Bledsoe, Jules, black American baritone and composer; b. Waco, Tex., Dec. 29, 1898; d. Los Angeles, July 14, 1943. He studied at the Chicago Musical Coll. (B.A., 1919), then in Paris and Rome. Returning to America, he distinguished himself as a fine performer in musical comedies and opera. He sang the central role in the premiere of Jerome Kern’s Show Boat (1927), appeared in grand opera as Rigoletto and Boris Godunov, and sang the title role in Gruenberg’s Emperor Jones. As a composer, he wrote an African Suite for Orch. and several songs in the manner of Negro spirituals.
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire