Betty Jackson King

Betty Jackson King's song output includes three settings of poetry by Paul Laurence Dunbar.

Photo: Portrait of composer Betty Jackson King, date unknown, accessed from Detroit Public Library

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Betty King had a rich and varied background in music. She received a B.M. on piano and a M.M. in composition from Roosevelt University, Chicago, Illinois, with further study at Oakland University, Glassboro College, and others. Her piano teachers included her mother, Gertrude Jackson Taylor, Saul Dorfman, and Maurice Dumesnil; organ: Joseph Lockett and Abba Leifer; Composition: Karel B. Jarik; and voice: Thelma Waide Brown. She taught at the University of Chicago Laboratory School, Roosevelt University, Dillard University (New Orleans, LA), and Wildwood High School (Wildwood, NJ). King pursued careers in composing and teaching and served as a choral conductor-clinician and lecturer in churches and universities. Her honors include a scholarship from the Chicago Umbrian Glee Club, awards from the National Association of Negro Musicians, Inc., “Outstanding Leaders in Elementary and Secondary Education”, and “The International Black Writers Conference”. King was past president of NANM, Inc. Her compositions include Saul of Tarus, My Servant Job, Biblical operas; Simon of Cyrene, Easter cantata; Requiem; The Kids in School With Me, ballet with orchestration; Life cycle for violin and piano; Vocalise for soprano, cello and piano; sacred, secular novelty, choral compositions; and spiritual arrangements.

African American Art Song Alliance 2017 Conference program booklet

Related Information




How Sweet the Sound

(Margaret Bonds, Henry T. Burleigh, Maria Thompson Corley, Jacqueline Hairston, Moses Hogan, Hall Johnson, Thomas H. Kerr, Betty Jackson King, Robert L. Morris, Hale Smith, Spiritual and George Walker)


American Songbook - The American Music Collection, Vol. 3

(Amy Marcy Beach, Leonard Bernstein, Marc Blitzstein, William Bolcom, Aaron Copland, Charles Ives, Betty Jackson King, Libby Larsen and Kurt Weill)


Sheet Music

A Set of Three Dunbar Poems

Composer(s): Betty Jackson King

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Second Anthology of Art Songs by Black American Composers (Out-of-Print)

Composer(s): Leslie Adams, Adolphus Hailstork, John Rosamond Johnson, Hall Johnson, Betty Jackson King, Howard Swanson, John W. Work III

Song(s): "Prayer" (H. Leslie Adams)
"Flying" (H. Leslie Adams)
"Midas, Poor Midas" (H. Leslie Adams)
"Christ at a Wedding" (H. Leslie Adams)
"The Future" (T.J. Anderson)
"I Want to Be Free" (T.J. Anderson)
"People" (T.J. Anderson)
"Life" (T.J. Anderson)
"Hymn to Parnassus"(R. Nathaniel Dett)
"Music I Heard with You" (Roger Dickerson)
"I Dream a World" (Uzee Brown Jr.)
"If He Only Walked in Gardens" (Mark Fax)
"Entreat Me Not" (Mark Fax)
"Slave Song" (Adolphus Hailstork)
"Songs of Love and Justice": "Justice," "Difficulties," "Decisions," "Love" (Adolphus Hailstork)
"Four Love Songs: "My Heart to Thy Heart," "Invitation to Love," "Longing," "Goodnight," "If we must die"(Adolphus Hailstork)
"Three Simple Songs": "In Vain," "The Daffodils," "Christmas Everywhere" (Adolphus Hailstork)
"Lil' gal" (J. Rosamond Johnson)
"Crossing the Bar" (Hall Johnson)
"The Foundling" (Hall Johnson)
"Thou Art My Lute" (Thomas Kerr Jr.)
"In Memoriam" (Thomas Kerr Jr.)
"Soliloquy (Haunted)" (Thomas Kerr Jr.)
"When You Feel a Little Blue" (James Lee III)
"Three Dunbar Poems": "Compensation," "Theology," "Dawn" (Betty Jackson King)
"Hatred" (Robert L. Morris)
"Ubique" (Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson)
"The Faithless Shepherdess" (Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson)
From "Thirteen Jazz Settings": "In Case You Put Me Down," "They All Say You're Lovely," "No, Babe, We Never Swing," "You are Not Quite the Air," "In Your Arms Baby" (Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson)
"One Day" (Howard Swanson)
"Snow Dunes" (Howard Swanson)
"Breathe on Me, Breath of God" (John W. Work, III)

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Art Songs and Spirituals by African-American Women Composers (Vivian Taylor, ed.)

Composer(s): Margaret Bonds, Betty Jackson King, Dorothy Rudd Moore, Undine Smith Moore, Julia Perry, Zenobia Powell Perry, Florence Price

Song(s): Calvary (Spiritual) (1954) - Betty Jackson King
Come Down Angels (Spiritual) (1978) - Undine Smith Moore
Dry Bones (Spiritual) (1946) - Margaret Bonds
Free At Last (Spiritual) (1951) - Julia Perry
He's Got the Whole World In His Hand (Spiritual) (1963) - Margaret Bonds
I Am in Doubt (1975) - Undine Smith Moore
I'm a Poor Li'l Orphan in This Worl' (Spiritual) (1952) - Julia Perry
In the Springtime (1976) - Betty Jackson King
Is There Anybody Here That Loves My Jesus (Spiritual) (1981) - Undine Smith Moore
It's Me, O Lord (Spiritual) (1988) - Betty Jackson King
Lord, I Just Can't Keep from Cryin' (Spiritual) (1946) - Margaret Bonds
Love Let the Wind Cry… How I Adore Thee (1977) - Undine Smith Moore
My Dream (1935) - Florence B. Price
My Soul's Been Anchored in the Lord (Spiritual) (1937) - Florence B. Price
Night (1946) - Florence B. Price
Song to the Dark Virgin (1926) - Florence B. Price
The Negro Speaks of Rivers (1942) - Margaret Bonds
Three Dream Portraits (1959) - Margaret Bonds
Watch and Pray (Spiritual) (1972) - Undine Smith Moore

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