The Harlem Chamber Players have announced the scheduled release of their first-ever commercial digital album on Saturday, December 10.
The Harlem Chamber Players Perform The Music of Adolphus Hailstork features compositions by famous black composer Adolphus Hailstork. The collection of three chamber music works will be celebrated the same evening with a live performance of one of his works, Nobody Know, at the Harlem School of the Arts (645 St. Nicholas Avenue) on Saturday, December 10 at 4:00 p.m. The digital album, priced at $10.00, will be available for download at https://www.harlemchamberplayers.org/album.
Tickets for the show featuring the first track from the new album are available free of charge. George Walker’s String Quartet No. 1 and Frederick Tillis’ Spiritual Fantasy No. 12 are also on the program. Registration is required due to limited seating at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/music-by-walker-hailstork-tillis-tickets-455059654677?aff=ebdssbdestsearch.
Produced by Liz Player, The Harlem Chamber Players recently received critical and public acclaim for R. Nathaniel Detts’ rarely performed oratorio The Ordering of Moses, and played to a sold-out house as part of The Harlem Renaissance 100.
After four years of championing the music of Adolphus Hailstork, The Harlem Chamber Players will release this first commercial digital recording, featuring three of the composer’s powerful chamber works. Led by Player, the ethnically diverse collective of classically trained professional musicians have both commissioned and premiered new works by the award-winning composer in recent years, including the album’s first work, Nobody Know. Written to commemorate 1619, the arrival of the first enslaved black people in America, the piece had its world premiere as part of the 11th annual Black History Month celebration at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in February 2019 .
“Dr. Adolphus Hailstork is a brilliant composer and his music should be as much a part of the regular canon of American ‘music’ as Copland and Barber are,” says Player. “It is high time that this great composer was recognized for his achievements.”
Two additional works by Hailstork complete the first recording. Piano Quintet (“Detroit”) is a tribute to the city of the same name in which the composer received many important artistic opportunities early in his career, including the commissioning of his second symphony by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. The final piece on The Songs of the Magi is an early work by Hailstork for oboe and string quartet.
Recorded by MP Kuo at Big Orange Sheep in Brooklyn and produced by Carol Jackson, the recording features many members of the Harlem Chamber Players. For Nobody Know, Ashley Horne (violin), Claire Chan (violin), Will Frampton (viola), Wayne Smith (cello) and Kenneth Overton (baritone); for Piano Quintet (“Detroit”), Ashley Horne (violin), Claire Chan (violin), Will Frampton (viola), Wayne Smith (cello) and David Berry (piano); and for Songs of the Magi, Ashley Horne (violin), Claire Chan (violin), Amadi Azikiwe (viola), Wayne Smith (cello) and Hassan Anderson (oboe).
Adolphus Hailstork is a postmodern composer, pianist and conductor who has written over 250 works. He received his Ph.D. in composition from Michigan State University, where he studied with H. Owen Reed. He had previously studied at the Manhattan School of Music, with Vittorio Giannini and David Diamond, at the American Institute of Fontainebleau with Nadia Boulanger, and at Howard University with Mark Fax. Dr. Hailstork has written numerous works for choir, solo voice, piano, organ, various chamber ensembles, orchestra, orchestra and opera. Born in Rochester and raised in Albany, NY, he played the violin as a child and began singing choral music in college, while taking piano and organ lessons. He started composing under the encouragement of his high school bandleader. Hailstork has taught at Youngstown State University and Norfolk State University, and is currently Professor and Composer-in-Residence at Old Dominion. His honors and awards include a Fulbright Fellowship and two honorary doctorates, as well as the title of Virginia State Cultural Laureate. In 2017 he was inducted into Norfolk’s Legends of Music Walk of Fame. His fanfare on Amazing Grace was selected and performed by the United States Marine Band during the inauguration of President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and Vice President Kamala Harris. Most recently he was honored on his 80th birthday by WNYC at Greenspace and was featured in October 2022 as Composer of the Week on BBC Radio 3.
The Harlem Chamber Players, founded by Executive and Artistic Director Liz Player, is an ethnically diverse collective of professional musicians dedicated to bringing high-caliber, affordable, and accessible live classical music to people in the Harlem community and the -of the. Additionally, The Harlem Chamber Players builds and diversifies audiences for classical music through community and educational outreach, as well as through collaborations with other arts organizations, schools, and cultural institutions in Harlem. The Harlem Chamber Players not only bring live chamber music to underserved neighborhoods in the Harlem community, but also create opportunities for classically trained musicians of color.
Liz Player (Executive Founder and Artistic Producer) founded The Harlem Chamber Players in 2008 with the late violist Charles Dalton. Inspired by the late Janet Wolfe, a longtime patron of musicians of color and founder and executive director of the NYC Housing Symphony Orchestra, Player has dedicated herself to continuing Wolfe’s legacy by creating opportunities for musicians of color, especially blacks and browns. – trained musicians, who are to this day grossly under-represented in the classical music arena. With experience in industries far removed from classical music, Player was able to leverage his unique skills to create The Harlem Chamber Players from scratch. After graduating with her first bachelor’s degree in computer science, she worked as a programmer/analyst for over eight years before returning to music. Additionally, Player has worked in philanthropy, marketing and event planning and has served on various panels in New York City, including grant panels for the New York State Council on the Arts, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and panels for “Diversifying Orchestral Music in New York State” convened by NYSCA. On behalf of the Harlem Chamber Players, Player was awarded the 2022 Sam Miller Award for Performing Arts by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Player also produced the sold-out performance of R. Nathaniel Detts’ rarely performed oratorio The Ordering of Moses as part of The Harlem Renaissance 100, which received critical and public acclaim.