Oberlin College and Conservatory

Panel Discussion: Cultural Context in Dett's "The Ordering of Moses" - Livestream

Thursday, January 19, 2023 at 5:30pm to 7:00pm

Virtual Event

Born in Canada and raised in America, composer R. Nathaniel Dett is remembered as an early pioneer who championed the use of Negro spirituals and folk songs as a basis for Western classical compositions—a practice he developed as a student at Oberlin Conservatory. Dett’s 1932 oratorio The Ordering of Moses is widely considered his magnum opus in compositional scale and in its articulation of recurrent issues concerning both the construction of Black identity and artistry.

This discussion brings together prominent scholars and performers from the fields of African American music, choral music, ethnomusicology, music theory, and religion to explore Dett’s music, life, and ideas.


  • Courtney-Savali Andrews, Assistant Professor of African American and African Diasporic Musics at Oberlin College and Conservatory


  • Fredara Hadley, Ethnomusicology Professor at the Juilliard School
  • Jeannie Ma. Guerrero, Retired Associate Professor of Music Theory at the Eastman School of Music
  • Cheryl Kirk-Duggan, Professor-Emerita of Religion and Women's Studies at Shaw University
  • Marques L.A. Garrett, Assistant Professor of Music in Choral Activities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Damien Sneed, Jazz Faculty at the Manhattan School of Music
  • Roland Carter, Holmberg Professor Emeritus of American Music at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga; former Music Department Chair and Choir Director at Hampton University


The panel will take place in-person at Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center in New York City. Stream the event live at 5:30pm on January 19th.

Event Type

Virtual Events, Lectures/Symposia/Workshops, Panel


Administrative, Conservatory of Music

Photo Alternate Text

R. Nathaniel Dett, composer and pianist, circa 1920. Photo credit: United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division

Contact Person

Sally Takada

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