Friday, December 18, 2020 ‘Classical music expresses the universality of human experience’ – composer Adolphus Hailstork

Classic FM

18 December 2020

by Rosie Pentreath

The American composer talks to Classic FM about his powerful work, ‘Epitaph for a Man Who Dreamed’, which honours the life of Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

“I believe classical music expresses the universality of human experience,” American composer Adolphus Hailstork says.

After a performance of his powerful orchestral piece, Epitaph for a Man Who Dreamed by Chineke! Orchestra (watch above), Hailstork speaks exclusively to Classic FM, and reflects on the figures and histories the classical canon represents –and doesn’t.

 “I believe that African Americans deserve to have the same homage paid to their suffering, and to their glories when they occur, as has happened throughout all of Western history.

“[The canon includes music] commissioned by a king, a prince or a pope, or for the opening of a cathedral, or for the funeral of a great person. So why not have pieces the same type of consideration to represent the history of African Americans in the United States?”

Hailstork’s own work commemorates and mourns the life of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. 

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