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Louie L. White papers

Identifier: SCL-MS-9016

Two and one half linear feet of manuscripts documenting the creative talents of South Carolina born composer Louie L. White are comprised chiefly of penciled or penned holographs of Mr. White's anthems, cantatas, musical dramas, incidental music, and compositions for various instruments. Included in the collection also are early-state photoduplications of his music manuscripts and seventeen tape recordings featuring various presentations of his compositions. In addition, three newspaper clippings, c. 1962, concern the premier performance of Louie White's "Missa Brevis" by the Converse College Chorus.

A number of compositions represented in the collection were written for and dedicated to individuals and organizations with which Louie White was associated during his early years in Spartanburg. They include: "Jubilate Deo," written for the ordination of Marion Hatchett at Spartanburg in June 1952; "Missa Brevis," written for, dedicated to, and first performed by the Converse College Chorus and its director, Alia Ross Lawson; "Stabat Mater," written in honor of Converse College's seventy-fifth anniversary; and "The Brave Volunteer" and "He's Gone Away," arranged for and dedicated to the women's chorus of the Philharmonic Music Club of Spartanburg.


  • 1941 - 1990


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

All rights reside with creator. For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact The South Caroliniana Library.


3.75 Linear Feet (3 cartons)

Biographical Note

Born 1 Aug. 1921 at Spartanburg, composer Louie L. White began his collegiate studies in 1939 at Converse College's co-educational School of Music. His studies there were interrupted by World War II, during which time White served with the 332nd Air Force Fighter Control Squadron in China, Africa, and India, and was decorated with the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. He also directed the Army Choristers in Kunming, China. At the close of the war, White continued his education at Converse, majoring in voice and minoring in composition. He was graduated in 1947 with the degree of Bachelor of Music. While in Spartanburg, White was a member of the Spartanburg Lyric Opera Company and served as bass soloist at the Church of the Advent, 19401942 and 1946-1947. He received the degree of Master of Music from Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, in 1949.

During his early years in New York, Louie White was bass soloist at the Church of the Ascension and also a member of the American Savoyards, a Gilbert and Sullivan company. He held faculty positions at Syracuse University, the Greenwich [Conn.] Academy, and New York's Brearley School. In addition, he lectured on composition at the School of Sacred Music at Union Theological Seminary in New York for eight years and conducted the Greenwich [Conn.] Choral Society for eighteen years. In 1970, White joined the faculty at Rutgers University, Newark, N. J., as an associate professor of music. There he taught composition, conducting, orchestration, voice, and the history of opera as well as serving as acting chairman of the Department of Music during the 1975-1976 academic year.

From 1948, when his cantata, "Praise to the Risen Lord," won the first Church of the Ascension competition for its Ascension Day Festival, Louie White was a major contributor to the world of church music. To quote Vernon de Tar, with whom White was associated at the Church of the Ascension, "Louie White's music is marked by fine melodic lines, warm and conservatively modern harmonies, rhythms that are strong but subservient to the text, and an increasingly masterful craftsmanship, employing all the contrapuntal devices, but always to musical ends." In addition to choral and organ works White wrote sonatas and concertos for piano, harpsichord, oboe, flute, trumpet, organ and harp, organ and brass, a piano quintet, a chancel opera - "Jephthah," and numerous art songs. Among the honors accorded Louie White's compositions during his lifetime was a performance in June 1960 of his Concerto for Harpsichord at the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy, sponsored by JeanCarlo Menotti. He received nationwide recognition in Oct. 1978 when operatic soprano Leontyne Price sang his "Psalm 150" during a televised recital from the White House.

Mr. White died 3 Jan. 1979 while visiting his native Spartanburg on a sabbatical leave of absence designed to allow him the opportunity to write uninterruptedly.


Also includes accession numbers 9107, 9932, and 11370.

Repository Details

Part of the South Caroliniana Library Repository

910 Sumter St.
University of South Carolina
Columbia SC 29208 USA
(803) 777-5747 (Fax)

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