Thursday, April 16, 2009

Born April 17, 1941, Adolphus Hailstork Witnesses Many Performances of His Compositions

[Adolphus Hailstork: Symphonies Nos. 2 and 3; Grand Rapids Symphony; David Lockington,
Conductor; Naxos 8.559295 (2007)]

Adolphus Cunningham Hailstork is an African American composer and professor who was born on April 17, 1941 in Rochester, New York and is profiled at He received a Bachelor of Music degree from Howard University in 1963. He subsequently attended the Manhattan School of Music, where he received a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition in 1965 and a Master of Music degree in Composition in 1966. During the Summer of 1963 Hailstork studied in France at Fontainebleau with Nadia Boulanger. He served in the U.S. Armed Forces in Germany from 1966-68, then attended Michigan State University, where he obtained a Ph.D. in 1971. Hailstork has been on the faculties of Youngstown State University, Norfolk State University and Old Dominion University. Hailstork's musical The Race for Space was performed at Howard University in 1963, when he was in his senior year. Statement, Variations and Fugue was his master's thesis and was performed by the Baltimore Symphony in 1966, according to the Presser site. The composer has employed a wide range of forms and styles.

Looking back at recent posts on AfriClassical, we find many with news of Prof. Hailstork's compositions. Space permits only a few examples, so we will begin with the annual Spring Tour of the Tuskegee Choir. Its 2009 program includes music by Adolphus Hailstork. On Jan. 18, 2009, the Santa Monica Symphony's annual program in recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. included Adolphus Hailstork's First Symphony. On Jan. 16, 2009, a Concert/Lecture was presented by Dr. Rochelle Sennet, a Teaching Associate in Piano at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She regularly performs works of African American composers, including Adolphus Hailstork. We learned recently that Prof. Hailstork will compose music for the Alabama Symphony Orchestra's 'Reflect and Rejoice' concert, a musical tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. to be premiered at the 2011 event. Organist Douglas Brown performed music of Adolphus Hailstork on Oct. 19, 2008. The composer's Bassoon Set is featured on a recent CD, Albany TROY 1038 (2008), on which Lecolion Washington, Jr. plays the bassoon. The 2008 “Classical Thanksgiving” concert of the Meridian Symphony in Meridian, Idaho featured Adolphus Hailstork's new work for orchestra, tenor and chorus, 'I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes'. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Richmond Chamber Players presented a concert on August 17 which included Adolphus Hailstork's Trio for Violin, Cello, and Piano.

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