Dolores White was born in Chicago, Illinois. She attended Howard University for two years and transferred to Oberlin College Conservatory of Music where she received the Bachelor degree in piano performance. She completed her M.M. in piano performance and composition at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Postgraduate work was at Ohio State University with Thomas Wells, briefly & Kent State University with James Waters, composition professors.
Her music offers a unique way of listening and enjoying American Contemporary Music. Centered in American and European Classical elements, she fashions music that reaches into the rich resources of American traditions and music that draws on ethnic and international materials. She started her compositional achievements after winning second prize in the Ithaca College High School Choral Competition, 1988. Later, she was commissioned by the Cleveland Women’s Orchestra to compose an orchestral piece for the Celebration of the Centennial of the Chicago World Fair Exposition in 1993. The concert occurred at the Cleveland Art Museum, 1993, titled “Salute to the Arts”.
She was one of the finalists in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s African American Composers Competition and Conference. Her piece “Celebration” was performed by the Detroit Symphony on a concert series program with Leslie Dunner, conductor. The piece was later performed by the Columbus Ohio Women Symphony, Victoria Bond, conductor and the Dallas, Texas Symphony, Leslie Dunner, conductor.
Her composition for Soprano, Narrator and Orchestra, “Give Birth to the Dream” from Maya Angelou’s poem “On the Pulse of Morning” was commissioned by the Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra and performed on the Martin Luther King Concert at Cuyahoga Community College, Metro Campus, Cleveland Ohio where Dolores White was assistant professor of music for many years. The piece, “Give Birth to the Dream” was performed by the Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra the following year on their Martin Luther King Concert.
The Cleveland Chamber Symphony performed her piece “Crystal Gazing” with Edwin London, conductor, at Cleveland State University, Oberlin College Music Series and several area churches in Cleveland. The Cleveland Chamber Symphony has many Cds, “The New American Scene No. 2″ features the works of Five Outstanding African American Composers which includes Dolores White’s “Crystal Gazing”.
Her string quartet, “Two Violins, Viola and Cello in Three Movements” is on the Cleveland Composers Guild latest CD titled Telling Tales, Albany Label. Her piano Piece “Toccata” is included in Dark Fires, a CD of piano selections composed by African American composers perform by Karen Walywn, Albany Label. Several of her choral selections were performed by the Gregg Smith Singers on a New York City Concert and the Robert Page Singers performed several of her choral selections at Cleveland State University and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
She is a contributor to the Two Volumes book titled “Black Women in Amercia, a Historical Encyclopedia”, published by Carlson Publishers, 1st Edition, 1993, Darline Hines. She received the YWCA Certificate of Achievement for Professional Career Women, 1989; while assistant professor of music, Cuyahoga Community College. In 1990s, Santiago de Cuba, participated in Music and Dance seminars with Cuban musicians and dancers. At the Faculty Symposium, 1990, “Partnership in the Arts” she gave a presentation on, “History of the Cleveland Orchestra” that was published in the Cuyahoga Community College Symposium Booklet that year. She was selected to attend the June in Buffalo, New York Workshop/Conference (2000) with Donald Erb, George Crumb, Bernard Rands, Charles Wuorimen. In May, 2001, she attended the Inter-American Conference on Black Music Research sponsored by the Center for Black Music Research and the Twenty-Seventh Annual Conference of the Society for American Music in Port of Spain, Trindad & Tobago. In 2002-3, MasterWork Chorale of Toledo, Ohio commissioned her to write two short choral numbers for their December Series Program. The Cleveland Fortnightly Musical Club and Cleveland Composers Guild commissioned her Chamber Ensemble composition for Four Clarinets & Violin, Cleveland Institute of Music, 2003. She has done research on Afro-Cuban Music and Culture and given presentations on the topic at John Carroll University, Cuyahoga Community College, Western & Eastern Campuses and Cleveland State University. While she was assistant professor of music at Cuyahoga Community College, Metro Campus, she received several Bascom Little grants to promote Contemporary American Chamber Music programs at the College.
Willis Music Company, Boston Music Company, Cuyahoga Community College Press, Southern Illinois University Press have published works of Dolores White and she is included in several of Helen Walker-Hill books and publications on African American Women.
She is a member of ASCAP and has received many ASCAP awards. Also, she is a member of Delta Sigma Theta, American Music Center, OMTA, The International Alliance of Women in Music, Cleveland Oberlin Alumni Club, Center for Black Research, Chicago Music Association and NANM (National Association of Negro Musicians). In November, 2008, she presented “Living Portriats” performance/recital of Contemporary Chamber Music of Dolores White & Hale Smith at Sherwood Conservatory of Music at Columbia College, Chicago, Illinois.
In May, 2009, she was a presenter at the Feminist & Music Theory 10 Conference at the University of Greensboro, North Carolina. The presentation was on Twenty First Piano Literature of Dolores White. The presentation was on Twenty First Piano Literature of Dolores White.
In July, 2009, she was a presenter at the 90th Anniversary of NANM in Chicago, Illinois. The presentation/performance was on Twenty & Twenty-First Century Art Songs of Dolores White and Hale Smith (fourteen art songs). The presentation/performance was reviewed by the New Amsterdam Newspaper and was given an excellent review. Performers were : Kimberly Jones, soprano, Cornelius Johnson, tenor and Dianna White Gould, pianist.