Roland Hayes

Roland Hayes

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Roland Hayes

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Roland Hayes (June 3, 1887 – January 1, 1977) was a lyric tenor and is considered the first African American male concert artist to receive wide international acclaim as well as at home. Critics lauded his abilities and linguistic skills with songs in French, German and Italian.

Biography and career

Hayes was born in Curryville, Georgia, near Calhoun, on June 3, 1887, to Fanny and William Hayes, who were former slaves. When Hayes was eleven his father died, and his mother moved the family to Chattanooga, Tennessee. William Hayes claimed to have some Cherokee ancestry, while his maternal great-grandfather, Aba Ougi (also known as Charles) was a chieftain from Côte d'Ivoire. Aba Ougi was captured and shipped to America in 1790.The University of North Carolina library extension publication, Volumes 10-11 (1944), p. 25 He was a singer trained with Arthur Calhoun in Chattanooga as well as at Fisk University in Nashville. As a student he began publicly performing, touring with the Fisk Jubilee Singers in 1911. He furthered his studies in Boston with Arthur Hubbard. During his period studying with Hubbard he was a messenger at the Hancock Life Insurance Company to support himself. Then in London he studied with George Henschel and Amanda Ira Aldridge.

He began with arranging his own recitals and coast-to-coast tours from 1916–1919. He sang at Craig's Pre-Lenten Recitals and several Carnegie Hall concerts. He made his official debut...
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