|Born||10 March 1866|
Upper Norwood, London
|Died||9 March 1956 (aged 89)|
|Other names||Montague Ring,|
Amanda Ira Aldridge
|Relatives||Luranah Aldridge (sister)|
Amanda Christina Elizabeth Aldridge, also known as Amanda Ira Aldridge (10 March 1866 – 9 March 1956), was a British opera singer and teacher who composed under the pseudonym of Montague Ring. She was the daughter of African-American actor Ira Aldridge.
Amanda Aldridge was born on 10 March 1866 in Upper Norwood, London, the third child of African-American actor Ira Frederick Aldridge and his second wife, the Swede Amanda Brandt. Aldridge studied voice under Jenny Lind and Sir George Henschel at the Royal College of Music in London, and harmony and counterpoint with Frederick Bridge and Francis Edward Gladstone.
After completing her studies, Aldridge worked as a concert singer, piano accompanist, and voice teacher. A throat condition ended her concert appearances, and she turned to teaching and published about thirty songs between the years 1907 and 1925 in a romantic parlour style, as well as instrumental music in other styles. Her notable students included Roland Hayes, Lawrence Benjamin Brown, Marian Anderson and Paul Robeson. In 1930, when Robeson played Othello in the West End, Aldridge was in attendance, and gave Robeson the gold earrings that her father Ira Aldridge had worn as Othello. See: List of music students by teacher: A to B#Amanda Christina Elizabeth Aldridge. Aldridge also took the singer Ida Shepley under her wing and converted her from a singer to a stage actor.
She cared for her sister, the opera singer Luranah Aldridge, when she became ill, turning down an invitation in 1921 from W. E. B. Du Bois to attend the second Pan-African Congress, with a note explaining: "As you know, my sister is very helpless. . . . I cannot leave for more than a few minutes at a time."
At the age of 88, Aldridge made her first television appearance in the British show Music For You, where Muriel Smith sang Montague Ring's "Little Southern Love Song". After a short illness, she died in London on 9 March 1956.
In the Autumn 2020 edition of The Historian, Stephen Bourne assessed the composer's life and career in an illustrated feature 'At home with Amanda Ira Aldridge.' Bourne had previously written about Amanda for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
Amanda Aldridge ended her singing career to compose and teach music, when laryngitis had damaged her throat. Amanda Aldridge mainly composed Romantic parlour music, a type of popular music performed primarily in parlours of the middle-class homes, frequently by amateur singers and pianists. Her music was published under the pseudonym Montague Ring. Under this name, she gained recognition for her many voice and piano compositions, including love songs, suites, sambas and light orchestral pieces, in a popular style that was infused with multiple genres.
Selected works include:
- "An Assyrian Love Song," words by F. G. Bowles. London: Elkin & Co., 1921.
- "Azalea," words and music by M. Ring. London: Ascherberg, Hopwood & Crew, 1907.
- "Blue Days of June," words by F. E. Weatherly. London: Chappell & Co., 1915.
- "The Bride," words by P. J. O'Reilly. London: Chappell & Co., 1910.
- "The Fickle Songster," words by H. Simpson. London: Cary & Co., 1908.
- "Little Brown Messenger," words by F. G. Bowles. London: G. Ricordi & Co., 1912.
- "Little Missie Cakewalk," words by Talbot Owen; banjo accompaniment by Clifford Essex. London: Lublin & Co., 1908.
- "Little Rose in My Hair," words by E. Price-Evans. London: Chappell & Co., 1917.
- "Two Little Southern Songs. 1. Kentucky Love song 2. June in Kentucky," words by F. G. Bowles. London: Chappell & Co., 1912.
- "Love's Golden Day," words by E. Price-Evans. London: Chappell & Co., 1917.
- "Miss Magnolia Brown," words and music by M. Ring. London: Francis, Day & Hunter, 1907.
- "My Dreamy, Creamy, Coloured Girl," words and music by M. Ring. London: Ascherberg, Hopwood & Crew, 1907.
- "My Little Corncrake Coon," words by Talbot Owen. London: Lublin & Co., 1908.
- "Simple Wisdom," words by H. Simpson. London: Lublin & Co., 1908.
- "A Song of Spring," words by P. J. O'Reilly. London and New York: Boosey & Co., 1909.
- "Summah is de Lovin' Time. A Summer Night," words by P. L. Dunbar. London: Chappell & Co., 1925.
- "A Summer Love Song," words by I. R. A. London and New York: Boosey & Co., 1907.
- "Supplication," words by P. J. O'Reilly. London: Leonard & Co., 1914.
- "Through the Day. Three Songs. 1. Morning 2. Noon 3. Evening," words by P. J. O'Reilly. London and New York: Boosey & Co., 1910.
- "'Tis Morning," words by P. L. Dunbar. London: Elkin & Co., 1925.
- "When the Coloured Lady Saunters Down the Street," words and music by M. Ring. London: Ascherberg, Hopwood & Crew, 1907.
- "Where the Paw-Paw Grows," words by Henry Francis Downing. London: Ascherberg, Hopwood & Crew, 1907.
- "Shepley [née Humphrey], Ida (1908–1975), actress and singer". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. 2004. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/100422. ISBN 9780198614111. Retrieved 17 November 2020. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- "At the grave of Luranah Aldridge". Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
- Andrews, Joyce (January–February 2010). "Amanda Aldridge, Teacher and Composer: A Life in Music". Journal of Singing. 66 (3). ISSN 1086-7732. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
- Bourne, Stephen (2014). Black Poppies. The History Press.