ADOLPHUS HAILSTORK (b 1941 )
Composer and college professor Adolphus Cunningham Hailstork, born April 17, 1941 in Rochester, New York, began his musical studies with piano lessons as a child. He studied at Howard University and Manhattan School of Music, spending the summer of 1963 at the American Institute at Fontainebleau, France. After service in the US Armed Forces in Germany (1966–1968), he returned to the United States and pursued his doctorate degree at Michigan State University in Lansing. He also attended the Electronic Music Institution at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire (summer, 1972) and the Seminar on Contemporary Music (summer, 1978) at the State University of New York at Buffalo. His principal teachers were H. Owen Reed (Michigan State University), Vittorio Giannini and David Diamond (Manhattan School of Music), Mark Fax (Howard University) and Nadia Boulanger (American Institute at Fontainebleau). His career as a teacher includes graduate assistantships at Michigan State University (1969–1971), and professorships at Youngstown State University in Ohio (1971–1977), Norfolk State University in Virginia (1977–2000), and Old Dominion University, also in Norfolk, Virginia (2000–present), where he is Eminent Scholar and Professor of Music.
Adolphus Hailstork has written numerous works for chorus, solo voice, piano, organ, various chamber ensembles, band, and orchestra. Among his early compositions are Celebration, and Out of the Depths (1977), and American Guernica (1983), two band works which won national competitions. Consort Piece (1995), commissioned by the Norfolk Chamber Ensemble, was awarded first prize by the University of Delaware Festival of Contemporary Music. Significant performances by major orchestras (Philadelphia, Chicago, and New York) have been directed by leading conductors, including James de Priest, Daniel Barenboim, Kurt Masur, and Lorin Maazel. His Second Symphony and second opera, Joshua’s Boots, both had their premières in 1999. Hailstork’s Violin Concerto had its première in November 2004 with the Berkshire Symphony, and Mark Peskanov as soloist. His cantata Crispus Attucks was first given in October 2005, in Norfolk, Virginia. Other new commissions include Earthrise, a large scale choral work for James Conlon and the 2006 Cincinnati May Festival, Three Studies on Chant Melodies for the American Guild of Organists 2006 national convention, and We Rise for Freedom: The John P. Parker Story for the Cincinnati Opera. Whitman’s Journey had its première with the Master Chorale of Washington, DC at Kennedy Center in April 2006.