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Ulysses Simpson Kay

Student of William Grant Still

Born January 7, 1917, Tucson, Arizona
Died May 20, 1995, Englewood, New Jersey
About Ulysses Kay

One of the twentieth century's most prominent African-American composers, Ulysses Kay was known in his lifetime mostly for his symphonic and choral writing. Although he once wrote in a letter that "opera is not the medium for our time," Kay did write several, including two evening-length works.

  • The Juggler of Our Lady, opera in one act
    Libretto by Alexander King after a French morality play.
    composed 1956; premiere February 23, 1962, Xavier University Opera Workshop, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • The Boor
    Libretto by the composer after the play by Anton Chekov, translated by Vladimir Ussachevsky.
    composed 1955; premiere April 2, 1968, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky
  • The Capitoline Venus, opera in one act
    Libretto by Judith Dvorkin after an episode in the writings of Mark Twain.
    composed 1969; premiere March 12, 1971, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois
  • Jubilee, opera in three acts
    Libretto by Donald Dorr after the novel by Margaret Walker.
    November 19, 1976, Opera/South, Jackson, Mississippi
  • Frederick Douglass, opera in three acts
    Libretto by Donald Dorr.
    composed 1979-85; premiere April 14, 1991, New Jersey State Opera, Newark Symphony Hall, Newark, NJ

Discography Search for recordings of the music of Ulysses Kay at Amazon.com

No recordings of the operas of Ulysses Kay are currently in our discography database. Click here to search for recordings by this composer at Amazon.com
Bibliography Search for books by and about Ulysses Kay at Amazon.com

Constance Tibbs Hobson and Deborra A. Richardson

Ulysses Kay: A Bio-Bibliography

Greenwood Press 1994

Last update: January 1, 2009