From Oberlin to Berlin

Marva Griffin Carter

in Swing Along

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780195108910
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199865796 | DOI:
                   From Oberlin to Berlin

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This chapter discusses how Will Cook satisfied his musical interest by seriously studying the violin from 1883 to 1887 at Oberlin Conservatory. It discusses how Will outgrew Professor Doolittle’s violin instruction and how he studied and enjoyed his stay at Berlin’s Hochschule für Musik under the Austro-Hungarian violinist Joseph Joachim. It then narrates Cook’s return to Washington after a year’s study in Germany as a musical phenomenon performing some of the masterpieces upon his violin with one hand, probably because he had depleted his funds and became ill. It discusses how Will made a dramatic name change by abandoning the middle name Mercer, in favor of Marion, in honor of his mother. It explains that Will changed his name for he heard Langston boasting about how he got his best features from his white ancestors. It shows that Cook’s racial consciousness and pride were dramatically sensitive aspects of his personality.

Keywords: Oberlin Conservatory; William Marion Cook; Berlin’s Hochschule für Musik; racial consciousness; racial pride

Chapter.  4798 words. 

Subjects: American Music

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