Amanda Aldridge was a British opera singer and prolific composer of romantic 'parlour music.'
On the 17th June, Google Doodle celebrated British composer, teacher and opera singer Amanda Aldridge. She released over thirty songs and dozens of instrumental tracks under the pseudonym Montague Ring. On this day in 1911, Amanda Aldridge gave a piano recital at London's pre-war principal concert venue, Queens Small Hall, the original home of the BBC Symphony and London Philharmonic Orchestras.
Amanda was born the daughter of Ira Aldridge, a Black American Shakespearean actor and Swedish opera singer in 1866, London. Showing her own musical prowess at a young age, Aldridge pursued a career as a vocalist at London’s Royal Conservatory of Music, where she studied under eminent Swedish soprano Jenny Lind. Aldridge’s singing career was soon cut short by a throat injury, but her talents only continued to grow as a vocal teacher, piano player and composer.
Exploring her mixed ethnic heritage through the lens of music, Aldridge combined various rhythmic influences and genres together with poetry from Black American authors to create romantic Parlour music, a popular genre performed in the livingrooms of middle-class homes. Aldridge’s 1913 piano composition “Three African Dances,” inspired by West African drumming, became her most famous piece. In addition to her compositions, she taught civil rights activist Paul Robeson and one of America’s first great opera singers, Marian Anderson.
Aldridge composed love songs, sambas, and orchestral pieces into her old age, garnering international attention for her fusion of musical styles. At 88, Aldridge appeared for the first time on television on the British show “Music for You,” introducing a new generation to her classic compositions.