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Black British composer, teacher and opera singer Amanda Aldridge is being remembered today as the latest Google Doodle celebrates her life and career.
Google Doodles often change the classic Google logo to incorporate a historical figure or special occasion relating to a specific date. The Google image for Friday, June 17 features a pairing of Aldridge with a doodle of musical treble clefs on either side.
The woman displayed is Aldridge, who is known for her work as a composer who released dozens of instrumental tracks, parlour music, and more than 30 songs under the pseudonym Montague Ring.
She was born on March 10, 1866, in London.
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On this day in 1911, Aldridge gave a piano recital at London’s pre-war principal concert venue, Queens Small Hall, the original home of the BBC Symphony and London Philharmonic Orchestras.
Google describes Aldridge as an inspirational figure who showed “musical prowess at a young age.”
Amanda Aldridge was the daughter of African-American actor and Swedish opera singer, Ira Aldridge. As a vocalist, she pursued a career at London’s Royal Conservatory of Music, where she studied under eminent Swedish soprano Jenny Lind.
Sadly, Aldridge’s singing career was soon cut short by a throat injury, but she used her talents to develop a prolific career as a vocal teacher, piano player and composer.
According to Google, Aldridge explored her mixed ethnic heritage through the lens of music which led to her combining various rhythmic influences and genres together with poetry from Black American authors to create romantic Parlour music.
Parlour music was a popular genre that was performed in the living rooms of middle-class homes.
Her most famous piece was one of her piano compositions called “Three African Dances,” which was inspired by West African drumming. In addition to her compositions, she taught civil rights activist Paul Robeson and one of America’s first great opera singers, Marian Anderson.
Google writes that Aldridge composed love songs, sambas, and orchestral pieces into her old age, “garnering international attention for her fusion of musical styles.”
At the age of 88, Aldridge appeared for the first time on television on the British show Music for You, which introduced her classic compositions to a whole new generation.
Aldridge died in London on March 9, 1956, one day before her 90th birthday.
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