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Dwight AndrewsProfessor of Music Theory & African American Music


  • PhDYale University1993


Dwight Andrews, composer, musician, educator, and minister, joined the Emory College faculty in 1987. A native of Detroit, Dr. Andrews is Professor of Music Theory and African American Music at Emory University and Senior Minister of First Congregational United Church of Christ in Atlanta. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees in music from the University of Michigan. Dr. Andrews continued his studies at Yale University, receiving a Master of Divinity degree and a Ph.D. in Music Theory. He has taught at Yale, Harvard, Rice, and Spelman College. In 1997, he was named the first Quincy Jones Visiting Professor of African American Music and delivered the 2004 Alain Locke Lectures at Harvard University. Also at Harvard, Andrews was appointed a Hutchins Research Fellow in 2020. In 2003, he served as Visiting Professor of Composition at the Yale School of Music.

While at Yale, Andrews served as Associate Pastor of Christ's Church and was on the faculty of the Music Department and African American Studies Program for over ten years. He also served as the Resident Music Director (1979-1986) at the Yale Repertory Theater under Lloyd Richards. It was during this period that his fruitful association with playwright August Wilson began. As a result, Andrews served as music director for the Broadway productions of August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, Joe Turner's Come and Gone, Fences, The Piano Lesson, and Seven Guitars. He also served as Music Director for the Broadway revival productions of Ma Rainey starring Charles S. Dutton and Whoopi Goldberg, and collaborated with Director Kenny Leon on the Broadway productions of A Raisin in the Sun, starring Sean Combs and Phylicia Rashad and The Ohio State Murders featuring Audra McDonald. Known for his contributions to dramatic theater works, he has worked with Athol Fugard, Pearl Cleage, and Wole Soyinka.  Andrews’ work has been presented at professional theatres throughout the United States and Great Britain.

Andrews' film credits include PBS Hollywood’s The Old Settler, directed by Debbie Allen and starring Phylicia Rashad, Louis Massiah’s documentary films, W.E.B. DuBois: A Biography in Four Voices and Louise Alone Thompson: In Her Own Words, Charlene Gilbert’s Homecoming, the Hallmark Hall of Fame’s The Piano Lesson, HBO’s Miss Evers’ Boys, and the theme for Sam Pollard’s PBS documentary on African American contributions to the arts in the twentieth century entitled, I’ll Make Me a World. He has served as consultant on the PBS/Henry Louis Gates documentaries The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is our Song and Gospel (2024).

In addition, he has served as a multi-instrumentalist sideman on over twenty-five jazz and “new music” albums with various artists including Geri Allen, Anthony Braxton, Anthony Davis, James Newton, Wadada Leo Smith, and Jay Hoggard. He was a sideman on Andy Bey’s Grammy-nominated American Song (Savoy) and Geri Allen’s The Life of a Song (Telarc).

Andrews curatorial work includes serving as the Artistic Director of the National Black Arts Festival (1996-1998) and the Atlanta Music Festival (current), special programming with the High Museum (The Quilts of Gees Bend, Romare Bearden’s Blues and other Colors), the Atlanta Symphony, and Emory University's Carlos Museum. Andrews curated a special program celebrating the opening of the Romare Bearden exhibition at the High Museum, entitled Bearden’s Blues and other Colors, featuring Branford Marsalis and his Quartet, as well as actors Carl Gordon, and Emmy Award winners Charles S. Dutton and S. Epatha Merkerson.

Andrews is the recipient of numerous awards, including 2024 Composers Now Visionary Award, a 2023 Governors Award in the Arts and Humanities, a 2005 Lexus Leader of the Arts Award, a Pew Trust/TCG Artist Residency Fellowship, a Mellon Fellowship, Emory University's Distinguished Teacher Award, and the Yale Tercentenary Medal from the Yale Club of Georgia. He has served on the Pulitzer Prize Committee for Music and the NEA Jazz Masters Award Committee.

He is presently working on a manuscript on the relationship between spirituality and jazz in the works of John and Alice Coltrane, Mary Lou Williams, Duke Ellington, Yusef Lateef, Sun Ra, and Dave Brubeck; and a new music theatre piece on W.E.B. Dubois.