originally introduced to the clarinet as a child, but it was with the violin that he found his true vocation, and he was quickly called the child prodigy. From the initial Edmond to the latter Edmund, his name has been spelled in a variety of ways. He studied violin with renowned violinists such as Constantin Debergue and Ludovico Gabici, who were born in Italy. He is best known for his works Mon Pauvre Coeur (1852), Quasimodo Symphony (1865), Le Palmier Overture (1865), and many others. Because of the hatred in the United States, he fled to Mexico and subsequently returned to the United States, where he worked as a cigar maker to gather money so that he could travel to Europe. Edmond Dédé passed away in Paris in 1903. Continue reading to learn more about this remarkable artist.
Childhood and Adolescence
Edmond Dédé was born in 1827 in New Orleans, Louisiana. In 1809, his parents immigrated to the United States from the French West Indies. His father was the bandmaster for the militia battalion.
His first inclination was to play the clarinet, but he quickly discovered that the violin was his true calling, and he demonstrated his talent so thoroughly that he became renowned as the kid violin prodigy. Constantin Debergue, a local free black musician and director of the local Philharmonic Society created by free Creoles of color, taught him the violin.
Later, he studied under Ludovico Gabici, the director of the St. Charles Theater Orchestra, an Italian-born artist. Dédé is also credited with being one of the city’s first music publishers. To hone his musical abilities, he studied counterpoint and harmony with French-born Eugène Prévost, winner of the 1831 Prix de Rome and leader of the orchestra at the Théâtre d’Orléans.
He also studied with Charles-Richard Lambert, the father of Sidney and Charles Lucien Lambert and a conductor for the Philharmonic Society, a black musician from New York.
He took a few lessons with Ludovico Gabici before fleeing to Mexico owing to the difficult environment. Dédé afterward returned and began working as a cigar maker in order to save money so that she might return to Europe.
In 1852, he wrote “Mon pauvre Coeur,” which is the oldest surviving piece of sheet music by a New Orleans Creole of color. He traveled to Belgium and then France with the money he made and the support of his pals. He auditioned for and was accepted into the Paris Conservatoire de Musique (Paris Conservatory of Music) in 1857.
It was here that he became friends with one of the conservatory’s teachers, the illustrious Jacques-François Halevy, with whom he had a long-lasting connection. Jean Delphin Alard, a well-known French violinist and teacher, also taught him. He moved to Bordeaux, France, after finishing his studies.
Dédé met and fell in love with Sylvie Leaflet, the daughter of a local bourgeois, during his personal life. In 1864, the couple married, and their son Eugene Arcade was born in 1865.
Dédé was born and went on to become a composer of classical music. Eugene’s father coordinated his ‘Mazurka En chasse.’ He took over as an instrumentalist and composer after Dédé.
Career as a musician
Dédé had a long career as Orchestra Conductor at the Theatre l’Alcazar, where he worked for 27 years. He conducted light music performances at the Folies Bordelaises at this time.
In 1865, he composed his most famous work, the ‘Quasimodo Symphony,’ which was originally performed in the New Orleans Theater on May 10, 1865, by African-American conductor and musician Samuel Snaer Jr. Dédé went on to write further music, including “Le Palmier Overture” and “Le Sermente de L’Arabe.”
In 1893, he paid his final journey to New Orleans on the liner Marseille, which was nearly sunk in a catastrophe at sea. Dédé survived, but his treasured Cremona violin was lost at sea. Despite his obvious devastations, he proceeded to perform with a new instrument, which received widespread acclaim.
Dédé then said his goodbyes to his hometown with the song ‘Patriotism,’ in which he lamented his fate of having to live far away due to “implacable prejudice” at home. The Société des Jeunes-Amis, a prominent local social group made up primarily of Creoles of color, then gave him honorary membership.
However, due to ethnic disparities and his family’s relocation to France, he turned down the offer. In 1894, he returned to France to join the Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers as a full member.
Compositions That Are Important
Dédé’s works include operettas, ballets, chamber music, and popular songs. His music was influenced by a variety of factors, including his background in the United States, his French education, and his conducting of French repertoire. His style can be described as typical mid-nineteenth-century with orchestral use.
1892, Chicago (Grand valse a l’Americaine).
All the dogs, all the cats, all the dogs, all the cats, all the cats, all the cats, all the cats, all (Duo burlesque)
Fin de siècle Mirliton (Polka originale), 1892
Champêtre Rêverie, 1891
Mazurka elegante en chasse
Polka fantastique for piano, Mephisto masque, 1889
Battez aux champs (Cantata dediee a S. M. l’Empereur Napoleon III) for voice and piano
El Pronunciamento is a Spanish march for orchestra.
Patriotism is a song for voice and piano. 1893
1881 chansonnette by Cora La Bordelaise for voice and piano
Mon pauvre Coeur is a song written for voice and piano. 1852
Chansonnette for voice and piano, Mon Sous Off! 1876
Saynete comique Mon Sous Off!cier, Quadrille brillante, Francoise et Tortillard, Francoise et Tortillard, Francoise et Tortillard, Francoise et Tortillard, Francoise et Tor 1877
Quasimodo Symphony, 1865
The Final Days
Edmond Dédé died in 1903 in Paris. The Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris has retained the majority of his works.
Estimated Net worth
The net worth of Edmond Dede is unknown. There is no information on his net worth because he is no longer alive.