Director, African American Music Ensemble
A native of Washington, DC, Diane White-Clayton holds Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in music composition from the University of California at Santa Barbara and a B.A. degree in music from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri with emphases in composition, voice, and piano. As a rotary scholar, she studied classical piano at the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris, performing solo gospel concerts throughout Europe as an Ambassador of Goodwill.
Affectionately known as “Dr. Dee,” Diane travels extensively as a vocalist, pianist, composer, conductor, workshop clinician, and speaker. She has held numerous positions at universities, colleges and churches across the country including Artistic Director with the Washington Performing Arts Society; Artist-in-Residence and Assistant Director of African-American Student Development at Appalachian State University; Artist-in-Residence at Westmont College; Composer-in-Residence at Indiana University of Pennsylvania; Scholar-in-Residence at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa; lecturer at Loyola Marymount University; and Choral Conductor at the New Christ Memorial Church under legendary gospel great, Pastor Andraé Crouch. For thirteen years, she was a choral conductor at the 6,000-member Faithful Central Bible Church in Inglewood, California under the headship of internationally esteemed, Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer, where she founded the beloved Sacred Praise Chorale.
Possessing a three-and-a-half octave range, Diane weaves her high operatic soprano voice with her soulful gospel roots in her self-produced recordings. As a composer, her works have been performed at such venues as the John F. Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, with her most popular piece, “Clap Praise” having been performed across the globe. Whether arrangements of African, Korean or African-American folk songs, her arrangement of the Hatikvah, her atonal classical works, her vocal jazz or her inspirational sacred or gospel songs, Dr. Dee’s compositions and performances demonstrate a mélange of the power and complexity of gospel music, the technique of classical music and the colors of jazz.
An inspirational speaker and author, Dr. Dee combines an inviting genuineness with humor, eloquence and faith. Dr. Dee is a member of the faculty of the University of California, Los Angeles and conducts the African American Music Ensemble featuring choral works from the repertoire of gospel and spirituals and other sacred works by black composers. She is founder and CEO of BYTHAX, through which she publishes, produces and books herself and other artists. She is the artistic director of the famed Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers, known for their international influence as classical performers of Negro Spirituals. And she is the founding director of “Dr. Dee & the BYTHAX Ensemble,” a gifted, musically-diverse, professional vocal ensemble. Diane shares her life with her best friend, husband and business partner, Joe Louis Clayton, former recording and touring Motown R&B percussionist.