Instruments: Composer, Piano, Educator
Date of Birth: January 1870
Place of Birth: Tuskegee, Alabama

Annie Mathilde Bilbro was born at Tuskegee in Macon County Alabama in January 1870. Miss Mathilde began the study of music at six years of age and was entirely American educated. She was trying to write before she could read or spell. When other children were playing with building blocks, she was arranging musical ideas. Soon she was writing scales and even making up new ones. In a few years she had progressed to love songs and sent one to a publisher. He returned it, telling her the world was full of love songs, but what they needed was a set of attractive piano pieces for young folks, with original verses, she composed, "Jolly Tunes For Little Folks." The set was accepted and another requested. She then wrote, "Wee Folks In Music Land." Theyoung composer was launched upon her career.

She was only seventeen years of age when she graduated from "Alabama Conference Female College" (Now Huntington College) in Montgomery, Alabama. Three years later, in 1890 she and her parents moved to Gadsden, Alabama where she opened a studio for piano instruction.

She began to spend a great deal of time in New York City turning out her compositions in many forms; piano stories, piano studies, song stories, early instruction collections, musical plays etc. finding ready purchase by all of the top publishing houses of the day.

The Alabama Federation of Music Clubs, copyright 1925 published a list of available Alabama compositions for church, solon and club use. The vocal listing for Miss Bilbro contains ten songs, and the instrumental for piano lists twenty-one. She was the most prolific of Alabama composers with over 600 published compositions.

In 1926 The Etude Music Magazine brought out a special edition celebrating "One Hundred and Fifty Years of American Music." Featured were such composers as Irving Berlin, Carrie Jacob Bond, Stephen foster, John Phillip Sousa and Gadsden's own Mathilde Bilbro.

The Who's Who In America, 1938 & 39, lists Mathilde Bilbro, author, composer; teacher of piano at Gadsden, Alabama, New York city & Etc. Engaged constantly in composition of music and as instructor in harmony since 1911. Holds master classes and norman courses in many states. Versatile composer, musician and writer.

Miss Bilbro had a significant impact on music education in America throughout the 20thCentury.

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame

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