Monday, October 25, 2010

Dr. Meisha Adderley & Stacey Holliday Perform Unpublished Works of African-American Composers for Albany CD

[Dr. Meisha Adderley, left, and Stacey Holliday, right, from the Claflin University Department of Music will record and release an album featuring the unpublished works of African-American composers in 2012.]
October 21, 2010
“Two faculty members from the Claflin University Department of Music have received a recording contract to resurrect the unpublished scores of African-American composers. Dr. Meisha Adderley, assistant professor of music and piano, and Stacey Holliday, music instructor and accompanist, are set to record the first-ever piano duets inspired by African-American composers. The not yet titled album will be released in spring 2012 by Albany Records, one of the most prominent classical records labels in the nation.

“'It will be challenging because many of these works have never been published. We feel they deserve to be heard and enjoyed,' Adderley said. Holliday added, 'I was very surprised honestly. Albany Records is extremely prestigious. It was a huge undertaking for us. It's very exciting.' The two met after Adderley returned to Claflin from sabbatical in early 2009. They immediately struck up a friendship and began performing duets. 'It's a rarity to find two classically trained African-American pianists actively performing at the same institution,' Adderley noted.

“The harmonious duo began conducting research on African-American composers which led them to the archives of the Center for Black Music Research at Columbia College in Chicago. What the pianists found was a wealth of unpublished works. Inspired by the composition of notes on paper, Adderley and Holliday decided to breathe some auditory life into the works by recording a demo in the studio. They also performed these songs at venues across the country over the last year. Adderley and Holliday were part of a recital on campus this February which celebrated the works of African-American female composers.

“Both were particularly intrigued by the Chicago-based composer Dolores White. Adderley described White's music as a blend of European, Cuban and African-American influences. Selections from White will be featured on the album as well as compositions from William Grant Still, the first person of color to conduct a major symphony orchestra and who is often referred as the dean of African-American composers. Adderley noted there will be a composition from her husband, Dr. Cedric Adderley, assistant vice president for academic affairs at Claflin, on the album. In addition to duets, Holliday noted there will also be solo pieces as well.” [William Grant Still (1895-1978) is profiled at, which features a complete Works List by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma.]

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