A study of the musical settings of Langston Hughes' poetry in Ricky Ian Gordon's song cycle "Genius Child"

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.)


Music Performance

First Committee Member

David Alt, Committee Chair


This study examines and describes Ricky Ian Gordon's musical interpretation of Langston Hughes' poetry in the song cycle, Genius Child. Chapters 2 and 3 contain biographies of the composer, Ricky Ian Gordon and the poet, Langston Hughes. Chapter 4 is a singer's analysis of each of the ten songs in Genius Child. Appendix A contains a discography. Appendix B contains a personal interview with the composer discussing his compositional process for Genius Child and his life in general. The author performed Genius Child in a doctoral recital on May 1, 2000. The song cycle was written for American soprano, Harolyn Blackwell, who sang the premiere at the Bermuda Festival in 1993. She also recorded Genius Child on her 1994 debut release from RCA Victor entitled Strange Hurt. Genius Child was published by Williamson Music in 1995.


Music; Literature, American

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