Akua Dixon

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Akua Dixon is an American composer, classical cellist, and jazz musician. [1]


Early years

Dixon was born and raised in New York City. Her early musical experience included singing in a Baptist church. [2] She was educated at the High School of Performing Arts [3] and the Manhattan School of Music, [4] both in New York.


An early high point in Dixon's career was playing a concert with Duke Ellington when she was about 25 years old. She went on to play at the Copacabana nightclub, at the Apollo Theater (performing with James Brown) and the Waldorf (performing with Diana Ross and Tony Bennett). [3]

Groups in which Dixon has played include the Neo-Bass Ensemble and Quartette Indigo (with her violinist sister, Gayle). [1] Her own group, the Akua Dixon String Ensemble, has accompanied Frank Foster, Antonio Hart, Jimmy Heath, Carmen McRae, Pharaoh Saunders, Woody Shaw, and Buster Williams, among other jazz artists. [3]

Dixon created string arrangements for the CD "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill", which won five Grammy Awards, and for "A Rose Is Still A Rose" by Aretha Franklin, which was nominated for a Grammy Award. [5] Recordings on which Dixon played include the soundtrack of the film School Daze and "Fire and Ice". [1]

With the support of a Rockefeller grant, Dixon composed The Opera of Marie Laveau in the late 1980s. [1]

Dixon received the 1998 African American Classical Music Award from Spelman College, [6] and she received two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts for composition and performance. [1]

Personal life

Dixon married Steve Turre, a jazz trombonist. [1] They have a son and a daughter, both of whom went into music for their careers. [3]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Gourse, Leslie (1996). Madame Jazz: Contemporary Women Instrumentalists. Oxford University Press. p. 259. ISBN   978-0-19-535555-0 . Retrieved April 4, 2020.
  2. "Akua Dixon". Chamber Music America. Archived from the original on April 4, 2020. Retrieved April 4, 2020.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Wirt, George (May 24, 2012). "The string is king for Montclair cellist Akua Dixon". The Montclair Times. New Jersey, Montclair. p. D 3. Retrieved April 5, 2020 via Newspapers.com.
  4. "Akua Dixon Launches Monday Night Music's 'Women In Jazz' Series". The Montclair Times. New Jersey, Montclair. January 25, 2001. p. B 1. Retrieved April 5, 2020 via Newspapers.com.
  5. "Akua Dixon". Newmusic USA. Archived from the original on February 18, 2021. Retrieved February 18, 2021.
  6. "Akua Dixon". JazzBows Music: the soul of jazz strings. Archived from the original on February 18, 2021. Retrieved February 18, 2021.