J’Nai Bridges Headlines Adolphus Hailstork’s ‘TULSA 1921’

By Francisco Salazar

Updates: Per our sources, the filming and virtual premiere are delayed from February to June. Additionally, The Library of Congress has entered the field as a co-presenter of the world premiere. 

J’Nai Bridges is set to world premiere “TULSA 1921,” a Narrative work for Mezzo and String Ensemble by Adolphus Hailstork set to text by Herbert Martin.

The performance will be filmed on Feb. 5 and will feature the Harlem Chamber Players. The livestream premiere will take place on YouTube in February 2021.

The composition comes in time for Hailstork’s 80th birthday in April and also speaks to the composer’s legacy of dedication to highlighting stories of African American history and struggle. Hailstork is well-known for his operas “Joshua’s Boots,” “Paul Laurence Dunbar: Common Ground An Operatic Theater piece,” “Rise for Freedom: The John P. Parker Story,” and “Paul Robeson.”

“TULSA 1921” is based on the Tulsa race massacre which took place on May 31 and June 1, 1921, when mobs of white residents, most of them deputized and given weapons by city officials, attacked black residents and businesses of the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The event was one of the most destructive riots instigated by White Supremacy vigilante mobs in American history to date.