Liz Player, Founding Executive and Artistic Director of The Harlem Chamber Players, is pleased to announce the anticipated release of its first-ever commercial digital album.
The album will be released on Saturday, December 10th,
The Harlem Chamber Players Perform The Music of Adolphus Hailstork contains compositions by renowned 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 Harlem School of the Arts, 645 St. Nicholas Avenue in Harlem, NY on Saturday, December 10th, 2022, at 4:00 PM.
The digital album, priced at $10.00, will be available for download HERE.
Tickets for the performance highlighting the first piece on the new album are available at no 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 HERE.
Produced by Liz Player, The Harlem Chamber Players recently received accolades from critics and audiences alike for the rarely performed R. Nathaniel Detts’ 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 debut commercial digital recording, consisting of three of the composer’s powerful chamber works.
Led by Player, the ethnically diverse collective of professional, classically trained musicians have both commissioned and premiered new works by the award-winning composer in recent years, including the first work on the album, Nobody Know.
Written to commemorate 1619, the arrival of the first enslaved black people in America, the piece received its world premiere as part of the 11th Annual Black History Month Celebration at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in February of 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 much as of Copland and Barber are,” states Player. “It’s long overdue that this great composer gets recognized for his achievements.”
Two additional sweeping works by Hailstork complete the premiere recording. Piano Quintet (“Detroit”) is an homage to the namesake city in which the composer received many important artistic opportunities in the early stages of his career, including the commissioning of his second symphony by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
The final piece on the album The Songs of the Magi is an early work by Hailstorkfor an oboe and a string quartet.
Recorded by M.P. Kuo at Big Orange Sheep in Brooklyn, and produced by Carl Jackson, the recording features numerous 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 penned more than 250 works. He received his doctorate in composition from Michigan State University, where he was a student of H. Owen Reed.
He had previously studied at the Manhattan School of Music, under Vittorio Giannini and David Diamond, at the American Institute at Fontainebleau with Nadia Boulanger, and at Howard University with Mark Fax.
Dr. Hailstork has written numerous works for chorus, solo voice, piano, organ, various chamber ensembles, bands, orchestras, and opera. Born in Rochester and raised in Albany, NY, he played violin as a child and began singing choral music in junior high school, while also taking piano and organ lessons. He first began composing under the encouragement of his high school orchestra director.
Hailstork has taught at Youngstown State University and Norfolk State University and is currently a professor and composer-in-residence at Old Dominion. His honors and awards include a Fulbright fellowship and two honorary doctorates, as well as being named a Cultural Laureate of the state of Virginia.
In 2017, he was installed in Norfolk’s Legends of Music Walk of Fame. His Fanfare on Amazing Grace was selected and performed by the United States Marine Band at 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
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 beyond. In addition, The Harlem Chamber Players builds and diversifies audiences for classical music through community and educational outreach, as well as through collaborations with Harlem’s other arts organizations, schools, and cultural institutions. 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 (Founding Executive and Artistic Producer) founded The Harlem Chamber Players in 2008 with the late violist Charles Dalton. Inspired by the late Janet Wolfe, a long-time patron of musicians of color and the founder and executive director of the NYC Housing Symphony Orchestra, Player dedicated herself to continuing the legacy of Wolfe in creating opportunities for musicians of color, particularly Black and Brown classically-trained musicians, who are to this day grossly underrepresented in the classical music arena.
With a background in industries far removed from classical music, Player was able to leverage her unique skill set to build The Harlem Chamber Players from the ground up. Earning her first Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, she worked as a programmer/analyst for more than eight years before making a return to music.
Additionally, Player has worked in philanthropy, marketing, and events planning and has served on various panels in New York City, including grants panels for the New York State Council on the Arts, the 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, Players received the 2022 Sam Miller Award for Performing Arts from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Player also produced the sold-out performance of the rarely performed R. Nathaniel Detts’ oratorio The Ordering of Moses, as part of The Harlem Renaissance 100, which was critically acclaimed by critics and audiences alike.
Photo credit: 1) Adolphus Hailstork illustation Tisdale Studio. 2-3) Source. 4). The Harlem Chamber Players. 5) Liz PLayer.