RRC Blog

Claire Thai, student archives assistant

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A language all America should know : composer, William Frederick Cardin "Pejawah"

Posted by Claire Thai, student archives assistant on 2/16/21 9:55 AM

Fred Cardin headshot, circa 1927, Curtis ArchivesWilliam Frederick Cardin, also known as Pejawah (Big Cat), pioneered the recognition of Native American music as an integral part of mainstream American culture. His accomplishments both as a composer and violinist were second to none—but a successful career was not his only ambition; he sought to bring awareness to Native American music and art. In an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer he stated: “The music of the Indian tells a story of those trees. It talks of flowers and grass and hills and valleys in a language all America should know. It is an important and valuable part of the Nation’s heritage, and it should not be allowed to die.” i

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Topics: Curtis Archives and Library

The Legacy of Ursula Guy Curd

Posted by Claire Thai, student archives assistant on 2/4/21 10:21 AM

Ursula Guy CurdUrsula Guy Curd (1890-1988) was an African American pianist admitted to the first class at the Curtis Institute of Music in 1924. Her musical ability was described as “unforgettable” with “clear tone and marvelous touch” by the 1942 Pittsburgh Courier—but to limit her memory to that of just an excellent pianist would sell her accomplishments short. She was a founding member of the Omega Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, a sorority dedicated to the advancement of education and culture of African American women. From the early 1900s to today, Alpha Kappa Alpha has been at the forefront of social action for African Americans, from creating the first congressional lobby to advocate for better working and living conditions to establishing the American Council of Human Rightsi. In addition to her performance career and her social contributions, she was a teacher in the Philadelphia Public School System, a prolific piano teacher to students in Philadelphia, wife to Dr. Kirksey Curd, and mother to Ursula A. Curd (more affectionately known as “little Ursie”).

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Topics: Curtis Archives and Library