Theodore Front Music Selects Dr. Adolphus Hailstork As August’s Composer of the Month

By Chris Ruel

Theodore Front Music Literature, Inc., a leading sheet music and music book dealer based in Santa Clarita, California has named Black composer, Dr. Adolphus Hailstork as its composer of the month.

Hailstork is currently at work on a George Floyd requiem cantata titled “A Knee On a Neck.” The piece is scored for orchestra, chorus, tenor, baritone, and mezzo-soprano. The composer has focused a substantial amount of his work on Black history.

In a quote posted on “The Hub,” a site launched by the League of American Orchestras, Hailstork said of today’s Black composers, “There are lost [of Black composers] out there… they just don’t get a chance to be performed… We need artistic administrators and conductors and performers to be interested.”

And Hailstork’s work has gained major interest through his years as a composer. His compositions have been performed by major orchestras in Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, and New York, and conducted by Daniel Barenboim, Kurt Masur, JoAnn Falleta, and others. His wealth of work — over 75 pieces — includes pieces for chorus, solo voice, piano, organ, various chamber ensembles, band, and orchestra. His operas include “Joshua Boot;” “Paul Laurence Dunbar: Common Ground An Operatic Theaterpiece;” and “Rise for Freedom: The John P. Parker Story.”

He earned his doctorate in composition from Michigan State University, having studied under H. Owen Reed. Hailstork also studied at Manhattan School of Music, the American Institute at Fontainebleau, and at Howard University. The composer currently holds the position of Professor of Music and Eminent Scholar at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.