AfriClassical.com is proud to announce a new biography of African American Composer Adolphus C. Hailstork (b. 1941) in his own words. An interview last week resulted in an April 16, 2010 post: “Composer Adolphus C. Hailstork, Eminent Scholar at Old Dominion University, Was Born April 17, 1941; Has 27 CDs.” The website now features the composer's comments on his entire career, including 53 years of composing, teaching since 1969, a vast body of works, and 27 recordings.
Prof. Hailstork is a forthright advocate of Music Education in public schools. He relates that his results on a Music Aptitude Test used in the State of New York entitled him to free lessons on an instrument of his choice. His efforts at Composition were encouraged at Albany High School, where the Orchestra Director told him “If you write it, we'll play it!” He concluded his remarks with the declaration “This is one person whose whole life started with public school Music!”
The composer wrote two musicals while a student at Howard University, The Race for Space and Kampus Kapers. He improvised for hours on the piano, but eventually concluded the organ was the instrument best suited to him: “About ten years ago, I started taking organ lessons again with a colleague on Old Dominion's staff, and really realized that was the instrument I should have stayed with and that is more natural to me than the piano is, because of the sustained sounds and the kind of rich textures that you can get on the organ.”
Prof. Hailstork commented on the large number of commissions he has continued to received for works for chorus and orchestra. He discussed the origins of each of his three symphonies, and explained that his tour of Ghana in 1996 led to the program on slavery in his Symphony No. 2. Material from other sources includes an excerpt from the program for his opera Joshua's Boots: “Set in 1878, Joshua's Boots is based on extensive research into the real 'wild west,' specifically the recently 're-discovered' historical importance of Black Cowboys and the all-black Buffalo Soldiers in the opening up of the country.”Adolphus Hailstork In His Own Words
Symphony on Slavery