Duke Ellington Day History
Duke Ellington Day commemorates the life of jazz musician, Edward Kennedy Ellington, known as Duke Ellington. Born on April 29th, 1899, in Washington D.C., Ellington was a famous American composer, pianist and bandleader of a jazz orchestra that performed at Harlem's Cotton Club during the 1920s. In the 1930s, his music spread internationally and Ellington's orchestra toured through Europe. Ellington is considered to have elevated the status of jazz from mere music to an art form. Ellington’s career, which saw him write nearly 2000 compositions, many of which continue to inspire jazz artists today, spanned nearly five decades until he passed away in New York City in May of 1974.
In 1999, Ellington was awarded with a special Pulitzer Prize to commemorate the centennial of his birth and his contributions to music. A decade later, New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg, declared April 29th, 2009 as Duke Wellington Day in honor of his 110th birthday.
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