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Will Marion Cook

William Mercer Cook (January 27, 1869 – July 19, 1944), better known as Will Marion Cook, was an African-American composer, violinist, and choral director. Cook was a student of Antonín Dvořák. In 1919 he took his New York Syncopated Orchestra to England for a command performance for King George V of the United Kingdom, and tour. Cook is probably best known for his popular songs and landmark Broadway musicals, featuring African-American creators, producers, and casts, such as ''Clorindy, or The Origin of the Cake Walk'' (1898) and ''In Dahomey'' (1903). The latter toured for four years, including in the United Kingdom and United States.

Cook served as musical director of the George Walker-Bert Williams Company, working with the comedy partners on ''Clorindy,'' ''In Dahomey,'' and several other musical uccesses.
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