Catalog

Billy Strayhorn


Biography

As a child in the small town of Hillsborough in New Jersey, Billy Strayhorn held an unwavering attraction for his grandmother’s piano. This ardent interest in the piano later grew into Strayhorn’s beginnings and musical growth as a musician and composer in the classical and jazz genres. In 1939, 22 year-old Strayhorn made his musical mark on Duke Ellington’s band, as he took the role as arranger, composer, and pianist in this prominent jazz band. Some of Strayhorn’s well-known compositions include “Chelsea Bridge, ” “Day Dream, ” “Johnny Come Lately” and “Rain Check.” Furthermore, Strayhorn did not stray from his classical route, as he penned arrangements such as “Nutcracker Suite” and “Peery Gynt Suite.”

As a child in the small town of Hillsborough in New Jersey, Billy Strayhorn held an unwavering attraction for his grandmother’s piano. This ardent interest in the piano later grew into Strayhorn’s beginnings and musical growth as a musician and composer in the classical and jazz genres. In 1939, 22 year-old Strayhorn made his musical mark on Duke Ellington’s band, as he took the role as arranger, composer, and pianist in this prominent jazz band. Some of Strayhorn’s well-known compositions include “Chelsea Bridge,” “Day Dream,” “Johnny Come Lately” and “Rain Check.” Furthermore, Strayhorn did not stray from his classical route, as he penned arrangements such as “Nutcracker Suite” and “Peery Gynt Suite.”

In 1965, Strayhorn died of cancer. However, his legacy continues to live on. In response to his death, a record was released of Strayhorn’s greatest hits, entitled And His Mother Called Him Bill. Later, the Julliard School of Music and Duke Ellington established a scholarship fund in honor of Strayhorn.

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