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Today In Our History – Natalie Hinderas – 1927-1987

Today (June 15th) marks the birthday of Natalie Leota Henderson Hinderas, an African-American classical pianist, composer and Professor at Temple University in Pennsylvania.
Natalie Hinderas was born in Oberlin, Ohio in 1927, on this date to musically talented parents.  Her father (Adam Hinderas) was a jazz pianist, and her mother (Leota Palmer Hinderas) was a classical pianist, who taught at the well-known Cleveland Institute of Music.
Natalie Hinderas began playing at the early age of three (3) years old, and began receiving formal lessons in both piano and violin at the age of six.  She became a child prodigy, giving her first full-length piano recital at the age of eight years old.
Ms. Hinderas received her BS Degree in Music from Oberlin Conservatory in 1945, and was their youngest student (only eighteen years old).  Shortly thereafter, she did her post-graduate work at the Julliard School of Music and at the Philadelphia Conservatory.  In 1954, she made her Town Hall debut, which resulted in her receiving critical acclaim, and allowed her to tour the United States, Europe, West Indies, Asia and Africa.
In the mid-1950s, Ms. Hinderas signed a contract with NBC to perform in their owned and operated stations across the U.S., performing in recitals, concertos and variety shows.  She was the first African-American to perform a subscription concert with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1971.  She also performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, the Cleveland, Atlanta, New York, San Francisco, and Chicago Symphony Orchestras.
Throughout her career, she promoted and recorded works by other African-American performers and composers of the time.  She received several awards and degrees, including the Martha Baird Rockefeller Fellowship and an honorary Doctorate Degree from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania.
Natalie Hinderas was a full professor at Temple University in Pennsylvania, at the time of her death from cancer on July 22, 1987.

Natalie R. Fitten

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