Boston Conservatory program to spotlight Adolphus Hailstork, Bill Banfield, Stefan Thompson

Posted on: April 14, 2022

“Adolphus Hailstork had already decided to become a composer when he arrived at Howard University as an undergraduate in 1959,” writes David Weininger in Wednesday’s (4/13) Boston Globe. “Which is exactly what he became, and at a time when prominent Black composers were often few and far between…. In Hailstork’s ninth decade, his music seems to be reaching an ever-wider audience. Last month the National Philharmonic Orchestra premiered ‘A Knee on the Neck,’ a large-scale response to George Floyd’s murder for soloists, chorus, and orchestra…. A band arrangement of ‘Fanfare on Amazing Grace’ was performed at President Joe Biden’s inauguration…. That piece, in its full orchestral version, is on a Boston Conservatory Orchestra program at Symphony Hall on Saturday celebrating Hailstork’s approaching 81st birthday. It will also feature his cantata ‘Crispus Attucks’ and the world premiere of ‘Answering the Call,’ a new orchestral piece about the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, alongside works by Bill Banfield … and … Stefan Thompson. Conductor Thomas Wilkins … has known Hailstork for more than 30 years. ‘I often refer to him (much to his embarrassment) as the Dean of African American composers,’ Wilkins wrote in an email.”