TOURGEE ALBION DEBOSE
(AUGUST 20, 1894 – JULY 1, 1971)
A native of Gainesville, Florida, DeBose graduated from Fisk University with Music Honors. The success of his undergraduate study led to a full academic career during which DeBose was a three time scholarship recipient. Noted achievements appear, first, at Oberlin Conservatory, then with the late Carl Friedberg of the Juilliard School of Music, and finally, under the Rosenwald Foundation at the Ecole Normale/Supérieure de Musique under founder, Alfred Cortot in 1932.
A Town Hall debut was successfully achieved in 1933 in New York, followed by appearances with the Kryl Symphony Orchestra. [Ref. 1940: The concert engagement of the Kryl Symphony Orchestra, America’s only touring concert organization, will be heard in the Auditorium October 2nd at 9:00 p. m. This orchestra, composed of fifty players and three soloists, was organized thirty-two years ago by Eohumir Kryl, whom critics the world over consider the greatest coronetist of the present day.]
Appearances as featured pianist included New York, Philadelphia, Louisville, Indianapolis, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Atlanta. Many university engagements included Fisk, Howard, Notre Dame, Talladega, Lincoln and Southern University.
Teaching positions included Howard University, Talladega College (1924-1940) and Southern University, the latter at which he spent the greatest number of years (c. 1944-1969).
Memberships included The B-Sharp Music Club of New Orleans, The National Association of Negro Musicians and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
Influence on the Division of Music at Southern University was considerable as he not only taught piano, served as Chairman of the Piano Department, but also served as Head of the Music Division.
The level of efficiency of operations and proficiency of teaching and performance reached a high level that attracted teachers and students of great ability and music talent. He performed solo piano recitals as a part of the University Lyceum attractions annually.
Work to instill great desire for perfection was projected throughout the State of Louisiana as he served as a consultant and judge in the LIALO (Louisiana Interscholastic, Athletic and Literary Association). Many standards of performance were established under his guidance.
Upon his leave from university duties, he maintained a full time Studio at his home in Baton Rouge, where he taught and held student recitals. He continued to perform with great skill and scholarship to the year of his death, 1971.
“Travailleur nature de virtuoso. Interessant et profonde. Il a d’enormes qualities, de grandes facilities.”
- Lucien Wurmser, L’ecole normale de musique, Paris.
“Mr. Tourgee DeBose is a pianist of superior abilities. His technique is so far advanced that he is able to impart to every work he performs the particular character that belongs to it. His playing has finish, breadth and charm. I confidently bespeak for him the favor of concert managers and lovers of music.”
- Edward Dickinson, A.M.; Professor of the History and Criticism of Music, Oberlin College
Author of “The Education of a Music Lover,” and other works