Ulysses Kay


ACA is honored to be distributing previously unpublished works by Ulysses Kay in new editions.  First affiliated with ACA in the 1950s, Ulysses Kay went on to an internationally renowned career in music.

Ulysses Kay, born on January 7, 1917, in Tucson, Arizona, began his education in the public school system of Tucson. He attended the University of Arizona where he earned a Bachelor of Music degree in 1938 and subsequently entered the Eastman School of Music as a student of Howard Hanson and Bernard Rogers. He was also a student of Paul Hindemith at the Berkshire Music Center and at Yale University. Following a three year tour with the United States Navy, Kay received an Alice M. Ditson Fellowship for work at Columbia University. Also he has been a recipient of a Julius Rosenwald Fellowship, Rome Prizes for residence at the American Academy inRome for the seasons of 1949-50 and 1951-52, a Fulbright Scholarship to Italy for 1950-51, and a grant from the National Institute of Arts and Letters.

In addition to these accolades, Kay has won several awards for his music, including first prize from Broadcast Music, Inc. for his Suite for Orchestra, a Gershwin Memorial Prize for A Short Overture, and an American Broadcasting Company Prize for the overture, Of New Horizons. He also won the third annual George Gershwin Memorial Contest for "A Short Overture," and an award from the American Composers Alliance for his "Suite for Orchestra." In 1958 Kay was a member of the first delegation of American composers to visit the Soviet Union in the Cultural Exchange Program sponsored by the United States State Department.

Kay worked for Broadcast Music, Inc., a performing arts organization, from 1953 to 1968. In 1968 he was appointed distinguished professor at Lehman College of the City University of New York. After two decades teaching there, he retired. As a composer Kay was known primarily for his symphonic and choral compositions. He also wrote five operas.  A resident of Teaneck, New Jersey, Ulysses Kay died at the age of 78 on May 20, 1995.