Luther Henderson – March 14th in African American History

March 14, 1919 Luther Henderson, arranger, composer, orchestrator, and pianist, was born in Kansas City, Missouri.

Luther Henderson
In 1942, Henderson earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the Juilliard School of Music. From 1944 to 1946, he served as staff orchestrator for the United States Navy School of Music.

Henderson served as orchestrator, or arranger, or music director, or composer on more than 50 Broadway musicals, including “Funny Girl” (1964), “No No Nanette” (1971), and “Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music” (1981). In 1992, he was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Score for “Jelly’s Last Jam” and in 1997 he was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Orchestration for “Play On!.”

Henderson died July 29, 2003 and in 2004 was posthumously designated a NEA Jazz Master, the highest honor bestowed by the United States on a jazz musician, by the National Endowment for the Arts. The Luther Henderson Scholarship Fund provides scholarships to students of color to pursue studies in orchestration, arranging and composition at The Julliard School.

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